Rob Klingberg

Eurobricks Citizen
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About Rob Klingberg

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  • Website URL
    http://www.brickstuff.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota

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  • Country
    USA
  1. Good that you're doing your research. LittleBits has many patents, most of which seem to deal with the connector. If I'm recalling correctly, not all of them are design patents. They're really broad, which means they might not be defensible, but LittleBits has tens of millions in VC funding, and they have been litigating aggressively. Don't get me wrong-- I'd love to see advancement on this front. Or maybe I've just been watching too much "Silicon Valley" on HBO...
  2. Yes, Steve and I have spoken about this. Unfortunately his manufacturer destroyed the molds they used to make his last batch of couplers several years ago. That would have been a great option. Thankfully I've found another supplier and already have a bunch of housings and clips in-house. On the topic of slip rings, we will soon be selling the ones we use on our site-- not mounted into a kit, but individually. Just right for any DIY LEGO project! :-) You will need to be careful-- that design is already patented by LittleBits. They have an ideal connector that they use in their products, but sadly they have been unwilling in my discussions with their leadership team to offer the connectors in bulk at a reasonable price. As it turns out, Apple owns most of the patents for magnetic connectors that pass power and signal (Oh the patents I've read!), because of their MagSafe connectors from earlier MacBook models. Any company seriously considering making their own custom connector and selling it at scale would be wise to keep the IP issues in mind. The great thing about this design is that you don't need to think about polarity at all. As @pirzykmentioned, "innies" all have the same orientation. The magnets in the male connectors are polarized to attract only female connectors, so as long as you use a standard in your consist (males at the front, females at the rear, etc.) the couplers will naturally attract/repel. It's almost impossible to get a bad connection. That was another key design consideration for us-- it had to be 99% automatic.
  3. This is a topic that has occupied hundreds of hours of my time over the past three years, and many more hundreds of $$ in test part ordering. There are some really good ideas here. I won't claim to have solved for the scenario needing more than two wires, but I am working now to bring a 2-wire solution to market to be sold through my company, Brickstuff. The plan is to officially release at Brickworld Chicago coming up in a few weeks. We will have a solution both for train couplings as well as for connecting anything LEGO (floors within buildings as well as buildings themselves, sections of LUG layouts, or just about anything that needs a non-protruding connection that is magnetic). As with the development of any product, the devil has been in the details: need to find a strong magnet, but not too strong, that can adhere to standard LEGO geometry, that is flexible to allow for connections at uneven points, but that is not so strong that it pulls the wires out when you disconnect. I've also tested just about every glue, epoxy, and putty available. Looking at an earlier post in this thread by @igordost, it looks we're using similar connectors (I sourced mine in bulk last year). I'm using 3D printed ABS collets to hold the magnets inside the coupler shell. Attached is a pre-release photo of the beta product aimed at the LEGO train market. All parts are original LEGO. Our solution for buildings and other structures will use 3rd-party injection molded coupler shells and pivots (in LBG color), only because the original LEGO parts are increasingly scarce and very expensive. I have more photos (showing mounted configuration in bogies) here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AgcctLgYvJZfhrwsxUiQQJfmTTMvAg We use very thin (but strong) wire, so the wire will seamlessly fit between bricks, plates, etc. We've worked hard to make the couplers practically invisible once mounted. Down the road, we're also researching 3- and 4-wire solutions, though there have proven to be special challenges there (namely, that the magnets are too strong and don't disconnect easily), but I'm confident we will find something workable soon. We believe magnetic PF couplings for Technic vehicles are a must for the community to have. Feedback is appreciated! You'll be seeing more photos, video, etc. of this product line in the coming weeks. --Rob Klingberg
  4. Agreed, great set once complete, but definitely at least a 2-3 day project.
  5. Technic Pub

    Glad it works! Correct, the new-style battery boxes have no current limiters. Not sure if this means they will work with the parts you mentioned (I've tested with the PF 2.0 receiver but not an RC motor), but technically yes they should be able to put out as much current as the installed batteries will allow.
  6. Technic Pub

