ElectroDiva

2018 Lego Trains

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23 hours ago, shotgunmcos said:

I had a chat session with TLG recently.  Usually very good.  I asked if I could get the parts for a second passenger 60197 and was told to go onto the bricks n pieces section and do it myself.  some of those pieces are out of stock.  I asked if this was surely a Frequently Asked Question but the chat dropped. 

Usually brilliant, but brutal this time.  Surely LEGO know that most people buying or getting trains as presents would love a longer train.  My almost 2 year old has inherited a trough of duplo from his sister and he is mainly interested in making the longest train he can (with towers on top).  I reckon that if the did an extra car set separately, most people would add one or more to their cart upon first purchase of the train itself.

 

Hi shotgunmcos. I had a similar response from CS to my email. They even said to leave it a couple of days as BnP was having technical issues. The train base plate isn't even listed for purchase and the nose piece is out of stock. I thought they may have offered to sell bags 2 & 3 along with the base plate rather thn going through BnP

21 hours ago, Heppy9 said:

I tried emailing customer service about getting another loco/engine. Couple of emails back and forth and the upshot is I’m getting nothing lol. They said 

 

The parts for the train engine are not currently for sale, but will be for sale some point in the future.  They will be sold as kits, but as of now, we do not have a release date.

So no joy for me in getting a free loco.

Kits sounds like a good idea. Will have to see when that happens

18 hours ago, Goldenmasamune said:


I have not. I haven't had lego take this long for a response before either; I have a confirmation that I submitted something on 8/4/2018, but I haven't received any more correspondence. 

That is slow. I got a reply within 24 hrs

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On 8/10/2018 at 7:33 AM, scottwb2010 said:

sed6 you certainly struck gold with this Lego customer service rep. I hope its not just the motor they send out.

Dude, I think you jinxed me! Today I received...just the motor! So, honestly, based upon the content of my emails with them I was expecting an engine and a motor. The rep used both words, engine and motor in different context so it's not like there was some ambiguity there.  I sent them a follow up email for clarification. I'll keep everyone posted. 

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Now I have my PUP working 'properly', I have to admit I quite like the fact you can save some space inside your train by losing the PF IR receiver, but I am still not convinced it brings very much at all to the 'train party', other than the ability to have different networks operating in fairly close proximity which may be advantageous on larger layouts or where multiple layouts are in use at the same time (exhibitions, fairs, LEGO gatherings, etc.).

I see a big disadvantage in the 'one device, one port' philosophy. Certainly most of my PF trains now have lights (some have more than one set) and to be able to piggy-back the lights on the same output as a motor is quite handy - the lights work with the motor rather than use a second channel.

With PUP, I can see the lights needing to be on PortB of the Smarthub while the train motor is on PortA. Ok, you can then control the lights independently of the motor, but it does 'waste' a second channel. That said, it may be that the Smart Hub will identify lights and control them as a direct on-off device (bang-bang control) rather then have to dim them up or down using the PWM motor signals.

The range doesn't seem to be a whole lot better than the IR. If you have obstacles or line of sight issues (tunnels, embankments, tall buildings, etc.) then using a very cheap IR blaster gets round that problem. If the BT loses connection, the train simply stops and then powers off, while a PF train will simply carry on on with it's last received setting.

I have to say I do quite like these new trains...as trains. Sure, they are so similar in style and design to the old 7938 and 7939 sets that they are nothing groundbreaking, but there are one or two very nice touches that seem to have been thought out quite well.

The purist in me says 'leave the older trains as they are', for the sake of originality, but the engineer in me says that tiny little tweaks that can be rolled back to earlier trains without changing their outward appearance is not a bad thing. I'm thinking specifically of the under-slung centre section of the cars that sit between the bogeys. Just a couple of changes to the design keeps it looking the same on the outside, but the two brown 2x4 bricks with the 2x2 grey tiles that fit through the square holes in the carriage base and blank them off is rather a neat touch. Maybe even change the tiles for plates if you want continuous studding on the train floor.

