Blk69

Power Functions 2.0 connectors not compatible with existing PF....that stinks!!!

Recommended Posts

So I just read Lego is releasing a new version of PF, 2.0 which is blue tooth controlled. That sound great.  Read the connectors are going to be different.  That sucks!  All our old motors and power packs won't be able to connect into the new receivers.  Hate to say it, but the only reason TLG would do this is to force everyone to purchase all new stuff!  Hope this is not true.  If it is, going to have some hard feelings toward TLG.  

Post mentioned the new train sets offered are very close to the existing sets.  Bet very close is actually basically the same thing exactly plus a few more dollars for the new PF.  This whole things is starting to really smell like poop.

Edited by Blk69

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that confirmed? When they say "The only caveat is that the new Power Functions 2.0 is not compatible with its predecessors", maybe that just means that the new Bluetooth system won't be compatible with the old IR system? 

Edited by LegoMonorailFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.promobricks.de/spielwarenmesse-2018-neue-lego-city-eisenbahn-sets-60197-und-60198/52708

PromoBricks reported this

"In addition to the remote control, there is also a new engine with a new connector. This should make it clear that the new Power Function parts are not compatible with the old ones. However, there will be a retrofit kit, with the old trains can be converted. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any prices for this. The installation becomes easy, since the dimensions for both parts should be the same. We were particularly pleased that the sets a new remote control included. According to our information, there should also be an app from LEGO to control the trains."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

S-brick is compatible with the old PF and bluetooth. Maybe a work-around...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, looks like Anton is going to have a refit...unless they make an S motor...Then I could have her locomotive driven, rather than tender driven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Blk69, @LegoMonorailFan, @technic70s, @arator, @Steamdemon

It actually makes perfect sense when you think about it:

Lego, as a company, is trying to cut off third-party products like S-brick , BuWizz, and PFx Brick, much in the same manner that Apple cut off headphone jacks on their more recent version of iPhone in an effort to coerce consumers to buy directly from them.

When you truly think about it, the only reason that Lego started producing the large steam engine wheels (https://brickset.com/sets/containing-design-85489) was to counter the sales of BigBenBrick's (http://www.bigbenbricks.com/index.html) steam driver wheels.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I want to know if anything else is going to change about the rest of the current PF system. Particularly, my favorite, the XL motor. :look:

 

Edited by LegoMonorailFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest anyone interested read the full promobricks post that was linked. Using google translate, I think the highlights are:

"The battery box is the same size as the old railway battery box, in the new box the receiver is integrated." So no longer need to also hide an IR receiver.

"We were particularly pleased that the sets a new remote control included. According to our information, there is also an app from LEGO to control the trains." So there will be a stand alone controller and an app.

"In addition to the remote control, there is also a new engine with a new connector. This should make it clear that the new Power Function parts are not compatible with the old ones." While a bit of a bummer...

"However, there will be a retrofit kit, with the old trains can be converted. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any prices for this. The installation becomes easy, since the dimensions for both parts should be the same." ... you should be able to use your old motors with the new BT-battery if you like. Also note that it sounds like the new battery is the same dimension as the old battery (but your clearance point probably moves from the top of the battery to the end of the battery). The key pinch point will be what to do if you have old batteries and worn out motors or IR receivers. The brickshow.com link from the first post noted, "Original Power Functions accessories will still be available in LEGO stores that carry them" (I think this bit came from an earlier promobricks post, but ???) So it sounds like for a few years you should be able to buy old motors.

My first thought was that with the consolidated BT-battery that they are forcing rechargeable batteries on PF, but looking at the wedo 2.0 line, "The hub requires two AA batteries or the Smarthub Rechargeable Battery, each sold separately." So does this mean we are entering the 3v train era? Assuming the PF2 prices will be similar to the wedo prices, the wedo controller (AA) is $63, the add on LiPo battery is $63 (needs the wedo controller, so it is "additional" rather than "in place of" as we have with the current PF battery), and the wallwart is $27 (but hopefully it is the same as the current PF rechargeable plug). So the power + com prices would be double what the PF are today. The wedo rechargeable battery has the plug port on the end opposite of where the control lines plug in. Since the wedo controller sits on top of the battery this could make it more difficult to permanently build the battery into a MOC. Looking at how they fit together, I suspect the same would be true for the PF2 design. The battery pack description does note that it "provides longer run time than AA batteries, and requires a charge time of approximately three hours." So that sounds like it might simply be the PF battery repackaged.

