Remote speed control for model railways

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Dr. Tóth Csaba
Department of Measurement and Information Systems

Low power DC motors are applied in several areas of the industry. Robust, yet inexpensive remote control of these motors is a key issue of some embedded environments.

The model train is a perfect example of the application of the outlined drive control. Model locomotives are driven by miniature DC motors. Feedback control allows the model train to keep its constant speed by influencing output power of the motor up or downhill in case of constant speed reference signal. In addition model train will accelerate to the same speed with different loads (eg, more wagon) if the reference is unchanged.

Combined with wireless remote control and compared with the traditional model train this solution provides considerable added value.

Model train is only the one of several application possibilities of closed-loop remote drive system. I made the prototype capable to control another DC motor to prove its general usability.

The document goes through the drive control development phases from the beginning through the preparation, design and implementation details to the operating device and its tests. The created asset is suitable for closed-loop speed control of a known miniature DC motor. The reference signal can come from local and remote control module.

Later discussed experimental realization of the local control module does not allow the final integration into a model locomotive due to the short development time frame. Finally I examined the possibilities of integration into an embedded environment.

The work process during the semester covered the hardware design and software development (sensing, actuator, closed-loop control, remote control), researching literature, knowledge development, simulations, experiments and measurements. Furthermore, I performed the identification procedure of a separate DC motor and a model locomotive.


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