Celebrating the Holidays with a BlackBerry Controlled Train

Native SDK Development

Holiday Train

Just in time for the holidays, I now have a BlackBerry powered model railway in my living room!

I recently helped Tim Neil with Bluetooth control for parts of the BatBerry – which left me with the Arduino code and Cascades application I needed for this project.

On Father’s Day, my daughter declared the perfect gift for me would be a model train set. She gave me my first HO rolling stock train, and later in the year I bought a starter kit with an engine and some track. My family wanted to set up the train for the holidays, but we don’t have enough space for a loop track, so I bought hardware to make the train go up and down the same track.

I used a pine board as a base and covered it with white “snow” felt. I also used some spare LED lights to illuminate some of the houses and bought some micro-switches to use as limit switches (buffers) at either end of the line (yellow heat shrink visible in the photo above).Then I installed a pair of relays to cut and reverse power to the line and plugged them into an Arduino. I also updated the Cascades control application to be four-year-old friendly.

Holiday Train App

Using the BlackBerry app, my family can now send the train either direction or stop it completely. The train also automatically reverses after a gentle delay when it hits the limit switches.

I also built in controls for the lights in the four houses, with the choice between steady or a pretty flickering setting, plus a brightness setting.

The model functions without being connected to my BlackBerry as well; however, when I do connect, I have dynamic instant control over my train from anywhere in the room. It’s a lot of fun for the family and it will definitely be a new annual holiday tradition! Check out the video below for a demo:

Feel free to post your questions in the comments section below, and have a great New Year!

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  • http://www.mobile361.com/2013/12/this-blackberry-controlled-train-makes-me-wish-i-had-of-asked-for-one-as-a-gift/ This BlackBerry controlled train makes me wish I had of asked for one as a gift! | MOBILE361

    […] Over at the BlackBerry Developer Blog they’re celebrating the holidays and doing so in some very fun BlackBerry ways. Rob Williams, Application Development Consultant at BlackBerry has taken some time to demo his BlackBerry controlled HO rolling stock train after having recently helped Tim Neil with Bluetooth control for parts of the BatBerry. With some Arduino code coupled with a BlackBerry Cascades application, Rob was to set up a number of operations that can all be controlled via BlackBerry. Using the BlackBerry app, my family can now send the train either direction or stop it completely. The train also automatically reverses after a gentle delay when it hits the limit switches. I also built in controls for the lights in the four houses, with the choice between steady or a pretty flickering setting, plus a brightness setting. The model functions without being connected to my BlackBerry as well; however, when I do connect, I have dynamic instant control over my train from anywhere in the room. It’s a lot of fun for the family and it will definitely be a new annual holiday tradition!  You can check out the quick video above to see it in action or head on over to the BlackBerry Developer Blog for a further look at the story behind it all. Totally awesome! Shame I’m a bit late to ask for a train set for the holidays. Read more at the BlackBerry Dev Blog […]

  • http://bbry4u.wordpress.com mikecivic2003

    That is awesome!

  • http://bbry4u.com/2013/12/25/celebrating-the-holidays-with-a-blackberry-controlled-holiday-train/ Celebrating the Holidays with a BlackBerry Controlled Holiday Train | BBRY4U

    […] You can check out the quick video above to see it in action or head on over to the BlackBerry Developer Blog for a further look at the story behind it all. Totally awesome! Shame I’m a bit late to ask for a train set for the holidays. Cool huh you can read more here:- http://devblog.blackberry.com/2013/12/celebrating-the-holidays-with-a-blackberry-controlled-train/ […]

  • http://nerdberry.net/2013/12/26/video-shows-off-the-power-of-blackberry-10-with-a-blackberry-controlled-train/ Video shows off the power of BlackBerry 10 with a BlackBerry controlled train – NerdBerry

    […] BlackBerry Dev Blog […]

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    Celebrating the Holidays with a BlackBerry Controlled Train | BlackBerry Developer Blog

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