The promobricks post also confirmed the leaked pictures of the trains and gave the MSRP: passenger train is 130 Euro, freight train is 190 Euro

I don't think lego is trying to squash the third party suppliers, but I think they are more than happy to steal good ideas that have proven to be successful. It makes sense to me that lego is revamping PF after 10 years and it also makes sense that they go to BT communications. In any event, they are not singling out the train folks, we are just on the bloody cutting edge.

My concern is the amount of power that the BT-battery can deliver. Right now we have the V2 receiver and SBrick (among others...) so I'm sure something will come out.

Interestingly though, if the wedo prices stand, it looks like it would be cheaper to buy the current PF rechargeable battery and SBrick than PF2 BT-battery + rechargeable.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, zephyr1934 said:

My first thought was that with the consolidated BT-battery that they are forcing rechargeable batteries on PF, but looking at the wedo 2.0 line, "The hub requires two AA batteries or the Smarthub Rechargeable Battery, each sold separately." So does this mean we are entering the 3v train era?

Doubt it - according to the spec page on the Lego website, the PF train motor produces its maximum torque with 450mA of current. Since that's a 9V motor, we know that the motor draws (rounded) 4W of power. If they moved to 3V power, the current draw of the motor would increase to ~1.33A, and even further if the motor were to stall. Philo's website says that the PF train motor stall current is ~1.3A (apparently extrapolated). If the new motor were a 3V device, it'd stall out at just below 4A of current, by my poor math.

My reason for thinking this is that in order to retain backwards compatibility with the older train motors, the new motor's shape, size, cable attachment point, and everything will remain the same - All Lego has to do is tell the factories making the motors is to use the WeDo cables, since even the current PF train motor with four wires in its cable only uses the two power supply cables. That would save them money on molds for products that don't already sell a lot of units.

Looking at the WeDo Smart Hub, it's asymmetrical in that on the end where the wires plug in, the light gray 'top' extends further down, presumably to make room for the connectors. We know that the new AAA battery box has the same dimensions as the current one, so I'm predicting a similar asymmetry with the new AAA battery box, with a similar (if not identical) interface: power LED, a three-position switch, and a green on/off button. However, we'll probably get more studs on top due to the fact that the PF connector won't be present.

I'm actually holding the 'core' of the AAA battery box right now, and I'm seeing some dead space that may be eliminated by having to shuffle the battery positions around to make space for connectors that take up more space. I'm damn curious as to how they'll fit the Bluetooth chip and its associated support circuitry as well as the PCB antenna, since they're already having to make room for those new connectors. In fact, I would not be incredibly surprised to learn that the new battery box is actually a whole plate taller than the current one - not something incredibly obvious to notice, even if you are holding it, unless you've got the new and old one side by side. I seem to recall hearing that when the rechargeable battery box was introduced people wished it had some Technic pin holes - given the above, I don't think we'll be seeing those here either.

Of course, all I can do is speculate until they're out in the wild.

EDIT: Come to think of it, the new motor and battery box will likely be 9V due to the fact that we're getting a conversion cable of some sort. I highly doubt they're going to the trouble - and expense - of having a boost converter packed inside each cable.

Edited by Phoxtane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps, they patented the new connectors; 3rd parties will have to license it to make compatible connectors? 

I don't think it is hard to hack your own 3.3V logic to 9V motor driver if necessary.  Drawback is it'll take up more space in your already crammed locomotive.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting rid of a separate receiver brick and integrating it in the battery box makes a lot of sense. It makes it much easier to build it in trains, and not having to worry about the infrared receiver being visible. If they would've kept the old connectors, I guess it would pose challenges fitting two connections on the battery box. I'm curious to see how these connectors really look like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have several of the current AAA battery boxes.  I also have rechargeable 9v batteries and a few adapter cables.  I'm more concerned with functionality than long running times, but with an 8 battery charger, the latter isn't particularly of concern, either.  TLG's rechargeable is way too money, with a wall adapter twice the price of similar adapters.  I doubt the newer one will be any more economical (quite the contrary).

