zephyr1934

A review of the first elements from the FX Track system

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16 hours ago, legotownlinz said:

A few years earlier I would have started with Fx Tracks but now I own so many plastic tracks that it would be prohibitively expensive to convert to 9V (see some impressions of my current layout below). I couldn't use all the special elements that I enjoy a lot, but will never be available in a 9V version.

Exactly, that is why in the closing of the review I noted that if you have a ton of plastic track perhaps 9v might never be for you. On the other hands, t's a no brainer for someone with 9v and something to consider if you have not yet made a large investment.

BTW, great layout, but should probably move any further discussion to another thread. (I'm not complaining about what's there so far, a little tangenting is a good thing, I just don't want to get derailed)

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I finally got myself to order my pack of s32, not because I desperately need it, but because this is exactly what I wanted when I came out of my dark ages 1 year go and really want to support /contribute. 

Stock seems to be depleted so congrats that you managed to sell everything in the preorder period! I'll certainly be in for the second batch. On that note, I hope that there will be sufficient demand to cover a second production batch, and that not all train heads have satisfied their urge for 9v track yet. 

Can't wait for the large radii and motors!! 

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On 2/28/2021 at 3:55 PM, zephyr1934 said:

 

The review is complete and you can repost this article with translations, just include a link to the original source (this thread)

Thank you. Be the time, got a lot of work to do but I'll make the translation, adding my experiences (I ordered 3 boxes of the S32 straights) and surely I'll refer to your topic (that's how things normally should go :) )

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Huw at Brickset has also now posted his review of both products on the site.  Reading the comments, there’s clearly a lot of support from people not on EB over there, and that should increase sales and therefore certainty of future products.  I just missed 9v unfortunately, so have RC, but using over 50 AAA batteries is not sustainable, efficient, or ecological.  One day when there’s more of FX’s products available I’ll almost certainly invest in some....

Also @michaelgale, will you be producing any other switches in the future other than the P40?

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On 3/5/2021 at 10:12 AM, legotownlinz said:

I own so many plastic tracks that it would be prohibitively expensive to convert to 9V

I'm sorry that you had to sell your furniture to pay for plastic track buddy.

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14 hours ago, Merlict said:

I'm sorry that you had to sell your furniture to pay for plastic track buddy.

:laugh: :laugh:

 

On 3/5/2021 at 5:42 PM, M_slug357 said:


@legotownlinz Great layout! Have you considered an outdoor layout...?

I thought about it, but I think it requires a lot of time to keep it in a good condition. Maybe in a few years...

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@Vilhelm22 As you can imagine, the switches are definitely the most expensive item to make--both due to the size of the mold and the number of components required in both plastic and metal.  If we make another switch, it will likely be a Y-switch.  However, before we consider making other switches, we would want to make crossing elements such as the 90 deg crossing and the diamond crossing.  I guess we will have to see how this product system grows and listen to all the feedback from you guys.  The switches that we would consider for the future would be a Y-switch and P32 switches--similar geometry to the P40 switch, but only 32 studs long.  

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10 hours ago, michaelgale said:

@Vilhelm22 As you can imagine, the switches are definitely the most expensive item to make--both due to the size of the mold and the number of components required in both plastic and metal.  If we make another switch, it will likely be a Y-switch.  However, before we consider making other switches, we would want to make crossing elements such as the 90 deg crossing and the diamond crossing.  I guess we will have to see how this product system grows and listen to all the feedback from you guys.  The switches that we would consider for the future would be a Y-switch and P32 switches--similar geometry to the P40 switch, but only 32 studs long.  

Thanks @michaelgale!  I can quite imagine that the points are incredibly complex and take a long time to develop.  Good to know that there are some plans for the slightly more distant future though!  

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Posted (edited)

My order of S32 tracks at JB Spielwaren just arrived. The delivery was faster than I thought. The tracks look great.

@michaelgale : When you will bring out the motor in the future, will this motor include a DCC decoder in its boogie unit? I ask, because it would make sense to have the DCC decoder in the boogie unit instead of having it separate. So me as a customer I would not have to be forced to mount it, which can be difficult not being an electrical engineer and it would save space, if the decoder is not separate from the motor unit. In the case it is, then it would make sense to include a switch on the boogie unit, which toggles between DCC and analogous mode. So a customer can decide spontaniously and flexible, if he wants to use DCC oder just the traditional analogue way and does not have to change the motors.

