Toastie

Eurobricks Knights
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About Toastie

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    Good Spirited
  • Birthday 02/17/1962

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  • What is favorite LEGO theme? (we need this info to prevent spam)
    Trains

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    http://www.physchem.uni-wuppertal.de

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    Male
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    Wuppertal
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    LEGO, electronics, micro controllers, lasers, making things work

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    Germany

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  1. Yes, I believe this is what @Lok24 was worried about. Best Thorsten
  2. Yes, that is entirely true. But maybe a text file made with Windows Editor in the format: "Friendly train name: BLEaddress" that your program could parse upon startup or request by user could work. For example: CargoTrain1: 90:84:2b:01:80:ac (The latter numbers are what the Windows "devices and printer menu" shows you for a know BLE device) Best Thorsten
  3. This is what I am doing (a very, very nice software company in the US - "/n software" - granted me a personal license of their BLEClient activeX control they have developed for all major program languages - believe it or not, also for VB6 - my lifetime programming environment. VB6 was phased out by Microsoft in 2002 or so, when surpassed by dot net stuff. Well not for me though … have instead migrated my VB6SP6 from Win2000 to XP to Win7 to Win10/64bit). And believe it or not that BLEClient connects to all LEGO BLE devices like a charm - so I can continue my 14 years development of a TrainControl program … I am so grateful for that! And this is what I am doing: Instead of scanning for devices I am directly connecting to the unique device address of each BLE server. You can find out that address in multiple ways - in Win10, when you scan for new devices in the corresponding system section, you can fetch that address easily - or you may use the Bluetooth LE Lab or Bluetooth LE explorer. Best regards, Thorsten
  4. Well, as far as I believe, there is nothing more powerful than dreams in this world. Dreams can overcome any borders, challenges, and surely any time constraints. So dream on (I do it myself). It gives life a "meaning". All the best, Thorsten
  5. @Cosmik42 This is really cool. Yes, I believe that this project is far beyond "Trains". You should go and post in the "LEGO Mindstorms and Robotics" forum. They are going crazy on programming there. You may get even more input for your wonderful work. What I believe should come eventually for the "Train" theme is an UI that is leaned towards the train theme. This could include "tiling" your actual track layout as for example the very nice 4DBrix nControl Software is doing. E.g. clicking on a tile within the layout representing a switch point, which then actually graphically shows the switch direction is more intuitive than slider controls and/or buttons. However that is a rather extensive programming business as you need to keep track of what element is doing what kind of work (switch drive, street lights, train) etc. Here is my UI you know already - and which shows the ancient VB6 design elements of 2003. Well - has grown over the years as my LEGO brick collection has as well. But as of now I believe you are developing solid communication software first and you may then migrate into making it train layout friendly. If at all. What you have achieved so far for all LEGO fans running the new generation remote control/programming hardware. All the best, Thorsten
  6. Toastie

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Wow! Man, I like this kind of research so much. 1) I totally underestimated the small size of the AAA's as compared to the PP3 ("9V block"). All my trains run on AA's - the printed value is 2500 mAh, which is of course nonsense, but even at half the real power density its fine. 2) I like your weight ratio approach very much. This is rock solid research. I never did that before. It makes all sense! Very nice. It also explains, why the LEGO LiPo performs like crazy! Thank you very much for this work. I should continue to rain ... All the best, Thorsten
  7. Toastie

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Hi @Giottist, Li-Ion - and particular Li Polymer technology is not anywhere close to being suspicious - none what so ever. In contrast. Every single cell phone runs on these. And there are billions of these devices out there. Teslas run on them. The LEGO Li-Po rechargeable battery is a fantastic in-house solution, but really expensive. I have had a go at the LEGO Li-Po. I leave it up to you, but it does not get any better. As of today there is simply no currently broadly available technology out there that is better than Li-Ion or Li-Po; >at an affordable price<. That is the thing, and these are two different worlds (or even three, when we count in TLG): World 3: "TLG" - is a (German)-pharmacy-type-company: They charge really high prices - >always<. Regardless of what you buy there. Paper towels for example. I know that the manufacturing of ABS bricks with zero tolerance in dimensions is expensive. Ask @coaster - he is doing an incredible work in this regard. But man, TLG charges insane amount for a) the 10V DC story, which is a (bad) joke and b) people willing to pay $ 25 for a <$1 wall wart power supply from China (I bet this is where TLG is getting their "10 V" thingies). World 2: "What can we afford - and who is selling what - at what price". Eneloops. Sure! But you know, I got my NiMHs from ALDI Nord. €3 for four of them. I trust ALDI because they a) can't afford to f*ck up - because that is simply not their way. And b) they go cheap. My charger is - guess - from that "company" as well. I do also get my vegetable juice, wine, and what not there. And always wonder their shelves to find the "other" things they have. Reading very very very carefully what the wrapping says - decide to buy or not. World 1: "What is principally possible". Where are the limits of technology. Look at "military type batteries" on the web. There are incredible batteries out there. With enormous charge densities and voltages. Chemistry@work. But: Don't ever screw up on them. They may do very nasty things. My whole point is: When you take all three worlds into consideration, the NiMHs will do >currently< a >slightly< better job as your small but super performing LiPo/LiIon battery because they have more space available. They will simply last somewhat longer because of their Ah value. And you can get them dead cheap. Performance wise - "world 1" - you are absolutely right!!! And I can only encourage you to go and the find a 3D printing vendor!!! All the best and thank you very much or this discussion! I love it. Thorsten
  8. Toastie

