JopieK

Powered Up - A tear down...

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I searched for quite some time on the web, but haven't seen these.
But I searched for Powered Up and not Weedo as search term.

Just ordered three of the 25cm versions, now I just have to wait a few weeks...

Thanks a lot Technicmaster.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks again for the link to Aliexpress Technicmaster.
Almost a month later, the Powered Up extension cables arrived today.

They look better than excepted:
- The used cable looks and feels like the original Powered Up device cables
- The plugs also looks very much like the original, the only visible difference is, that there are no texts on the plug and that the pins are not gold plated.
- The female connector looks also good and isn't as bulky as the more expensive 3D printed version that was already around for quite some time. The contacts seem to be spring-loaded like on the original connectors, so hopefully they will last for some time.

I just tested the a motor and the Boost distance sensor with all three 25cm extensions in a row and it worked flawlessly. :)
Will post some photos tomorrow.

Seems like a good deal for the 20€ for all three cables including shipping...

 

Edited by Thyraz

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Nope, sadly not.

We will see how much of a problem this is ...
Sure, I can live without hot-plugging, but my son will do it anyway. 

But with the given costs for Powered Up components I think it's worth a try,
as there are not many options for extension cables.

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Posted (edited)

Does anyone had a chance to speak with Lego team to address the possible update of the hub to work with technic engines (I.e. crocodile mod) with the remote acting like the normal train engine? Technically the hub is able to do that with the right update. 
My apologies if that was already mentioned in this topic, I did try to search it first. 
 

Or, if you have any advice how to make it without the constant use of phone/tablet, let me know. Thanks. 

Edited by blondasek

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Hi,

I don't think this is the plan.
But it's annouced that you will be able to load a program into the hub permanently, and if this can also be connected via remote everything would be fine.

Or you use a micrcontroller instead of a smartDevice...

 

 

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7 minutes ago, blondasek said:

Does anyone had a chance to speak with Lego team to address the possible update of the hub to work with technic engines (I.e. crocodile mod) with the remote acting like the normal train engine? Technically the hub is able to do that with the right update. 
My apologies if that was already mentioned in this topic, I did try to search it first. 
 

Or, if you have any advice how to make it without the constant use of phone/tablet, let me know. Thanks. 

I made an adapter cable that changed the ID of the motor attacted to ID of the PU train motor.  The PU hub thinks the connected PU m-motor is a PU train motor and the PU remote acts with speed steps.

 

 

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@blondasek the challenge would be to set the behavior of the motor. You'd need to define somehow if you want to have bang-bang control for a specific motor, or gradual speed control, or servo control. That's why it is currently working through the app where you can define the parameters for the motors.

The expected standalone mode where the code can be loaded to the hub could be a solution for this, let's hope that it'll be included. 

Otherwise I'd love to see a controller with proportional joysticks and buttons that can be configured via the app, and then used in standalone mode with the hubs. I'm not sure that one will ever become reality...

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  If you want to change the 'personality' of the connected PU device without performing your own cable/motor hacks, you can perform a simple trick by combining a couple available cable adapter assemblies from PV Productions.  Start with the PU-to-PF adapter cable, which features an integrated device type selector switch to choose between the two "dumb motor" modes, then chain it with the PF-to-PU adapter cable by stacking the PF connectors in the middle.  Now you have a long PU-to-PU extension cable with a device type selector built-in!  This also effectively can re-define any "smart" PU motor as a "dumb" motor, improving compatibility with some hub/firmware/app combinations if you don't need the position/rotation feedback in your build. 

  Expanding on this trick, you could stack multiple PF-to-PU adapter cables at the mid-point if you want to power multiple target motors in parallel, while allowing a mixture of PU and PF/9V motors together if desired, so long as you respect the maximum amperage for the hub port.  In addition, inserting a PF polarity switch in-line at the mid-point, or to any parallel branch individually, would permit physical/manual direction/polarity and on-off control independent of software or bluetooth remote type/configuration.  Further, this would also allow the mechanism to directly interact with the motor(s) via the switch(es) if needed, as is a fundamental property of the Akiyuki Train System.

PV-Productions-Powered-Up-to-Power-Functions-Adapter-v1.png + PV-Productions-Powered-Up-Adapter-v1.png

https://pv-productions.com/product/powered-up-to-power-functions-adapter/ (PU-to-switch-to-PF/9V cable)

https://pv-productions.com/product/power-functions-to-powered-up-adapter/ (Get the PF/PF-to-PU version as first choice for the above trick - the PF/9V-to-PU version can't stack directly without the addition of old studded 9V plates or cables.  You still get access to a 9V studded attachment point on the bottom of the first adapter cable end anyway.)

