Photography and Projects

Electronic Projects

My electronic projects are based around Mircochip PIC micro-controllers as they are readily available and cheap. They are also more than powerful enough for my projects. Micro-controllers are a full computer on a single silicon chip. They contain the processor, memory for storing the program and memory for data. They also contain an interface to the outside world, to allow it to do something. My aim is to share what I have learnt working with these devices and create some practical projects.

Please See New Railway Section Below
Time/Date Digital Clock
This is a digital clock that tells the time and date at the same time on LED displays. The clock is based around a 16F84 Microchip Microcontroller and the program is written in 'C'. The program handles leap years and the time is set using two buttons. A feature of the program is time correction. You can set the value to lose or gain time to keep the clock accurate.

PIC Programmable Controller Version 1
I designed a multi-use programmable controller to use for different projects. The idea is to make a device that can be re-programmed for different purposes. Based on a PIC 18F2520 micro controller, there is a display to show information about the program running and some buttons to interact with that program. There are 12 I/O lines available in the 15 Pin 'D' socket including analog inputs and PWM output. The inclusion of the reset line and power lines means the micro controller can be programmed from the 15 way socket.
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Adjustable Lighthouse Simulator
New Project!
This module is used to simulate a lighthouse. This can be used on model railways to add scenic interest or on a diorama. The light increases in brightness until it reaches full brightness and then decreases to no brightness (off). This pattern repeats.
The module has a variable resistor to adjust the timing to suit your need. It also has an open-collector transistor output to allow the use of a high power LED or lamp. The maximum recommended current for the light source is 500mA. A standard 5mm white LED can also be used.
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Formula 1 Start Lights
My first PIC project was start lights for starting slot car racing. I had not seen anything like it so I created a project to design and develop one. The only PIC I could use at the time was a 16F84 as that was the only PIC my development board supported. It was assembled on veroboard and included a crystal for timing. My original document is available for download.

Moving on, I decided to recreate this project using a more up to date PIC and to assemble on PCB's to make it neater and more compact. I chose an 8-pin PIC because I needed only 5 pins for the lights and one for the button.
New Project!

Start lights used to start a Formula One Grand Prix. After pressing the button the five LED's light one after the other until all five LED's are on. After a random delay between 1 and 5 seconds the LED's go out to start the race.
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4 Aspect Colour Light Signal
Colour light signals are used on Railways to indicate if the route ahead is clear. This module is triggered using a sensor under the train which turns the signal to Red. After approximately 10 seconds the signal will change to the next colour in sequence until it reaches Green where it waits again for the trigger. If the delay is too long you can use additional sensors to trigger to the next light in sequence.
Model Railway Modules
I have created some modules to enhance any model railway or scenic model by adding special effects. Each module has been developed with realism in mind, They add effects to your without being over the top. They are easy to use but flexible enough to use with your own accessories. They are available to buy ready made from Layouts4U.

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