Edited by fhurlbrink

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Posted (edited)

Spot the differences.....

My FX track order arrived today and i put them into my new 9v mils modules straight away.  Very happy with these tracks !!

I can't wait to get my hands on some curved tracks from the next batch  so I can start modding points :P

Thanks Michael, for this great addition and keep up the good work !

mils%209v%20fx%201.jpg

Edited by duifkelego

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Thanks all to our early adopter customers and for the kind feedback--we really appreciate it!

We're happy to see that some our EU friends have already received their track.  We've finished packing 90% of our received orders in our Canadian store for USA/Canada/RoW and they will be shipped tomorrow (Mar 17, 2021).  We'll send out notification emails and tracking numbers (if applicable).  

We're still waiting for firm schedules from our manufacturing partners--but early indications suggest we should expect new production batches in April to our Hong Kong office.  We then need 2-3 weeks of inspection/packaging/distribution to Canada/Germany.  As soon as we have a firm delivery commitment, we will start pre-order on new inventory.  We've dramatically increased our manufacturing quantities given the encouraging demand and response from you guys.  Stay tuned to our website for updated info.

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@fhurlbrink Our design goals for the motor bogie are more or less exactly as you describe.  We aim to offer a minimum of two motor bogie variants:

1. Standard - pickup terminals and motor terminals will be available on a discrete connector for "hacking" or testing.  A switch will let you isolate or jumper the pickup and motor terminals together.  In "jumpered" mode, the motor bogie behaves exactly like the LEGO® 9V motor with the power pickup connected directly to the motor.  In "isolated" mode, you can place an external controller between the power pickup and motor.  This can be a DCC decoder, a PFx Brick, etc.  

2. Smart - The smart bogie will have a DCC compatible version of the PFx Brick core integrated inside the motor bogie.  This gives a motor bogie capable of operating as standard DC voltage controlled bogie or a DCC controlled bogie.  Unlike a OEM DCC decoder, ours will be much easier to configure.  You simply configure it using our existing PFx Apps (desktop) via USB. You can also use other DCC command stations and solutions for configuration if you want.  Furthermore, we will have a small connector available to connect lights and a speaker for the total sound-decoder operating experience.

We've already started to design our Speed Regulator unit.  It will be USB-C powered using an external power brick or battery source capable of delivering 65-100W.  You can use any USB-C power source as long as it can offer 9V and 12V at 3A.  Most laptop type USB-C power bricks support these modes.  The advantage of USB-C is the vast eco-system of cables and power sources available.  Furthermore, it will let you easily select between 9V or 12V output voltage mode:  9V for legacy LEGO® 9V motor support and 12V mode for our new motor bogies.  It will also have many more goodies all enclosed in a pretty injection molded case with a similar form factor to the legacy LEGO® 9V speed regulator.  More details will follow soon--including our plans for the power feeder and electrical interconnect.  One hint we can offer is that we're leaning heavily towards reviving the awesome classic 9V 2x2 connector plate!  We absolutely love its design and versatility!   We think it is worth rebooting and extending it further!   

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4 minutes ago, michaelgale said:

...12V mode for our new motor bogies...

Will the new motor bogies have an option to switch between 9V and 12V operation? Or will they just be slow in mixed operation on a 9V layout?

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@Duq The new motors will work comfortably with either 9V or 12V (they're rated to 12V).  However, 12V operation is preferred since you get more torque and power.  In reality, even the old LEGO® 9V motors will work fine up to 12 V as well.  The limiting factor is power dissipation.  As long as you can get the heat out or do not sustain long periods of operation at heavy load, any motor will be fine.  We're actually considering putting vent holes along the top side edges of the new motor bogie for better thermal management and to sustain heavy load operation.  

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  I would very much appreciate the 'resurrection' of the studded electrical contacts in a compatible form.  They have proven to be extremely flexible and practical for many things I've needed, including simple polarity reversals and interconnecting between the other later connector formats (PF/PU) using adapters (official and third-party) centred around the studded plates and related components.  More new compatible components would be fantastic!  One of the best things about the studded connector though was more simply that nothing had a permanent integral cable.  This meant you only needed to add as much wire length as necessary to fit the application, and the two-conductor wire was much more flexible.  Because of the insulation rot issue which plagued a lot of the 9V wire assemblies, I've taken advantage of the ability to dismantle the connector blocks in order to install new wire of whatever length I want.

