To automate a LEGO train layout, you need the following functional components:
- Train Controllers
- Gain control over your train motors!
- Switch Motors and Controllers
- Flip your switches in the right direction!
- Signal Controller
- Set your lights to green or red!
- Sensors and Sensor Controllers
- Determine the position of your trains,
- Automation Computer and Software
- Centrally control all trains, switch, signals.
- Calculate and allocate block and routes for your trains to avoid collisions.
- Provide a user interface to control your trains and the other components.
Mattzobricks Automation Project 1.0
We started to our first approach to LEGO train automation in 2019. The system was based on the software nControl from 4DBrix, which we had enhanced by about 1,500 lines of code. We have used some train, switch, signal and sensor controllers from 4DBrix, and enhanced the layout with our own signal and switch controllers to be able to use TrixBrix switches and signals. Some trains were also controlled and powered with LEGO powered-up technology (two motors per train).
Here is a video that demonstrates how our “Version 1.0” worked:
Not bad for a start… but we had plans to build larger and more complex layouts.
For this reason, we got away from nControl, as the software had imposed more and more limitations and problems on our automation projects.
The later closing of 4DBrix conceded that our decision was correct.
Mattzobricks Automation Project 2.0
In 2020, we have replaced nControl with the more powerful software “Rocrail”.
Rocrail is open source and has a lot of great features with are handy when automating large and complex train layouts. Check it out here:
Additional information regarding sensors, signals, switches and our “MattzoControllers” can be found on the sub-pages, and can be navigated by the menu on top.
More news are coming shortly, so stay tuned and subscribe to our Youtube and Facebook channels! You may also want to check the projects page.