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  1. Giottist

    Powered Up - A tear down...

    Perhaps it's useful to mention an existing software which supports PU hubs, the BOOST hub and (!)SBrick devices running on Windows 10. This software written by Eurobricks member Cosmik42 distiguishes between different sensors and the lights but makes no difference between motor types in the actual version. Stability is excellent and I could not find any issue with the BOOST motor connected to the train hub. Try it, you will be convinced
  2. Cool. My idea is to introduce the SerialPort class into my C# code enabling the communication with the Arduino world. It can be useful to save limited BT channels for the moving trains and let Arduino controllers serve the switch motors and readout fixed sensors besides the rails. Hmm, promising At the moment I am somewhat busy but this is real motivation to get experience with C# code in the train software. Let me a little time.
  3. Giottist

    7939 tanker wagon alternative parts

    Hello Bartosz, I assume you're talking about this design: Theese wagons are color modifications of the original tank wagon from the 7939 set. (in my opinion one of the best cargo train sets ...) The design contains three parts which can make trouble obtaining them. The cylinder 87926 needed four times for one wagon, the double sided snot brick 2434 needed two times and the 6x6 dish needed two times too. Since the studs of the dishes are covered by round tiles it is absolutely irrelevant if they are hollow or solid. Both bricklink and the LEGO sparpart service are full of affordable offers. Same for the both side studded modified brick 2434. It is covered over all by other bricks, therefore the color doesn't play any role. The only remaining problem is the cylinder half 6*3*6. To get the wanted color you ned either a realy lot of money OR a lot of patience. The cylinder in dark red is nearly unobtainable at the moment. In 2015/16 the situation was different. More than 30 pieces were offered for more than two years on ebay and nobody wanted them. Ok, after several month I purchased 20 pieces for 5 tank wagons not recognising how rare they are! Perhaps in the upcoming years another opportunity occurs again - who knows? Hold on and look up ebay frequently! If you have time until february, the spare part service of LEGO reopens. I can remember that cylinders 87926 are available in white, light bluish grey and tan (?) or dark orange, all colours suitable for tank wagons. The spare part service of LEGO ist affordable, quite often cheaper than most bricklink offers. So, wait for another 3 or 4 weeks and look into the spare part lists. Over the years my collection of chemical plant wagons grows like this :
  4. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Saturday afternoon, its raining nonstop outside and I'm a little bit bored. Perhaps the best situation to compare NiMH with Li-Ion technology. 1) Let me introduce my charger. It is designed for model operation at open sites and needs just a 12V power supply, i.e. a car battery. I connect it to a well dimensioned power supply. The charger can charge Pb, NiCd, NiMh ald Lithium cells. The cells can be also discharged with constant current. A microcontroller controls the charging and discharging process. Actual state, current, voltage and capacity is shown at any time on the display. I'm using the charger for several years and can verify absolut reliable function and measurement precision. 