Eurobricks Citizen
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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. Switching points - not so smooth operation

    Same issue is with all plastic PF switches, so in addition to the metal plate there must be more. I was grinding (almost away) the two "bulges" on the plastic lever moving the point, which resides in a channel of the switch body with matching recesses. Upon doing that the point moves almost entirely freely, so I guess there must be two issues: One related to the metal bumps (I did not work on) and then the plastic lever. Good to know! Best Thorsten
  2. Switching points - not so smooth operation

    The thing is that the surfaces to be lubricated are rather nicely confined within the switch. I tried it, it works depending on the amount you use. After a while though, any lubricant making it to the areas of interest also make it to other regions. You may then have some issues with clutch power of anything attached to the switch point e.g. a motorized switch drive. I used silicone based as well as WD40 (and the like) - no harm to ABS at all. Don't use too much though, rather wait longer times, try and add more if necessary. After a couple of months you may find that the lubricant is not lubricating that good anymore but has turned into a more viscous stuff that may not let the spring operated switch point part not get back to its initial position. Best, Thorsten
  3. Switching points - not so smooth operation

    Hi Bartosz, regardless of 9V or PF: It is always the plastics (ABS that is). I have "opened" a number of 9V switch points. The metal used inside (9V conducting rails, and the spring mentioned by icemorons) was always shiny and in good shape. These pieces hardly can cause such friction. ABS though can, when resting without any pressure in one position and then all of a sudden being forced into a less free environment. This is happening inside the switch. Also, it depends on how often the switch was thrown in its lifetime and how the plastic material did (very little, but that is enough) suffer from that. Even brand new switch points may behave like that. It really is a result of the design and the fact that ABS is ABS. And it is really simple to take care of that issue provided you have no problem taking apart a LEGO piece (not designed to be taken apart by using a drill), then sanding off some ABS, then putting it back together by very carefully applying some super glue (cyan acrylate based, works very nicely with ABS!). Happy to provide more info (on this horrible procedure for LEGO purists). Best wishes, Thorsten
  4. Yes: Real interest. Figuring it out. Time consuming. You need find that valuable in some way or the other. In the days of LEGO as a miracle thing, this translated to: Fun. Being involved. Having a good time. And that was it. The bricks are essentially the same - but have become so much more diverse - in shape and in number. As have our demands as AFOLs and MOCers. A kid though may not follow that path. You basically nailed it: Your kids had fun when sorting blocks. That is nice! Next step would be assembling the blocks - this way or the other - the outcome is by definition wonderful. Then go back and forth on individual aspects with them - and then wait until they take off. Or not ... But again: I certainly would buy the current sets for my kids. No doubt. Thing is I have two daughters, 20 and 22 years old. They are into other things - and were all the time. This is why I took over All the best, Thorsten Believe me, I'd love to do that. And I am sure it would be a wonderful and rewarding time. All the best Thorsten
  5. Hmmm. This is a little weird: A voltage regulator is designed to regulate. What is the input voltage min/max? With plain vanilla regulators such as 7805 you should always have 2 ... 3 V above the 5V. But there are low drop voltage regulators as you may know (e.g. L4945, which works reliably with 6V input voltage). No. These are 1.5V batteries. I don't believe 3.6 V will work. Best Thorsten
  6. @Haddock51 it took me some time of thinking (not of giving a "reasonable" answer!) - I do share all of your - let me call it (and only me) - sentiments. Your vision. Your experience. You certainly have >a lot< of experience of working in larger companies. Whenever I read your posts, I wish we could talk in person. Let me try to give a - not so reasonable answer to your question. Swiftly beyond the - as @SavaTheAggie has commented - "buying a box on train wheels thing" (I very much liked that). Maybe we should extrapolate a bit. So far we blamed everything on TLC: They apparently provide crap - and >we< are disappointed. As parents(?). But how is this: They provide simple, kids-oriented crap. Nevertheless, complete playable sets. But no add-ons, no separate cars ... Why don't we work more on educating >parents<? I have a terrible feeling: When you can't find it at Amazon, it does not exist. When you can't get a nicely shaped hopper wagon: Blame TLC. Why do parents not BrickLink for their children? No time? No interest? No believe? Parents complaining about "lack of extensions" should maybe become aware of alternatives such as the secondary LEGO market. And of bricks in boxes. Bad part: You need to figure it out yourself. That was the idea of LEGO anyway. I recently got interested in 4.5V and 12V trains. That is fun! And you know what? Because a stud her and there does not matter. Because the colors blue, red, white, black, green, yellow were truly colorful. Actually, my BrickLinked 4.5 steam train looks "beautiful". In its simplicity that is. And in my imagination it is a true steamer. But don't tell kids. These days are gone. Today, things are slick. Studless. Remotely controlled via smart phone. But not when you are >with them<. When you talk about the Magic. Many kids of friends and neighbors have been in my attic. You still can get them into the Magic. It may be different from what was "before" - but it works. Particularly when you tell them its okay when "things break". LEGOs don't break. You simply have to reassemble them. "Swiftly go beyond" what TLC supplies. With non-catalog items that we, parents, should try to find. Today we can order virtually everything imaginable by touching the "check out" button. In essence, I believe that parents got wasted. Not TLC. In my view, TLC has become - over the decades - a world-wide operating (big) profit making enterprise. Competing with world-wide operating enterprises far, far less caring about any extra "value": Customer base wise, being loyal, what not. Just caring about revenue. And yes, in this regard I truly believe that a catalog from TLC is still - very different. Certainly from the past - but name another catalog that is organized that way and I stay (honesty) correct. As I said - I fully agree to almost everything you posted. With very best regards, Thorsten
  7. Hi Bartosz, I am powering the PF IR receiver with the 4.5 V provided by the 4.5V train battery car (3 x AA batteries in there) using a "custom cable" (which is nothing more than two 4.5V plugs wired to the 9V/0V PF terminals (the two outer wires, check polarity). The PF receiver then powers the 4.5V train motor with another custom cable. There should be no problem in supplying 5V to the PF receiver, which then powers a 9V train motor. Naturally, you don't get the same torque/speed from the 9V train motor as compared to a 9V powered PF IR receiver. There is more info over at TrainTech. Or just PM me. All the best and good luck with your project! Thorsten
  8. @Bartosz works like a charm. Even 4.5 V work - I am powering 4.5 V trains /w original motor and battery car with the PF IR receiver. 5 V for sure, at 4.5 V it sometimes misses a signal. Best Thorsten
  9. [HELP] Buying RC Train Track

