21st October 2016: Servo Decoder Details
Apologies for the lack of updates about the new servo decoder - I am working hard at making the decoder easier to use. A few things have changed since I built the first prototype.
The servo decoder will support up to eight servo or LED outputs. Up to four of these outputs can be used as push button inputs instead, changing the state of the outputs. The movement of the servo motors is pre-set to be suitable for moving points in 00 and N scales, but the exact behaviour can be fine tuned by writing CVs.
The method for changing the behaviour of ports between servo outputs, LED outputs and button inputs will be changed from the original first prototype. It will become much simpler, requiring the modification of one CV to set up button inputs and the modification of another to set up LED outputs. Previously, a different CV had to be modified for each port, which meant a lot of time looking through the decoder's manual and keying in values to the controller.
A prototype decoder has been operating on my own layout quite successfully for some time now. The changes I have made to the design are a direct result of my own experiences using the decoder. It'll be a little longer before the decoder is ready for sale, but the greatly simplified programming method will be worth the wait.Link
20th September 2016: Servo Decoder Update
Servo Decoder Update
Just a quick update to let you know about the progress made on the servo decoder. I've put the present version of the instruction manual online. It specifies the functions of the decoder module in DCC and DC modes. It's quite a big document at the moment, but only because the servo module can be configured in a number of different ways. For most purposes, servo motors attached to the module can be configured using just the programming button on the module, with fine tuning of the servo movement achieved by writing CVs only if required.
If you'd like to see a quick demonstration of the servo module in operation, here's a one minute video. The same video is also on Youtube. This particular demonstration is using DC mode with some narrow gauge track; DCC mode and standard gauge 00 or N track can be used with no reconfiguration of the module.Link
4th September 2016: New Product: Servo Decoder
The use of servo motors for animating layout features, in particular the movement of points, has become very popular. With this in mind, today I can reveal the first details of the next Midland Scale Regulators product.
This compact (5cm x 5cm) servo decoder module accurately controls up to eight servo motors. Connect the module to the two-wire DCC bus, from which it receives power and commands, and it's ready to use. The module is compatible with traditional DC layouts, too: half of the servo outputs can also be used as inputs, with simple switches controlling each of four servo motors.
The module is easy to set up. It incorporates a button for quickly centering the servo motors during installation, resulting in a servo calibration that is perfect first time. If needed, the range of the servo movement and the speed can be adjusted by writing CVs from any DCC controller.
Like all Midland Scale Regulators products, the servo decoder will come with a comprehensive, printed instruction manual. A copy of the instruction manual will also be available to download from this website, as well as a guide to installing servo motors below points on a layout.
The sale price of the decoder has not yet been finalised, but it is expected to be priced competitively with contemporary systems and traditional solenoid-type point motors. My aim is to have the decoder on sale by the week commencing Monday, 10th October.Link