Blk69

Is there an easy way to get track power to a PF train motor?

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Looking for a bit of help. Late in the game with Lego, only have pf trains (plastic track). Building a winter village scene and want to run a train a lot. Train goes thru AAA batteries like water.  Thinking about putting copper tape on my rails and converting to 9V DC (have transformer). Is there an easy way to make a power pickup for my pf motor?  Planned on using a damaged traditional 9V motor, but unable to secure (would have the pickups and metal wheels).  Assume I am not the first person to try this.  If anyone has any links to threads or videos would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you in advance.  

If this is just not practacle will look into rechargeable batteries.  Wish pf used 4.5V AA instead of the 9V AAA!

 

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I don't think it would be terribly easy.  Lego have an official adaptor lead which can be used to connect PF lights to the 9v motor, and you could remove the motor itself and enough gearing from the 9v motor housing for the two main axles to run freely.  You would probably need to put a weight brick on top of it to compensate for the lack of the motor's weight, so I think it's all doable.

My own experience is limited to getting the cover off a 12v motor 30 years ago.  It didn't clip together properly afterwards, but it did run!

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I would really recommend to invest in a LiPo. Converting using copper tape will work but it won't look neat. I did it to some points in the past. Better to use ME model tracks (e.g.) in case you really want that. I think it would be more useful to make a wireless charging station at certain points in the setup.

Something like this: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/ca28e2b1-136a-4317-8a38-c62fc64206cf

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I had the same issue (wanted to run the WV train without messing about with batteries) and ended up picking up some old 9v gear from BrickLink.

 

Otherwise - as @JopieK recommends - the rechargeable PF battery is a good investment to at least get longer run time.

 

 

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$80 for a rechargeable battery and a wall charger is kinda step.  Guess I should be used to paying high prices with Lego...lol.  Real advantage with the rechargeable battery pack vs rechargeable AAA batteries is not having to pull them out of the battery pack each time you need to charge them.  Those little screws are a real pain in the butt to get in/out.

Do have one concern as per Lego's data sheet, rechargeable battery pack is rated at 7.2 V.  Would think motors would run about 20% slow using this vs a traditional AAA battery pack (true 9V).  Does Lego give an warrentee on the ILPo?  seams like rechargeable batteries only last me a few years typically.

 

 

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If you dont mind soldering a bit yourself you can use a USB powerbank with a step up converter to 9V.

A 2600mAh battery pack will last for hours. Look at ebay for Lm2577 or Lm2596 step up converters. Some are replaced with Xl6009

Cut a PF extension wire and use that as output.

Remember to adjust the output voltage before you connect it. 

Sure you could make something with a bare lipo pack and get it a bit more compact, but this is very easy to make and charge.  

Edited by LEGO_duden

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The easies and cheapest way would be to use an other kind of battery pack. These both uses AA instead of AAA batteries, so they will last for much more time. First one is with PF connector, so it´s just plug´n play:

https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=59510c01#T=C

59510c01.png

Second one is lower in size but longer and has old-style 9V connector, but actuall extension cable has one side that fits, so again plug´n play, but additional wire needed:

https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=2847c01#T=C

2847c01.png

the cable:

https://shop.lego.com/en-US/LEGO-Power-Functions-Extension-Wire-8886

60656.original.png

Hope that will help somewhat

regards

 

BrickMusher

 

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I buy 7.2v lipo batteries that aren’t in any sort of housing, splice in a PF connector and can run the charging end of the battery wherever I want.  They come in various MAH and sizes and total cost is usually 8 bucks for one.  

Edited by justinwebb

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If you are not experienced with LiPo batteries, buying the LEGO rechargeable battery would be a safer Christmas option.  It has all the electronic components to recharge the battery cells correctly and to keep them from draining below the minimum safe LiPO voltage.

You can also get a couple sets of AAA NiMH rechargeables and a charger for about the same as the LEGO LiPO + charger.  Run one set in the train while the other set of AAA is recharging. The downside is swapping batteries in and out of the AAA battery box.  It's easier if you don't screw down the AAA battery box screws.

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10 hours ago, LEGO_duden said:

If you dont mind soldering a bit yourself you can use a USB powerbank with a step up converter to 9V.

A 2600mAh battery pack will last for hours. Look at ebay for Lm2577 or Lm2596 step up converters. Some are replaced with Xl6009

Cut a PF extension wire and use that as output.

Remember to adjust the output voltage before you connect it. 

Sure you could make something with a bare lipo pack and get it a bit more compact, but this is very easy to make and charge.  

