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  1. TrainDragon

    Powered UP to Power Functions adapter

    Nice idea. I like it! Great find. I will have to order some of these to try out. I see they even have the female socket, that's intriguing. Wonder what we can do with that?
  2. TrainDragon

    9v and PU hybrid

    This is a neat idea. I have heard of plenty of people trying to machine wheels from stock, but you are the first I can recall doing it from a casting. Do you worry about it tarnishing and losing conductivity?
  3. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    Yes, this is the essence of the decoder project on my github page. I've posted a bunch of sample data captures there. If you install Sigrok and my python plugin, you should be able to easily visualize the communications between the hub and sensor. To directly answer your question, I did find a possible identification marker at connect for the motor: # from ... # Motor initialization marker? # The Hub sends this message to the Motor, then the Motor echoes it back to the Hub # 0x54 22 00 10 20 B9 but did not find a similar marker for the color/distance sensor.
  4. TrainDragon

    2019 LEGO Trains - 70424

    Looks like some sort of monster/zombie/mad scientist theme? Not interesting to me, but maybe kids will be into it. Also disappointing that they're again foregoing the standard magnetic couplers. My son loves coupling/decoupling/rearranging the train cars, I imagine other kids do too. I'm interested in that weird track piece. That "funnel" shaped piece in front of the locomotive. Could function as an on/off ramp to tracks could be useful somehow.
  5. TrainDragon

    Powered Up Rechargeable Battery Mod

    Thanks for sharing, this is nice! This is interesting. When I tried the same thing (mixing PF and PUP motors tied to the same source), they did not spin at the same speed. Especially at low speeds, 1-2 clicks, where the PF motors don't even bother to spin. You can see it in this short video I uploaded here. I tested multiple motors with the same result. Are you not seeing a similar effect?
  6. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    Can you share more info about this? Sounds neat.
  7. TrainDragon

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    For the actual cell chemistry, you are absolutely correct. I ended up ordering two different models to try. I am moderately certain that both will be near a "true" 9V output though. Someone did a nice teardown of one on another forum that shows two 3.7V cells connected in parallel, feeding a 9V boost converter. Interestingly, you can actually see the pouches are marked 1776 mWh. Times 2 cells, divided by 9V, comes out to 394.67 mAh, very close to the 400 mAh claim made on the case. (I would be surprised if the other brand marked 800 mAh is anywhere near accurate) The up-side of this: you should get a nearly constant 9V out of the battery until it suddenly drops to zero when the battery is depleted. The down-side: the boost converter introduces a small constant load on your battery, so sitting there unused it will eventually self-discharge. Also, the boost converter will be "wasting" some of the energy in the cells doing the voltage conversion, robbing you of some percentage of that raw 3.5 Wh.
  8. TrainDragon

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    This is solid science! Thank you so much for running this experiment. So, at least for the AAA batteries that you have, the 6F22 style battery has significantly more energy storage. Interesting. I wonder how that compares with the Eneloops that others are using. I am going to get a couple of similar batteries to try out. The ones I've ordered claim to be 9V 6F22 LiPo, 800mAh. Not certain if it's really LiPo as it claims or actually LiIon as yours is. Also curious if it's really 9V, or also 7.4V as yours is. The voltage, at least, should be very easy to check -- but I don't have a way to measure the capacity, or determine the real battery chemistry. I am hopeful that it's a true 9V instead of 7.4V, simply because I think that should make the motor run about 20% more powerfully. Also, I really like your copper tape solution to interface the battery to the box! I plan to copy that idea, too.
  9. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    No problem: Looks like the "222" resistor (2.2 kΩ) ties to one of the ID pins as previously noted, and the two "511" resistors (510 Ω each) are the current-limiting resistors for the two LEDs. The chip labeled "K1t" is presumably a bridge rectifier. Not sure what value the capacitors are.
  10. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    I sacrificed a PUP LED for its connector. I did open up the box as well to peek inside. Here is a photo of the result: I desoldered the cables to use elsewhere. The PCB is only populated on this side, no components on the reverse. It looks to me that the box is glued shut. even after prying it apart, there is no obvious clip mechanism to be seen. As you can see, three of the posts simply broke when i pried it apart. The fourth post didn't have as much glue on it so it separated with the post intact, but I can see some glue residue. However, the box does friction-fit back together fairly snugly even after my abuse.
  11. I have done a similar bogie with the M-Motor mounted directly like that. I like that it doesn't torque the wheels sideways, but I've never really been happy with the way i'm then coupling the motor to the frame. How are you mounting your assembly inside of the wagon?
  12. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    I'm just now checking out the BLE wireless protocol doc that LEGO released recently. It does seem to indicate that there are future plans for hub chaining: So, who knows when, but there is hope!
  13. TrainDragon