When 7938 was released, the train roof used a new element - the red curved train roof sections. Within a few weeks of getting my 7938, those roof sections were available on PAB enabling me to build a few additional carriages...two passenger coaches and a post/goods carriage. With the train being a double-ender out of the box and being able to slave a second motor to the first (and fit lights in both ends!), this ended up as a pretty decent train. I just hope that the locomotive nose-cone for this new train ends up on PAB as I can certainly see that there would be many folks who feel a train isn't 'right' unless it's a 'push-me pull-you' design.

The pricing is still a little steep (at 50% more than their predecessors) though. Perhaps still bearable for many AFOLs, but out of the reach of some. I blew two weeks wages on the two trains (I'm in the semi-retired 'JAM' demographic) and don't regret it (hell, I'm a LEGO train nut!), but for me it was a huge chunk of change and not the same 'value for money' as earlier incarnations of City train sets. If LEGO manage to 'add value' retrospectively by leveraging the technical possibilities of PUP then I may eat my words, but only time will tell.

Whatever......you can NEVER have too many LEGO trains :drool: 

 

 

 

 

Edited by retrotecchie
typos

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Well, i've purchased both PuP trains. Not entirely interested in the designs, but I feel I more or less had to buy them for Lego to continue supporting the line. 

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18 minutes ago, Goldenmasamune said:

Well, i've purchased both PuP trains. Not entirely interested in the designs, but I feel I more or less had to buy them for Lego to continue supporting the line. 

Maybe that’s their strategy... 🙃

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3 hours ago, IHadMegaBloksAsAKid said:

Is it possible to cut out that big bulky thing in the middle of the lights and join the wires back together?

Looks to be a switch and probably other circuitry to identify it as a light.  Not sure if you can run it without it until someone gives it a shot.

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Same as the 2x2 brick in the middle of the PF lights, I suspect. The series resistors for the LEDs themselves, a bridge rectifier (so the lights come on no matter what the polarity of the C1/C2 PWM signals), smoothing capacitors so the LEDs don't flicker plus maybe another resistor or two for the ID signals.

Apparently the existing PF lights have an ID resistor incorporated so they can be recognised by We Do.

I have decided to get a set of new lights just so I can hack off the 6 pin connector and make myself a custom cable, possibly terminated with a conventional 6 pin Molex header. That way, I can experiment with different motor and lights wiring and see how easy it is to come up with some other options. 

One idea I had was to bypass the rectifier so I have an output to the LED's that changes polarity, and to then use a bi-coloured (white/red - they are available) LED in place of the white one. The idea being, with the polarity in one direction, the LED lights up white and in the opposite direction they light up red. That way, the lights at each end of a train can change from headlights to tail lights depending on the direction of the train.

Another thought was for trackside signalling. Instead of using a bi-colour LED, use discreet green and red LEDs so that for one polarity, a red signal will illuminate. Reverse the polarity and the red goes out and the green comes on. If the lights ID allows simple on-off switching, then this would work a treat. We know the train motors draw around 200mA and the PF LED lights draw around 4mA, so it should be eminently possible to wire up multiple signals from the output of one hub.

I have already done the above with Power Functions, as well as hacking the wiring on a PF receiver to allow powering from an old 4.5v battery tender and driving a 4.5v LEGO motor as fitted to something like a 7720 or my even older 171.

I have also hacked a PF receiver so that the C1 and C2 outputs power the centre rails on my old grey 12v track with the 7745 High Speed 12v train. The 12v motor works beautifully with the PWM control signals and I would imagine that the 9v system would work equally as well, subject to the limit of one train per circuit. Of course, the PF system will work at any voltage up to around 14v, and as low as 3.2v - I run 4.5v trains with 3x NiMH cells for 3.6v. I'm not sure how safe the PUP is to drive at higher voltages than 9v.

Much to do and, although I have had a long career in both software and hardware, my main interests have always been hardware and interfacing, I plan to have a good play with the electronics to see what can be screwed with. 

Edited by retrotecchie

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Huge thanks @retrotecchie for doing such great and rewarding work for the community.

 

On a side note, new freight train set 60198 is classified 'rare' (selten) in the new German LEGO fall catalogue, whatever this may mean (60197 is not).

