Eurobricks Dukes
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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

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Oh, sure, I totally agree here as well - but when you have all the 9V track already - and I believe @McWaffel has a lot, then it is really frustrating to live through decades of train decay at TLG. 12V was brilliant with regard to the many things you could get, working signals, motorized switch points, diverse(!) trains and carriages - track-side stuff, buildings - the came 9V - far less of all of the above but still tons more of what is available today - and a power pickup system that, if I am not mistaken, was/is perfectly well suited for DCC, but I don't know. The invention barrier to really nice pickups allowing that were/are not that high, though. And then came all plastic - I believe in terms of decay we should skip the next evolution step and call it quits, train-wise. As in: The original from TLG. You know, all my trains do have either 8878 on board, or simply 6 x 1.2V NiMH rechargeables, which are always charged when on metal track (for a non-LUG member I believe quite a bit here) and run on battery when on plastic track, which is there as well, mostly for insulation purposes (another BIG advantage of battery operated trains with power pickups: Polarity changes simply don't mean anything: The motor is operated via a PUp hub or PF receiver or RCX brick, the batteries are charged via bridge rectifiers, always providing the correct polarity to them. 8878 gets the full +15V track +/- DC (OK, minus the two diode drops), the NiMHs get constantly 8.4 V (9V regulator fed via pickup and bridge rectifier = 14.2 V), + one series diode = 8.4 V; a fully charged NiMH cell has about 1.4 to 1.5 (max); 6 x 1.4V = 8.4V so they trickle-charged whenever on metal rail = always full overnight, are never overcharged, and when they are below 8.4V and on metal track DC goes directly into the controllers = almost full blast. This setup works now for about 6 - 10 years - I have never changed the NiMH cells nor any 8878 - no leaks (they hardly can) - and ready to go. The last two years time was devoted to other things - fired the trains up last week: All ready to go. Yes, there is a benefit to "battery" operation, for sure! Best, Thorsten
  2. Yes and yes! Have a good one, Thorsten
  3. But this very forum is the anchor for all the busted LDD users, isn't it? I never tried LDD, MLCad is my world. However, LDD folks seem to be quite active. What about "Digital building tools (Studio, LDD, LDraw based ...)" All the best, Thorsten
  4. Toastie

    Trains in 4-Wide

    I have heard that a lot - particularly when suggesting LEGO (or clone) sets/pieces for Christmas or birthday gifts to the family . Also, when people visit my "home-office" (which rarely happens, as LEGO does not really appeal to many around here) they tell me that I have preserved my younger days, which is very nice ... You know what? I am grown-up (well, I guess slowly decaying is much better suited ) - I deeply enjoy the 4-wide thread (and many other threads here on EB) as a grown-up person. There is no preservation of being a kid, I am no kid, I enjoy LEGO as a grown-up with the passion and emotions of a grown-up ... All the best and thank you for all your wonderful contributions! All the best, Thorsten
  5. Forgot to mention that one. Yes, same here. Most cost-effective, but less what-will-I-do-with-all-that-stuff from the apparently "useless" sets purchased. Well, not entirely true - filling the gaps with all sorts of small - whatever pieces - is "useless" as well. Well, for the time being. Who knows what they will do "just sitting there, waiting", as @koalayummies said (below/above - I was editing - but I like that notion very much!). Best, Thorsten
  6. I do exactly this. Mostly on heavily discounted sets, I am not interested in at all. They often have nice pieces - and one gets many other pieces for "later on" = MOCing. Best, Thorsten
  7. And then your entire - very nice - write-up: I cannot agree more. All the very best, Thorsten
  8. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    I like the "bitch" bit very much - simply because TLG's first serve from the left (as seen by the receiver on the other half - yes, I played tennis when I was less old) - the 4 wide high speed train - was returned by a smashing topspin backhand into the far right corner ... for 2022, love 15 I'd say. So all this bitching is really enjoyable - and constructive! I mean - one really cool (!) idea (@dr_spock) was cloning BB sets to get a decent 2022 LEGO set. For me, it does not get any better. Boom, we have gazillion 2022 sets. Doing the totally forbidden. I love it ... let's bitch on Best and have fun, Thorsten
  9. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    There is none. Over and out. Other than: Regulations, regulations and more regulations, leading to endless litigation regarding the use/availability/impact of such technology to unattended post 2010 kids . Best Thorsten Nice! I like that. Now, should he get a little older, and should he be willing to this one thing: Don't kick the 3 metal tracks in this particular section - called refueling - apart (or build it in a way that is tough to do so by playing with excitement), dream of a power pickup rail set, attach whatever DC voltage is required to that track section, roll your train onto this section, which then feeds your wide voltage range chargeable LiPo (as 8878 was) and don't worry about any power issues. Just navigate your train, at the end of wild rides to that section, go to bed and tomorrow morning - blast off. The ESP will be very happy, I bet. This is what I do - however, at age 60. Best, Thorsten
  10. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    I can certainly follow your arguments, no doubts here. However, the Metroliner was a ready to go train + carriage(s) + 9V motor + 9V track set. It had 11 minifigs and one 9V light bulb + 9V wire. I viewed it as an expansion set; once you had the done the groundwork (some 9V track + power supply + regulator from lets say 4561 ($130 back then, some believe ugly, I believe very high playability + fun, more importantly it had all the stuff you needed) - and there was no need for getting another regulator. Nothing was in my reach back then, not even remotely. But I did the "calculations". And dreamed of having it. A 9V train motor is a piece of art and fantastic engineering, I believe. As is the 9V track. When you open up a 9V train motor and a PUp train motor, you'd be surprised, I bet. Maybe you have, I don't know. I know that this is called "progress". But in your assessment this is missing: What you get today is all plastic track, to a minimum reduced all plastic train motor, a BLE hub versus a rather complex speed regulator (again, open them up, possibly you did, and then just imagine the amount of labor required for assembling the two units). And take into consideration that current electronics is way more fancy and powerful, but costs "nothing"). TLG has simply done what everyone does: "Optimize" = reduce the production costs, and in parallel gauge what the customer pain threshold is, price-wise. For some reason, the latter is extraordinarily high. You are looking (absolutely valid!) at the inflation rate for a particular train "set". I bet though that the ratio of cost of production of 4561 vs original retail price is by far less favorable, as compared to any of the current train sets. In other words: The optimization of the production process (of a "complete" train set) and thus significant cost reduction is not at all - in contrast - reflected in the retail value. And this is what I call inflating the price. Don't get me wrong: This is, marketing-wise, absolutely the way to go. No doubts! But, and this is my very personal fear, may postpone the introduction of comparably expensive technology such as smart energy management - as the financial poker game TLG (and all others) did and do, is already rather hot. And unfortunately may not leave that many options. Also, there was (I believe what we will never see anymore) the option of getting 456X: X = 0: Just the train + motor + track; X = 1: 4560 + regulator + power supply (cheaper than the sum of the individual "sets"). There was a choice you could make. It was a bit of doing your own research and decisions - and optimize your budget allowances. My "inflating" comment was also more generally tailored towards TLG sets in the lower price segments, which simply raise the bar overall. There are numerous folks out there doing the calculations - not me. But again: There are so many perspectives - which is good. I like to think about diverse reasoning. Thank you very much for your - as always thoughtful - comments! All the best, Thorsten
  11. Toastie