  These cables are relatively expensive, but are sturdy, safe, and reusable/reconfigurable at any time.  In my case, I saw it as a one-time investment to dramatically improve my build flexibility and reduce frustration with compatibility.  I bought most of the adapter cable and power injector variations made by PV Productions in order to maximize my creative freedom and minimize my use of batteries.  Beyond my above suggestions, there are numerous other ways you can combine multi-generational devices with these adapter cables when used separately or in different combinations, which I do all the time, so the benefits out-weigh the costs in my situation.  For example, I was running PU motors off my Dacta Interface B the other day! :grin:

  I am planning on writing a dedicated article covering multi-generational connections and components some time in the near future.

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16 hours ago, kbalage said:

Otherwise I'd love to see a controller with proportional joysticks and buttons that can be configured via the app, and then used in standalone mode with the hubs. I'm not sure that one will ever become reality...

There is a simple "solution" as a first step:

Just implement any BT gamepad into the powered Up App, like with RI .

Of course you still need a smartDevice, but it would be a start....

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33 minutes ago, Lok24 said:

There is a simple "solution" as a first step:

Just implement any BT gamepad into the powered Up App, like with RI .

Of course you still need a smartDevice, but it would be a start....

That'd help, but as you said it's only the start. Unfortunately the implementation of the gamepads is far from being good in RI, the speed heavily depends on the performance of the smart device. 

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@kbalage did you have a chance to speak with someone from PUP Team about this?
For me it is a simple change - if the application can “upload” the engine behaviour to the hub, it could be added as a “advanced setting” to the PowerUP app which could be required to upload the behaviour at least once. Even if this would have to be done each time the hub is powered up, it would be convenient enough. Why the PUP app? As for example the crocodile mod is there - so adding this option would be no problem. The biggest problem is that there is no easy way to find out about their plans.

@dr_spock thank you for your video :)

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The simplest way would be to have a copy of the firmware where the one "if is train-motor" statement is changed, provided by LEGO in a seperate App.

Could be loaded with normal bootloader.

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1 minute ago, Lok24 said:

The simplest way would be to have a copy of the firmware where the one "if is train-motor" statement is changed, provided by LEGO in a seperate App.

Could be loaded with normal bootloader.

That would still not help to define the motor type. From a practical point of view, how many people would require a 2 port hub with only gradual speed control on both channels? It'd help with a specific case for the Crocodile locomotive, but what else? 

@blondasek The VM plans were announced at Brickcon last year with a closed beta starting this year, but I guess the ongoing pandemic situation delays a lot of things. Unfortunately I don't know more about the plans, but based on previous discussions simplification and improved usability is the priority. I'll advocate the controller flexibility if I'll have a chance :)  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kbalage said:

That would still not help to define the motor type. From a practical point of view, how many people would require a 2 port hub with only gradual speed control on both channels? It'd help with a specific case for the Crocodile locomotive, but what else?

 

and all other locos? Or using a carussell with less than 100% speed?

Edited by Lok24

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2 hours ago, kbalage said:

That would still not help to define the motor type. From a practical point of view, how many people would require a 2 port hub with only gradual speed control on both channels? It'd help with a specific case for the Crocodile locomotive, but what else? 

@blondasek The VM plans were announced at Brickcon last year with a closed beta starting this year, but I guess the ongoing pandemic situation delays a lot of things. Unfortunately I don't know more about the plans, but based on previous discussions simplification and improved usability is the priority. I'll advocate the controller flexibility if I'll have a chance :)  

Not just the crocodile, custom locomotives in general. There are a ton of locomotives out there that need to use M, L, or XL motors, sometimes a pair of them, and right now the only way to do that with PUp is either build something that can use the Croc profile with 1 L-Motor plugged in to slot B, or the user has to delve in to learning the PUp programming blocks. That's a huge learning curve and a lot of setup just to match something that was literally as easy as stacking two plugs in PF.

Not to mention, I'd really love to be able to properly control my trains using M/L/XL motors with an actual controller instead of my phone. Being able to tell the box to treat all motors the same as the train motors would be fantastic.

I think powered up has a lot of cool potential, but it's just absolutely terrible right now for any train that doesn't use 1 single train motor, and 80% of that trouble is just down to the controls being bad.

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Posted (edited)

@Daedalus304 I agree.

The simple problem is:

Set up different modes.
This could be done by pressing special sequence or combination of  buttons on the remote.

But this will never come....

(is anyone out there who really uses the bang-bang-mode for any moc)?

