DanSto

Effective High Speed

35 posts in this topic

Since 2007, a group of french AFOLs (including BàB, FreeLUG and Fanabriques members) tries to run trains at effective high speeds up to 30 km/h.

The aim of this topic is to present briefly this experience.

The LGV (Ligne Grande Vitesse) railway (made by Denis H. and Xavier V.)

First, usual lego 9V rails were used but it becomes rapidly clear that special straight rails are needed for high speed runs.

During the Fana'briques 2008 exhibition, nearly 30 meters of such rails (each having a length of 96 studs) were used and a maximum speed around 19 km/h was reached with an applied voltage up to 30 V.

01_FanabriqueB.jpg

Next year, during the Saint Rambert modelism exhibition, thanks to a voltage up to 40-50 V, much higher speed were reached : 25 km/h with a 9V motorized ICE (lego 7897) and 30 km/h with a prototype train (these two values remain the best marks up to now).

This (not so good) video shows the 25 km/h speed record by the ICE train.

If you read french, you can get more details here.

For Fana'briques 2010, a completely new LGV (LGV2) has been made with 128 studs long straigth rails and inclined curves with a 3 meters diameter in order to maintain a high speed over all the loop.

This video shows the same ICE train running on the new railway

which can be entirely detailled on this panoramic video

.

For the french language readers, more details are given here.

This LGV2 has been improved for the Festibriques 2011 and the recently Fana'briques 2012 exhibitions with more straigth rails, a better detection of the trains for the speed measurements and an electrical breaking.

You can run aboard a Thalys on the LGV2 at Fana'briques 2012 into this video by Denis H.

.

(next post will present shortly the trains).

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Unbelievable. I'm really amazed with the speed attained by this train.

Cool stuf.

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Wow!! those banked curves are brillant, the trains look so good sweeping through at speed

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Fantastic layout, very beautiful.

How long do your motors last?

Thanks.

Well, it seems that the 9V motors are more robust than expected : I use only new motors protected by their thermistor and, in 4 weekends, I have burned only 2 of them (I have to present you my trains in a coming post : a Thalys with 13 motors and an AGV with 6 motors).

Usually, 30 V are applied only during a few seconds into the straight lines on a loop. During Fana'briques 2010, I used to run with the short Thalys (8 motors) for one hour with full voltage during a few seconds every loop without problem. Of course, at the end, the motors were hot but not burned.

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That's insane. That last video I was afraid the train would fly off the track!

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That's insane. That last video I was afraid the train would fly off the track!

If you want to see some crash at nearly full speed (inside and outside) :

or

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If you want to see some crash at nearly full speed (inside and outside) :

Ouch. Those poor trees kept getting wiped out.

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4511 is an excellent choice for high speed because its light weight.

Do you also make cuts to the wheelsets to make them run smoother?

(described in railbricks #2 page 49). That lightens the load on the

motor, which could, at the high speeds you're using, make a big difference

in the motors life-span.

Rapid acceleration is necessary to reach a high speed, but this is of course

the part of the track when the motors wear the fastest because that's when they

use the most current.

Would it be possible to have a siding somewhere in the track, where you keep alternating

(run one train, then the other, then the first one again, etc.) so that the motors have

more time to cool down? Also, I'm wondering if it may be helpful to drill a few holes

through the plastic cover, so that air moves through when you're running the train.

Anything you can do to lower the temperature will save you money; these 9V motors are

expensive, and fairly fragile.

By the way, don't throw out burned 9V train motors; they can be repaired at a cost that

is much less than a new lego 9V motor (open them up, and buy a non-lego DC motor (you want

one that has an axle coming out on both sides). They pry the gears of the original motor (it's

not too hard to get them off) and slide them on the non-lego DC motor.

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Ouch. Those poor trees kept getting wiped out.

There were put into this curve like the tires into the curves of the Formula one races :sweet: .

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4511 is an excellent choice for high speed because its light weight.

Do you also make cuts to the wheelsets to make them run smoother?

(described in railbricks #2 page 49). That lightens the load on the

motor, which could, at the high speeds you're using, make a big difference

in the motors life-span.

I agree with you but the magnet coupling is the weak point of this train. This is why my most recent high speed train is an AGV using the more panels as possible (light and a low center of gravity), is articulated (the inner boggies are shared between cars) and has only motors (no passive boggies).

