I'm a retired Mechanical Engineer who is a life long model railroader. I am in the process of rebuilding my HO scale layout after a move to a new home several years ago. Tearing down and boxing up the old layout after 25 years was rather distressing! But a fresh start is never bad.
I have a limited knowledge of electronics. I ran across Bill's videos on YouTube as I was searching for the best solution to automating my layouts many turnouts. I look forward to learning more about how Arduinos, servos and other methods can help me along this path.
Welcome aboard! There are several ways to use Arduino on model railroads. To name a few, operate turnouts, control signals, block controls, even DCC.
Step 1. I'm reading up on using an Uno and PCA9685 to drive servos to manage turnouts in my freight yard ladder (a series of turnouts). Looks like it won't be too hard to figure out except for figuring out the specific angles for each location. Step 2 will be adding LED indication for turnout position. This yard location has two separate ladders spaced approximately 8 feet apart. I figure I'll need two PCA9685s, one at each end of the yard. I haven't seen anything yet in my searches that says there's a limit to distance the servo can be from the board.
Ive found a sketch at robojsx.com that actually does what I want (I think), but I'm way ahead of myself. I need to do a bit of learning on the programming side so I understand what the program's doing.
After that, there's all sorts of things I can do with this. Crossing gates, block detection,etc.
Thanks for the interest.
@mike-l I had never heard of a PCA9685 before this. I really like this module! You may want to consider a good power supply. That's a lot of devices to control. If you need any help just sing out.