Sariel

Powered Up: test & comparison with Power Functions

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I finally had time to play with the Powered Up elements from the new Train sets. They surely don't represent the complete PU system yet, but we can draw a lot of conclusions from them:

 

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Power seems to be a problem. Boost didn't last very long on AAA cells, and this one doesn't either. Let's hope there's a AA battery box and/or rechargeable battery in the future. I also hope the app gives more functionality- the motor-dependent control scheme seems a bit inflexible.

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Interesting, thanks. The big question is what kind of other bits will TLG serve us, given the last motorized sets I think there is incline to less motors - ie technic BB will be the same with different form factor and motors will get new connector only. I do not think there will be new motors at all. If TLG decides to make RC set with more than 2 channels i think they might produce some kind of splitter, but I'm sceptical about it. I would like to know what happens if there are two remotes and one BB and vice versa.

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If old motors will not be compatible with the new system for Technic, than it will be a disaster. Buying new sets just for the same (or in the new cover) engines, just with new type of connector is just a pity. Also not mention, that there is no reason for keeping the PU from the Trains not compatible with PU from Boost...

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Unless you can pair the transmitter with more than one receiver this "new technology" is useless to me. I currently run four trains with two IR transmitters. I don't want to be limited to one remote per train. I can run EIGHT trains with one PF transmitter! The BT seems to have a very limited range advantage over the IR, not enough to matter to me. Not needing line of sight is a nice feature as it allows for more design flexibility with no IR receiver and no need for the IR receiver to be visible. Seems like one step forward and two steps back IMHO.

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29 minutes ago, Mr Hobbles said:

Can you try with the WeDo 2.0 motor and see if it behaves the same way as the Boost motor?

I don't have any WeDo 2.0 components, sorry.

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The fact that you can't have two items running on the same channel drives me nuts. 

The fact that the motor requires you to hold down the button, and doesn't let you adjust speed also drives me nuts. 

I think Sbrick + powerfunctions is the best way to go so far. 

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I think a cable will be available to turn  a PF motor into a working PU motor, just no position feedback via the extra 2 lines.  This cable will have a big thick PF connector on one end that holds the discreet electronics that identify the motor as a DC, no position feedback motor so the PU Firmware identifies it correctly and controls it probably exactly like the Boost motor was acting. Or it may be identified like the train motor and act like it, who knows. But the reverse engineering on Boost and We-do 2.0 already tells us how the interface to motors works, it’s how they bring PF motors into the mix that is still yet to be seen. We know there will be a we-do 1.0 to we-do 2.0 motor adapter because TLG would not make education market buy all new motors to upgrade to we-do 2.0. Teachers would curse their name if they didn’t provide a way to mix and match between the two.

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Sadly, at this moment I don't see any advantages of new system over old one.

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@zux, tablet/smart phone app integration. Smart motor interface, configurable controller (which is just a mechanical solution to polarity switch so that they could remove the polarity switch altogether) Auto pairing removed the channel selection switch but we don’t know how two bricks and two controllers work at the same time yet. So yeah, we gained some things, lost some others (with marginal compensation) but all of this goes towards merging Mindstorms, we-do, PF, Boost, and PU into one common platform that services all 4 needs, institutional education, home schooling education, robotic competition, and generic power functionality for all themes including Technic, trains (which we have seen), creator, or specialty themes Like DC Heroes and the Batmobile which we have seen already.

In truth, I have wondered why it has taken this long to consolidate with the exception of pricing. Educational pricing (over pricing some would say) and consumer pricing have always been at odds. Some things were cheaper in educational because of buying in bulk and were duplicated in the consumer sales space while other things were astronomically priced because there was no consumer equivalent available to help drive down costs.  But exclusivity helped keep the prices higher in education and since public money is used to fund education, there was some price gouging going on because of this.

With the competition in the educational market space getting tighter, TLG has had to cut costs to remain competitive. By combining their offerings into a single platform based on the we-do 2.0 architecture, they get to reduce their educational pricing making them more competitive in that market, they provide all necessities for general power functionality for All themes, plus they have a new offering in home education, a cheaper alternative to Mindstorms in the Boost line. So for TLG, Power Up is a win/win/win/win and if we are lucky, in Technic, there is a still to be released PU module that is a 4 port hub/BB combo, or a 4 port hub and rechargeable BB, but for all things holy, I hope to God they don’t just stick us with a Boost module with 2 built in motors and only 2 externally available motor/sensor ports.  That would be a total fail in my book.

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Hmm... :hmpf_bad: Not very promising so far... I'm really hoping we'll keep our current PF motors and their functions, as well as get a rechargeable battery box. Because this system is Bluetooth, I'm not upset that I need a different remote for each battery box. A custom app (or the official one) can easily solve the issue I'm sure.

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Perhaps you can switch channels from your phone? Still, total crap that you can’t do it from the controller.

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Needing to use a screwdriver to change out the batteries seems like a poor move here, LEGO. On a remote that's just sending BT signals or lighting up an IR LED it's fine, but for a battery box that's powering motors we really should be able to change the batteries without tools.

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24 minutes ago, Captainowie said:

Needing to use a screwdriver to change out the batteries seems like a poor move here, LEGO. On a remote that's just sending BT signals or lighting up an IR LED it's fine, but for a battery box that's powering motors we really should be able to change the batteries without tools.

The battery box couldn't serve as  a structural part if the top and bottom were easily seperated, hence the screws. Plus most childs toys now days require a screwdriver to access the batteries as a safety precaution. And you can always leave the screws out of the box if you like. You should consider yourself fortunate if the screws are your only concern with this new release :)

Edited by sed6
cnat spele

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Most all kids toys in the UK have screws on the battery compartments now.  It's annoying, but I guess we don't want kids eating batteries eh?  Especially leaking ones :classic: 

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It seems the official name for this new WeDo2.0/Boost/PoweredUp tech is "Lego Power Functions 2.0".

