Okay, so I had an idea to control the Little Tykes train and after some research came to the conclusion that a MicroProcessor (MP) would be the best way to deal with what I wanted it to do. Funny thing, I have a degree in Computer Science and have been in the "biz" for almost 30 years and yet I knew diddly about MP's. So I logged on to Do It Yourself Christmas (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/) and talked to some pretty smart people over there about my project.
In my search for a solution I came up with Paralax(sp?), RaspberryPi, Arduino, PIC and a host of other ways to approach this thing. I decided that Arduino had such a large user base, was open source, very easy to setup and program, and to get from a prototype to something I could mount and use was the clincher!!
Living in Huntsville has its perks but access to electronic parts suppliers ISN'T one of them. Enter.... Radio Shack... ahhh good old Radio Shack. I remeber they day when they were exactly that (Radio Shack by the way is an old amatuer radio term..). Now days unless you need a cell phone there isnt much else to do there. BUT.. as luck would have it, they did have a prototyping kit that contained the Arduino Uno R3 board and a lot fo extras that makes it easy to come and start doing something. So.... I bought one.
Now, your asking.. Why? Glad you asked... The more I thought about the Little Tikes Ride On Train, the more I figured there was no way that it would run, even without a rider, for the 4 to 5 hours that the show would be on. So I thought. How about a little "do dad" that would make the train sleep for say five minutes, wake up , blow the whistle, then start the train for 30 to 60 seconds (a lap or two around the track) then repeat.
A PERFECT project for a microprocessor to control. The processor, a couple of relays and we are in business!!.Keep on eye out for how this project plays out. The picture is one of the first projets I did with the Arduino toady. Had it for an hour and it already doing something!! KEWL !!
Bob and Sandra Moody.