Title:
DEVICE TO IDENTIFY VEHICLES OF A MODEL RAILROAD TRAIN SET BY MEANS OF REMOTELY CONTROLLABLE COUPLING PAIRS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In order to create a system in the case of a model railway train which is composed of locomotives and wagons via remotely controllable coupling pairs by means of which, for remote control capability purposes, the sequence of the individual vehicles in the train as well as the location of a wagon in front of or behind a driving locomotive can be identified automatically, the invention proposes that a decoder be arranged in all the vehicles in the train, that these be connected to one another by a data bus, and that the capability be provided to subdivide the latter into two group areas, specifically into a group which is located in front of and a group which is located behind the locomotive, with the coupling pairs for pulling even long trains being stable, and being composed of an active coupling part and a corresponding mating coupling, each having a train hook in the form of a two-armed rocker lever.



Inventors:
Giesen, Franz (Bornheim, DE)
Application Number:
12/296615
Publication Date:
11/05/2009
Filing Date:
03/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H19/18; A63H19/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090178993VEHICLE COMPRISING A PITCH JOINTJuly, 2009Müller et al.
20090050594INSERT FOR RAIL CAR COUPLINGFebruary, 2009Bui et al.
20090294395KNUCKLE FORMED WITHOUT A FINGER COREDecember, 2009Smerecky
20090289021RAILCAR COUPLER LOCK WITH INCREASED CHAMFER ON THE KNUCKLE SHELF SEATNovember, 2009Smerecky et al.
20090308830KNUCKLE PIN FOR RAILWAY VEHICLE COUPLERDecember, 2009Hanaway
20040144742Coupler for model trainsJuly, 2004Buchwald et al.
20100059470Railcar elastomeric springMarch, 2010Carlstedt et al.
20100006531COUPLING FOR RAIL VEHICLESJanuary, 2010Krome
20070151941Rail road car draft fittingsJuly, 2007Forbes
20020108921Slackless drawbar assembly using an improved ball and race connection assemblyAugust, 2002Ring et al.
20080067140Coupler carrier for railroad carsMarch, 2008Brewster



Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREER, BURNS & CRAIN, LTD (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. 1-24. (canceled)

25. A device for identification of vehicles in a model railway train set composed of locomotives and cars via remotely controllable coupling pairs for remote control in combination with the train set, wherein a decoder is arranged in each vehicle and power and data are transmitted via the train coupling pairs, comprising: a data bus connecting all vehicles and their decoders with each other, is divided into two groups by a resistor and a switchable electronic load installed in the locomotive decoder, a first group of vehicles located ahead of the locomotive and a second group of vehicles located behind the locomotive, the data bus including a voltage metering in each vehicle of the train set to permit all decoders within the train set to measure a voltage from the locomotive decoder, the decoders of those coupled cars that are located on a side following the resistor measuring a voltage that is decreased by an amount of a voltage drop at the resistor in comparison to the decoders of those coupled cars that are located on a side prior to the resistor, wherein the groups with the higher and the lower voltage value correlate with the decoders and vehicles that are coupled in on either side of the locomotive.

26. The device according to claim 25, wherein each coupling pair comprises an electronic resistor, voltage drop values at the electronic resistors of each coupling pair in the data bus determine the succession of the vehicles within a group of the train set.

27. The device according to claim 25, wherein each vehicle decoder has a unique electronic address and wherein the voltage drop values can be transferred together with the unique address of the respective vehicle decoder, so that the position of all vehicles can be identified.

28. The device according to claim 26, wherein each vehicle decoder has a unique electronic address and wherein the voltage drop values can be transferred together with the unique address of the respective vehicle decoder, so that the position of all vehicles can be identified.

29. The device according to claim 25, wherein each decoder includes a device that can interrupt the current flow to the next decoder permitting the vehicles' succession to be determined since, due to the opening of the bus connection, a data package from the locomotive will only be transferred to that decoder which has initiated the current flow's interruption.