Rapid acceleration is necessary to reach a high speed, but this is of course

the part of the track when the motors wear the fastest because that's when they

use the most current.

Clear : this is why we use a special power supply having no problem to power up to 20 motors up to 30 (or more) V.

Usually, the train come out from the curve at 12 km/h and the goal is to increase progressively the speed to reach the maximum speed at the start measuring point.

Would it be possible to have a siding somewhere in the track, where you keep alternating

(run one train, then the other, then the first one again, etc.) so that the motors have

more time to cool down? Also, I'm wondering if it may be helpful to drill a few holes

through the plastic cover, so that air moves through when you're running the train.

Anything you can do to lower the temperature will save you money; these 9V motors are

expensive, and fairly fragile.

No, no siding because most of the trains are not able to run over switches (my Thalys and my AGV cannot because they are designed for 3 m diameter curves) and introducing switches on such a track is not a good idea.

Concerning the heating/cooling of the motors, my personnal experience tells me that the heating is essential : during the first runs, the motors are warming up and this increases the performances (each loop, you gain a few km/h), then the optimal temperature is reached and the speed saturates and finally when the motor is too hot, the speed decreases (usually I stop to run when this happens).

By the way, don't throw out burned 9V train motors; they can be repaired at a cost that

is much less than a new lego 9V motor (open them up, and buy a non-lego DC motor (you want

one that has an axle coming out on both sides). They pry the gears of the original motor (it's

not too hard to get them off) and slide them on the non-lego DC motor.

Very interesting : do you have details (company and reference) on such kind of motors ?

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I thought of a different way to save a substantial amount of money.

Take a burned out 9V train motor, remove the internal DC motor and other unnecessary things,

and whats left, use that to pick up electricity from the track.

Then, put only PF train motors (from the new train sets, not the RC motor from the 7897 set)

in your train, and put wiring in the train to get the electricity from the emptied-out 9V motor

to all the PF train motors.

This saves money in two ways: The PF motor can be bought new from lego.com (again, buy only the

new motor, don't buy the one from the 7897 set even though it is on sale).

It is much cheaper than a 9V motor.

But I think you'll save money in another way too: I think that the DC motor inside the new PF

train motors is more robust (will handle the abuse better) than the DC motor in the 9V train motor.

I think these motors will last a lot longer than the 9V train motors.

On the topic of trains with multiple 9V motors; I've had a bad experience with that once. I had

a heavy cargo train with two 9V motors (both old ones). One of the motors died; this put a lot

more stress on the other motor (not only did it have to pull the train by itself now, it also had to

pull the dead motor) and as a result, 1 dead motor became 2 dead motors. Since then, if a train

has more than 1 motor, I watch it carefully for signs that this may be happening (if the train gets

a bit slower on the same voltage for instance).

Given a heavy load, I'd feel more comfortable with PF motors than I would with 9V motors, I think

they're more robust (don't know that 100% certain; of course, if you try, you'll know soon enough,

few people put as much stress on the motors as you do!)

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For running on the LGV and for establishing the speed record, two categories of trains have been defined :

1. Official High Speed Trains : such trains must have 5 vehicles (usually one loco + 3 cars + one loco). This includes MOCs of existing trains like french TGV, ICE, Shinkansen, AGV, ... but also official sets like 4511 HST, 4558/10001 Metroliner, 4560/4561 Railway Express, 7897 ICE, 7938 passengers train and even 10020/10022/10025 Santa Fe Super Chief. During these last 4 years most of the MOC trains participating to the speed competition were based on french TGV (La Poste, orange prototype, V150 record, Atlantic or Thalys) and a Shinkansen.

2. Prototype trains : the only restriction is to use lego parts.

In these posts, I will mainly focus on my own trains.

Official Shinkansen

I build my first train in 2008 inspired by the Taiwan Shinkansen because I like the orange/dark gray stripe on the white main colour.

Shinkansen.jpg

The building is based on the 4511 lego HST (small cars and magnet couplings) but because it was heavier than the 4511, it was finally not so fast as expected reaching a maximum speed of 14 km/h with 2 old 9V motors at Fana'briques 2008.