  I am very excited about the prospect of simplified DCC installation.  After having modified a couple of old 9V motors for this purpose, I'd really rather not have to repeat the process, and also would prefer not to destroy the originality of many more of them.  More important to me than integral DCC though would be smoother low speed gearing ratio.  I realize many people just want sheer speed or power, but my personal focus is on streetcars/trams.  I was able to get acceptable behaviour with my modified 9V motors on my DigiTrax system, but it wouldn't start smoothly unless it was set to N-scale voltage mode.  It is still difficult to maintain consistent speed on a heavy vehicle when transitioning between straight and curved sections.  I have a five-section streetcar with three motors, and it is very challenging in that respect because the motors frequently get too close to the stall point.  This also raises the point that I most definitely need it to be easy to interconnect multiple motors on one decoder with a common track pickup bus in order to achieve sufficient drive power and to avoid stalls.  I'm working in 8-wide scale roughly, and the build weight quickly adds up.

  So given that, I'd really appreciate either a slightly lower gear ratio as standard (I think most people would agree the stock gearing was always unnecessarily high), or perhaps customizable with interchangeable gear sets.  I don't know if you had a preference to go with worm-drive or not, although that would prevent pushing the motor freely when unpowered.  I am also working on a model right now that will need a shorter wheelbase.  As you've stated prior, I know you are trying to create as close as possible a drop-in replacement for the original 9V motor, but perhaps there is some freedom in there to add closer-set axle ports sorta like how the 9V buggy motor had two axle attachment points.  In an ideal world, taking advantage of modern miniaturization, the motor assembly would be a smaller core which could be 'skinned' with a compatibility shell to expand it to the original standard footprint, but still allow a more compact configuration where needed.  In other words, somewhat modular.  I'm not expecting this to come to fruition, but if it did then I would have much more 'drive' to buy more new motors.  I'm just throwing ideas out there while I have the chance.

  LEGO has essentially been making the same motor footprint since the 1980 12V version, and even that was hardly different from what preceded it.  That's 40-plus years with no dimensional alterations, and hardly for much good reason.  That's now five system generations with no flexibility (12V, 9V, RC, PF, and now PU).  The 9V system also had a design flaw in the switches which created a dead-stall with a single motor at low speed when travelling curved route to curved route through directly abutting switches.  So many people have gone through epic pains to build alternative mechanisms with Technic parts just so they can break the mold and do something more creative.  I'm really hoping that some how, some way, there is an opportunity to finally have a motor that can fit more build designs.  (I've patted myself on the back as much as I also gave myself an actual splitting headache designing compact narrow-guage bogies.)  Technic-built motor bogies unfortunately could never be as compact and smooth running as a properly engineered, factory-built drive.

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17 hours ago, michaelgale said:

@fhurlbrink Our design goals for the motor bogie are more or less exactly as you describe.  We aim to offer a minimum of two motor bogie variants:

1. Standard - pickup terminals and motor terminals will be available on a discrete connector for "hacking" or testing.  A switch will let you isolate or jumper the pickup and motor terminals together.  In "jumpered" mode, the motor bogie behaves exactly like the LEGO® 9V motor with the power pickup connected directly to the motor.  In "isolated" mode, you can place an external controller between the power pickup and motor.  This can be a DCC decoder, a PFx Brick, etc.  

2. Smart - The smart bogie will have a DCC compatible version of the PFx Brick core integrated inside the motor bogie.  This gives a motor bogie capable of operating as standard DC voltage controlled bogie or a DCC controlled bogie.  Unlike a OEM DCC decoder, ours will be much easier to configure.  You simply configure it using our existing PFx Apps (desktop) via USB. You can also use other DCC command stations and solutions for configuration if you want.  Furthermore, we will have a small connector available to connect lights and a speaker for the total sound-decoder operating experience.

