Fire Car Show by Charles R. Hentz
In 2020 a 72 by 30 inch table was constructed to display our new O gauge Lionel Fire Car, Fire House and Police Station as an action show. Although this construction was delayed by the Covid19 virus, Harry Black’s plan was to have an action scene showing a house fire with responding equipment at a push of a button.
Charley Hentz designed and built the control panel to make the above happen. This uses a Arduino Uno, an Adafruit Sound board, an Adafruit 4 digit display , Sainsmart 12V relay board and various other electronic parts. All the events are activated even with the sound clip announcing “Fire, call 911 now.” After the fire is out and the show is over, a digital timer counts down from four minutes before the push button can be activated again. This time can be shortened immediately by turning a hidden knob.
While this circuit worked well in the lab, it did not in the real world of motors and long input wires. The fire car would not travel all the way to the bumper with the micro switch to stop the power. To prevent spikes and false signals, 1000 ohm resistors were added to the inputs of the Arduino.
To prevent the contacts on the relay controlling the track power from damage, a 30 amp automotive 12 volt relay was added to relieve the stress. Another of these is enclosed in a metal box to control the 120 volt ac flame bulbs.