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About Phoxtane

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  1. Unauthorized selling of instructions for MOCs

    Oh dear, I see we've reached the nuclear option in any debate: banning the dissenters. See, this tactic is used when either there's legitimate trolling causing derailment and distraction - or when a certain somebody gets tired of having to deal with a "messy" situation of their own doing... If anyone's interests here overlap with video games, look up the time when Jim Stirling was sued by the developer Digital Homicide!
  2. Unauthorized selling of instructions for MOCs

    This right here is an example of how this affects the community: MAB doesn't share his stuff on Eurobricks because of events such as these. This affects me as well; even though I post relatively infrequently, I'm considering whether or not to even bother mentioning any LXF work I've done for myself, and whether or not I should begin watermarking my images as well.
  3. Unauthorized selling of instructions for MOCs

    My thoughts: - Unless stated otherwise, assume that any resources posted online regarding a MOC are not eligible for sale EXCEPT by explicit, individual permission given by the creator (the creator, of course, may sell these resources themselves if they so choose). - Any store that sells MOC instructions, etc., should have a public posting of the permissions granted to them for sale of these resources by the creators. That is, I should be able to quickly and easily find on the store's website/pages a statement from the original creator that grants that particular storefront permission to sell these items. - Bad actors don't play by the rules, so if you see something, report it to the content creator. However, a supposed 'bad actor' may actually have permission (but neglected to state so), so double-check before throwing the aprocryphal books around.
  4. Control board for block signals

    The printed circuit boards have arrived, and they're looking quite decent: The board house appears to have added a designator of their own in the upper-right of the top side of the board. I assume this is because they're taking multiple orders and putting them on to one large panel, and this allows them to track whose order is whose. I've satisfied myself that the electrical connections are correct, so I've ordered the resistors, capacitors, and diodes I'll need to put this together. Those should arrive later this week. I already have the other components on hand. I did end up going ahead with the microcontroller version of this board, as with the space I had available both component placement and routing would have been very difficult using NAND logic chips. I'm already using up about half of the available area on the connectors alone. While on my prototypes the microcontrollers will be socketed, on the final product they'll be soldered in permanently, though I've left myself an ISP connection if it becomes necessary to update the software. My plan is to assemble as many boards as I have sockets, which should be five. This will allow me to demonstrate that the system works as intended, and if everything works out I can move on from a prototype to a final version.
  5. Control board for block signals

    After taking a break on the boards, I've begun work on the physical design of the signals themselves. There are multiple problems with designing such a model, however - the standard 5mm LEDs that many people are familiar with are too large to fit into a Technic hole (4.8mm diameter) without considerable force, and then we have light leaking out the back due to the exposed underside of the LED. The 3mm LEDs which I am working with currently are small enough around that they don't lock into holes that a standard Lego bar piece would (e.g., the front of a headlight brick), but the ring at the bottom prevents them from passing through entirely. For either case, once the LED is located, I still need a way to get the wires out of the model and under the 'floor' to their power source. For many models I've come across online, the trick here is to drill or cut Lego pieces to provide passthroughs, but the last guy I saw try that still isn't out of the hospital. The model below provides a decent method to mount 3mm LEDs, but has the issue of being quite bulky due to how the LEDs are fixed in place. The LED leads are passed through the center of a Technic pin mounted on the Technic beam, with the base of the LED butted against the top of the pin. A 1x1 cylinder piece slips over the Technic pin and allows the LED to poke through the hole at the top. An appropriately colored transparent piece is used as a lense. I'm not a huge fan of this design as it's quite large, ugly, and has no good way to hide the wires that will come off the back to form a cable. I was able to slim it down somewhat by using a Technic half-pin and one of the new 1x1 round plates with a hole to lock the LED in place, but the body of the device is still quite large. I think the best way to hide the wires is to use a ground-mounted signal, avoiding showing any large lengths of wire to begin with, but I still have the problem of fixing the LEDs in place without the model looking huge. I think this is where the various 3rd party lighting companies have it figured out - use tiny surface-mount LEDs with a very small gauge of wire attached that can slip between assembled bricks. In order to test this theory, I've ordered a 10-pack of pre-wired 0805 SMD LEDs from AliExpress. In theory, the package should arrive within 12-20 days, and I paid with Paypal because I didn't feel comfortable with giving them my card info (despite reading many assurances to the contrary on Reddit and such). They added a $0.80 charge for using Paypal, but overall my out-of-pocket expense was $7.06. Tonight I also settled on a design for the PCBs, so those have been sent off to a board house I've never tried before. Given how cheap it was, I'm very curious to see how they'll turn out. They should be here in about a week or so.
  6. Making Eurobricks More Active

