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You can also hack your own train controllers and receivers fairly cheaply such as using a $3 Arduino board.  You can program it to send PF IR commands to the PF IR receiver in the train engine. You can add sensors to detect the train location, LED lights for signals, motorized crossing gates, etc. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, DEAD1974 said:

OK you convinced me :laugh: PF is the choice, my only issue with it is the plastic look of tracks...but as I have seen on videos LEGO train builder use the 9V style trucks with PF trains. So probably I will try to make that mix too.

Keep in mind that most 9V track comes in old dark grey, with some being made in dark bley before Lego discontinued 9V. But of course, 9V and pf track are compatible with each other.

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I have a question for anyone who has built a "B" unit for their trains. Did you power the "B" unit or does it just roll behind your engine?

Thanks!

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Its been in stock in the US for almost a month, i ordered 5 a few weeks ago and it still shows in stock

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Interesting. What the hell is going on here??? :hmpf_bad: I can order from Austria or Germany, and it is unavailable in both countries...

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7 hours ago, Boettner Builds said:

I have a question for anyone who has built a "B" unit for their trains. Did you power the "B" unit or does it just roll behind your engine?

Thanks!

It depends on the train and how well it runs. If you have a long train, you'll most likely need some extra pulling power, and if two motors in the A unit isn't enough, the B can hold two more. I even have a powered NPCU on my cascades, as the train is very heavy.

Keep inmind that if you are using the 9v system, a single stock speed regulator can only handle two or three motors. But power functions is pretty much limitless, with more batteries and receivers. 

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On 08/05/2017 at 9:19 PM, Daedalus304 said:

Oh right, I knew I was forgetting something. I've added a couple links and short write-ups in my last post just to keep the 3rd party stuff all together.

Now that I've gone through all of this stuff it's actually amazing just how many 3rd party options there are now for us train guys. What a time to come into the hobby!

Lucky you, I am form EU so it will be a bit harder to get those toys...

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On 5/9/2017 at 7:41 AM, davidzq said:

It depends on the train and how well it runs. If you have a long train, you'll most likely need some extra pulling power, and if two motors in the A unit isn't enough, the B can hold two more. I even have a powered NPCU on my cascades, as the train is very heavy.

Keep inmind that if you are using the 9v system, a single stock speed regulator can only handle two or three motors. But power functions is pretty much limitless, with more batteries and receivers. 

Thanks for the reply! I'm working with power functions so that's good to know! I think I'll leave the "B" unit powerless until the need arises.

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I am looking for a source for "flex tube". I know some builders have mentioned finding non LEGO sources, but can't find any reference to where now.  Any help would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Sal

WFB, WI

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Just now, legoboy3998 said:

I am looking for a source for "flex tube". I know some builders have mentioned finding non LEGO sources, but can't find any reference to where now.  Any help would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Sal

WFB, WI

You can get it on Bricklink. "Flex tube" is what many AFOL's refer to it as, but it's BL name is Hose, Rigid 3mm D., and has it's own category in the parts catelog, organized by length. The Lego Group calls it "Outer Cable" for reference.

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What is the lowest price I can realistically expect the Cargo set to drop to?

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I don't know where you live but here in Switzerland I would say 20-30%. That's because the big retailer here have a regular discount on toys during the summer and again in the winter. To get a bigger discount you would need some good luck and/or contacts. Maybe your local toy store puts 50% on items on clearance or has some other sales. You could ask someone who works there if there is a chance for such a discount.

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I'm still only just scratching the surface on the wealth of knowledge and posts on here, but I've searched a bit, and not found anything....

the main gripe I see for PF trains is the size of the battery box. Does no one make up their own 7.4v lipo packs? I would have thought that if you found the huge boxes to be a drawback, then wiring up a loose battery to a PF brick lead to power the IR and in turn the motor would have been a fairly standard practice, but I'm struggling to have seen anyone else mentioning this. have I just missed the post or is this deemed to be impure lego'ing, even though it is only a battery?

or is it down to preference as the weight of the 6 aaa's can obviously aid traction on the train.

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We use the LEGO rechargeable battery boxes in our trains (NILTC) and they work well. They run for about 2 hours, then auto shut off. Turn 'em back on, and then get another 2 hours. It powers off, so then we run it for another 2 hours. Of course, it shuts off again and at this point we just turn it back on to drain the battery. Then we recharge them. So overall, if you take care of it, we get about 6 hours of runtime off one battery.

Multiple motors and train length/weight play into that but we've found they work great. Otherwise, if you want to work your own battery solution...GO FOR IT! It's your LEGO, do what you want.