I bought a bunch of the new motors and sensors from a seller on Bricklink, and they came sealed in official Lego polybags, with item codes 45303/45304/45305. If you go to the Lego replacement parts site and punch in these product codes, they show up as:

"LPF2.0 Medium Motor"
"LPF2.0 Sensor Detect 2X4X1"
"LPF2.0 Sensor Tilt 2X4X1"

Also, the hub for Lego Boost (Set 17101) is labelled as:

"LPF2.0 Hub Motor 6X16X4 No. 1"

I also notice that the connector is stamped "(c) Lego 2014"! This has been in the works for a while.

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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@Bublehead smartphone/table or everything that is using touch screen is a disadvantage for a very simple reason - no touch feedback.

Combining Mindstorn, WeDo, Boost, Trains & Technic into a single system, might seem reasonable, but usually unifying results in lack of features and lots of compromises for each system. We have to wait what PF2 is going to bring for Technic. However at this moment I see no benefit of switching my Trains and Technic stuff to PF2.

@Mr Hobbles Could you share pictures of polybags you've got?

Edited by zux

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@zux Here you go (A bit ripped but you get the gist).

https://imgur.com/a/p2FAobR

Edit: I just wanted to throw in my 2c and say that LPF2.0 has me way more excited than LPF1.0 ever did. I held off on LPF1.0 as the use of infra red reduced automation potential as no device (Laptops, smartphones, raspberry pis, etc) have IR transmitters anymore.

We know that Powered Up/Boost/WeDo 2.0 (ie. the LPF2.0 range) are fully compatible thanks to the reverse engineering done by several projects on GitHub (And are limited purely by the capability of Lego's official apps). As a programmer, it excites me as I can use my laptop to connect to a whole bunch of LPF2.0 hubs, sensors, and motors, and fully automate everything from AI driven cars or complex train layouts, purely through Bluetooth.

It's also worth noting that this is still early days. It took a while for the LPF1.0 to get fully fleshed out with more devices, and this is still version 1.0 of the respective apps. Give it a little while for more motors, sensors, hubs to arrive, and more apps/versions to be released. :)

Reference projects: 
https://github.com/JorgePe/pyb00st
https://github.com/hobbyquaker/node-movehub

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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5 hours ago, andythenorth said:

Most all kids toys in the UK have screws on the battery compartments now.  It's annoying, but I guess we don't want kids eating batteries eh?  Especially leaking ones :classic: 

It's a liability and lawyers.  I don't bother screwing down my AAA battery boxes so that I can easily pull out and replace the rechargeable AAA batteries in my trains.  It doesn't look like you can do this, the way the new battery holder is designed.

28 minutes ago, Mr Hobbles said:

Edit: I just wanted to throw in my 2c and say that LPF2.0 has me way more excited than LPF1.0 ever did. I held off on LPF1.0 as the use of infra red reduced automation potential as no device (Laptops, smartphones, raspberry pis, etc) have IR transmitters anymore.

I made a Bluetooth to PF IR transmitter a couple of years ago from a few dollars of parts for fun.  I didn't really enjoy controling on a touch screen.  Tapping on glass over time seems to hurt my finger joints. 

 

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4 minutes ago, dr_spock said:

It's a liability and lawyers.  I don't bother screwing down my AAA battery boxes so that I can easily pull out and replace the rechargeable AAA batteries in my trains.  It doesn't look like you can do this, the way the new battery holder is designed.

I made a Bluetooth to PF IR transmitter a couple of years ago from a few dollars of parts for fun.  I didn't really enjoy controling on a touch screen.  Tapping on glass over time seems to hurt my finger joints. 

 

Of course it's always been possible to make your own hardware to interface with it, but with the new system you don't need to. Just pure Bluetooth, no additional hardware or modification required. :) 

I don't plan to use a touch screen, I'll be writing my own code that runs on a laptop/Raspberry Pi that talks over Bluetooth. I'm planning to make fully automated train layouts and cars.

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55 minutes ago, Mr Hobbles said:

Edit: I just wanted to throw in my 2c and say that LPF2.0 has me way more excited than LPF1.0 ever did.

+1

It's a 30-years-newer equivalent of this box my school had, which let BBC Micro programs control Lego 9v motors. :thumbup:

https://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/content/Control-IT-buffer-box/

Except no box needed, just laptop :grin:

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4 hours ago, andythenorth said:

It's a 30-years-newer equivalent of this box my school had, which let BBC Micro programs control Lego 9v motors. :thumbup:

https://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/content/Control-IT-buffer-box/

Except no box needed, just laptop :grin:

Man, I'm getting old. I learned programming on a BBC Micro and automated chemical laboratory experiments with it.

I like the bluetooth of LPF2.0 because I now have a Great Ball Contraption where kids can steer a WALL·E to catch the LEGO balls and bring them to the next machine. Every two minutes there is a new kid and every kid I have to tell (multiple times) to point the LPF1.0 controller to WALL·E. Imagine how I feel after 7 days and 7 hours at LEGO World Utrecht.

So I'm looking forward to a LPF2.0 on/off controller and receiver with lithium batteries instead of AAA batteries. With LPF1.0 WALL·E runs a whole day on the current Lithium battery, Sariel review wasn't very promising on battery stamina with LPF2.0

Edited by Berthil

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Not impressed, seems like a downgraded version of the power functions.

Only things I like is that it recognizes the motors and the bluetooth which is not sensitive to light.

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