 

 

Edited by Lok24

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@Lok24 & @Daedalus304 I appreciate that this is the train section of Eurobricks so most people here are focusing primarily on LEGO trains and would like to see features implemented for them. But on the other hand I think if we are trying to raise awareness and push TLG to implement features, that's more successful if it has a potentially high user base and it is useful for stock sets, not only MOCs.

What you are trying to achieve is very easy to do through the app at the moment, using the controller as an input. I agree it would be very convenient to be used without the app, but adding a single restrictive feature for a very specific setup with e.g. a custom firmware is a lot of work and would be used by a relatively small amount of people (compared to the amount of customers who bought PU-equipped sets).

Adding e.g. the ability to assign the output mode to the ports of the hub as @blondasek mentioned and be used directly with the controller could be used in more cases, like:

  • trains - select between gradual and bang-bang control, e.g. the ability to turn on/off lights while gradually controlling motor speed
  • faster cars (e.g. 42124) - bang-bang control for speed, servo control for steering
  • slower vehicles - (e.g. 42114) - gradual control for speed, servo control for steering

As there were a lot of cars released with Powered Up and a lot of parents would like to see their kids only using the remote and not the app, this is a better solution to "fight for" as more people would benefit from it.

Btw bang-bang control can be used for cars regulating the speed and it works relatively well, and 2 button steering works ok too. I would still prefer proportional joystick control, but that's another story.

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Posted (edited)

And then there are also machines / robots which most of the time work fine with the current state, but for some functions it would also be nice to activate a motor without holding the button all the time...

Most of the time you use the app for things like that, but sometimes it's just handy to control it with the remote to test the functions...

Edited by Thyraz

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@kbalage that is why I would love to see “programming” the hub with the desired output engine and control type choice. It would help with GBC, Trains, Technic even (one pilot, three engines [2x propulsion]) and it would limit the usage of the app in many cases. Well, I hope that you would mention that to some guys from PUP :) Have a great day!

As for now, bang-bang control will be used as for me. Maybe in the future.. :)

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A question that just popped up in my mind:

As far as I know you can control multiple hubs with one remote.
Is it also possible to pair 2 remotes with one hub (without using the app)?

Sometimes this would be nice to have controls for all 4 motors of the bigger hubs without switching between A+B and C+D.
 

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10 hours ago, kbalage said:

I appreciate that this is the train section of Eurobricks so most people here are focusing primarily on LEGO trains and would like to see features implemented for them.

That is very true! I really fully agree on your assessment!

And that is why I also do appreciate these types of comments/remarks/ideas/proposals ... "within" the TrainTech forum. Because train heads tend to dive deep. I believe. So this is not so much about derailing any attempts to push things on the big scale. Some folks here (as well as elsewhere of course!) really go "crazy". "Crazy" in the sense of maybe even not knowing what they are doing, but in the end turns out to work. For me, this is certainly like that. I learned so much from @Lok24 and numerous others, you certainly included as well(!). Example: I have my Crocodile on an elevated shelf going back and forth with PUp speed (not power) control. It is amazing. True PUp power! The thing is, I learned from all the folks here how to do it - without that (damned) smart device. Even without the controller. It is controlled by an ESP32 Arduino type clone. I also know: It is just my very own, totally irrelevant to others or TLG or the public, solution. But: Fostered by ideas/complaints ... from folks around here: The TrainTech forum.

And to be absolutely clear:

10 hours ago, kbalage said:

this is a better solution to "fight for" as more people would benefit from it.

Yes, yes and yes. Absolutely. But I'd like to see "them" roll here - and focus on that "task" in a separate thread. Just pounding on exactly that. Kids being able to using "just" the control rather than the app/smart device. It appears to be really nicely doable. Thinking about these dead cheap USB game controllers ... take out USB, implement BLE and a brain. The brain costs next to nothing. The programming will be expensive. But in this case we are talking about the big picture, and not the train heads - who are mostly addressed in that big picture as niche - well - folks.

This is just my very own take on these types of posts here: I like them. Very much. And I am ready to join in to hit home the issue you addressed. 

All the best
Thorsten     

 

 

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14 hours ago, Toastie said:

Yes, yes and yes. Absolutely. But I'd like to see "them" roll here - and focus on that "task" in a separate thread.

Well the thing is - this is the only relevant thread for advanced Powered Up-related discussions on Eurobricks and was used for a lot of non-train focused (but related) topics in the past. There is a Control+ thread in the Technic section but despite the obvious overlapping most people simply don't find it because they think Control+ and Powered Up are two different things. 

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