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2 hours ago, bradaz11 said:

Does no one make up their own 7.4v lipo packs? I would have thought that if you found the huge boxes to be a drawback, then wiring up a loose battery to a PF brick lead to power the IR and in turn the motor would have been a fairly standard practice, but I'm struggling to have seen anyone else mentioning this. have I just missed the post or is this deemed to be impure lego'ing, even though it is only a battery?

It has been done several times, by many builders. Most common I've seen is using standard AA or AAA batteries, but stacked end to end to create a long narrow battery pack, which better fits in narrow locomotives. I've also seen an example of a RC car battery used.

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Just now, davidzq said:

It has been done several times, by many builders. Most common I've seen is using standard AA or AAA batteries, but stacked end to end to create a long narrow battery pack, which better fits in narrow locomotives. I've also seen an example of a RC car battery used.

i was thinking something like this

Specification:
Length - 44mm
Width - 26mm
Depth - 10mm
Weight - 25g
Battery Capacity - 350mAh
Discharge Rate - 40C Constant
Chemistry - LiPo
Power Pack Cells - 2S
Voltage - 7.4v
Watt Hours - 2.59Wh

 

I've used similar little 2 cell lipo's in an airsoft gun mod, this pack should be about 4 plates deep, by 5 bricks long, by 3 bricks. obviously a lot smaller than 4 bricks deep, 8 bricks long and 4 bricks wide.

if the lego soloution is 1100mah, and lasts 6 hours of running, i would think you should easily get 2 hrs out of the above lipo

unless i've got something wrong and talking out my bottom

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54 minutes ago, bradaz11 said:

i was thinking something like this

Specification:
Length - 44mm
Width - 26mm
Depth - 10mm
Weight - 25g
Battery Capacity - 350mAh
Discharge Rate - 40C Constant
Chemistry - LiPo
Power Pack Cells - 2S
Voltage - 7.4v
Watt Hours - 2.59Wh

 

I've used similar little 2 cell lipo's in an airsoft gun mod, this pack should be about 4 plates deep, by 5 bricks long, by 3 bricks. obviously a lot smaller than 4 bricks deep, 8 bricks long and 4 bricks wide.

if the lego soloution is 1100mah, and lasts 6 hours of running, i would think you should easily get 2 hrs out of the above lipo

unless i've got something wrong and talking out my bottom

If you come up with a working solution, it would be nice to see some kind of tutorial on how you did it.

I think a lot of people would like to play with a non-Lego battery solution for narrow trains, but just don't know what they are doing (me included!) with electronics and gadgets.

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On 6/27/2017 at 9:00 PM, bradaz11 said:

I'm still only just scratching the surface on the wealth of knowledge and posts on here, but I've searched a bit, and not found anything....

the main gripe I see for PF trains is the size of the battery box. Does no one make up their own 7.4v lipo packs? I would have thought that if you found the huge boxes to be a drawback, then wiring up a loose battery to a PF brick lead to power the IR and in turn the motor would have been a fairly standard practice, but I'm struggling to have seen anyone else mentioning this. have I just missed the post or is this deemed to be impure lego'ing, even though it is only a battery?

or is it down to preference as the weight of the 6 aaa's can obviously aid traction on the train.

You can use 7.4V LiPo packs if you so desire. You can connect a drone alarm board in between to warn you when the voltage drops close to 3V so you can turn off the train and avoid damaging the batteries.

6 AAA's can provide weight for traction but you can also use LEGO boat weights.  Recharging LiPo packs do need extra care and due dliigence than NiMH.  LiPo packs maybe not be a good solution for everyone without a good home fire insurance policy.

 

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On 28/06/2017 at 2:11 PM, bradaz11 said:

i was thinking something like this

Specification:
Length - 44mm
Width - 26mm
Depth - 10mm
Weight - 25g
Battery Capacity - 350mAh
Discharge Rate - 40C Constant
Chemistry - LiPo
Power Pack Cells - 2S
Voltage - 7.4v
Watt Hours - 2.59Wh

 

I've used similar little 2 cell lipo's in an airsoft gun mod, this pack should be about 4 plates deep, by 5 bricks long, by 3 bricks. obviously a lot smaller than 4 bricks deep, 8 bricks long and 4 bricks wide.

if the lego soloution is 1100mah, and lasts 6 hours of running, i would think you should easily get 2 hrs out of the above lipo

unless i've got something wrong and talking out my bottom

 There are a bunch of reasons people don't use Lipos. Mine are as follows. 7.2 V means they limit the top speed of trains (not so bad for freight). Lipos need more care when charging. Their energy density isn't all that great when compared to the LEGO rechargeable battery. Yes they provide a smaller footprint but at the cost of a much smaller running time. I'd only really consider Lipo for a really small engine.

I've often thought of making a custom battery pack from 8 AAA or AA rechargeable batteries in two groups of four. 9.6V is well within the tolerances of the PF receiver.

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