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Can do - thought I posted it here already. Will take a few days - work is asking for too much time for the next two days. Or maybe this helps: Power is picked up by modified 9V train motor from the permanently powered 9V track layout. Track voltage is 15V from a cheap laptop replacement power supply (these deliver relatively clean and defined DC voltage). From the motor pickup the wires go to a bridge rectifier and then to a 9V regulator (of 7809 type). From there 2 Diodes in series a) reduce the voltage going to the NiMHs cells by about 1.2 V = 7.8 V. These are connected to the series of NiMH cells (nominal 6 x 1.2 = 7.2 V, but when fully charged they have more than that). When the train runs on 9V track, power comes from the track. When the motor runs on 9V powered track, power comes from the track, when polarity changes due to wyes etc. the bridge rectifier takes care of that and when in runs in unpowered PF track (wye-insulation or flexible tack etc.) power comes from the NiMH cells. You could also run this setup on PF track with just a couple of 9V track segments for recharging. The trickle thing comes from the small difference of cell vs charging voltage and thus small charging current. NiMH cells are pretty tolerant to that treatment. As I said, good now for years. It may be not the most elegant and most friendly way for the cells, but it works for me (and the cells so far). Best Thorsten
  9. Toastie

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Merde - my last conclusion was apparently way too fuzzy, I guess (Ha! and the automatic bad word removal thingy on this forum does not speak French): Your take is exactly what I wanted to say: So you are absolutely right: With good AAA NiMHs and much more importantly a >good< cell recharger (one that first looks at the charge state and cell condition and then decides what to) you will outperform the "9V" LiPo and you don't have to damage any hardware. Almost all of my trains run on NiMH cells. And almost all of them are trickle charged from the track (my train pick-up power from 9V track, which is permanently delivering 15 V DC). Even with this very nasty but easy way of recharging, I did not change any cells nor removed them from the trains for more than 3 years now. So: NiMH is a very solid and good solution. All the best Thorsten
  10. Toastie

    Frayed wiring on 9V Track Connectors

    Hi @freestorm with regard particularly to the latter 2x2 connectors: I did the same on many of them - but with only about 50% success. As you said: The tough part to let the grips as you call them find the corresponding rather tight hole on the other part, particularly when the cable is still not bent in its final form. In the end I soldered the wires directly to the grips and enlarged the holes with a drill … Best Thorsten
  11. Toastie