    HELP! ! !

    No offense, ads are paying for something. So I should not do this, but it was absolutely not entertaining. Not here, not with this type of content. My solution: Firefox + Privacy Badger + AdblockPlus = no ads (here + on Brickset)
  12. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Well, I would not phrase it that drastically; The "Li" in LiFePO4 (or the many other varieties currently produced) is really what renders the technology less favorable. I'd rather phrase it differently: The idea of using one-way electrochemistry for powering devices, which are sold in uncountable numbers (and by a toy manufacturer who, according to the profile of the current CEO, is going the green way) is ... questionable. The way of using resources should go in circles - everywhere. And thus rechargeable batteries AND recycling them after they don't perform anymore - is exactly that. The thing though is, from a purely financial standpoint: Manufacturing of alkaline batteries is and will remain dead cheap and for long. Almost everything in there is available in sheer and apparently infinite amounts. Zn - "less adversely" mineable (in contrast to Li, Zn minerals are found in big chunks, Li is spread thinly over the planet with some rare "concentrations", we all know the pictures. Mn is the 12th most abundant element in Earth's crust, again favorably mineable, and K comprises 2.4% of Earth's crust ... the same holds for the remaining ingredients. The biggest issue with alkalines is: Most of these batteries are simply thrown into the household garbage can. The typical one-way and out-with-it thinking. I tend to call that Homo sapiens style or HSS. Making Li battery based rechargeables is indeed affecting the environment much more than making alkalines BUT: They can be recharged - 500 to 1000+ times, equalling as many alkaline batteries. And this is where the former easily wins the battle. Plus: Due to their higher prices, people tend to think twice before they dump them into the waste bin. However, Li is not the end. There are just now so many less adversely impacting materials currently researched (believe me, this research area is red-hot, and the land with a mostly red flag has become one of the world leaders in that regard. NOT in cloning, but in coming up with new avenues) - I view current Li technology as bridge technology towards an even much better way of circling ("storing") energy. Best Thorsten
  13. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Yes - and unify the battery compartment (not the electronics operated with it) or have two or so versions, which voltage and charging-wise behave the same. City/Technic/etc BE hubs, would have worked for PF, works for the dumb Technic bat box ... and that is solely targeted towards better use of resources. However - and this will in my opinion simply kill it: 10 AA or AAA alkaline batteries sell for < 2€. Don't worry about leakage because they'll be gone within hours of operation. I don't see the business case here (from TLGs perspective - maybe the battery boxes are even licensed from battery producers ). The initial cost of any "electrified" set would go up significantly using Li-technology. It is too bad, that TLG has inflated the value of their many sets already to a level that is (customer-behavior-wise) astounding. Best, Thorsten
  14. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Same here! My dark ages came to a grinding halt in 1996. "Restarted" with an irresponsibly discounted 8485 (Control Center II), then 9719 (RCX, in 1998 - Fry's did not know what they were selling for less than $100) and then 4512 in 1999 + some additional 9V track. This "event" marks the day I started my "remote train control" project, still ongoing today ;) The original Toshiba lapop computer is also still there; along with my first QBASIC "control" program This little thing really boosts my endless efforts - as it is an all-in-one LEGO "communicator": I really did not expect any reasonable outcome when I started with the latter - but finally I have a simple "access point" to my PUp, PF, and RCX trains. Thank you for your kind words regarding the file structure - I am still in my uni-days - for a couple of years. All the best, Thorsten
  15. Toastie

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Yes, 4512. I could be very wrong (colors and I ...) but the engine and one carriage body is made of old gray with some green bricks, isn't it? I "made" (mostly copied) this PF version and tried to follow that "color scheme": (navigate to 4512 MOD) I don't know about the green, but I am an expert in shades of gray All the best, Thorsten