• EBP Controller

    06/11/2021 at 18:45 0 comments

    As descibed before, I care about trains and train control systems. So, I like making tools, devices and all kind off stuff that's allied to this 'world'.

    My first project that I publish is a Belgian station railway clock. This clock is a 90% 3D printed device that looks and works almost in the same way as a real station clock.

    Almost two years ago, I started to develop a modeltrain control system. The goal was to create a true-to-life replica of the Belgian EBP system, where the signaling system is controlled. It had to fulfill high requirements. The layout, the menus and the interactions of the EPB program should be the same as in the real EBP system. I wanted that the controls of the model railway would be realistic.

    This means:

    • All interfaces for driving and controlling the model railway have to be built in a ring network, just like in the real railroad world. For this reason all modules are build up in a daisy-chain network.
    • For each command, sent to the railway infrastructure, a feedback is expected. For example, if I send a command to a switch (to move his position), I want to know if the switch is really in the requested position.
    • An exact position determination of where the train is located on the track. This is necessary to run all functions correctly.
    • The possibility to drive with real existing trainnumbers (e.g. 2E3428, 1Z32300, ...).
    • (Automatic) route construction.
    • Additional functions to protect the train and the track.

    The design should be as cheap as possible. Modeltrains themselves cost already a lot of money, so the controlling of the trains and the track must be payable. Today, Arduino boards are very cheap and easy to program. They are ideal to control the model railway. To drive and to communicate with the trains, we will use the DCC++ EX system (a magnificent, very low-cost, open source command station). The EBP program is written in VB.NET and runs under Windows 10.

    To realize this project and to test the hard- and software, I built a small test track in which many functionalities are included. For example:

    • Train detection system with Hall-sensors (counting principle).
    • (English) switches.
    • Belgian railway signals.
    • A crossing.
    • A loop. For a DC driven railway, this is always a problem due to the short-circuit.

    Have fun in the (model) trainworld and enjoy following this (ongoing) project(s).