Jump to content


Is Power Functions just as good as a 9 Volt?


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 CarrollFilms

CarrollFilms

    Posts: 242
    Joined: 20-June 10
    Member: 11575
    Country: USA

Posted 21 June 2010 - 01:25 PM

Posted Image

I am looking at getting the lego passenger car (2010) and it looks cool and all, but is a train with Power Functions just as strong as a 9 Volt?

#2 Cale

Cale

    Posts: 114
    Joined: 08-January 09
    Member: 4941
    Country: USA

Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:14 PM

View PostCarrollFilms, on 21 June 2010 - 01:25 PM, said:

I am looking at getting the lego passenger car (2010) and it looks cool and all, but is a train with Power Functions just as strong as a 9 Volt?

After playing with the new passenger train at Brickworld this past weekend I can say that the new Power Functions Train motor is at the very least as good as he old 9v line. The motor had excellent pulling power (as good as the old 9v, maybe even a little better) and has good speed.


Cale

I would like to welcome our new Power Functions overlords.

#3 ie10421

ie10421

    Posts: 22
    Joined: 07-January 10
    Member: 8953

Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:01 PM

View PostCarrollFilms, on 21 June 2010 - 01:25 PM, said:

I am looking at getting the lego passenger car (2010) and it looks cool and all, but is a train with Power Functions just as strong as a 9 Volt?

I've played around some with it, and if you simply use the "RC" train motor, it should be at lease as good as Cale stated.  But, talking with several of the train guys at Brickworld, they have been able to pull trains as long as 54 cars using 2 PF XL motors, and making their own geared trucks.

#4 Mark Bellis

Mark Bellis

  • PaB price investigator


    Posts: 507
    Joined: 17-August 06
    Member: 910
    Country: England

Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:22 PM

View Postie10421, on 21 June 2010 - 05:01 PM, said:

I've played around some with it, and if you simply use the "RC" train motor, it should be at lease as good as Cale stated.  But, talking with several of the train guys at Brickworld, they have been able to pull trains as long as 54 cars using 2 PF XL motors, and making their own geared trucks.

You need the PF one, not the RC one.  The difference is that the PF one has a PF lead attached.
The PF one (in the new train sets) is at least as strong as a 9V train motor.
The RC one (8866) is weak and has poor speed regulation.

For outright torque, XL motors should be able to pull a heavier train, as long as you can put that torque onto the rails.  That needs lots of wheels with belts, like the Emerald Night but more so.
However, operation at speed is not really the preserve of XL motors, so for speed PF train motors are best.  That includes using them in the tender of a steam loco and letting the wheels operate by friction (e.g. remove all but the rear axle belts on Emerald Night).
If you need high torque and high speed, use pairs of PF train motors.
See testing here.

Also make sure the vehicle with the motors has enough weight to get good traction.  12V trains used to have the weight bricks to help with this.

Mark
Mark J E Bellis - 8mm Scale LEGO Railways, Scenery and Technic. Visit My Brickshelf
Posted ImagePosted Image  Posted Image

#5 broomhandle

broomhandle

    Posts: 151
    Joined: 21-February 10
    Member: 9661

Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:34 AM

View PostMark Bellis, on 21 June 2010 - 05:22 PM, said:

You need the PF one, not the RC one.  The difference is that the PF one has a PF lead attached.
The PF one (in the new train sets) is at least as strong as a 9V train motor.
The RC one (8866) is weak and has poor speed regulation.


does anybody have pics to differ from the 2? i have 2 RC motors, one has a red bar and one dosent. i would like to get another motor but would like to get the newer PF, and not another RC.

#6 MojoLego

MojoLego

    Posts: 89
    Joined: 15-February 10
    Member: 9590

Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:31 AM

View Postbroomhandle, on 22 June 2010 - 06:34 AM, said:

does anybody have pics to differ from the 2? i have 2 RC motors, one has a red bar and one dosent. i would like to get another motor but would like to get the newer PF, and not another RC.