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Well, all this can be summed up rather easily: It is all about the Ah - current A delivered by the battery over time t measured in hours h. This is sort of the equivalent of power density, as the discharge process (running the motor) converts chemical energy stored in the battery into mechanical work. Let us just consider the first law of Thermodynamics and convert the chemical energy stored in the battery and expressed as Ah entirely into mechanical work (which cannot be, as we do not take into account entropy changes). I know: Smart as* … Ah is what we have. The ever reached max value is printed on the (rechargeable) battery. This may be far off from reality, as battery manufacturing companies want to sell their stuff - but let us assume Eneloop is a reliable company not telling stories but true Ah values. As the LiPo folks do, Giottist is referring to. The more Ah you have, the longer a "defined standard train" will run. We need to define "standard" though. @Giottist was using a standard procedure he defined: motor with nothing to pull (he calls idling) and in addition operation of an LED light. However, even that standard may suffer from "what LED light" and "what type of motor". All that really matters is the current that is flowing through the system. And that is not readily measured (one would need to splice cables and measure current in A). Time as measure is "fairly remotely" OK - but time does not account for any variations in the setup (friction, make, model, etc.). Idling is a reasonable standardization, I believe. I also believe that when it comes to a real train pulling some load, that the picture changes significantly, as the drawn current goes seriously up -> see Philos pages dealing with that in every detail. Lastly and most importantly, there is a spatial limit of storing chemical energy. LiPos and LiIons are today the best in that regard. However, 6 AAA NiMH simply do outperform any "9V LiPo" Ah wise as they simply have more room. Would the 6 AAAs be of the same size as an equivalent LiPo, the LiPo would win easily. But: This is not the case here. Hope that helps. All the best Thorsten
  12. Oh yes. This is probably how it is - everywhere. I am not a programmer, I do sort of independent research - in ion chemistry. Sometimes people get very excited about what my group does … I am/we are getting excited about that reaction as well … and then … after weeks, months … maybe even years … something else catches your attention … and you are carried away … without publishing anything. I guess it is what you meant, isn't it? All the very best, Thorsten
  13. Thank you, Lok24 for this info! (sorry, the "@Lok24" thingy does currently not work on my laptop) I need to catch my breath. My goodness - this is so incredibly cool. I have never seen such a nice piece of software for original LEGO stuff control before. For free. With free and swift support from an extremely skilled C# programmer. With the chance of asking for additional features. And now this: Building your own chunks of code … Unbelievable. TLG should give Cosmik42 all the LEGO BLE devices currently available for free … Again: Thanks a million Cosmik42, for doing all this for us!!! All the best, Thorsten
  14. Dear All, I think we should maybe calm down a little. What @Cosmik42 is achieving here is simply incredible. Whereas the PuP tear down thread laid the foundation, the official release of the LEGO protocol ("official" as in "considerable preliminary" - that document is indeed far from anything TLG has released in the past. I am asking myself what has happend there … just cranking out stuff, as it appears. To me that is very disturbing - but oh my - that is only me) took us further, all the other spread-over-the-net findings even push things … as far as I am aware, Cosmik's software is the one and only that works almost flawlessly. OK there are bugs here and there, limitations not considered (e.g. with a particular BLE hardware not more than 5 hubs etc …), but this software is simply - stunning. Question is why "users" or better customers have to do that - but OK, maybe it is envisioned from the TLG perspective as a parallel to the "building experience". Thing is that folks who have no idea how to get the BLE protocol working are simply not in the building experience world. Which is OK: They gave us the remote control. Heck, with PF that was it! Get it going with the PF remote or find out yourself. I had to use a NXT brick equipped with a HiTechnic IRLink sensor plus RF hardware to get remote PF/RC train control from my computer working. With BLE things change considerably. All of a sudden wireless remote control is essentially built into a modern computer or smart device (I don't have any - SMS still works with my Nokia C3). It is so close. And very tempting. On the other hand it is not "simple". And a lot of very carefully performed work is required to get it going. I suggest that when we want support for "this and that" we should provide Cosmik with "this and that" hardware. I did that in the past as well. Was asking for RobotC support for RCX1.0 bricks. Well, sent one of these bricks to the RobotC developers - and boom got it. Even then though, we should remain calm. This is all very exciting. But this needs some time to develop AND BOLD TESTING. The latter part is often overseen: on one machine it (somehow) works (as if it was straight forward and as expected). Send out the good news. And then it all begins: There are myriads of machines out there - may run on Win7/8/8.1/10 (as Cosmik was telling us - he is a "former" windows programmer) - hey and XP (yes!), Vista, and what not. And: There is even more BL/BLE hardware. It appears as if there are more BLE sticks than you can count. Hope is all vendors paid very very close attention to the official BL/BLE rules and recommendations. All I am saying is: I believe it would be good to focus on TLG BLE stuff first and make that work as reliably as possible. And then expand into 3rd party hardware … Just my 2 cents ... All the best Thorsten
  15. Toastie

    Frayed wiring on 9V Track Connectors

    The noise suppressor is completely irrelevant - at least on my layout. I don't use this connector for power supply but rather for power pickup as my layout has 15V on all track segments. With regard to the rotted cables: What may work (did that): Cut the cable an inch or so from the plastic piece in question (suppressor or pickup), splice the cable into two. Apply heat-shrink tubing to both spliced cables. Find some good cables. Solder. Push heat shrink tubing as close as possible to the plastic piece. Heat shrink. Worked for me so far. Best Thorsten