Coffee Table #4 Project
Coffee Table #4 will likely never be built; however, development of a potential layout is actually under way—at least on paper. The following is a preliminary proposal for the new layout:
Train Technology: Maglev
Gauge: Hopefully it will be HO scale or something close to that. However, it is not clear to me that anyone has actually built a realistic operational Maglev train as small as HO scale, except by using superconductors operating at very low temperatures. (I do not plan to use superconductors.) The bottom line is that I am not sure how well Maglev technology will scale down from 1:1 scale (real trains) to 1:87 (HO). I wouldn't even attempt to try 1:160 (N), which is the scale of Coffee Table #3.
Control Technology: Arduino open source microcontroller hardware and software is the presently identified hardware and software platform for the project. I have just started looking at these products.
General Configuration: Present thinking is that the train will contain no active circuits, just permanent magnets used for train levitation, guidance,and propulsion. The Maglev track will contain permanent magnets for levitation/guidance and electromagnets for train propulsion. The Arduino hardware will be hardwired to the electromagnets that are embedded in the track. The electromagnets will be configured as a variable frequency 3-phase linear synchronous motor, or come such thing.
The project is presently in the research stage, and it may remain there for a long time.