Edited by Lazertron

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On 8/12/2018 at 5:37 AM, sed6 said:

Dude, I think you jinxed me! Today I received...just the motor! So, honestly, based upon the content of my emails with them I was expecting an engine and a motor. The rep used both words, engine and motor in different context so it's not like there was some ambiguity there.  I sent them a follow up email for clarification. I'll keep everyone posted. 

Oh well you got an extra motor which is one bonus. I guess the CS operator was using the terms engine and motor as the same thing, but I cant see how getting another motor would complete the look of the set!

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6 hours ago, Lazertron said:

On a side note, new freight train set 60198 is classified 'rare' (selten) in the new German LEGO fall catalogue, whatever this may mean (60197 is not).

Lucky I have one then! :wink:

I know the S@H website (UK) limits both sets to five per customer and (judging by the number of PUP kits appearing on Ebay) it seems that a lot of the trains are being bought by folks just parting them out. In which case, a 'complete' train with original box and instructions, kept as shipped, might well be a bit of a rarity before too long, seeing as not that many people are overly impressed with the trains themselves. I wonder how many 60197 sets are just being bought for the extra carriages, the loco fitted with a dummy motor bogey and the train turned into a double-ender and the second set of PUP gear being offloaded? I also wonder how many folks have, like me, put the PUP to one side and retrofitted the trains with cheap PF gear?    

Edited by retrotecchie

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I went to my LEGO Store (Disney Village, Paris) after work this evening to buy some PF parts, and asked if they had the new 88005 PUP LED lights available. And they did! 

So, I obviously got one of those, and here is what I can say:

First, the middle piece size : it's a bit longer than the 2x2 piece of the old PF lights. This one is 2x3, and 2 plates in thickness. There are no studs on it, but a Technic hole in the middle. I don't yet own the 60197 train so I don't know if it will be good to attach it.

Next, how it works I connected the lights to the B plug of the hub, motor being on A plug, and tried to control them with both the PUP remote and the PUP app on my phone. The results were interesting, as the lights reacted differently:

  • with the remote, I can control separately the motor and the lights, which have 10 intensity levels. First press on the Plus (or Minus) button it lights up feably, then more intensely with each press until the max level the opposed button decreased the intensity by one step each press. Red button stops instantaneously.
  • with the app, however, there is no specific control for the light. They will turn on at maximum intensity as soon as I turn on the motor at speed 1, and the light intensity does not change as I increase or decrease the motor speed. They just turn off when speed is zero.

And now I just have to wait to find a nice way to integrate the lights in the 60198 engine... Alhough I may just retrofit it completely to PF and keep the PUP units for the Christmas Train, which will be much nicer without the ugly IR receiver modification...

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10 hours ago, scottwb2010 said:

Oh well you got an extra motor which is one bonus. I guess the CS operator was using the terms engine and motor as the same thing, but I cant see how getting another motor would complete the look of the set!

Agreed! On both. The free motor is nice but doesn't complete the look. And indeed it's not going to work out as I hoped. LEGO sent me this email today...

>>Dear Scott,

Thanks for getting in touch with us.

I took a look at the email chain here and I think there was some miscommunication between us. When you said you were looking for a second train engine, we understood that to mean that you needed a new motor itself, since the motor is the "engine" of the train. I'm am glad that you received the motor quicker than we expected!

Unfortunately, though, we're not able to send out any additional pieces. If you're looking for an additional train car itself, the only thing to do is to buy those parts or buy the train directly. I really apologize for this confusion.

What I can do is add a few VIP Points to your LEGO VIP Account. I've gone ahead and added 100 points for you, your updated VIP Points Balance is 273.90 Points, which can be redeemed for $10 off a future purchase!

Please let us know if there's anything else that we can do,

We want to make sure we're doing a good job for you, so you’ll always find the link to a four-question survey in our emails. Please tell us how we did today:

Survey

Please let us know if you need anything else.

Kind regards,

Matthew

LEGO® Service<<

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sed6...100 VIP points is better than a kick in the cojones.

