A welcome train for the holidays

[Eric] was charged with the task of setting up the train to welcome people on the porch.  The train had been in the family for a long time, so he didn’t want to modify the train itself. Luckily, it has an IR port. He recorded the IR signal from the remote and used a home made pressure sensor to signal the train to start.


  1. omley says:

    controlling something like this is pretty sweet. i did it before using XML and Windows2000. you could just as easily use a batch script, take a look here: http://variableghz.com/2008/11/why-i-still-use-dos/

    and search google for “xml switch” i think, i can’t recall right now sorry;


  2. omley says:

    ah, here we go, actually: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=die737mrZx4

  3. EdZ says:

    Add more trains, several hundred meters of track, and a more complex controller, and you’d be approaching Wallace and Gromit levels of awesome.

  4. Alan says:

    That is one creative pressure sensitive mat!

  5. Fyre007 says:

    My stepfather got a really annoying doorbell that is triggered wirelessly by the door ringer.
    I had a plan to trigger it repeatedly by remote so I opened the transmitter and there was a component with 433 stamped on it and I knew I had a 433Mhz reciever around so I buffered the reciever’s output
    and did exactly the same thing: wire it to my mic port and even used Audacity (FTW!) to record it’s digital waveform.

    The plan didn’t take off, as I only know picaxe as far as uCs go… and they have crap timing.

    Although I managed to jam it with a 433Mhz transmitter sending garbage, haha

  6. Eddie says:

    Over engineered. Use a 555 timer chip to drive a relay to power the train for the required number of seconds. The floor mat pressure switch would trigger the 555.

  7. Eric says:


    I think you didn’t notice that the train is battery powered. Using a relay was my first thought, too.


  8. Chaz says:

    By far not over engineered, was a perfect hack, left the original device intact and got it to operate the way you wanted, and taught me more about IR signals, perfect. Well done.

  9. madeira says:

    5 minute before someone stole it in my neighbourhood!

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