Jim

BuWizz - High Performance LEGO Power Functions Controller and Battery

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Quite likely a lot of them will end up in the back of a box somewhere for months at a time, to be pulled out when a model is finished. It would be annoying to have to charge them before being able to connect at all. I'd rather have six months life and a button than one month and not have to go to the enormous effort of pushing the button. A "24 hours then it goes to sleep" mode might make the "deep inside my MOC" people happy, or make it yet another user setting :)

Or even stay in the finished model for months, while it's tweaked and test-driving occasionally, until it's ready for "filming day" (or days, or weekend, etc.)

I like the idea of burying the brick deep inside the model, but I'd still keep it relatively easy to reach for recharging, or easy to remove for recharging.

In any case, the BLE-on-stand-by option is an interesting one to have for filming days, when you may need to go around with the model and most of the time it won't be working, so the best option I see is to be able to tell the BuWizz to go into that mode, e.g. by a long press on the button, and then turn it completely off from the app once you're done.

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OK, looks like we need to keep the power button. This way, BuWizz can be used standalone as a battery only. And as I already mentioned, the button can be used to cycle through different power modes (output voltages) & off mode.

The Bluetooth Smart (BLE) on standby vs. a CPU on standby discussion is, IMHO, purely academic. A properly implemented BLE on standby draws so little power, a single coin cell can power it for a year or so and a BuWizz battery could run the BLE for a decade.

A CPU in sleep mode (needs to scan the power button) is not much better in terms of current draw.

The problem if left in a drawer for extended periods of time is battery self discharge (which in Li-Ion is lower than other chemistries, but still present).

I think we can have both - button for on/off + automatic on/off through BLE.

Edited by Ron1

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OK, looks like we need to keep the power button. This way, BuWizz can be used standalone as a battery only. And as I already mentioned, the button can be used to cycle through different power modes (output voltages) & off mode.

The Bluetooth Smart (BLE) on standby vs. a CPU on standby discussion is, IMHO, purely academic. A properly implemented BLE on standby draws so little power, a single coin cell can power it for a year or so and a BuWizz battery could run the BLE for a decade.

A CPU in sleep mode (needs to scan the power button) is not much better in terms of current draw.

The problem if left in a drawer for extended periods of time is battery self discharge (which in Li-Ion is lower than other chemistries, but still present).

I think we can have both - button for on/off + automatic on/off through BLE.

I do not fully understand the technical parts of your response, what does this mean?

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This looks great! On the tilt/motion control option that was shown in Sariel's video- can you also use that with the phone in another orientation? That is, rather than holding it flat (screen-up from the ground), can there be an option to grip the phone like a joystick and control the model that way? May be more natural for some uses with finer control, and less prone to to dropping the control device.

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@deraven: yes, the joystick orientation will be available too. The original idea was to hold tablet/phone upright in landscape mode with 2 hands - like a steering wheel: turn left-right for steering, tilt forward-backward for power. During testing we found this mode to be more accurate.

@BrickCurve: can you elaborate please?

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@deraven: yes, the joystick orientation will be available too. The original idea was to hold tablet/phone upright in landscape mode with 2 hands - like a steering wheel: turn left-right for steering, tilt forward-backward for power. During testing we found this mode to be more accurate.

@BrickCurve: can you elaborate please?

What is the difference in speed between your receiver, Lego IR Receiver, and S Brick?

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I like this project, but for BuWizz to be sold on the market it needs to be CE marked for Europe https://en.wikipedia...wiki/CE_marking (Similar FCC in the US to https://en.wikipedia...n_of_Conformity) also EMC test have to be done I suppose ? https://en.wikipedia...c_compatibility, is this something you have taken into consideration (financially?)since this is pretty expensive as I understand?

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This is likely a stupid question but Kickstarter is not stating the currency. Is this in Euro, USD?

It's not a stupid question, but there ARE dollars all over the place :look:

Select this reward

Pledge $119 or more

$16,350

pledged of $50,000 goal

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It's not a stupid question, but there ARE dollars all over the place :look:

Select this reward

Pledge $119 or more

$16,350

pledged of $50,000 goal

Not very helpful. Many countries use $ dollars. They should be posting the currency.

I found this in their FAQ

What currency will my pledge be collected in?

Your pledge will be collected in the project's native currency, whether or not you see a conversion to your country's currency on the project page.

If you have questions about foreign currency transactions, we'd recommend reaching out to your financial institution for further clarification.

From that, it should be their home currency, which of course I have to google to find out it is Euro's.

I have never used kickstarter and I am obviously doing my due diligence. I have never come across an online site which doesn't explicitly state the currency.

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Currency is USD (I assume) but the amount you pay depends on the currency conversion to your local currency, the rate depending on the payment method (paypal, creditcard). I don't think it's more complicated than this.

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Does the BuWizz have a receiver in it?

What exactly do you mean?

It needs to receive signals so there's some sort of receiver. In this case it's a bluetooth controller, which can be considered a receiver. Not sure what your question is.

