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About Toastie

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    Good Spirited
  • Birthday 02/17/1962

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


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  1. Toastie

    9V tracks smell of cigarettes

    What??? Oh my. That explains it - I lived 4 years in SoCal ... Well, in Germany "medical ethanol" is of finest quality - uhmm - purity was the word (and you get it in drug stores and the like for an insane amount of money); denaturated ethanol is called "Spiritus" - which cost about a fraction of the medical version. Taxes are high on pure ethanol with good reason of course. Believe it or not but a 2 m distillation column with a 1:20 reflux ratio … upps - this is entirely off topic! I am sorry. Best Thorsten
  2. Toastie

    9V tracks smell of cigarettes

    Yes, very good advice, will definitely work! Just to be a pain in the butt - isopropyl alcohol is called "medical alcohol" when you get it for unreasonable amounts of money from e.g. a drug store. "Rubbing alcohol" makes it less expensive but it is still the same … It was just the "ethanol" bit @JopieK: Ethanol is ethanol - and I would rather drink it than rinsing track; particularly in the medical form, always diluted below lets say 40%vol of course. When you do that you may call it Vodka … and I just write these stupid lines because you know so many things about programming and wireless and … and I admire that very much!!! When you want to go much cheaper and maybe more effective with the cleaning: Use some stuff that removes grease. They are sometimes called "Fett und Nikotinlöser". Forget the nicotine part - its tar. Nicotine is a colorless crystalline compound, not the yellowish smeary stuff. There are so many varieties in the stores. The tar on the track (this is the smelly part) most easily dissolves in strong detergents: Just let them sit in a bowl of water with ample amount of detergent added overnight; then flush with water: Smell ist gone. Hey, anyone wants to sign up for the winter semester classes in freshmen chemistry I am teaching starting October Best Thorsten
  3. Have it - was a birthday present from my parents; they do live up there. All the best Thorsten
  4. Toastie

    [MOC] Monorail Station

    Yes, that is what it is: Old school as in "as LEGO was when the monorail was still available"! I fully agree - and it looks beautiful. I very much like the way you used the technic beams in that wonderful old school manner elevating the roof. This surely will be a very nice monorail layout you are assembling! With best regards, Thorsten
  5. Wow, Sven. There is nothing much to add to what others have already said - simply a most beautiful steam engine, realized unbelievably skillfull with regard to building techniques, and particularly in this model with regard to sturdiness. But most importantly to me is the love and passion you put into replicating a steam engine working in a region so remote and lovely. I happen to know how it is up there - was born in Schleswig and lived for 20 Years in Jübek. Flensburg is just 30 km away. My grandpa and two of my uncles worked for the Schleswiger Kreisbahn - I was 6 years old, when I was repeatedly watching an even smaller steamer working the way up the final "hill" from Kappeln into Schleswig - Kreisbahnhof - and the way back.. It all fits so well: Your detailing, your passion of making an mostly entirely unknown AEG engine a perfect replica - and knowing that Northern Germany was simply made for it. OK, maybe it was the other was around, but that does not change a bit. Thank you so much for sharing! All the very best, Thorsten
  6. Toastie

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    I completely, fully agree! And I do hope that TLG is >not< loosing interest (after PU sales may go down by 0.1%) in telling us what this system is really capable of. In the whole line of Mindstorms, let it be VLL, let it be Spybotics, or the way the NXT brick communicates … we never got a >real< handle. People needed to find out, use "leaks", retro-engineering, a complete waste of resources. It was different with the SDKs for the Scout and for the RCX, though, but as far as I am concerned, for the average people, that was an exception. I have the impression, the further we move toward complex and most powerful hard- and software, the lower is either the willingness or the time (totally different issues, totally different reasons) put into properly documenting things. In the - oh my - good ol'days - any gadget, regardless what is was, but particularly in the sciences, came with a "operators manual". That always sounded - tough. And I also know - I did it myself - called for "real scientists don't need a manual". Just turn it on. Well: No. Getting a little older may change the way we look at things. I do have "manuals" in my office. From that time. With these "explosion" type drawings. And with hundreds of pages of "how to hack the system". We do not have to do it that way, but maybe a little less one-page true color "The most powerful system, Earth has seen before" and maybe a little more on b/w "How to get the most out of it". Just my 2 cents. All the best Thorsten
  7. Toastie

    Which one looks best ?

