Its been a busy summer for us with multiple devices (Servo Controller 12, Relay Driver, MultiPanel and Feedback Module) receiving software and documentation updates. We’ve also launched a new product – the Automatic Brake Control Generator for DCC systems and there’s progress on the JMRI PC integration.
Here’s a summary of the changes over the summer 2018 period.
The software updates listed below are now fitted as standard and shipping on all products from the time you can read this post.
Documentation will be updated during the course of this week.
Our DCC Automatic Brake Controller is now available in single and 8 pack varieties. If you have a suitably equipped DCC chip this will control the braking of locos at various locations around your layout. Use it wherever you’d like a loco to stop as an independent device or hook it up to your signals so locos stop when danger is set and accelerate away when a clear signal is given.
Its a simple task to integrate the ABC Generator with our Block Detectors and Servo Controllers for fully automated track circuit operation. This will automatically set signals to danger and stop the next loco when the section ahead is occupied.
Extra long network and servo extension cables
We’ve added extra long 4 meter servo extension cables. These work for both servos and network extension.
We’ve improved the operation of the feedback module by filtering the input to prevent panel lamp flickering if you have dirty track or intermittent pick ups. The output will average and then latch the state for up to 600 ms.
A scheduler has also been added to the network transmission improving the reliability of the network on busy systems with lots of activity. Data is transmitted according to priority.
Input invert option
The feedback module can now have all of its input logic inverted so off becomes on and vice versa.
The logic is inverted by holding the DOWN button during power on. You’ll observe an 8 second fast flashing on the LED to confirm it has been set. Holding the UP button will remove the logic inversion and is confirmed by a slow flash on the LED for 8 seconds.
We’ve added an output scheduler for network traffic. On busy systems with multiple MultiPanels all sharing cooperative layout control and active feedback this will ensure timely and more robust data transmission.
MultiPanels can now share any channels on the same button without conflict rather than just channels within the same byte range.
Servo Controller 12-Channel
Network address selectable without pop-on switch
The Servo Controller (12 channel version) can have its network address changed by pressing and holding either the HIGH or LOW buttons while in slave mode. This makes address selection consistent across all driver boards (Relay, Servo 4R, Solenoid, Kato/Stall) and removes the requirement for setting the first four switch positions using either a pop-on switch or custom wiring. The old method still works and is supported, however we hope you’ll find the new method easier to remember and use.
No servo cycle in slave mode
The servo cycle has been removed from network mode. This means that the servo position is remembered and immediately set when powering up the unit rather then cycling through its set range as part of the power up self testing. This means all servo positions are automatically saved after 5 seconds of servo controller inactivity.
Store last position
The relay positions are now stored across power cycles. This means the relays will immediately return to their last position as soon as power has been applied rather than wait for a control signal from its controlling device. This change is consistent with the Servo Controller (12 channel) change discussed above.
Software updates for any products may be ordered through the web shop and are all priced the same. You’ll always receive the latest software when purchasing an update. Look in the Upgrades section for more details (coming soon).
We’ve created a new user guide for the ABC Generator. This includes wiring examples for standalone, interlocking with signals and fully automatic track circuit operation.
An omission from the Relay Driver user guide was a hookup example for frogs. This has been duplicated from the Servo 4R user guide and shows frog wiring diagram and explanation.
Servo Controller (12 channel)
Updated with the new network address setup procedures and tweaks to the old network address selection table.
NOTE: The latest versions of all product documentation can be easily accessed from the product page within the online shop. Just look under the resources section of each product page.
We’ve been really busy producing great looking tactile mimic panels. Who said the summer season was quiet?
A new size of 600 mm x 220 mm has been added to our standard enclosures. Think of it as two sheets of A4 in landscape mode side by side. This is proving to be one of our more popular sizes. See the Custom mimic panels web page for all standard sizing and pricing.
The backlog has now been fully caught up and the order queue is now down to a respectable 14 working days.
Since February 2018 we’ve only made plywood enclosures (boxes) for panels. Plywood offers a lighter and stronger build with greater resilience to damp than MDF. The MDF is now only used for the mimic panel fascia backing where you attach the LEDs and buttons.
JMRI PC Integration
There’s an imminent update and video release showing a beta of the JMRI interface. The interface allows bi directional data flow into and out of JMRI allowing full layout control of a MegaPoints Controllers installation. We’ve bench tested with 192 turnout (output) and 384 feedback (input) channels. More to come on this soon …