ArLoco

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ArLoco 3.0 is released!

  • Now you can assign an individual address to each input outside the range of the ArLoco based on the base address.
  • An input can be ‘inverted’. Until now an input was set to occupied on a low signal. With inversion an input can also be set to occupied on a high signal. This is usefull for optical detection where a train crosses a light beam instead of reflecting it.

NOTE: because the storage of the configuration in EEPROM is changed Arsigdec must be reconfigured after updating.

What is ArLoco

The ArLoco is a 16(UNO) or 58(MEGA2560) channel feed back encoder with LocoNet®.
It uses a special Arduino shield that includes 16 inputs for channels, a power supply for the Arduino and two RJ12 connectors for LocoNet.
On a MEGA the normal MEGA pins must be used for sensors 17-58.

ArlocoPrintbestukt3

The ArLoco program has the following features:

  • 16 Channel, low or high active, feedback input
  • Use of a maximum of 256 addresses. So for each ArLoco you have to specify the required address range (1-16, 17-32,…, 241-256).
  • Each input can have its own address.
  • Optimised for both pulse detection (like reedswitch) and continuous detection (like current detection).
  • Simple configuration with your PC. So no complex CV-programming!
  • Powered by LocoNet or external power (12-16 V AC/DC)
  • Supports LocoNet-T and LocoNet-B
  • Each channel can be configured for pulse or continuous detection. (Channel 1 only for pulse)
  • Continuous detection:
    • Prevention of fake detection caused by spikes
    • Prevention of fake detection caused by short current outage
    • Ideal in combination with current detection print OKKIE
  • Pulse detection:
    • Generates a fixed length pulse of 1 second.
    • Eleminates contact bouncing
    • Prevention of a double pulse when driving slowly
    • Ideal for use with reedswitches.

What do you need?

  • An Arduino UNO microcomputer
  • An ArLoco shield (see picture above)
  • A Command station that supports LocoNet  (E.g. Intellibox, Daisy II, DR5000)
    or a LocoNet buffer.
  • A computer with train control software (E.g. iTrain or Traincontroller)
  • Optional: a current dectection print like OKKIE

ArLoco shield

  • Two LocoNet RJ12 connectors
  • Includes power for the Arduino. Powered by LocoNet or external power
  • 16 Screw terminals for 16 sensors
  • 2 Screw terminals for GND (ground)
  • 2 Screw terminals for external power
  • Power led
  • Status led

OKKIE

Okkiebestukt

  • Current detection print for 8 track sections
  • 8 Screw terminals for input from tracksections
  • 8 Screw terminals for output to ArLoco shield
  • GND screw terminal
  • Screw terminal for Common track

You can order the Arloco shield and Okkie (print + components) here

Typical Application

ArlocoConPul-C15

Download.

25 thoughts on “ArLoco”

  1. This went together very easily thanks to following the clear instructions. I’m using it along-side some Digitrax BDL16 units. Make sure that the number you assign it doesn’t duplicate a number assigned to a BDL16 as it won’t be recognised. This may seem obvious, but wasn’t to me initially.

    1. Okkie is just a passive electronic circuit and thefore not related to any software product. The output voltage of an Okkie drops to zero if a current is detected on the input. It must be connected to a device(like an Arduino) that holds the Okkie output at 5 V by a pull up resistor.
      The ArLoco shield and sketch ‘produces a LocoNet signal that can be picked by other LocoNet devices. Therefore there is no relation with DCC+ or JMRI.

  2. Hi,
    I’m new to Arduino, I was trying to load your code using the Arduino IDE but was getting an error. Then after doing some google searching, I was told to use version 1.06 and that worked.

    1. Hi John,

      Why did you use thr IDE? You don’t need it. ArLoco is automatically uploaded when you start ArLoco the first time.
      What went wrong?

      Nico

    1. Hi John,

      What do you want with 16 outputs? It is a feedback encoder and all such encoders have only inputs. Please explain.

      Nico

  3. Hi,

    First of all, thanks for a nice piece of work!!

    I have one problem those. The software does not recognize the MEGA2560, it thinks it is the UNO. The introduction message is:

    “ARLOCO, the ARduino LocoNet feedback encoder
    UNO version 2.2”

    and it has 1 to 16 sensor inputs.

    I am missing anything?

  4. Hello,

    How is the OKKIE powered, and what is it’s (idle / max) power consumption (or current draw)?

    Won’t the diode bridge design cause a voltage drop of about 1,5v of the track power, causing trains on a track section monitored by OKKIE to run a little slower than on a track section without OKKIE?

  5. Hi Nico,
    The ArCoMoRa generates a DCC signal to Loconet depending on its inputs. I guess the DCC signal would be replicated in the track signal. Would these DCC signals be able to used by the MarDec to activate accessories attached to the MarDec?
    Thanks, Ted

    1. Hi Ted,
      Arcomora generates nothing. It is just a name for a railway automation concept based on an Arduino.
      Mardec and Arsidec are sketches that generates nothing but uses DCC to control accessories attached to the Arduino.
      ArLoco is a sketch that accepts and generates LocoNet signals for occupancy information. The ArLoco shield can use the DCC signal on pins 1 and 6 of the LocoNet cable for powering the ArLoco shield but does not use the information in it.

      Nico

      1. Hi Nico,
        Sorry, I got the wrong word. My query should have read:
        “The ArLoco generates a DCC signal to Loconet depending on its inputs. I guess the DCC signal would be replicated in the track signal. Would these DCC signals be able to used by the MarDec to activate accessories attached to the MarDec?”
        Cheers, Ted

        1. Ì repeat:
          ArLoco is a sketch that accepts and generates LocoNet signals for occupancy information. The ArLoco shield can use the DCC signal on pins 1 and 6 of the LocoNet cable for powering the ArLoco shield but does not use the information in it.
          ArLoco does certainly does NOT generate DCC signals.

          Nico

          1. Yep, I think it’s becoming clearer. Thanks for your response.
            Cheers, Ted

  6. Hello Nico,

    What is the threshold for current detection with the Okkie?

    I’m interested in getting some to use but would like to know if its sensitive enough to detect resistive wheels as well as locos?

    Thanks,

    Joel

    1. Hi Joel,
      Just a few mA. is enough. We test Okkie with a 10k resistor as replacement for a loco.
      So your resistive wheels will probably not be a problem

  7. Hello Nico,
    Is there any plan to increase the number of supported loconet addresses for ArLoco? I’m guessing the limitation is perhaps outside of your control but i don’t think 256 addresses wont be enough for my project.

    Thanks,

    Joel.

    1. “i don’t think 256 addresses wont be enough for my project.”…

      i meant to say:

      i don’t think 256 addresses WILL be enough for my project.

  8. Hi Joel,

    Currently I have no intention to increase the number of addresses.
    That must be a very large project.
    May be some time in the future.

    Nico

  9. Hi The current setup for the Arloco works for Loconet Is there any way that the Arloco would work with say a lenz system that uses xpressnet?

    1. Hi Daniel,

      No. The ArLoco is only for LocoNet. XpressNet is a completely different protocol.

      Nico

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