We've already started to design our Speed Regulator unit.  It will be USB-C powered using an external power brick or battery source capable of delivering 65-100W.  You can use any USB-C power source as long as it can offer 9V and 12V at 3A.  Most laptop type USB-C power bricks support these modes.  The advantage of USB-C is the vast eco-system of cables and power sources available.  Furthermore, it will let you easily select between 9V or 12V output voltage mode:  9V for legacy LEGO® 9V motor support and 12V mode for our new motor bogies.  It will also have many more goodies all enclosed in a pretty injection molded case with a similar form factor to the legacy LEGO® 9V speed regulator.  More details will follow soon--including our plans for the power feeder and electrical interconnect.  One hint we can offer is that we're leaning heavily towards reviving the awesome classic 9V 2x2 connector plate!  We absolutely love its design and versatility!   We think it is worth rebooting and extending it further!   

I know this has been mentioned many times, but there is a very strong need for a single axle pickup as well. If you are replicating the wheels and pickup of the 9V system for your new motors, will there be an option to purchase those at the component level to integrate in a DIY fashion or even available to order in quantity to produce a single axle pickup outside of the FX development path?

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31 minutes ago, supertruper1988 said:

I know this has been mentioned many times, but there is a very strong need for a single axle pickup as well. If you are replicating the wheels and pickup of the 9V system for your new motors, will there be an option to purchase those at the component level to integrate in a DIY fashion or even available to order in quantity to produce a single axle pickup outside of the FX development path?

I would like to see a single axel power pickup bogie, and a single axel standard power pickup/motor bogie .  This would allow for shorter, or wider wheelbases, power pickups for steam locomotives using technic motors to drive driver wheels, and three axel "powered" trucks for 6 axel or bigger diesel or electric locomotives.  

 

12 hours ago, UltraViolet said:

  This also raises the point that I most definitely need it to be easy to interconnect multiple motors on one decoder with a common track pickup bus in order to achieve sufficient drive power and to avoid stalls.  I'm working in 8-wide scale roughly, and the build weight quickly adds up.

There may be two existing solutions to your motor interconnection issue.

1.  If the streetcar with three motors is a preeminently connected unit,  simply run your motor control (orange and grey?) wires from the decoder to all three motors.  I did this with my GP-38 with MRC's Loco Genie wireless DC/DCC/AC decoder board installed.  since my motors are set in opposite directions, I simply sapped the wires around between motors to reverse the polarity of one motor.  This way both motors get the same power changes direct from the DCC decoder.

2.  If the motors are in three independent cars that can be separated and run independently, three separate decoders can be used, one per car, and "consisted" through the DCC system.  Consisting makes all the decoders in the consist receive and respond to commands as if they were one decoder, just like how multiple locomotives work on real trains.

I hope those ideas help

Sal
WFB, WI

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To be honest, as I’m planning on incorporating the bearing wheelsets from BMR(or whoever makes them can’t remember), having a 9v pickup version of those would be usefull

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41 minutes ago, High_Admiral said:

To be honest, as I’m planning on incorporating the bearing wheelsets from BMR(or whoever makes them can’t remember), having a 9v pickup version of those would be usefull

I agree, a bare wheel design, with an optional "cover" that resembles the standard LEGO train wheel holder would be ideal.

Sal
WFB, WI

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On 3/17/2021 at 5:23 AM, UltraViolet said:

  I would very much appreciate the 'resurrection' of the studded electrical contacts in a compatible form.  They have proven to be extremely flexible and practical for many things I've needed, including simple polarity reversals and interconnecting between the other later connector formats (PF/PU) using adapters (official and third-party) centred around the studded plates and related components.  More new compatible components would be fantastic!  One of the best things about the studded connector though was more simply that nothing had a permanent integral cable.  This meant you only needed to add as much wire length as necessary to fit the application, and the two-conductor wire was much more flexible.  Because of the insulation rot issue which plagued a lot of the 9V wire assemblies, I've taken advantage of the ability to dismantle the connector blocks in order to install new wire of whatever length I want.

Seconded, that would be the critical thing for me to start considering the system.

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I ordered 3 packs of straights and i am happy to say that they are great!

They look so nice, the packaging is very classy und most importantly, they work perfect and are of very good quality.

Looking very much forward to the curved track in high radii, this will be awesome :classic:

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I also received my 3 packs of straights this weekend.

The famous LEGO motto "Det bedste er ikke for godt" sure fits in this instance. As close to perfection as one can expect :thumbup:

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19 minutes ago, dtomsen said:

The famous LEGO motto "Det bedste er ikke for godt" sure fits in this instance. As close to perfection as one can expect :thumbup:

Shame you can't expect perfection from the mothership anymore nowadays.

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