30. The device according to claim 25, wherein the coupling pairs are controlled remotely via a control center, each coupling pair comprising a first coupling part and an identical second coupling part that is rotated 180° from the first coupling part, the coupling parts each having a coupling hook that is a two armed lever which can be rotated around a hinge and has an angled latch that will snap into a notch of the opposite coupling part when the coupling hook is closed.

31. The device according to claim 26, wherein the coupling pairs are controlled remotely via a control center, each coupling pair comprising a first coupling part and an identical second coupling part that is rotated 180° from the first coupling part, the coupling parts each having a coupling hook that is a two armed lever which can be rotated around a hinge and has an angled latch that will snap into a notch of the opposite coupling part when the coupling hook is closed.

32. The device according to claim 27, wherein the coupling pairs are controlled remotely via a control center, each coupling pair comprising a first coupling part and an identical second coupling part that is rotated 180° from the first coupling part, the coupling parts each having a coupling hook that is a two armed lever which can be rotated around a hinge and has an angled latch that will snap into a notch of the opposite coupling part when the coupling hook is closed.

33. The device according to claim 29, wherein the coupling pairs are controlled remotely via a control center, each coupling pair comprising a first coupling part and an identical second coupling part that is rotated 180° from the first coupling part, the coupling parts each having a coupling hook that is a two armed lever which can be rotated around a hinge and has an angled latch that will snap into a notch of the opposite coupling part when the coupling hook is closed.

34. The device according to claim 30, wherein the active coupling part possesses a pressure spring that engages at the rotatable two armed coupling hook that is located on the opposite side of the angled latch and that keeps the coupling hook in a locked position.

35. The device according to claim 30, wherein the active coupling part includes an electronically triggered lift magnet, such that when the lift magnet is triggered electronically, a lifting element will be extended that will hook onto the two armed coupling hook, swivel out and thus release the coupling pair.

36. The device according to claim 34, wherein the active coupling part includes an electronically triggered lift magnet, such that when the lift magnet is triggered electronically, a lifting element will be extended that will hook onto the two armed coupling hook, swivel out and thus release the coupling pair.

37. The device according to claim 30, wherein the latch of the coupling hook is angled slightly greater than 90° from a longitudinal direction of the coupling hook.

38. The device according to claim 34, wherein the latch of the coupling hook is angled slightly greater than 90° from a longitudinal direction of the coupling hook.

39. The device according to claim 35, wherein the latch of the coupling hook is angled slightly greater than 90° from a longitudinal direction of the coupling hook.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a device to identify vehicles of a model railroad train set, including locomotives and cars, via coupling pairs and to control the train set remotely through a decoder that is placed in each vehicle and to transmit power and data via the train coupling pairs.

A model railroad train set includes a locomotive that is connected to cars on either side (front and/or back). At the same time the individual vehicles are connected with each other via coupling pairs. An electromagnetic coupling pair—where coupling and decoupling can be controlled remotely via actuators that are integrated in the coupling—is known from DE 100 44 088 A1. This coupling pair is configured as a 2-pole connector and the actuators have a currency-flooded coil. Currently, the so called coupling UK-1 is the only available model railroad coupling that has a conductive connection as well as integrated actuators.

However neither the vehicles' succession within a train set nor the vehicles' orientation in relation to the locomotive can be determined automatically in the known model railroad train sets. However, this information is necessary in order to control a model railroad train set remotely via a control center.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is based on the task to create a device with which the order of the vehicles within a model railroad train set, the cars' orientation in relation to the locomotive and the car's location on the front- or back-side of the locomotive so that the desired train set can be controlled remotely.

According to the invention a decoder has been placed in all vehicles of a train set—i.e. in the locomotive as well as in all cars. All vehicles and their decoders are linked via a data bus and each vehicle coupling pair, when coupled into the train set, is used to transmit power as well as data.

According to the invention, the data bus can be divided into two groups, when a resistor and a switchable electronic load are installed in the locomotive decoder: one in a group at the front side of the locomotive and one in a group at the back side of the locomotive.

In addition, the data bus has a voltage metering/tension gauge per vehicle of the train set—according to the invention—and all decoders within the train set measure the voltage that the locomotive's decoder provides. As opposed to the decoders of those coupled cars that are located on the side prior to the resistor, the decoders of those coupled cars that are located on the side after the resistor measure a voltage that is decreased by the amount of the voltage drop. Thus all decoders can be divided into either the group with a higher voltage value or the group with a lower voltage value—depending on which side of the locomotive the coupled cars and their decoders are.

