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Enhanced Critter Controller

by Steve Fuller
The snow fall of recent days does have it's benefits as today we only had a half day today, so when I got home I decided it was time to have a go at fitting the controller to the Stainz.
The controller that I decided to go for is the Enhanced Critter Controller which was purchased from G Scale Graphics . I decided to go for this particular system as it offers more options on how to run the loco, also I did not want to go down the radio control route as I just like to see the loco's run. This particular system offers automated station stops (every station) or random stops, automated train shuttle and is user programmable. It is nice an simple to fit, with a very easy to follow wiring diagram.
As there is very limited space in a Stainz, I decided to fit the control board in to a goods wagon, this is the donor wagon.
This wagon would give me plenty of space to fit the control board and the batteries. The batteries that I am using are 2x 7.2v 3000mAh. This will give a decent running time, hopefully in excess of 4 hours. The control board measures approximately 60cm x 40cm so doesn't take up a big space but the batteries do as they are quite large. This is the control board and the rotary switch.
You can see all of the connection blocks, there is one in the centre and one on each side. All connections are numbered, the sequence starts at the front of the rear right block, here is a picture of the wiring diagram.
The first hing that I did was fit the read switch to the loco. I had to adapt the wagon to take the switch. I fitted a block of wood beneath the wagon then drilled a 7mm hole to take the reed switch this a good fit, si nothing is needed to hold the switch in place. Here you can see the switch in place, this block will eventually be painted. The switch sits to one side as this matches where the track magnet sits.
The rotary switch was then wired to the control board as well as the reed switch as one wire is common to both the rotary and reed switches. There are four connections on the rotary switch these fit as follows connection
                                   SWITCH                         BOARD
                                           1                                 3
                                           2                                 2
                                           3                                 5 Common with reed switch
                                           4                                 4
                                                                              6 Reed switch
The batteries fit to terminals 11 (positive) and 12 (negative) these two connections are reverse polarity protected,
control will not work if connected the wrong way round. Terminals 13 and 14 connect to the motor. it's a little bit trial and error here to get the wires the right way round. Once fitted then it is time to programme the board. Connect the batteries, then look at the picture and at the top right hand corner you will see two dip switches and a yellow button to the left of them, these are used for programming.
How to programme.
With dip switches in this position, the stop time can be by adjusted by pressing the yellow button. The LED will flash, count the flashes, with a new board this will 2 flashes giving a stop time of 30 seconds. Each time you press the yellow button 15 seconds will be added to the time upto 60 seconds. Once you get to the time you require press and hold the button untill the LED flashes rapidly, this setting is then saved,
By moving the dip switches (as can be found in the instructions) acceleration and deceleration can be set, as can how you want the reed switch to act as well i.e. do you want it to stop at every magnet, every other magnet ect.
Now comes the time to test the loco. Fit the magnet the the track, place the loco and wagon on the track, connect them together, press the rotary switch and after a brief pause the loco will start.
The loco ran for about an hour before the plug connecting the power from the wagon to the loco broke, so that's a repair job for tomorrow. Also (when repair has been done) I'll test some of the other functions, like the shuttle facilty, and check out the stopping function. It states in the instructions, that 1=100% stopping, 2=75%, 3=50%, 4=25% and 0=0%. Well 100% speakes for itself   (stops every time the magnet triggers the reed switch) as does 0% (no stopping) but I would really like to know how the other percentages work,  I'll let you know. The shuttle facitly works off of two magnets, whereas the stopping facilty uses just one magnet. The two magnets are placed a little way apart from each other, so when the loco passes over the two manets, the loco comes to a stop, then after the preset stop time the loco goes off it reverse. I'll be testing this so I'll let you know how I get on.
I've run the loco on different settings in the Station stops sections with these results. With the paramiter set at 100% the loco stops every time the magnet activates the switch. Set at 75%, the loco makes random stops, but taken over 20 magnet activations the loco stopped 15 times. At 50%, again the loco made random stops, but again the loco stopped 10 times out of 20 magnet activations. 25%, 5 stops out of 20. I've also tried the shuttle function, but I need a longer length of track to try this on, so I'll have to wait for the weather to improve before I try again.
Now I have the loco running on a time test, just to see how long 2x 7.2v 3000mAh batteries last. Test started at 14:55, and 1hr later loco running well. The loco was still running after 2hrs 35mins, and there is still plenty of power to spare. I think that makes for a succesful test. Next test, shuttling the loco.