Train sets are great. But you know what else they are? Expensive. And, sometimes, a bit snooty.
For me a train set is no fun if it isn't automated, and I am not interested in realism or historical accuracy. And I don't want to drop thousands. But now we have open source! With an Arduino and some free software you can now cut a huge chunk of the cost of building one of these things out.
When I discovered the adorable Nanoblocks make trains that run on standard track I was intrigued. I thought it would be fun to have proper computer controlled model trains that can be customized as easily as tiny lego. And while not exactly cheap, they're a fraction of the cost of regular N gauge locos.
Having been inspired by the astonishing Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, I plan to retrofit some Nanoblock trains with DCC encoders and build a tiny cyber punk world for them to drive in.
The plan is to use:
- Nanoblock trains
- DCC++ running on Arduino Nano
- JMRI to control the trains from a computer
- Aftermarket DCC decoders wired into the Nanoblock locos
- Kato Unitrack (job lot bought off ebay)
I doubt I'll ever get to the cyberpunk part. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