2) Let's have a look at the energy density of NiMH and Li-Ion cells. The Wikipedia gives an energy density of 180 Wh/kg for typical Li-Ion cells and about 60 Wh/kg for NiMH cells. Now lets have a look to our suitable cells / battery for the PU hub: The six AAA NiMH cells seems a little bit larger than the Li-Ion block. The six NiMH cells weight together 72.4g, the Li-Ion block only 25.6g. Please keep in mind that the weight contains the housing and the contacts, internal electrodes and so on. Since the NiMH battery comes as six individual cells the weight factor for them is inferior to the compact Li-Ion block. And now let's measure the capacity. To do this I programmed five cycles of discharging with 200 mA down to 6.6V and recharging with 100 mA. The result is for the Li-Ion block as mentioned above 470 mAh with 7.4V = 3,5 Wh. and for the six cell NiMH battery 350 mAh with 7.2V = 2.5 Wh. Let's check the charger results with the energy density values from literature. If all the mass of the Li-Ion block would be available for energy storage the capacity would be 4.6 Wh. with the real measured 3.5 Wh we get a mass factor of 76%, a realistic value since the block is really compact. The six NiMH cells should store 4.3 Wh if all the mass would be available but six times container, electrodes and contacts claim their tribute. 2.5 measured Wh means a weight ratio of 58%, a realistic value too. The used NiMH cells are rather new spare parts for my cordless phone. At the last three cycles there were no significant change in capacity of roundabout 350 mAh. The print claims a capacity of a whopping 1000 mAh which is completly impossible if the energy density of 60 Wh/kg for NiMH tecnology is realistic. To realize theese values the energy density must go up to Li-Ion levels -> impossible for the NiMH chemistry. There might be some improvements but not of a factor of three. I am sorry, but I have no reason to alter my claim that capacity values printed on the cells belong into the cloud-cuckoo-land. And now let's enjoy our running LEGO trains for some relaxed hours!
  5. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Yeeeeeeeessss...No, not at all. In the past I tried a lot of different NiMH cells and have had reliable lousy results. It seems unavoidable to use chargers with single cell supervision and LSD cells. Up to now I have my doubts, if the capacity value printed on the cell is realistic. My problem is the additional costs for a technology which I do not want anymore to check it out. Caparezza recommends a suitable combination of theTechnoline BC700 charger together with eneloop (pro) cells, wgich are definitely LSD cells. At ebay I've found several dealers who offers all the stuff for about 70,- € (charger and 12 cells). Uh oh, expensive just to check out a claim. But perhaps that's not neccessary if somebody lets its train motor idle together with the lights from full charge down to orange hub blinking. Any volunteer here? BTW: Li-Ion battery fires are possible but extremly rare. In most case such is reported just to encourage us a little. A leaking NiHM cell pouring auround its potassium hydroxide contents is not a matter interesting enough to be reported. Since there are billions (american notation 1 billion = 10^9) Li-Ion batteries out there, I see no safety issue.
  6. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Hey Capparezza, Thanks a lot for your info! You're using so called LSD cells (Low Self Discharging, means new technology). If we collect all available information we can do a lot for the LEGO train community PS.: Just found technical information about the Technoline BC700 charger. It charges and supervise each cell individually. And the eneloop cells are new generation LSD cells. This explains your sucess! Let everybody know this, if Li-Ion technology seems suspicious ...
  7. Giottist