I'm guessing that the new motor will be available from S@H at the same time as the new AAA battery box is out.  Looking at the new Cargo train's part list, the new motor is identified as #4584375 and the old RC motor is #4527072 (not that this helps when you can't order the new one anyway...).  

Cheers,
Rob

#7 peterab

peterab

  • Whacking witch hunter


    Posts: 1301
    Joined: 03-August 09
    Member: 6893
    Country: Australia

Posted 22 June 2010 - 11:09 AM

View Postbroomhandle, on 22 June 2010 - 06:34 AM, said:

does anybody have pics to differ from the 2? i have 2 RC motors, one has a red bar and one dosent. i would like to get another motor but would like to get the newer PF, and not another RC.

If you look at Marks testing link in the post just before yours there is a picture of the one above the other. The RC motors are the ones with red bars, the new PF one has a lead coming off it, otther than that they are pretty similar, as is the 9V motor except for its metal wheels.

Peter

#8 Mark Bellis

Mark Bellis

  • PaB price investigator


    Posts: 507
    Joined: 17-August 06
    Member: 910
    Country: England

Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:42 PM

View Postpeterab, on 22 June 2010 - 11:09 AM, said:

If you look at Marks testing link in the post just before yours there is a picture of the one above the other. The RC motors are the ones with red bars, the new PF one has a lead coming off it, otther than that they are pretty similar, as is the 9V motor except for its metal wheels.

Peter
This is the one:
Posted Image
9V motors at the top - metal wheels
RC motors in the middle - red stripe
PF motors at the bottom - lead with PF plug

My guess for the new motor and battery box as separate items would be January, in order to support the train sets whose sales should take off in time for Christmas, but I have no definite information.

I have begun tractive effort testing with different motors in the coach.  Up to now the PF motors have performed better with PF PWM power on flexi-track than 9V motors on metal track.  The new wheels supplied with the PF motor, and in the new train sets, are more grippy even than 9V motor wheels, so PF has less wheel-spin on flexi-track than 9V on metal track!  The new wheels have a white dot on the back.  I'll continue in order to get more accurate results because I don't yet have any direct comparison data.  Overall, tractive effort is less than the scale ought to require, but the train friction is even less (with standard wheelsets modified if required, to minimise friction from the wagons).  Therefore the overall result is that the motors have more than enough tractive effort for the vehicles they are pulling, except when sharp curves increase the drag.

Mark
Mark J E Bellis - 8mm Scale LEGO Railways, Scenery and Technic. Visit My Brickshelf
Posted ImagePosted Image  Posted Image

#9 broomhandle

broomhandle

    Posts: 151
    Joined: 21-February 10
    Member: 9661

Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:15 AM

View Postpeterab, on 22 June 2010 - 11:09 AM, said:

If you look at Marks testing link in the post just before yours there is a picture of the one above the other. The RC motors are the ones with red bars, the new PF one has a lead coming off it, otther than that they are pretty similar, as is the 9V motor except for its metal wheels.

Peter

cool, that helps. except i have 1 rc motor with no red. haha.

#10 CarrollFilms

CarrollFilms

    Posts: 242
    Joined: 20-June 10
    Member: 11575
    Country: USA

Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:40 PM

Well alot of that helped, but I have a LUG and I have 4-5 trains running, (a total of 2 running at a time) and I only have a diesel and Emerald Night modded with 2, 9V motors each. The trains are usually running for 1-2 hours pulling anywhere from 4 cars to about 7 or 8. And all of you say that a PF is more powerful than a 9V? If so then I'll buy myself PF's. But  I would hate having to recharge the bettery boxes all the time. Is that the only dis-advantage.

#11 AndyC

AndyC

    Posts: 1239
    Joined: 23-June 09
    Member: 6485

Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:58 PM

View PostCarrollFilms, on 30 June 2010 - 07:40 PM, said:

Is that the only dis-advantage.