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    That is correct. For "dumb" devices like the Train Motor, the lines can be tied to specific voltages to indicate to the Hub what they are. For "smart" devices, they use the two lines as UARTs at 115200 baud -- one line is communication from the Hub to the Peripheral, and the other is from Peripheral to Hub. I wrote a little about this in the Documenting the LEGO PoweredUp! System thread. I've written a plugin for the open-source "sigrok" signal analyzer software that can decode some of that serial communication between the Hub and Peripheral and turn it into human-readable info about the current state of the motor/sensor. For example, the motor that comes in the Boost kit reports back to the Hub about its current speed and angular position: Screenshot
  14. TrainDragon

    Powered UP to Power Functions adapter

    After getting that done, I was curious what else I could accomplish with this fairly simple wire splice technique. I have some trains where I use two PF Train Motors on the engine to give the pulling power I wanted (for example, Horizon Express.) I wondered: Could I upgrade this to Powered Up BlueTooth control, while keeping the pulling power of two motors, AND potentially saving some money by reusing the PF motors I already have? Thus was born idea #2: hack a socket into the middle of the PUP Train Motor cable. I used the same Dupont-style female connector that I used on my original hacked cable, so I can use the same hacked PF cable as well. I simply soldered some extra wire onto the same pins 1 and 2, added the connectors, and heat-shrinked the mess. Then I plugged my adapter cable in and connected a PF train motor. Now, when I tell the PUP Hub to run the PUP Train Motor, both motors receive the same power simultaneously. Again, as the connectors are not polarized, I can simply turn the cable around to change whether the motors spin the same direction or opposite directions. One very interesting thing that this experiment brought to my attention. I had assumed that the only real difference between the two was the small additional circuit board atop the motor that connected the ID pins appropriately, but that seems to be incorrect. The actual electric motor inside the two versions of the Train Motor do NOT seem to be the same. Notice in the video when both motors are receiving power simultaneously. The PUP motor spins easily and powerfully at speed 1. The PF motor, as always, does not really generate sufficient torque to spin (even with no load) until speed 2 or 3. As the two motors are receiving identical power, this difference is clearly inherent to the motor itself, not simply a difference in the driving circuitry between the PUP Hub and the PF IR Receiver. The PUP motor seems to be higher quality/more powerful. It's difficult to tell from the video, but the PUP motor is also noticeably faster than the PF motor at the same speed settings. The speed difference is enough that I didn't even bother trying it on an actual train; it's clear that the PF motor would be a drag on the PUP one. This isn't just some sort of weird behavior that only appears because the Hub is powering two motors when it only expected one, either. Hooking up my original spliced cable to the PF motor (no PUP motor involved) produced the exact same results -- PF motor doesn't generate significant torque until speed 2 or 3. I verified that it wasn't just one bad unit by testing three separate PF train motors. So, my final conclusion is: The hacked cable allowing PF motors to be used with the PUP Hub is useful, but Mixing PUP and PF Train Motors together on the same train is probably a bad idea.
  15. I like the new Powered UP (PUP) system in general -- the BlueTooth aspect is intriguing especially for the possibilities for complex behaviors controlled by a computer/phone/whatever. However, I also have a significant amount of Power Functions (PF) equipment in my collection which I'm not ready to give up on just yet. So, my first goal was to get old Power Functions motors working with the new Powered UP Hub. Lots of people have already demonstrated that this is possible, but I wanted to show my way -- which I think is relatively clean and modular. First, the hard part -- getting a Powered UP cable. I ended up adding Powered UP LED Light (88005) to a recent order from the LEGO shop with the intention of sacrificing the light just to get the cable. This is painfully expensive ($10 for one cable/connector!), and I won't be doing it again, but it was the least bad way I could think of to get a cable for experimentation. Then, hacking up the cable. Borrowing from @JopieK's PUP teardown work: I connected pins 1 and 2 to standard Dupont female pin headers. Next, I connected together pins 3 + 6, as well as 4 + 5. This signals to the Hub what type of device is attached -- in this case, it looks like a PUP Train Motor. Then, I sealed away my hacked wires behind a bit of heat-shrink tubing to protect the work and make it look less ugly. Next, I sacrificed a PF Extension cable. This is significantly less painful, because the extension cable only costs a third of what the lights cost and I end up with two usable connectors ($1.50 per cable/connector). For this, I connected the two center wires to standard Dupont male pin headers. These are the wires that actually carry the power to PF motors. I left the outer two wires unconnected. Again, a bit of heat-shrink tubing to clean things up. Now, I can just plug the male end (PF) into the female end (PUP), plug any PF device into the connector, and control it from the PUP Hub. I chose Dupont-style connectors because: I had them on-hand already; they're very simple to "breadboard" into test circuits; they're not polarized. This last fact means that it's simple to "reverse" a motor; if you don't like which way it rotates when you press +, just unplug the wire and plug it in backward! And a video of it in action.