In any event, I would merely hope that some of this "retrofit" kit stuff will include a stand-alone BT receiver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ronenson said:

Getting rid of a separate receiver brick and integrating it in the battery box makes a lot of sense. It makes it much easier to build it in trains, and not having to worry about the infrared receiver being visible. If they would've kept the old connectors, I guess it would pose challenges fitting two connections on the battery box. I'm curious to see how these connectors really look like.

[Removed image]

So some kind of strange 6-pins connector. I think, based on upcoming sets without PF and the update cycle of sets like Mindstorms, but also initiatives including iPad apps to control LEGO, that the whole powered/motorized system is being overhauled once again. 3.3V makes sense for modern microcontrollers, a LiPo is 3.7V, so using a booster is an option that is often used in other (non-LEGO) electronics.

Update:

Apparently Promobricks added the WeDo 2.0 controller and I did not read it well enough. I have WeDo 1.0 but not the 2.0 version. It would make sense though that LEGO will try to integrate PF 2.0 it with WeDo 2.0 and Boost.

For reference what the WeDo motor / sensors look like: http://www.technicbricks.com/2016/01/wedo-20-new-parts.html

More on this: https://ramblingbrick.com/2018/02/01/all-aboard-power-functions-2-0-with-bluetooth-announced-at-nuremberg-toy-fair-rampant-speculation-follows/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not so bad in my opinion, as long as retrofit connectors exist.

At the end...motors are always motors and Infrared, has a lot of limits. I know there are other solutions from 3rd party, but TLG needed a bit of innovation and the battery/receiver is really a good opportunity to build smaller vehicles.

The good part is that old PF parts will cost less for some years (until they become rare and collectible ).

Edited by Paperinik77pk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple makes a lot of money by forcing its users to switch chargers every other year. And if the connector is proprietary and patented, LEGO can force third party systems to pay for a license.

But I wonder what the technical reasons for the switch are, if any. Which new functionality is possible by switching from 4 to 6 wires?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't quiet recall, but how many M motors can you stack on one receiver? Point being that a potential max of two connector outlets for a battery box + receiver combo unit results in a lot of limitations. 

So just because TLG is making a combo unit doesn't mean they're not going to make a standalone receiver unit.

Think about Technic? Some would debate that TLG doesn't care about about trains fans, but I'm fairly certain that TLG cares a lot about Technic fans! And I'm sure Technic fans need a stand alone receiver unit. (I did start a poll about this in the Technic forum, but the polls don't work over there. :sceptic: )

 

Edited by LegoMonorailFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Each train set requires 10 AAA batteries, rather than the 9 that the old ones did. It's therefore unlikely that the voltage will have changed. The extra one is very likely to be in the new controller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So......if 9VDC motors are to remain, there is no reason to change the connectors.  Right?  Makes no difference if motor was plugged directly into the new power box or the original I/R receiver.  They both source out a 9 VDC.  Only reason would be to force everyone to buy conversion cables and/or new motors.  

Whats TLG excuse going to be when LEPIN offers the PF 2.0 stuff for like 1/10 the price?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope there is still an AAA battery box. I like the LiPo battery very much because it can be charged without disassembling the trains, but none of the LiPo batteries will still work in 10-20 years. Only the AAA boxes will because AAA batteries will certainly be available for the next decades. Ideally, there will be two battery boxes again.

If they release a PF2 receiver with the same size and the same connectors as the current IR receiver to upgrade existing trains, then I'm fine and I would not care about new connectors or form factors of the new PF2 parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t see the benefit in trains yet but for technic/mindstorm the extra wires could be use for position feedback if new motors support it. 

Edited by Minique85
Typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cwetqo said:

Some interesting news about new controllers.

https://www.promobricks.de/lego-patent-einreichung-offenbart-details-zur-neuen-fernsteuerung/53202

It seems that we will again get "+" and "-" buttons, similrar to RC system. I think it's step back from current rotary encoders, and I hope TLG will also use "slider" controller, as in patent.

As described in this article, it sounds like these new remotes are simply on-off control - so how does that work for the train people?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Translating the article to English, I see a line "At the fair, for example, the "A" button accelerated the train and slowed it down with the "B" button."  So I would guess that you keep pushing the A button to make the train go faster, and keep pushing the B-button to make the train go slower. Similar to the current train rotary knob controls.

While I'm not much of a train fan, I'm curious to see this new system in action, I can't wait for some proper reviews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.