I wouldn't say the only disadvantage. Aside from battery charging, you need room on board the train to actually carry the battery which can be difficult in smaller engines. And the remote control limits you to a practical limit of about 8 trains running at a time (and introduces the possibility of someone wandering around the show disrupting things with their remote). All in all though, I'd say it's worth investing in if you can.
Posted Image

#12 MojoLego

MojoLego

    Posts: 89
    Joined: 15-February 10
    Member: 9590

Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:45 PM

View PostAndyC, on 30 June 2010 - 07:58 PM, said:

And the remote control limits you to a practical limit of about 8 trains running at a time....

So long as you aren't adjusting the speed, you can go without the IR control and just run the engines off the Li-ion battery's built-in speed control.  Inelegant (especially stopping and starting) but that gives you more trains on the layout.  

Rob

#13 CarrollFilms

CarrollFilms

    Posts: 242
    Joined: 20-June 10
    Member: 11575
    Country: USA

Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:03 AM

So the IR control can run more then 5 trains at one time? :sceptic:

#14 hoeij

hoeij

    Posts: 502
    Joined: 12-May 10
    Member: 10641

Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:19 AM

View PostCarrollFilms, on 01 July 2010 - 02:03 AM, said:

So the IR control can run more then 5 trains at one time? :sceptic:

It has 4 channels that you can choose from, and has two dials, for a total of 8 combinations.
If only one could remember which combination corresponds to which train...
Oops, the wrong train started moving...

#15 CarrollFilms

CarrollFilms

    Posts: 242
    Joined: 20-June 10
    Member: 11575
    Country: USA

Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:26 AM

so mainly PF have a few dis-advantages, IR controllers can only run so many trains and 9V has only 1 flaw......overheating. But thats all, so I think i'll stay with 9V. or are there still some advatages to IR and PF?

Edited by CarrollFilms, 01 July 2010 - 09:16 PM.


#16 ZueriHB

ZueriHB

    Posts: 231
    Joined: 13-January 10
    Member: 9062
    Country: Switzerland

Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:08 PM

I have now both new PF trains and I'm frankly disappointed with the PF-Motors performance. I have a Cargorailway with 6 wagons, powered trough rechargeable battery pak, IR receiver and a RC motor ordered from S@H. It performs much better in every way than the Cargo Loco pulling the same train (without RC-motor).

Mostly it just wobbles and spins. And I even exchanged the wheel sets, same result.
Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted Image

#17 hoeij

hoeij

    Posts: 502
    Joined: 12-May 10
    Member: 10641

Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:23 AM

View PostZueriHB, on 13 July 2010 - 08:08 PM, said:

I have now both new PF trains and I'm frankly disappointed with the PF-Motors performance. I have a Cargorailway with 6 wagons, powered trough rechargeable battery pak, IR receiver and a RC motor ordered from S@H. It performs much better in every way than the Cargo Loco pulling the same train (without RC-motor).

Mostly it just wobbles and spins. And I even exchanged the wheel sets, same result.

The RC motor that you can buy through S@H is the same one as the one that's in the previous RC trains.  I have not compared traction, but the torque of the new PF motors is much larger, I estimate more than double, the torque of the motors in the previous RC trains   (on the outside, these motors look quite similar except that the new one has a cable attached to it.  But inside, the new one is much better).

The wobbling, I assume that happens on the flex track?  Or does it happen on regular track too?

#18 ZueriHB

ZueriHB

    Posts: 231
    Joined: 13-January 10
    Member: 9062
    Country: Switzerland

Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:08 AM

View Posthoeij, on 14 July 2010 - 02:23 AM, said:

The RC motor that you can buy through S@H is the same one as the one that's in the previous RC trains.  I have not compared traction, but the torque of the new PF motors is much larger, I estimate more than double, the torque of the motors in the previous RC trains   (on the outside, these motors look quite similar except that the new one has a cable attached to it.  But inside, the new one is much better).

The wobbling, I assume that happens on the flex track?  Or does it happen on regular track too?