    I wasn't incredibly clear on this point, but ideally this would be something that would be done in conjunction with some of the merges I had suggested - overall, it would be a decrease in the number of forums. Also, while I'm thinking about it, I would like to see more MOCs from these games highlighted on the front page, which could work partly as advertising for the games as well.
  7. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    Since we are missing a banner, I took it upon myself to make a new one! I hereby allow Eurobricks to use this banner as they deem fit, as my gift to the community. I worked really hard on this you guys
  8. Control board for block signals

    I'd love to see more, would you consider starting your own thread (or pointing us toward an existing one)?
  9. Making Eurobricks More Active

    Has anyone looked - like, seriously looked - at the page ? There's 25 subforums, not including the Reviewer's Academy, with some five sub-sub-forums dedicated entirely to that theme's flavor of RPG. There's so many sub-forums that I suspect the active users are spread quite thin across them For example, why did we get a Scale Modeling forum? As far as I can tell, that's a variation of Model Team, which already has a forum. I'll be burned in effigy for suggesting these other moves, but... - Pirates could move into Lego Historic Themes. - Lego Mafia and Role-Play Games could stand to live up to its name and have all the RPGs (Nar Eurbrikka, Guilds of Historica, Brethren of the Brick Seas, Andromeda's Gates, The Great Brick War, Heroica, etc etc.) added to it. In fact, make a new sub-section for RPGs and get those games out of the sub-sub-forum categories where nobody can see them! Call it "Role Play Games" and make a new subforum when a new game is started, then lock it and archive it once the game is complete. This means Mafia gets its own sub-forum too. - Culture and Multimedia could be rolled into Community, and Community could then be renamed something like "Everything Else". - Action Figures could be moved into Special Themes. - Town and Train could be put together. - Why have an introduction forum? Maybe instead of that, encourage people to post into their favorite theme with a MOC to introduce themselves? - Upon further inspection, why is Lord of the Rings in Historic Themes instead of Licensed themes? Why do we even have Licensed Themes? (I understand why we have a Star Wars subforum, as that would utterly drown out the other themes due to its overwhelming popularity). Why keep index threads pinned when they haven't been touched for 5+ years in some cases, becoming hideously outdated? Why even have index threads? Why keep threads for speculation from previous years pinned? Why does the Technic subforum have a Hall of Fame? It looks a lot like people are playing favorites, even if that isn't the intention (and I know it isn't!). WHY ARE WE RATE-LIMITED ON SEARCHES? A personal pet peeve, but it makes the search function totally useless because I can't iterate through searches/search terms at a reasonable pace when trying to narrow down that one thread from forever ago. It drives me insane. I'll be burned in effigy (again) for saying this likely, but do we have to change the entire forum's color scheme every three months? Why not just change the banner? It's incredibly jarring. I don't participate in contests partly due to time, partly because I feel like many times it's just a game of "which of the ten veterans who post every day will get the win and the awesome cool set this time? It won't be me, I haven't got a chance". Maybe there should be prizes specifically for people who haven't been around all that long? Say, between six months and two years, with a minimum post count? What if we limit the number of contests somebody can enter for a prize to avoid the "steamroller effect". Maybe contests should be limited in size/piece count more often, to give those who don't have as massive a collection a fighting chance? Call it "Building Small <$Year>: <$Theme>", limit to 200 pieces, start with a theme that doesn't get much love for contests (that is, pretty much any theme or forum that isn't the Technic one?). Can we get contests for the smaller forums, like Trains? (not trying to point fingers or funnel contests towards my interests, but the Technic forum seems to have had a lot of contests recently compared to all the other ones). Why are we hiding so much useful photography information in the Reviewer's Academy? Why not expose that to the general public, remove the whole 'secret club' aspect, and make a reviews-only forum, thus cleaning all other forums of reviews and keeping them focused on MOCs and such? This would allow both discussion and critique of the set in question and the review itself, respectively. Push ambassadors to post in their relevant forums to have direct contacts there instead of hiding them away in the Embassy. I think that's everything I can think of at the moment. I am a spiteful, terrible little man, so I'm sure I can come up with more complaints and negativity if desired. EDIT: As mentioned by makoy, I feel like getting any sort of recognition - even if it's a "I like this thing, but what about X? Why did you do Y?" - is incredibly important towards getting repeated member participation. I don't think there's anything quite as soul-crushing as posting something - a question, a project, etc - and being totally ignored.
  10. Control board for block signals

