On this page, you learn about the history of our train automation projects.
Mattzobricks Train Automation System 1.0
We started to our first approach to LEGO train automation in 2019. The system was based on the software nControl from 4DBrix, a US based company that also shipped some components to control train motors, switches and lights, and provided optical sensors for train detection.
We had enhanced nControl by about 1,500 lines of code in the programming language “Python”. 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 TrixBrix 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.
4DBrix shut down its operations in early 2020, so our decision to try something better was a pretty good idea in any aspect.
Mattzobricks Train Automation System 2.0
In 2020, we have replaced nControl with the more powerful software “Rocrail”. Rocrail is free and has a lot of great features with are handy when automating large and complex train layouts.
Check out the following video:
We call the whole system Mattzobricks Train Automation System 2.0.
When you read the term Mattzobricks Train Automation System on this website, this refers to current Version 2.0.
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.
We are actively working on the system, so stay tuned and subscribe to our social media channels!
You may also want to check the projects page, on which we have described a couple of projects that are based on our technology.
We may also join our Mattzobricks community by creating a Mattzobricks user account and participate in the Mattzobricks forum.
3 thoughts on “History”
Hi Friend, I’m new to the automation for lego trains world and really liked simplicity of the nControl system, however my coding isn’t the best so I would love to see how you managed to program the automation in and out of nControl if you’d be willing to share your code/files? So that one day I could hope to build my own track.
Keep up the amazing work and sorry I cannot follow you into the new V2 era with Rocrail. – as it is just a little too intimidating for me right now! Haha.
thanks for your message. I have used a special, non-public version of nControl for the project. My code is not going to run on the public version of nControl.
But believe that we had good reason to get away from nControl. When things get more complex, this software got to its limits pretty quickly.
We are working on making the usage of the MattzoBricks Train Automation System 2.0 easier. But you are right, if you are completely new to those things, it might look scary.
Ah no worries. Looks like I may have to learn how to try to get Arduino and python talking with one another to connect the hardware I plan to use with nControl.
– speaking of, have you used the ESP-32 chips?
They are a development of the ESP-8266, and offer more power and flexibility for the same size and cost. (Might be worth a look friend). 😊
But thank you for your time and replying, it means a lot. Keep making awesome things.