My soldering skills are fair.  Fabricated a animated Christmas light show for the front yard last year.  Soldered a controller and a lot of pixels.

Couple of questions.  

1) Sounds like for this setup, would be easier to cut the Lego PF cord from the Lego RF reciever and solder in a USB.  Could swap USB batteries then.

2) The UCS batteries I have used/seen in the past as kinda large to put on a Lego train.  Do you have a particular manufacture you have had good results with?

3) Think you might be able to hide the converter inside the old battery box?  Just the outer shell part.

 

8 hours ago, BrickMusher said:

The easies and cheapest way would be to use an other kind of battery pack. These both uses AA instead of AAA batteries, so they will last for much more time. First one is with PF connector, so it´s just plug´n play:

https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=59510c01#T=C

59510c01.png

Second one is lower in size but longer and has old-style 9V connector, but actuall extension cable has one side that fits, so again plug´n play, but additional wire needed:

https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=2847c01#T=C

2847c01.png

the cable:

https://shop.lego.com/en-US/LEGO-Power-Functions-Extension-Wire-8886

60656.original.png

Hope that will help somewhat

regards

 

BrickMusher

Yes, would perfer AA, but size gets to be an issue on a 6 wide train engine.  Some of my engines are only 4 studs wide at the cab.  Makes things challenging.

 

7 hours ago, justinwebb said:

I buy 7.2v lipo batteries that aren’t in any sort of housing, splice in a PF connector and can run the charging end of the battery wherever I want.  They come in various MAH and sizes and total cost is usually 8 bucks for one.  

Are you able to get a lipo battery and a PF cord for $8?  That seams to good to be true.

My experience with Lipo batteries is limited.  Basically only have them in my laptop and cordless drill.  Both have dedicated charging systems that assume have electronics in them to prevent bad things from happening.  Dr Spock mentioned needing protection from draining the battery too low.  Are you concerned about this?  

Do you have any problems with heat as the battery is in use?  Hate to have my Lego bricks melt.  

 

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1 hour ago, Blk69 said:

My soldering skills are fair.  Fabricated a animated Christmas light show for the front yard last year.  Soldered a controller and a lot of pixels.

Couple of questions.  

1) Sounds like for this setup, would be easier to cut the Lego PF cord from the Lego RF reciever and solder in a USB.  Could swap USB batteries then.

2) The UCS batteries I have used/seen in the past as kinda large to put on a Lego train.  Do you have a particular manufacture you have had good results with?

3) Think you might be able to hide the converter inside the old battery box?  Just the outer shell part.

1) That could work of course, I prefer to keep the receiver stock. A worn out motor could also donate the cable.

2) I used a GP 1C02A, it measures 70x30x22 mm and worked for hours in a standard Lego train set. See attached picture.This isn't the actual setup, but you get the idea.

3) The converter alone should fit, but I just insulated it in clear heat shrink tube from ebay.

You can also get empty powerbanks on ebay with the charging circuit and just add a suitable battery

But then you are on your own finding a good, safe setup.

GP_lego.jpg

Edited by LEGO_duden

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1 hour ago, Blk69 said:

Are you able to get a lipo battery and a PF cord for $8?  That seams to good to be true.

My experience with Lipo batteries is limited.  Basically only have them in my laptop and cordless drill.  Both have dedicated charging systems that assume have electronics in them to prevent bad things from happening.  Dr Spock mentioned needing protection from draining the battery too low.  Are you concerned about this?  

Do you have any problems with heat as the battery is in use?  Hate to have my Lego bricks melt.  

 

Laptop and drills generally use Li-Ion batteries.  They are not the same as LiPo.  LiPo needs more tender lovingly care than other types of batteries.  The LiPo in my drone get warm hot due to the amount current is being drawn by the motors.  I suppose it can get very hot if your train motor stalls and there is no over-current fuse potection.

Here's guide to understanding LiPo if you haven't use them before:  https://rogershobbycenter.com/lipoguide/

 

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15 hours ago, Blk69 said:

$80 for a rechargeable battery and a wall charger is kinda step.  Guess I should be used to paying high prices with Lego...lol.  Real advantage with the rechargeable battery pack vs rechargeable AAA batteries is not having to pull them out of the battery pack each time you need to charge them.  Those little screws are a real pain in the butt to get in/out.

Do have one concern as per Lego's data sheet, rechargeable battery pack is rated at 7.2 V.  Would think motors would run about 20% slow using this vs a traditional AAA battery pack (true 9V).  Does Lego give an warrentee on the ILPo?  seams like rechargeable batteries only last me a few years typically.