    TrixBrix motorization

    Perhaps this video by Bananenbuurman can help.
  8. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    This morning I started the attempt to get a set panasonic eneloop AAA cells and a matching charger to reproduce the experiences of toastie and others. I has no sucess, the only offers I found were doubtful noname chargers and cells with pantasie brands - the same stuff I've destroyed multiple times in the past. I have no motivation to burn more money. Then I looked up original cells with original chargers in different online stores - an expensive pleasure. For the same money for one set for a LEGO hub I can buy another 10 (!) Li-Ion blocks. Ok, without charger, but I have a reliable Li-Ion charger. So please understand me that I cancel my test plans for NiMH solution for economic reasons and continue to recommend the usage of 9V block Li-Ion batteries if a suitable adpater is available. The advantage are: Li-Ion technology is reliable, reproducable, offers sufficient capacity and run time, there is no risk to buy a wrong combination of charger and cells and the cells are by far more economic. I for myself am satisfied with a real train runtime between 2 and 3 hours. The disadvantage is at the moment that not ready made adpter is available. Now I like to look around somebody with a 3D printer to manufacture a prototype for a foolproof adapter. On the other hand: If you are lucky to have a running and reliable NiMH combination of charger and cells, please use and enjoy it. There is no need to change anything. Using NiMH AAAcells is more expensive but needs no modification. That's true. 8 hours later: Addenum: I've found a very detailed website about NiMH cells in german language. I try to translate the most important statements into english. (Please forgive me my bad language ) Now it is explainable why Toastie and others have good experiences with NiMH cells and others including me not. 1) To have a reliable and functional power source you have to use NiMH cells with low self draining technology. The website mentions eneloop and ReCyco+. The manufacturers are Panasonic (Sanyo) and GP. 2) Please let any noname cell at the store. Ordinary NiMH cells have a self discharging rate up to 50% a month (!) and have to be recharged very often, best every week. If you do not so the risk of deep discharging is high. 3) Deep discharging below 0.85 V will destroy the common NiMH cell very fast. Low self discharging cells are less sensitive but still a little endagered. It is neccessary to use NiMH cells often. This is the best for them. Playing only in long intervals will destroy even low dicharging NiMH cells 4) The website recommends to use a dedicated charger with control for each individual cell, since the parameter variation for NiMH cells is rather high. This sounds somewhat expensive. Many thanks to Chr. Caspari from
  9. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Thank you all for the discussion. It helps to find out the properties of different solutions for rechargeable batteries. @toastie: I did not plan to make real science out of this question but have an overlook since I have not the best experiences with (noname ?) NiMH stuff. I'm using the PUP train motor 88011 as the motor idling in bottom up position and the lights 88005. I know it's rather difficult to measure the average current, voltage and power for a PWM device. For a first crude look I've chosen this simple setup. At the moment I'm very busy by profession and have no opportunity to get original Panasonic Eneloop stuff, but you make me curious. It's a nice idea to make a comparison.
  10. If I unstand it correct, we can write small c# code which is executed as a result of different sensor messages. Does the C# interpreter (?) allow loops like for oder do while and branches like if else or case and local variables?
  11. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Ouh, better not. I have no plans to modify the original hardware, so I did not try or even thought about it. The only exception was the experiment with the two AAA Li-Ion cells which I count as a flop. I can remember a pcb image in the tear down thread on the first page. It seems quite larger than a 9V block.
  12. Another info update: I warned in another thread not to use the original LEGO app if you're using android 5.0.2 or older since the original app is not only bloated but also contains a lot of bugs. With Cosmik42s train software there is no need for this app anymore. With one exception: To update the firmware on the train hubs. Fortunately this works still with my old smartphone with android 5.0.2. Three of my four hubs were updated (to what version ?), the fourth has a recent firmware version. Immediatly I threw the LEGO bloatware out of my smartphone after the firmware were updated. Some train hubs are recognized now as "Hub No 4.", the others as "Smart Hub" but function is not affected. The BOOST hub is recognized allways as "Move Hub". All hubs cooperates with the software without any flaw.
  13. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Thank you all for the hint with original eneloop cells in combination with an original panasonic charger. It's worth to test them. May I ask anybody to let a train motor idling together with the lights from full charge to an orange blinking hub and tell us the time? Otherwise I spent another 30,- € to test them. I'm curious now. I can faint remember I've use eneloop batteries in the distant past but no original panasonic charger ... Hmm. BTW, at the moment I'm very content with my Li-Ion solution.
  14. Giottist

    Rechargeable batteries for powered up hubs

    Please do not believe what's printed on the cell. This has nothing to do with reality. I'm using a charger with a lot of rather precise measurements i.e. the real capacity. I've found the AAA Li-Ion cells has less than 200 mAh in reality than 350 mAh printed on. I have severe doubts that your 950 mAh are real. The half at maximum is more realistic. More important is the fact that NiMH cells are difficult to charge. I have tried a couple of chargers (to be honest more than five ...), but each destroyed the cells after 3 to 5 cycles by overcharging because charge end detection is very difficult and not solved by most chargers. Perhaps you are the lucky owner of a working one. Can you tell us which kind of charger you use? I for myself banned all NiMh stuff: My Li-Ion solution offers 460 to 480 REAL mAh (measured and confirmed multiple, the 650 mAh printed on the battery is pure marketing) and runs a train with realistic load for more than two hours. And charging is reliable, the life span will be hundreds of cycles. How long your trains runs with full batteries?
  15. Hmm, Cosmik42s software makes it possible to use standard LEGO hardware with similar functionality. For one SBrick I can get three train hubs (at the moment at BrickLink).