Work in Progress! My current model railroad in my home in Sydney
First a little about myself, I live in Australia and for 20 years I have been the director of a company called Steve Shrimpton Sciences Pty. Ltd. that provides electronic design and software development services to customers in Australia. During my career, I have lived and worked in four countries: United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand and Australia.
I have been a model railroader all my life, progressing from my childhood in UK with Triang/Hornby trains to 12 years in USA with a large railroad in my garage using Atlas, Kato and Athern locos and now in Australia where I am building a new multi-level layout in a room in my house.
A year ago I thought of the idea of using Wi-Fi to control locomotives and everything else on the railroad and I decided to explore this concept as a business by developing both electronic modules and software products to enable this vision as a reality.
It's been a lot of work, but now I have the basic products necessary for you to start to apply this concept to your model railroad by installing our modules in some of your locomotives and controlling them independently using your Windows 10 or Android computer, tablet or phone.
Now here's an odd thing. When I was in the USA back in the 80's, I worked with Detroit companies to develop firmware for automobile engine control and cruise control. Now I use that experience to control the speed of model locomotives! The firmware in our controllers is written in C and uses "closed loop" control, locking the speed using the back emf from the loco. A bit like cruise control.
A year ago I thought of the idea of controlling a model railroad over a Wi-Fi network and conceived the idea of developing and selling electronic and software products to do this.
I discovered that I was not the only one to think of this idea. In particular the DWiC (Direct WiFi Control) of Model Railways Working Group have explored the concept and developed some prototypes. I want to acknowledge their contribution to the concept, but in developing the WifiTrax products, I have gone along my own path.
I plan, through the WifiTrax brand, to offer a series of elctronic modules and software to control your entire model railroad. Not just locomotives but switches, power blocks, lights, signals, turntables etc. You can read more about this at here on our web site: WifiTrax Vision
I thought it best to start with the most difficult - controlling locomotives. It's not easy to fit a Wi-Fi controller in an HO locomotive, but with the help of an FCC certified module from Espressif in Shanghai, we've been able to achieve it in our WMH-20 Harnessed Controller.
What about n scale? Well for the moment, you can control your n-scale loco by wiring one of our units to the track as described in one of our application notes, but again, we're looking at it.
I also have products in the pipeline to control some of the other things mentioned above, so watch for further announcements!