Next in the series of ongoing tutorials for the beginner from the Arduino LEGO Trains YouTube channel is a neat explanation of how to make an Arduino-controlled decoupling unit. This is a great idea as thanks to the strengh of the magnets in LEGO train couplers, decoupling can be a two-handed or difficult affair.
The system uses an motor to raise a bar which can block the reverse passage of a wagon – and as part of the automation system on this layout the use of a light sensor ensures it can only operate when the wagons are in the right spot. Although this project is specific to a certain track layout, it can be used in your own and offers some inspiration for your own layouts. Check out the video for the latest demonstration:
The sensors used in the demonstration can also be used for other applications, such trackside detection or adding collision-avoidance to other devices.