    I'm using three colors - red, yellow, and green. I want to use 3mm LEDs as opposed to the 5mm I tried last time; my hope was that the 5mm LEDs would fit in the holes in a Technic brick or beam. However, they're oversized for that hole size, and to make them fit I either had to sand them down or force them in such that they would never come out. The 3mm LEDs fit into the holes in pieces such as the headlight brick or the 1x1 round plate with hole - basically, any hole that a lightsaber blade piece can fit into - so that gives me many more options for methods to build proper signals. I am also considering 3D printing an insert for Technic beams or bricks that fits into the 5mm hole, but has a place for the 3mm LED to pass through. 3D printing would also let me model the shrouds on these signals. I'm imagining something that looks like this: ...although it would have to be somewhat taller to fit in.
  11. Now that my semester is mostly over, I've been thinking about some of the projects I had to put on hold to focus on my senior design project this year - specifically, the PCB I developed a couple years ago to run two three-color track signals off a centralized microcontroller: The original design called for a three-color signal: red, yellow, and green. My plan was to divide my layout into blocks, with a signal placed on each block. I wanted my signals to respond in the following manner: - If a train is detected in a block, that block's signal must be red (block is occupied). - The signals in the blocks adjacent to occupied blocks must be yellow (block ahead is occupied). - Otherwise, the block signal will be green (block is unoccupied). This would result in the signals 'following' the train around the layout, such that any trains travelling on the same track would be aware of each other, hopefully avoiding collisions. In practice, I won't be running trains on the same track, but it's still a fun effect to have! My resulting truth table then looks like the following. Inputs A and S are the signals from the adjacent blocks and block sensor, respectively, while outputs R, Y, and G are the red, yellow, and green signals, respectively. It doesn't matter which 'side' I get a signal from an adjacent block, as either way I want the signal to turn yellow. In addition, if the block sensor sees a train, I don't care what the adjacent blocks are doing - the signal must turn red. After working through this table, it occurred to me that there were two ways I could build this signal controller... Form 1: NAND Logic This truth table is simple enough that I should be able to build it with basic logic gate ICs - and if I can do that, then I can do it purely with NAND logic gates, saving cost as I only need one type of chip to make this work. However, I still need to work on converting the truth table to a set of Boolean expressions, and from there into pure NAND logic. After doing a bit of research, it looks like I'll need multiple NAND chips, as most chips I find have only four gates inside them. However, I am space and cost limited, as I can only use four NAND chips (16 NAND gates) if I want to be comparable to the cost of the ATTiny85 at 36 cents per chip. Form 2: ATTiny85 Since I only have five inputs/outputs, the ATTiny85 microcontroller is perfect for this application - there are exactly five pins left over after accounting for power, ground, and reset. However, I would need to program each microcontroller, and doing so with a surface-mount device becomes problematic. The cost is also an issue, as each one costs about $1.16-1.25. Buying in relatively small quantities, I think I can get the cost of components for each board to about $5 per board - including connectors and such. The main issue with using NAND gate chips is the amount I'll need, and thus the space they'll take up on a size-limited board. I also will need some transistors to drive the LEDs as the logic chips can't drive that much current directly. The issue with using an ATTiny85 chip for each board is how to program the much smaller surface-mount versions, as well as the relatively large fixed cost of each chip - I can't work on optimizing out some of the cost in the same way I could with the NAND version. I want to use JST connectors for running cables between the boards and sensors and such, as they're directional and I don't have to worry about plugging things in backwards this way. There is another question I have for you all: what's the most useful form factor? My original project had a board that was designed to fit in a 4x4 stud area, but for this I'm leaning more towards a 2x6 or 2x8 board, as I think I can fit that into more spaces.
  12. Are there plans to produce a drop-in replacement wheel set that is meant specifically for use for ball bearings? I'm referring to part #2878c01/2878c02. I had plans to develop a 3D-printable version for myself once my semester is over, but I've concluded that my printer would not be able to handle the tolerances required to make this possible.
  13. I like the idea, but keep in mind that the voltage Lego runs the PF system at is 9V (six 1.5V AA or AAA cells in series), so I'm not sure that you would even be able to get your train motor to run with a 5V supply under load. In addition (and I'm not sure since I haven't finished breakfast), you need more than the two PWM-capable output pins on the ATTiny85 to emulate the different speeds that the Lego IR receiver can produce - you will need four PWM-capable pins, so the ATTiny85 won't work unless you're fine with only being able to go full speed ahead and full speed backwards, similar to the standard PF controller. However, the ATTiny85 does (barely) have enough pins to make this work if you're okay with the above: four output pins for your chosen motor driver chip, one input pin for the receiver, and the three remaining pins for GND, VCC, and Reset adds up to the eight total. I'd recommend a second step-up converter to produce a motor voltage of 9V, but then your runtime goes down even further. 6240mWh/9V gives me ~693mAh of capaxity. We also can't forget the power draw of the microcontroller, the IR receiver, and the motor driver chip. A quick internet search shows me that 9V batteries have capacities of around 500-600mAh depending on if they're rechargeable or not, so in the end this may come out to be a wash in terms of overall runtime - but with more complexity since you have to step up to two different voltages, instead of stepping down once from 9V to 5V.
  14. This seems like a challenge: How much stuff can we cram into the shape and size of a standard door? I've no idea what a standard door size is, unfortunately. It looks like you'll need to start thinking upwards if you want to have more trains in this space.
  15. Wi-Charge

    Even if the system is totally safe... what about tunnels? Or even a relatively tall building on the layout blocking line-of-sight to the receiving unit?