    Oh my ... Could somebody please clarify what this ... outrage is about? As ALCO said: We are talking about pieces of dumb plastic pieces from dumb molding machines that folks turn simply into magical things. Man, sometimes I hate the internet. Too many keyboard keys pressed way too fast. First think and think again, then judge, then think, then gauge, then press keys. I feel bad about EEZ leaving this forum. I can clearly see what he is talking about. We should not "accept" what he is writing because it is not reflecting what this website is about. We should get him back. And show him, what this community is about. As I have been warned here once on EB for not going along the lines of this forum (and still do appreciate that >very much<) : How about calming down before hitting the keys, how about thinking about what a message may mean to others, how about gauging first who is asking for advice with what kind of background? When new members explicitly state that they are new and they have questions which are >apparently< surprising, then why not answering in a most polite way? When I was joining EB I didn't know sh*t about so many things. I have learned here. As I do every day. In a very welcoming and comfortable way. The phrasing could be "Why don't you try this", "did you look there", "have you seen that", "this may be a bad idea because of this, this and that"? And leave all the legal stuff to the folks who'll never get what LEGO is all about. Best regards, Thorsten
  10. Renfe 252.057 - Spain

    Emanuele ... You know what? (I have learned this on EB. And then looked it up on the Internet:) "Slight nod, tipping hat." Your are - way beyond. All the best, Thorsten
  11. I believe the initial question has sort of a logical answer: MOCer's (as in experienced MOCer's) won't buy sets because of the sets - never. But surely because of parts not readily available at BrickLink. As @Duqclearly pointed out. There is hardly any other reason thinkable - just look at the sets available today. But: The parents of kids - and all "beginners" (with no limit to age, I was a train beginner at age 45) will certainly do - to learn (a lot) and then swiftly go beyond. Personally, I can't wait for the new LEGO catalog to come out - thrilled as I were 10 years old. It takes days to browse through it. And then there may be sets with new pieces and they may be of interest. Or not. All the best, Thorsten
  12. Wow, this is a very nice video! And it will sure work that way. I believe the correct bending though requires some skills and experience in finding the appropriate length and angles. Nevertheless, very elegant solution! When the contacts are the issue though, I'd first give chemistry a little try. There are various "sprays" for use in electronics that are available to deal with exactly this kind of issue. I have never done this on the NXT but may work here as well, as it does on other circuity, for example on RCX and Scout PBricks: Remove everything as shown - but then inspect the flat cable/PCB connection rather than firing-up the solder iron right away. Then use a cleaning spray and jiggle the cable a bit. Then apply very carefully contact spray. Remove any excess. That should work - should as in should. This would be even better: From the video I can't tell whether or not the cable may be removed easily from the PCB - it should though. If that is the case then carefully remove it, clean everything with cleaning spray, apply a minute amount of contact spray, put it back on. I would also clean of the contact surfaces of the rubber keys and the corresponding contacts on the PCB as they will be the next pieces to begin to fail (indicated by the increasing pressure you need to get the key working) Good luck! Best regards Thorsten
  13. Train MOCs and Builders - Who/What is Your Inspiration?

    For me, Rheinhard "Ben" Beneke has been the most inspiring LEGO train builder ever. His BR23 has been around so many years - actually decades - before so many others worked from there. His BR23 has been featured so many time in the good ol' Railbricks Journal in the Big Ben Wheels advertisement ... which brings me to Ben Fleskes, who has changed the world of LEGO trains - or better LEGO steamer - wheels, way before there was a 3D printer even thinkable. I really do look up to both for their visions and their >solutions<. So this is >not< about the BR23; it is about the endless ideas of building and improving, particularly when TLG is simply not responding. Regards, Thorsten
  14. ColletArrow's old MOC thread

    Good evening, (of course) I believe everyone here enjoyed your contribution! Just keep updating this thread - I am sure, it will gain a lot of attention and more importantly: Appreciation!!! ยดWith regard to your questions of how to possibly improve: "Be yourself. No one can say you're doing it wrong" (Charles M. Schulz). Just do it the way you feel comfortable with. It worked >perfectly well< with your "ColletArrow's old MOC thread" post. All the best, Thorsten
  15. Wonderful. As simple as that. I believe this is what LEGO is about. Use bricks available and "Pimp the Eras". Grey, Blue ... you name it. What a nice and truly LEGO build! Best Thorsten