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Remote Signal Control


Joined: 1-01-82

Topics: 1

Replies: 1

Posted: Thu 25th Dec 2014, 10:01am
Remote Signal Control

At a recent club discussion on additions to the signalling system, various methods of control were mentioned. All of the ideas involved a considerable amount of cables and trunking that amounted to nearly three-quarters of the total cost of the installation.
One method that was not discussed – it was in fact an afterthought – was the idea of remote operation by radio control. It would seem that RC could have a number of advantages, although overall cost may not be significantly different. Signal heads, regardless of type, could be self-contained and removable, thus minimising the risk of vandalism or attack by vermin etc, plus of course much reduced exposure to weather. Being self-contained only small rechargeable batteries would be required as power supply.
My query is; has anyone used or experimented with, or even thought about such a method of control? Food for thought, anyone?

Replies To This Post


Joined: 7-09-10

Topics: 0

Replies: 14

Posted: Thu 12th Feb 2015, 4:57pm

> My query is; has anyone used or experimented with, or even thought about such a
> method of control? Food for thought, anyone?

With my Amateur Radio hat on: yes, yes and yes.
With my 7 1/4" Gauge hat on: no, no and yes.

Yes, it can be done. There is, as far as I can see, no technical or legal
reason preventing it.

There are licence exempt radio modules available for 433MHz, 868MHz and 2.4GHz
(the more suitable bands given radio range and available modules). Each of the
bands have their advantages and disadvantages.

A system that would work at ESSMEE may well fail at Echills Wood. The ESSMEE
site being subtantially open and line of sight where as Echills Wood is heavily
wooded (trees and bushes are good attenuators when in leaf). A foggy day can
reduce 2.4GHz range from 100m to 50m or less but not affect a 433MHz system
anywhere near as badly.

Given signalling is a safety system and must be fail-safe, thought needs to be
given to fail-safe modes and the conditions leading to the fail-safe state.
Does the system operate by sending messages and assume reception or send
messages and require a response? Requiring a response means you can know that
the message has been received and also other information about the signal, e.g.
when the battery is getting low (the response has a low battery indicator) or
the signal has failed completely, i.e. no response.

Apologies for the simplistic words above, my ponderings on this now run to about
8 A4 pages (and growing) and not ready for publishing in so public a forum.


Joined: 1-01-87

Topics: 3

Replies: 43

Posted: Thu 12th Feb 2015, 7:52pm

What would worry me with a radio control set up would be interference from locally used equipment on the same waveband. In the case of Echills Wood the waveband used by the nearby model boat club.

A wireless colour light signal could legally accept an incoming signal on the correct wavelength and change the light from red to green; the colour light signal wouldn't know that the signal was being sent from the wrong transmitter.
I suspect that there is radio equipment that could overcome this problem but I doubt it would be 'off the shelf' so it is likely to be very expensive.



Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 25

Replies: 318

Posted: Fri 13th Feb 2015, 8:33am

On modern 2.4ghz R/C the receiver and transmitter are 'bound' to one another, so interference from external sources is virtually impossible. A transmitter and receiver can be bought OTS for less than £50. Servos prices vary depending on what you want from it.

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