At Saint Rambert 2009, with 4 to 10 new 9V motors it reached the maximum speed of 21,1 km/h :

To compare with the 4511, I bought two sets with some additional cars but surprisingly the maximum speed it could reached was 18,2 km/h :

I think that it was to light for the LGV1 line on which there was too much shaking. This is the reason why I decided to build articulated trains in the future.

(next post will present the Thalys).

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Official Thalys

Beginning 2010, I decided to build a Thalys train with the idea to keep the correct height/length/width ratio and to have only motors as boggies. Consequently, I had to cover the motors and to use stickers for the windows.

Details about the MOC can be found into my MOCpage.

The official version (2 locos and 3 cars) has then 8 motors :

At Fana'briques 2010

Surprisingly, this heavy articulated train won the official speed competition in 2010 with a high speed of 20,4 km/h.

The commercial version (2 locos and 8 cars) has 13 motors and is 3,4 meters long (listen at the sound of the 13 motors) :

At Fana'briques 2010

At Fana'briques 2010

At Festibriques 2011

Aboard it at Fana'briques 2012

(because it is very stable, it is easy to put a camera on top).

(next post will present the AGV, a light articulated train).

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Concerning the heating/cooling of the motors, my personnal experience tells me that the heating is essential : during the first runs, the motors are warming up and this increases the performances (each loop, you gain a few km/h), then the optimal temperature is reached and the speed saturates and finally when the motor is too hot, the speed decreases (usually I stop to run when this happens).

Perhaps the carbon in the commutator (see: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/magnetic/comtat.html )

makes a better electrical contact when it is warmer.

Once the carbon on the commutator is worn away, then the motor is dead (it may still spin, but it'll spin irregularly).

This is what happened with my two burned out 9V motors (I checked this, I opened up the 9V train motor, applied electricity

to the DC motor inside. This DC motor has, on one side, a white plastic cover, and you can see it light up when you apply

electricity to the motor. The light comes from the sparks from the commutator. But only a worn-out commutator sparks,

so that's how I know that a worn-out commutator is the reason that my motor is no longer functioning properly).

A high sustained current can heat up the carbon (9V on a stalled motor is more dangerous than 18V on a spinning

motor, because a stalled motor draws much more current. To be more precise: the current is roughly proportional

to the torque). You want to build the trains light-weight, that means less torque is needed from the motor, which

means less current, which in turn is safer for the carbon in the commutator.

If the current is very high, the carbon in the commutator can evaporate quickly (it turns to CO-2, so you won't find

a black residue inside the motor). Once the carbon is gone, the motor is dead.

In the 12V train motors, if you open them, you can see the commutators.

Those motors are built rather sturdy (if you buy a used 12V motor that does not

run properly, in most (not all) cases it'll run as new after you lubricate it).

But they're not so useful for you because although they are tough and can survive

quite a bit of abuse, they're not the best for high speeds.

9V motors are much less sturdy, I think that lego was trying to save some money here, and that they were assuming

that the load would be light.

The PF motor has to run on AAA batteries (while the RC train runs on AA batteries). To get a good battery life

with smaller batteries, lego had to use a more efficient DC motor than what they had in the RC train.

I think that a more efficient DC motor will likely be better in all aspects, so I suspect that the PF motor can

survive more current. If my reasoning is correct, then users of PF train motors will see few burned out motors.

I have one other question for you (this is related to track conductivity): do the motors on the outside of the train

get warmer than the ones in the middle?

Very interesting : do you have details (company and reference) on such kind of motors ?

On eBay, I've seen motors that look the same as the ones inside the 9V train motor, but I have not tested

yet to see which one would fit.

Soon after I started buying 9V, I burned out two 9V motors. So what I did was:

a) Search for how to fix them with replacement DC motors

b) Bought a good number of spare motors (these have since then doubled in value on bricklink)

c) I've kept a very close watch on what the motors are doing: I measured in each train how much current

the motor uses (and use this data to decide if 1 or 2 motors are needed). And I made sure their load was

reduced as much as possible by reducing the friction in the wheelsets.

But by being more careful, I have since then broken no more motors. Since I only have 2 motors that need

repair, and since I have many spares, there was no need to fix them yet. But it should be possible to

buy DC motors that fit (after all, lego must have bought them from somewhere too) and I have seen motors

on eBay that appear to be very close in size.