 

 

It is not a high price at all. The LiPo is VERY durable. Apart from that have you seen model railroad prices? And those LiPo's last very long. They have only one disadvantage: now and then you want different form factors to fit in your train. A hobby costs money and LEGO is not a very expensive hobby compared to a lot of other hobbies. LEGO service is always very solid. LiPo's do run out, but LEGO will replace them if they are able to )if they are still in production). I have experience with Mindstorms.

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On 11/19/2017 at 2:22 PM, LEGO_duden said:

1) That could work of course, I prefer to keep the receiver stock. A worn out motor could also donate the cable.

2) I used a GP 1C02A, it measures 70x30x22 mm and worked for hours in a standard Lego train set. See attached picture.This isn't the actual setup, but you get the idea.

3) The converter alone should fit, but I just insulated it in clear heat shrink tube from ebay.

You can also get empty powerbanks on ebay with the charging circuit and just add a suitable battery

But then you are on your own finding a good, safe setup.

GP_lego.jpg

That UCS power supply isn't to big at all.  Think I could hide these items in all my trains less the 2016 Holiday Train.  Thank you for sharing. Agree with getting a old battery box and using to house these items.

On 11/19/2017 at 2:26 PM, dr_spock said:

Laptop and drills generally use Li-Ion batteries.  They are not the same as LiPo.  LiPo needs more tender lovingly care than other types of batteries.  The LiPo in my drone get warm hot due to the amount current is being drawn by the motors.  I suppose it can get very hot if your train motor stalls and there is no over-current fuse potection.

Here's guide to understanding LiPo if you haven't use them before:  https://rogershobbycenter.com/lipoguide/

 

Thank you for the link.  Not sure I am ready for LiPo.  

On 11/19/2017 at 2:28 PM, JopieK said:

It is not a high price at all. The LiPo is VERY durable. Apart from that have you seen model railroad prices? And those LiPo's last very long. They have only one disadvantage: now and then you want different form factors to fit in your train. A hobby costs money and LEGO is not a very expensive hobby compared to a lot of other hobbies. LEGO service is always very solid. LiPo's do run out, but LEGO will replace them if they are able to )if they are still in production). I have experience with Mindstorms.

From the the rogershobbycenter link appears you need special circuiting in your charger not damage the Lipo batteries.  Difficult to DIY.  

Hobbies are expensive and I do have have model trains (O and G scale, all conventional powered).  After a bit of research $80 for a high quality battery and charger is not that out of line compared to other hobbies.  I stand corrected.  As for Lego not being an expensive hobby, my wife would disagree with you.  Think most can agree its a good hobby thou.

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7 hours ago, Blk69 said:

As for Lego not being an expensive hobby, my wife would disagree with you.  Think most can agree its a good hobby thou.

Buy her that horse she always wanted and she'll never complain about you spending too much money on lego again

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5 hours ago, zephyr1934 said:

Buy her that horse she always wanted and she'll never complain about you spending too much money on lego again

My wife wants the big sets, I just buy some train sets and further mostly parts ;) Good agreement.

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8 hours ago, JopieK said:

My wife wants the big sets, I just buy some train sets and further mostly parts ;) Good agreement.

My wife always claims that I do have already >everything< TLC has >ever< made ... so there is always a "why on earth" question, when I am running around in the stores that have LEGO stuff, regardless what it is. On the other hand - the LEGO Advent Calendar is always - as a surprise for me - up on December 1st. So it is not too bad at all, I just need a good reason: Never seen before, will soon be out of stock, the set I wanted the most in my entire life. And my brother in law is really convinced that Christmas is not Christmas, when I don't get a set from Santa. Well - true. He is a very smart man :classic:

Uhmm on topic: I would really go with the LEGO LiPo solution. Get power from the (permanently powered) track into the LiPo (securely accepts 9 ... 18 V, don't worry about polarity, AC works as well. And simultaneously power your PF stuff off the LiPo. It is really nice, what they came up with over at Santa's errr TLC!   

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Speaking of wives, a buddy of mine just got 6 of the winter village sets.  His wife was not to thrilled when the amazon packages showed up.  He would say what he spent, but had to be close to a grand.  Thought he would be spending a few nights on my couch.  Told him you have to stagger these purchases so it doesn't look so bad.  He will learn.

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I've used a broken 9v train motor to do the exact same thing. No soldering required. Open the broken train motor, rip the motor out and put back together. Take a pf extension cable and connect to the top pickups of the train motor. Connect other end to your of motor. I've been running 2 xl motors this way, and works great!

Edited by supaseibz
Grammar

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