It also happens on regular track, and on flex track, the PF motors stall (with a reasonable train length of more than 5 wagons), my RC or the 9V pull more, even on flex track.
Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted Image

#19 hoeij

hoeij

    Posts: 502
    Joined: 12-May 10
    Member: 10641

Posted 14 July 2010 - 05:36 PM

View PostZueriHB, on 14 July 2010 - 06:08 AM, said:

It also happens on regular track, and on flex track, the PF motors stall (with a reasonable train length of more than 5 wagons), my RC or the 9V pull more, even on flex track.

According to bricklink (catalog item 55423), the wheels on the PF-motor are the same as on the RC-motor, so the traction should be equal.
Does it change things if you swap the wheels between the RC-motor and the PF-motor?

#20 ZueriHB

ZueriHB

    Posts: 231
    Joined: 13-January 10
    Member: 9062
    Country: Switzerland

Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:32 PM

View Posthoeij, on 14 July 2010 - 05:36 PM, said:

According to bricklink (catalog item 55423), the wheels on the PF-motor are the same as on the RC-motor, so the traction should be equal.
Does it change things if you swap the wheels between the RC-motor and the PF-motor?

I actually tested it with swapped wheels, no difference.
Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted Image

#21 SavaTheAggie

SavaTheAggie

  • Thick-skinned


    Posts: 702
    Joined: 19-January 07
    Member: 1274

Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:56 PM

TexLUG has been having many problems with out aging 9v equipment.  The more we run our PF trains (both custom and otherwise) the more we start favoring running them, and the less we run the 9v trains.  For small layouts there isn't a significant difference between the two systems, but as you build larger and longer layouts you quickly run into problems with 9v.  The loss of electrical power from distance from the power source (necessitating more regulators or extension wires or both), the loss of power from old track (causing us to spend time trying to find the bad section(s) of track and replacing them, and the loss of power from uneven track, where the motor lifts off the rails.  

Power functions trains remove most all of these issues, as well as allowing you to run more complex layouts where it would electrically short out on a 9v system.  The only time there is every really an issue is with uneven track, but even then we usually run non-stock o-rings which makes the PF wheels slightly larger in diameter than normal train wheels, ensuring constant track connection.  

TexLUG won't be abandoning 9v, but it makes life a lot easier relying on PF instead.

--Tony
You only live once, and if you do it right that's all you need.

SRW Locomotive Works
Posted Image

#22 hoeij

hoeij

    Posts: 502
    Joined: 12-May 10
    Member: 10641

Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:43 PM

View PostSavaTheAggie, on 14 July 2010 - 08:56 PM, said:

TexLUG has been having many problems with out aging 9v equipment.  The more we run our PF trains (both custom and otherwise) the more we start favoring running them, and the less we run the 9v trains.  For small layouts there isn't a significant difference between the two systems, but as you build larger and longer layouts you quickly run into problems with 9v.  The loss of electrical power from distance from the power source (necessitating more regulators or extension wires or both), the loss of power from old track (causing us to spend time trying to find the bad section(s) of track and replacing them, and the loss of power from uneven track, where the motor lifts off the rails.  

Power functions trains remove most all of these issues, as well as allowing you to run more complex layouts where it would electrically short out on a 9v system.  The only time there is every really an issue is with uneven track, but even then we usually run non-stock o-rings which makes the PF wheels slightly larger in diameter than normal train wheels, ensuring constant track connection.  

TexLUG won't be abandoning 9v, but it makes life a lot easier relying on PF instead.

--Tony

At our local train show this year, I had a layout with 12V track and 9V track.  Electricity was applied to 4 places on the 9V track.  Much harder to set up was the 12V track. There were five remote controlled switches, some of them 10 feet away (lots of wire to tie underneath the tables). In addition there were three places where the 12V trains could stop, those have power-interrupter rails and then separate wiring so that a stopped train there can start again.

As I was struggling to set everything up on time (actually, I ran out of time, a few buildings/trains stayed in the box) and doing all this wiring, I looked with envy at the layout next to me, a live-steam layout. They had no electrical wires at all!