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1. speed: BuWizz offers roughly 50% speed increase over all other solutions using LEGO batteries

2. certification: yes, we considered it

3. receiver: yes, as Jim said, BuWizz contains a Bluetooth Smart transciever

4. project's native currency is USD

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Looking at the amount reached on kickstarter and the limited amount of days left I think it is unlikely to achieve $50000, which is a shame as this looks like the making of an awesome bit of kit.

What happens if it fails to reach the required amount ?

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Looking at the amount reached on kickstarter and the limited amount of days left I think it is unlikely to achieve $50000, which is a shame as this looks like the making of an awesome bit of kit.

What happens if it fails to reach the required amount ?

I think that it's tracking okay to achieve the target. It's not yet 1/3 of the way through the time (7 days out of 30) and it's passed 1/3 of the funding target. If it gets close to making the target, you may well see a spike as more people commit to the project since it will have greater surety of making the goal.

If the project fails to reached the target amount, nobody's pledges will be charged against their credit cards.

Regards,

David

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Does it work with older devices that only have Bluetooth 2.0?

Some questions from our Train forum:

1. Will the trains stop if I leave the app or if my phone sleeps? Trains are different from RC vehicles in the sense that you can "set and forget" them on a loop.

2. Can multiple controls be linked to each output? This would allow for such things as emergency stop buttons. Speaking of which...

3. Will there be an emergency stop button? While Lego train crashes can be impressive, it would be nice to have a quick way to stop the train.

4. Will this have the 2-hour timeout limit that Lego battery packs have?

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Does it work with older devices that only have Bluetooth 2.0?

Some questions from our Train forum...

Thanks for bringing those over here Dr. Spock. Didn't realize that thread would be locked...

Just to clarify some of those questions are regarding the app rather than the device itself.

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Since this has been posted in the Technic thread I have questions about how this can be used with trains if that is okay.

1. Can it be setup like a speed regulator where as some have mentioned "set it and forget it" meaning you set the speed of your train and then you don't have to touch the controller to keep it moving.

2. Is there a toggle option (ex. toggle on lights), if so can we set multiple outputs to one toggle button/switch main to use it for reverse and forward facing lights simultaneously.

3. Will a train still run if my phone were to go into sleep mode or lock? For example I set my train in motion my phone sleeps after say 15min does the train now instantly stop?

4. How safe is the "Fast Mode" for Lego motors I general (including train motors and even lights).

Thanks

-RailCo

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I think that it's tracking okay to achieve the target. It's not yet 1/3 of the way through the time (7 days out of 30) and it's passed 1/3 of the funding target. If it gets close to making the target, you may well see a spike as more people commit to the project since it will have greater surety of making the goal.

If the project fails to reached the target amount, nobody's pledges will be charged against their credit cards.

Regards,

David

I see. I didn't realise it was only 7 days in I thought they were on for a lot longer than 30 days. In that case its not doing to bad at all.

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Is there a possibility of having the option for a second case? There are many folks who like to build 4 wide hoods on train locomotives. The PF batteries and receivers and SBricks make this style of build impossible. If the BuWizz were 3.2 mm thinner (net of one plate) and had 1.6 mm studs on either (long) side, we could make a 4.4 wide hood by covering the BW with tiles and hide all of the electronics cleanly and neatly. I guess this might necessitate eliminating two of the output terminals, but for most train applications that probably would not be an issue as long as the remaining terminals could deliver at least as much power as per spec (and even better if they could deliver more, or at least maintain voltage at higher loads).

If only one case were possible I would say stick with the one you've got (4 outputs are probably beneficial to many more users and the technic holes are certainly helpful for many models). But keep the train focused model in your notes as a possible future offering if all goes well.

Thanks much, looks like a great product! (and the UI looks like it could be a ton easier than SBrick)

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Nice to hear the questions from train enthusiasts :-)

Most of the things you are asking about are App related and therefore we can implement them. Since different behavior is required of trains, I think BuWizz should have a train mode. When you set up & store your model, you will be able to select "train" or "vehicle" mode.

In vehicle mode, priority is automatic safety - stop at loss of signal for instance.

In train mode, behavior can be different

- sliders will not be "spring loaded", speed once set will be maintained

- we are thinking about train specific controls - i.e. slider for speed + switch for direction

- timeout will be variable - you can sst how long you want the train to run on loss of signal

Stop button: already implemented, upon pressing "STOP" all motors receive stop command

Toggle option: yes, there will be various controls available - for lights, etc. The toggle button options will include output level for both options (for instance for setting positions of servo motors - see videos of convertible roof opening & railroad crossing barrier on our campaign)

Several light effects will also be available & mor will be programmable by the user

Fast mode should not be harmful to PF components. We have tested them for over a year in harsh conditions and none of them failed. PF motors are well protected. That said, we can not guarantee none will fail.

Please let us know, which features you wold like to have.

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Roni, have you tested Lego PF LED lights at the highest power output? Or do you have a separate voltage setting planned for lights?

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We tested the LEDs at highest voltage & they worked OK (only slightly brighter). That said, we do not know if their lifespan would be shortened. We will add a setting to Light Switch, which will automatically reduce voltage for LEDs in FAST mode just in case.

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