In accordance with another feature of the invention the voltage drop at the electronic resistor of each coupling pair that is measured in the data bus determines the succession of the vehicles within a group of the train set. The advantage lies in the fact that the voltage values can be transferred together with a unique address of the respective vehicle decoder and that of all decoders, so that the succession of all vehicles can be identified.

The coupling pairs that link the vehicles within the train set can be respectively controlled remotely. They each comprise an active coupling part, the activator, and the opposite coupling. According to a special feature of the invention the active coupling part can have a two armed teeter-totter switch that can be rotated around a hinge and has a bent nose. When the teeter-totter switch is shut the angled latch triggers that a movable notch engages in the catch mechanism of the respective opposite coupling. This kind of vehicle coupling is very sturdy so that even long train sets can be pulled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention as well as its characteristics and advantages will be further explained in the schematically illustrated examples of the embodiment of the invention.

Depicting:

FIG. 1 illustrates the set up according to the present invention and its coupling in order to identify the vehicles of a model railroad train set, and

FIG. 2 illustrates in detail the one part of an advantageous remotely controlled coupling connection of two vehicles within the train set of FIG. 1.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows an extract of both data bus cables 10, 11 of a model railroad construction that links all vehicles within a train set and their decoders—in the embodiment of the invention car-decoder 12, the locomotive-decoder 13 and the car-decoder 14 via vehicle coupling pairs 15 and 16. A voltage source 17 of the power supply for the electric motor of the locomotive illustrated.

The vehicle-identifying system with automatic recognition of the order and orientation of the vehicles within a train set in relation to the locomotive is as follows:

In a model railroad train set cars or locomotives can be connected to either side of the propulsive locomotive—from here on also called “master.” In order to initiate the control command that opens a coupling pair 15, 16 at any arbitrary position within the train set via the master, it is required that each car within the train set needs to be known to and addressable by the master. In addition to the allocation of a unique address, the master has to know in which order the addresses (cars or locomotives) exist in relation to the master. Furthermore, the master requires the information whether a chain respectively group of addresses is located on the front-side or on the back-side of the master. Finally, the master requires a clear information on the orientation of each address in relation to the master.

With this data an unambiguous remote control of each coupling pair 15, 16 (establishing a vehicle connection) is made possible.

The system in detail:

First Step: Determine A Decoder Quantity

Each vehicle decoder 12, 13, 14 is allocated a factory-provided address that can never be repeated due to the conditions of production. Thus, the decoder receives its identity. The master decoder 13 can collect these addresses via a suitable data telegram, e.g. via a request to all decoders within the train set. Answers of the individual decoders get spread out over time, i.e. data overlay is prevented since all decoders answer with a time delay. Accidental data overlays will lead to faulty telegrams that as a consequence, will have to be repeated. With completion of this step, master 13 has all decoder addresses of a train set.

Second Step: Grouping of Two Groups

With the help of a resistor 18 and a switchable electronic load 19, the master can divide bus 10, 11 (2-pole conductive connection between all decoders each via a suitable coupling pair) into two parts that vary in different voltage values. This occurs when the master engages its load 19. All decoders 12, 13, 14 measure the voltage that is being supplied by the master. However, those cars which are located on one side of resistor 18 measure a voltage that is decreased by the amount of the voltage drop and therefore lower than those cars on the other side of the master.

After the master has assembled all voltage values, all decoders can be divided into two groups: the group with the higher and the group with the lower voltage values.

These groups then correlate to the decoders (vehicles) that are connected on either side of master 13. The corresponding voltage metering is depicted in FIG. 1 with reference numerals 20, 21, 22.

Third Step: Succession of Vehicles Within A Group

In order to determine the succession within a group a measurable effect is required so that there will be a different measuring result in each decoder—depending on the decoder's position within the group. This effect can be achieved when the feature of the coupling is used so that the connection can be provided with a minimal resistor. In case of the formerly mentioned coupling UK-1 the resistor amounts to 500 mOhm. If bus 10, 11, connecting all cars with each other is now heavily loaded or even shorted, a measurable voltage drop of each coupling pair will be the result.