Edited by hoeij

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I thought of a different way to save a substantial amount of money.

Take a burned out 9V train motor, remove the internal DC motor and other unnecessary things,

and whats left, use that to pick up electricity from the track.

Then, put only PF train motors (from the new train sets, not the RC motor from the 7897 set)

in your train, and put wiring in the train to get the electricity from the emptied-out 9V motor

to all the PF train motors.

This saves money in two ways: The PF motor can be bought new from lego.com (again, buy only the

new motor, don't buy the one from the 7897 set even though it is on sale).

It is much cheaper than a 9V motor.

I agree with you and it works very nicely.

I have already used this in a prototype train with the aim to use the large wheels and to gain speed in such a way :

BBR50x6.jpg (very frenchy :laugh: )

The middle white car take the current for the two others cars build on RC motors with large wheels. This "train" reached 29 km/h. The breaking at the end of the straight line is its main problem.

More recently, I have compared the PFS and the RC motors on the same prototype : the PFS motor is clearly more powerful and accelerates much better than the RC but it did not reached the same maximum speed as the RC.

This could indicate that the PFS motor has a more efficient protection and is more limited at high voltage.

But I think you'll save money in another way too: I think that the DC motor inside the new PF

train motors is more robust (will handle the abuse better) than the DC motor in the 9V train motor.

I think these motors will last a lot longer than the 9V train motors.

Given a heavy load, I'd feel more comfortable with PF motors than I would with 9V motors, I think

they're more robust (don't know that 100% certain; of course, if you try, you'll know soon enough,

few people put as much stress on the motors as you do!)

Maybe this is true at 9V but we don't know what really happens at higher voltage. My feeling is that the 9V PFS motors are more powerful but more protected than the other 9V motors.

This is why, I will try to use them with a multiplication of the rotation speed to take avantage of the power without having to increase more the voltage.

I have one other question for you (this is related to track conductivity): do the motors on the outside of the train

get warmer than the ones in the middle?

I don't know because I only put a finger on the bottom of some motors : they were warm but not really hot.

However, I do not really see the relation between track conductivity and the position of the motors into the train.

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As regards the 9v train motor comparison you should look at the philohome.com pages.

Why you say the last 12v model is not good for high speed? and what about the old 12v with gear reduction, it was very powerful and with some lubrification should be good, anyone has try it? (it can use the large wheels by means of the

http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=bb301?)

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As regards the 9v train motor comparison you should look at the philohome.com pages.

Why you say the last 12v model is not good for high speed?

I may be wrong, but at 12 volt it seems to go only a little bit faster than at 10 volt (still fast

enough to fly out of a curve though!).

That makes me wonder what it'll do at 20+ volt (I don't want to test mine at 20 volt, so I can't be

sure if it'll do well or not).

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Wonderful layout,and,OH MY GOD!!!how can run so fast that train...Amazingdefault_thumbup.gif.

but....belive me,i appriciate your work..the rail...is not LEGOoh2.gif!!

you need that for run faster than a bullet,and i like...but when i think about that rail...noo...default_oh3.gif

I'd like too much to joke on this,and when we have an exposition,and somebody made someting of "Illegal" i like to scream "Burn the heretic!!!!"default_blink.gif

Is one of the best layout i have see,and your lgv\tgv are really a good Moc,all my respect.default_thumbup.gif

but the rail...

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If you want to see some crash at nearly full speed (inside and outside) :

or

These two new videos are too cool! The train runs like a rocket!!! :wub_drool:

Edited by LEGO Train 12 Volts

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At Fana'briques 2010 [media]

Surprisingly, this heavy articulated train won the official speed competition in 2010 with a high speed of 20,4 km/h.

The commercial version (2 locos and 8 cars) has 13 motors and is 3,4 meters long (listen at the sound of the 13 motors) :

At Fana'briques 2010 [media]

At Fana'briques 2010 [media]

At Festibriques 2011 [media]

Aboard it at Fana'briques 2012 [media] (because it is very stable, it is easy to put a camera on top).

Those are some great vids, but I am looking for some info.

On those banking curves in the videos, what is used as the base of the curve that keeps the track at an angle? default_classic.gif

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