Some Legacy: Trains in MattzoBricks Train Automation System 1.0
The following video is a bit outdated, and describes how to operate LEGO trains in the first version of our MattzoBricks Train Automation System.
The video contains information about:
- Our LEGO trains, their controller and power supply,
- how our automation software controls the trains,
- the tracks on which the trains are operating.
In the video, we show how to control the trains with our nControl enhancements. Please note that we recently went away from nControl for different reasons, and control our trains now with “Rocrail”. Thus, the information in the video is more of historical value.
Trains in MattzoBricks Automation System 2.0
Our present automation platform, which we call MattzoBricks Train Automation System 2.0, supports three types of train controllers:
- MattzoTrainController for Power Functions
- MattzoTrainController for Powered Up
- MattzoTrainController for 4DBrix
Have a look at the following diagram, which shows the differences between the three types of controllers:
MattzoTrainController for Power Functions
The “MattzoTrainController for Power Functions” consists of a micro controller and a motor shield. The controller receives messages from RocRail via MQTT, parses the commands and powers the motors, which are directly attached to the controller with standard Power Function cables.
One or two powered function motors can be connected to the controller. If two motors are attached, they can be configured to run in concurrent or reverse direction. Additionally, the controller has two ports for LEDs or other consumers, which can be used to switch train headlights or other accessories on and off.
The controller is ready, operational and tested.
Check out this video with compelling information about the MattzoTrainController for Power Functions (some trains are moving in the video, too):
Building instructions can be found here.
MattzoTrainController for Powered Up
The “MattzoTrainController for Powered Up” consists of a simple ESP-32 micro controller and – nothing else! It just needs a simple power source like an USB power bank.
This controller receives messages from RocRail via MQTT and WiFi. It acts as a bridge between the MQTT broker and one or more Powered Up Hubs, which it connects to via Bluetooth. A direct galvanic connection between the controller and Powered Up Hubs is not required, which makes deployment of the controller very flexible. One controller can control one or more powered up hubs. A single controller can even control multiple independent trains.
The controller can be placed somewhere in a central location of the train layout, or in a waggon of the train that it controls. Carrying the controller in the train has the advantage that the Bluetooth range problems, which regularly spoil the fun on larger layouts, should be a problem of the past.
No wiring or welding will be required to use this controller. You just need to upload the firmware and configure it, and you’re good to control all of your powered up based train.
Special thanks to Markus, who contributed the idea for this controller and also developed the initial version of the firmware.
Development is almost done, so be prepared to find some nice videos about it on MattzoBricks in the near future!
MattzoTrainController for 4DBrix
The WiFi Train Controllers from 4DBrix will also be made compatible with the MattzoBricks automation platform 2.0. As 4DBrix has left the market, these controllers are no longer available on the market, and the market for used 4DBrix parts is at our knowledge narrow. It can be assumed that the relevance of these controllers will decrease over time.
Anyway, if you are lucky and own some of these controllers, you may use them with our automation platform.
We will publish information about our MattzoTrainController for 4DBrix as soon as it is available.
Some general things
There is a couple of things that work indepedently of the specific MattzoTrainController that you use for a particular train. One important thing speed handling, which is a pretty complex topic. Other topics include the setup of locomotives in Rocrail, and letting trains run automatically from block to block.
I will cover some of the these topics in the near future on this page.
Thanks for your patience.
Outlook and next steps
We are constantly improving the MattzoTrainControllers. We are going to publish progress and the final products on this website.
Make sure to subscribe to our social media channels on Youtube and Facebook to stay up to date!