Now the succession of the cars unfold out of the order of the voltage values. Since the voltage values are transferred with the unique address of each decoder, all decoders can be arranged in the correct order once the measurement has been conducted.

Alternatively, each decoder could be equipped with a device that interrupts the current flow to the next decoder. Such a device would also be suitable in determining the vehicles' succession when, due to the opening of the bus connection, a data package would only be transferred to that decoder that has initiated the current flow's interrupt. In this case the order could be gradually determined. A decoder would have to open the point of its disconnection and the master would have to determine which decoders can still be reached. In order to determine the succession, this procedure has to be repeated for each decoder.

Fourth Step: Orientation of A Decoder

The orientation of a decoder is generally determined by the polarity of the to be measured bus voltage. If a vehicle gets turned around, the polarity gets inverted. Concerning the wired coupling it needs to be ensured that the two poles of bus line 10, 11 will not get swapped by a vehicle. This needs to be assured with every assembly.

FIG. 2 shows one part 23 of the coupling connection. The other part of the coupling connection is not displayed in FIG. 2 but needs to be understood as the identical, however 180° rotated component of the opposite coupling to part 23.

Coupling part 23 (as well as the opposite coupling) has a coupling hook 25 that is a two armed lever which can be rotated around hinge 24 and has an angled latch 26. The opposite lever arm also possesses a pressure spring 30. Coupling hook's 25 latch 26 can snap into a notch 28 of the opposite coupling. The actuator of the coupling is as follows:

In order to protect the cavity between the contact of one swivel lever 27 and one magnet 31 before coupling and to hold coupling hook 25 open, swivel lever 27 blocks coupling hook 25 in the position shown in FIG. 2. During the coupling procedure hook 29 of the opposite coupling (not shown in FIG. 2) presses against rotary contact 27 which hereupon rotates around a rotation axis 32 counter clockwise, e.g. about 70° and a related pressure spring 34 compresses.

During this rotation and also after the final position has been reached (about 70° counter clockwise as opposed to FIG. 2) the leading swivel lever 27 establishes an electronic contact to the leading hook 29 of the opposite coupling via contact spring 35 which pushes on rotation axis 32. Through this one pole the electric connection gets established. The second pole gets established in analogy with the second, identically positioned hook 29 of the opposite coupling of coupling part 23 as displayed in FIG. 2 and the corresponding elements 27, 32, 35 of the opposite coupling.

In the locked condition latch 26 penetrates into notch 28 of the opposite coupling. At this time swivel lever 27 that has been turned 70° by then does not block the movement of coupling hook 25 anymore. During the coupling procedure coupling hook 25 with its latch 26 glides along the hook 29 of the opposite coupling until it has reached notch 28 of the opposite coupling. Pressure spring 30 makes sure that latch 26 slides into notch 28 right away.

When decoupling both coupling hooks 25 open up as they rotate outwards due to the lift of the electrically controllable magnet 31. Pressure spring 34 ensures that swivel lever 27 follows coupling hook 25 of the opposite coupling which is swiveling out, thus providing current for those cars which need to be decoupled until they are completely disconnected. In order to achieve a pre-coupling when coupling in a curve, hook 29 is equipped with a notch which is placed at its round tip.

Latch 26 of coupling hook 25 can be angled slightly more than 90° from the coupling hook's longitudinal direction. When tractions of the train set increase, pressure will be put on the coupling hook's 25 closing direction.

Therefore pressure spring 30 can be made so small that it is only responsible for closing coupling hook 25 but not for locking the coupling it in place when high tractions occur. An additional advantage arising out of this is that lift magnet 31 can open coupling hook 25 with a fairly small force.

As is apparent from the foregoing specification, the invention is susceptible of being embodied with various alterations and modifications which may differ particularly from those that have been described in the preceding specification and description. It should be understood that I wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon all such modifications as reasonably and properly come within the scope of my contribution to the art.