Decoupling System 2006-2007
The goal of this project is to design a decoupling system for the webtrain.
This is a fourth generation webtrain project. The system will have two
modes of operation, a manual decoupling mode and an automatic decoupling
mode. The manual mode gives the user three commands to operate the train:
move forward, move backward, and stop. The automatic mode will prompt
the user to specify a train car to decouple. Once decided, the train will
automatically move to the decoupling position and remove that car. This
is the main task of the whole project.
The train is on the N-gauge scale. It runs through a system called Digital
Command Control (DCC). Instead of sending a constant voltage to the tracks,
packetized data is sent through the tracks to the train. The locomotives
have a special receiver circuit to decode this data and move the train
The decoupler is a thin magnet that lies in the track. Each car has a
coupler with a thin metal segment used for decoupling. When two cars are
coupled, these metal segments are close together. The decoupler spreads
these two segments apart, which in turn decouples the car.