    Left, OK, but I would use dark grey grills, or ever yellow ones with contrast in the back. Black stands out very well but it also almost "tears" the engine into several pieces. Oh well, I am color blind, so don't bother. Best Thorsten
  8. Well. I guess we need to study Philo's page very carefully. There are ample of differences: Low vs high current drawing, sudden vs continuous cell stress and so on. And yes, power is voltage times current. And then we need to follow the curves and measurement scenarios very carefully and use the integrals below these curves. The chemistry involved however could not be more different than between a LiPo and any kind of one-way battery. Ane lastly: There is maybe another balance we should take into consideration: Having more power for a short time for fun and then dispose a small chemical reactor - or having slightly less power for some short time - and then recharge again. The trash can may be - hopefully - a green chemistry bin; but the amount of energy and resources to make a new one-way battery even from carefully recycled material is - at best - discouraging. Another thought: You can run the LiPo's off from a power supply powering your model during testing - endlessly - use any kind of wall wart you can find, supplying decent DC in the 9 … 20 V range, and then unplug and let the dogs out All the best, Thorsten
  9. Fully agreed … these are Lipos and no bad ones either. And should the cells degrade in a couple of decades: Open the box, get new cells (they are dead cheap, solder them on an off you go. It is the loading and safety electronics, that I find most powerful in this device. Best Thorsten
  10. Toastie

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    Wow, this is incredible work. Fantastic!!! Congratulations on all your achievements. Well, why would you want to replace the laptop at all? I am much more into having some sort of control center for my layout (which is e.g. a laptop equipped with a very large secondary display showing all the things I need to control, trains, switch points, lights, bridges, … rather than a cell phone. Just my point of view of course. Thanks for sharing! All the best Thorsten
  11. Don't worry about the fumes; ABS thermolysis products won't kill you, even not harm you; given the amount of time (i.e., dose) you are exposed. Much worse is any workout run close to a car-populated street. But the amount of ABS melting material building up upon using heat is considerable and this is hard to estimate. I am using the sharp and very thin Dremel type saw blades. When you go full speed on the Dremel, it is more a thermal thing; when you use moderate blade turning speeds, it is more like cutting - with only the width of the blade eroding away material. Which is really minor. As my father used to say: It's a knife, not a pusher (oh my, translated from German, dose not work) ... All the best, Thorsten
  12. Toastie

    Powered Up FAQ and Community Wishes

    @JopieK I guess @technic70s is asking for input on how was "PF unfolding" - to be able to compare with how is "Boost/PU unfolding" - as TLG sees it. How did PF materialize? Was it: "So, here is PF, what are you guys gonna do with it?" Or was it: "Here is PF. This is what you can do with it." For me, this is a bit of difference, because it may potentially change the way of "interacting" with TLG. Oh well, "inter"action in a more or less one way direction of course. Best, Thorsten
  13. Toastie

    Powered Up FAQ and Community Wishes

    Oh … I "love" it after products have been released to ask potential customers about their wishes/expectations for that product. As if it would matter … From experience that means a) wow, we have created so many options with this, how do we proceed? b) Thing is out b/c headquarters told us "no product, no further funding". So get "it" the hell out. How about TLG telling us first: What is the intent of doing PU (translate "intent" to "business case" if you like): Example: Unify things - and spread the product all over themes? As others have already asked: Will there be a sound and detailed documentation on PU? As there was for e.g. PF, old PBricks, VPBrick etc. etc.? Or will this be a closed case and we need to wait for magical things to appear? As it was for VLL? Once this is clarified, the wishes, expectations, and hopes may become more focused. Best Thorsten
  14. Toastie

    Unauthorized selling of instructions for MOCs

    Dear James, very well said. And handled by you in an absolutely professional manner. Professional in a sense of "wise" and caring about many things but not just "the issue". Thank you very much for all your efforts. I really do appreciate that. With very best regards, Thorsten. P.S.: Just an idea: Maybe one of the moderators can close this topic here on TrainTech and keep it open, maybe even "tacked" to the top, in the "General LEGO Topics Forum?".
  15. Toastie

    Unauthorized selling of instructions for MOCs

    I'd take that as a "thank you". Regardless of what other honorable (this is >not< a joke!) EB fellows do think. I personally very much appreciate your approach, James. All the best, Thorsten