    The part the arrow points to is called a resettable fuse. It seems to appear in slightly older versions of the battery box. These typically have a dull, yellowish green power indicator LED, while the newer boxes have bright, darker green LEDs. Unfortunately that seems to be the only way to tell them apart from the outside-- they have the exact same part number and look identical from the outside. The job of the resettable fuse is to keep power (current) output from going above a set level. What this means is that, if you are driving a heavy load *OR* (in your case, likely) if you are using batteries that have a lower voltage or lower current capacity than standard Alkalines, the fuse gets tripped earlier and more often than it should. The most common indication of this will be lights flashing many times per second, or motors not operating near capacity. My guess is that LEGO realized the circuit board with the fuse was a design mistake, which is why the fuse is absent from the newer versions of the box. It simply is not needed, and it does much more harm than good by interrupting power flow when it shouldn't. I don't know what can be done about the version of the circuit with the fuse on it-- I've not tried bridging it or removing it. There are other components on this version of the circuit board that are also missing from the newer version, so I can't say what impact bridging the fuse wold have on the overall operation. Best bet is to find a newer box. How to do that? I just buy them 10 at a time from LEGO and check the color of the LEDs. :-) Here is a photo (not the best quality) of the newer version of the circuit board-- you can see the fuse is missing. In the background of the photo is the old version, with the fuse.
  7. [REVIEW] SBrick Plus

    That is good news indeed, thank you for sharing. Did you do some sort of bulk purchase of the sensors? :-)
  8. [REVIEW] SBrick Plus

    Looks like a good product, and I backed it on Kickstarter. My only question: WeDo 1.0? I can't even find those sensors for sale anywhere, and when I do find a few, they are frightfully expensive. And haven't they been discontinued?
  9. Hi Cale, this is very exciting. As I mentioned on FB in response to your post there, Brickstuff would be willing to sponsor lights for the setup. Contact me when you're ready and if you're interested. Very much looking forward to seeing this take shape! --Rob
  10. MOC: 1:33 Hohenzollern Oberhausen 0-6-0T with PF

    Thanks for the added information-- I see now what you used the brass plates for. Very nice and realistic effect. When you say you're working on a 2-4-4-2 Mallet, I dream of the LGB 2085D-- this is perhaps my favorite loco of all time. Can't wait to see your next creation! --Rob
  11. MOC: 1:33 Hohenzollern Oberhausen 0-6-0T with PF

    This is absolutely stunning. As a lifelong LGB 1:22.5 collector, these engines look very familiar to me, but never have I seen anything like this in LEGO. Are you able to share more about the brass build plates? How were they incorporated into the model? And what wheels did you use? I see you also have brick-built carriages. Any more detailed photos of those? Again, amazing work! --Rob
  12. 6951 Robot Command Center lighted!

    Very cool that these are Brickstuff lights-- I was secretly hoping that was the case (Brickstuff is my company). We'd like to feature your photos on our website-- if you'd be interested, please contact us through the main form on our site. Great work!
  13. 6951 Robot Command Center lighted!

    Great job using the lights-- it looks fantastic. Which lights did you use?
  14. A MOC I found That You guys should see!

    I am close to having this ready to release as a commercial product through my company, brickstuff.com. Please contact me through the website if you are interested. I agree it is time to have our signals light up!
  15. Couple webstore questions for fellow train folks?

    I hope this isn't one of those man-in-the-middle kinds of scams, where you can be liable for their use of a stolen card to send you the merchandise. Even if you use PayPal, I think you would still be liable in this type of scam (it was happening with digital cameras on Amazon for a long time). It works by having you send someone payment for something (via any means), then they use a stolen card, buy the merchandise illegally, and ship it to you (so your name is connected with the transaction). They pocket the money you sent them, and even though it's less than retail, they still made some money, but they never used those funds to buy the item in question (they used the stolen card for that). Again, I hope this doesn't end up being what this site is! Please do keep us posted.