While it's great that 12V had remote-controlled switches, there is certainly something to be said for having 9V (or RC) switches that are remotely operated through the power functions, with electricity locally supplied from a battery box.  You have to hide this battery box somewhere, but you're not running 10+ feet cables under the tables.

View PostSavaTheAggie, on 14 July 2010 - 08:56 PM, said:

the loss of power from old track (causing us to spend time trying to find the bad section(s) of track and replacing them,
Does this only happen in switch-track or in regular track too?  I've had to repair electrical connections in about 5 or 6 9V switches, and a few 12V switches too, but I've never seen a bad connection in straight/curved 9V track pieces.
If you set up a large 9V track, you definitely need a multimeter so you can find the problem quickly.  As you build the track, you short it at the power supplies (power supplies off of course) and every once in a while, measure if the electrical resistance is small.  This way the problem is located in less than a minute.

#23 SavaTheAggie

SavaTheAggie

  • Thick-skinned


    Posts: 702
    Joined: 19-January 07
    Member: 1274

Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:54 PM

View Posthoeij, on 14 July 2010 - 10:43 PM, said:

Does this only happen in switch-track or in regular track too?  I've had to repair electrical connections in about 5 or 6 9V switches, and a few 12V switches too, but I've never seen a bad connection in straight/curved 9V track pieces.
If you set up a large 9V track, you definitely need a multimeter so you can find the problem quickly.  As you build the track, you short it at the power supplies (power supplies off of course) and every once in a while, measure if the electrical resistance is small.  This way the problem is located in less than a minute.

We've not really had problems with switches yet, but that's mainly because on 99% of our layouts we don't actually use switches for active switching - we just have loops of track and let the trains run till we want/need to swap them out.  Typically at a show we'll have two loops of track, with the inner loop attached to a rail yard.  The outer loop is typically totally isolated.  For the most part swapping out locomotives is done by hand, except for my huge Power Functions Allegheny since it's a pain to realign on track (but it's PF, not 9v, so a moot point).  

Most of the problems we have are on straight and curved track lengths.  The metal tabs (for lack of a better name for them) that pass electricity from one section to the next tend to bend very easily, and once they get bent they seem to "remember" their misalignment better than where they should be.  We've also had a few instances where we've discovered a section of 9v track was missing the entire metal rail from one side.  Our track is well used.

--Tony
You only live once, and if you do it right that's all you need.

SRW Locomotive Works
Posted Image

#24 hoeij

hoeij

    Posts: 502
    Joined: 12-May 10
    Member: 10641

Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:58 PM

View PostSavaTheAggie, on 15 July 2010 - 06:54 PM, said:

We've not really had problems with switches yet, but that's mainly because on 99% of our layouts we don't actually use switches for active switching
Why no active switching?  It's kind of fun to have one train go into a siding and make another one run.  That way, you can overhear kids say "look mommy, that one started moving!".

Quote

Most of the problems we have are on straight and curved track lengths.  The metal tabs (for lack of a better name for them) that pass electricity from one section to the next tend to bend very easily, and once they get bent they seem to "remember" their misalignment better than where they should be.  We've also had a few instances where we've discovered a section of 9v track was missing the entire metal rail from one side.  Our track is well used.

--Tony
Do the tracks get damaged during assembly/disassembly of the track, or during transport?  It's hard to understand how the entire metal rail can come off by accident. I've taken some off to build 1/2-length 9V track, and they don't want to come off until all the clips that hold them are bent down.

#25 CarrollFilms

CarrollFilms

    Posts: 242
    Joined: 20-June 10
    Member: 11575
    Country: USA

Posted 26 July 2010 - 04:52 AM

Well as you probably know, or don't, i'm part of a LUG, and we plan on having two sections of track, one 9V, and one RC train track. So mainly they both have advantages, and disadvatages. Either way they are good at somthing that the other isn't, it's like saying they are practically even. Right?  :sceptic:




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users