Incidentally, the train front ( Element 6226707 Design number 37493) is now available on Bricks and Pieces (GBP 3.78 here in the UK) as are most of the other parts so if you wanted to make a custom dummy 'engine' (locomotive, auxilliary control car, missing 'end' - whatever you care to call it) then it should now be possible. Motors are not available, but you would probably only need to make up a dummy one anyway. Then again, you already have a free motor...

 

Edited by retrotecchie

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6 hours ago, Yodah said:

I went to my LEGO Store (Disney Village, Paris) after work this evening to buy some PF parts, and asked if they had the new 88005 PUP LED lights available. And they did! 

So, I obviously got one of those, and here is what I can say:

First, the middle piece size : it's a bit longer than the 2x2 piece of the old PF lights. This one is 2x3, and 2 plates in thickness. There are no studs on it, but a Technic hole in the middle. I don't yet own the 60197 train so I don't know if it will be good to attach it.

Next, how it works I connected the lights to the B plug of the hub, motor being on A plug, and tried to control them with both the PUP remote and the PUP app on my phone. The results were interesting, as the lights reacted differently:

  • with the remote, I can control separately the motor and the lights, which have 10 intensity levels. First press on the Plus (or Minus) button it lights up feably, then more intensely with each press until the max level the opposed button decreased the intensity by one step each press. Red button stops instantaneously.
  • with the app, however, there is no specific control for the light. They will turn on at maximum intensity as soon as I turn on the motor at speed 1, and the light intensity does not change as I increase or decrease the motor speed. They just turn off when speed is zero.

And now I just have to wait to find a nice way to integrate the lights in the 60198 engine... Alhough I may just retrofit it completely to PF and keep the PUP units for the Christmas Train, which will be much nicer without the ugly IR receiver modification...

I'm curious to see how you get lights o the 60198

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5 hours ago, Goldenmasamune said:

I'm curious to see how you get lights o the 60198

Motor on Port A, Lights (only one set) on Port B. You will need to use both channels on the controller, one for speed and one for illumination.

If, as has been mentioned, the smartphone app just turns the lights full on or full off when the train is moving, then that is a slightly different proposition.

I know years ago when my cousin played with HO scale Hornby trains, he had carriage illumination that stayed on even when the train was static. He used the Zero One controllers which keep a permanent DC on the tracks and just superimpose digital (DCC) control signals onto the rails.

I have ordered some PUP lights but they won't be with me for about ten days as some of the other items on my order are back-order until August 23rd and they are dispatching the whole lot once everything is in stock.

One question I want to know (and maybe someone has already looked at this?) is whether the 9v DC on the 6-wire PUP cable is permanently live (as in a direct connection to the battery) or switched live (as in, live when the hub is on and paired).

I have already made up a quick hand-wired PCB with six pins to attach to the PUP cable and plug (when I get my set or lights to hack) and some 9v/0v pins and C1/C2 pins. I have added some headers which will allow me to set various combinations (00,01,10 or 11) on the ID pins, plus a few LEDs to monitor the lines. Once I have the lights (I really don't want to chop a PUP motor just yet) and can hook it all up, I'll post some pictures and my findings. Watch this space!

The plan is to make a 'universal breakout connector' which should work as a PUP to PF interface plus maybe allow a few other, as yet unknown, tricks to happen.  

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32 minutes ago, retrotecchie said:

One question I want to know (and maybe someone has already looked at this?) is whether the 9v DC on the 6-wire PUP cable is permanently live (as in a direct connection to the battery) or switched live (as in, live when the hub is on and paired).

I don't have the LED lights yet, with the motors, the voltage on the DC lines varies with how fast the motors are instructed to be going. The other 4 wires do nothing other than power the AutoID (for simple motors, not the case for the Boost motor). They're not always switched on at 9v.

I don't believe in PUP there is any way for there to be a direct connection to the battery, as the ports are switched on/off activated by the firmware and triggered by either commands from the remote or over bluetooth. So unlike PF you can't just plug a motor into a battery pack and turn it on.

See this video Jorge did on getting old 9v/PF stuff to work with Boost (which is identical): 

 

The rest of his channel has lots of other newer videos on Powered Up:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCURXu8zPd8XQirxT9HkAd1g/videos

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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