Scale locomotive remote control

The project I am looking at is the remote control of a 1/12th scale diesel outline locomotive, 5” gauge. It is powered by a petrol engine thru a centrifugal clutch to a reversing gearbox, then by drive chains to the 6 axles. Also, it has a disc brake between the clutch and gearbox.

Having looked around the internet my thoughts have been towards a master/slave system based around the “arduino Mega” micro computer.

What the functions of the control system are (possibly):-

  • relay control- say 8 relays
  • secure wireless control
  • Throttle servo control
  • Disc Brake servo control
  • Stepper Motor control, this motor is for the control of the F/N/R of the gearbox. Motor to be fitted with lead screw (approximately 100mm long). As gearbox takes between 3 to 4 kg to move lever. Springs to be fitted due to the action of gear Change dogs.
  • Limit switches for positive location of gearbox F/N/R, especially after a system shutdown with power off.
  • Logic loop between Master/Slave control modules for a loss of signal, say 500msec, imitates a Stop, Brake application and engine shutdown.

So what I need help with is, am I using the right/wrong micro computer?

If the system tests successfully, then extend it to a second locomotive with similar functions.

I’m entirely biased at the moment because I am in love with MicroPython, but I would Replace the Arduino with an ESP32. They have the wifi and Bluetooth built is and are just all around awesome.

Thanks for the advice but there seems to be limited “shields” (external standard devices) at the present time. Also, I would be enclosing the control system within an aluminium structure and I was expecting to use an aerial for the communications between the control modules

The mega doesn’t have WiFi. Most mega add-ons will run with the ESP32. While the mega has more pins, the ESP33 has more than enough pins to meet your requirementd. ESP32 boards with external antenna connections are readily available, suitable for fitting in a shielded box, or buried in the superstructure on your loco.