Trains and Electronics

So I’ve decided to take on a somewhat more ambitious project than I probably should this Christmas season. Now that we have a house, I’m putting up a train garden again. Those who know me will know that I’ve done one off and on over the years, culminating when I was up in MA with a large 2-story apartment when I put up an 4’x8’ display that took up most of a spare room. I got into trains when I was little, and my late grandfather always put up a train garden every Christmas.

I have the trains, I have (some) houses, but I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. In order to have an excuse to build some custom electric circuits, I’ve decided to build my own point-to-point trolley setup that will travel from one side of the town to the other. It should be doable, but I haven’t done any electronics work in years and I don’t have any parts anymore, so it’s time to stock up again.

I do still have a prototype board, a soldering gun, and an old BASIC Stamp from college that I doubt even works anymore, and has at least one loose pin. So, off to to order some grab bags of resistors, caps, diodes, IC’s, and a drawer set, and another microcontroller (Atmel MEGA8) in case the Stamp is dead; and off to Radio Shack to the items that were cheaper there. I already went to a hobby store with Katy a week or so ago and bought an HO trolley, some houses, and some lamps. I’ll also need to go to Home Depot this weekend to get some particle board and 2x4’s to build a platform.

With any luck, I’ll have a mini electronics lab up and running, and a simple train layout with a few neat twists within the next few weeks.