The Arduino platform lends itself very well to the model railway world, and can be used for all sorts of things - from controlling lights, points (switches!) right through to track detection and signalling systems. This may start to become rather complex, however there are tools to make this easier - and one of these is the CAN bus.
Originally designed for messaging between automotive devices on a network (such as an air bag, HVAC, engine data and so on) the CAN bus can also be used for other electronics and thus be used to control objects in a model railway.
This topic has been explained in detail by Steve from the modelrail.otenko website, who shows us the basic wiring required to use the CAN bus interface to communicate between various nodes and Arduino boards, and also his modified library.
The article leads on to many other items of interest to the model railway and Arduino enthusiast, so visit Steve's fascinating web site to get started. And for more, we're on facebook, Google+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you need to add external hardware or devices to your next Arduino project, you'll need a protoshield to mount the external circuitry. In doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega.