Eurobricks Knights
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About Phoxtane

  • Birthday 05/06/1996

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  1. If there were more details they've been lost to time. I've graduated and gotten a job since this post was made. You're looking for 9-gram servos - for this job, literally any cheap servos will do, since all they have to do is move a little bit and not fight against the airflow on a model airplane wing (their original intended application). In addition to the color improvements I (apparently) suggested in the original post, it may be possible to dye the insulation black on the servo cable so as to get rid of the yellow-red-brown colors. If you're going to use an Arduino, I would recommend getting some sort of servo breakout board with a separate power supply. Anything more than a few LEDs being powered directly by the microcontroller is likely to cause brownouts and resets, both of which mean your project won't work as intended. I didn't bring this project any further along because I didn't (and still don't) have a space for a permanent layout. Check back in another three years, I might own my own place with a dedicated Lego room by then. Were I to do it again today, I'd build up my own custom control board dedicated to controlling the servos and allow for serial communications to the outside world for integration with any other automation I would want to add. I'm not immediately sure how I'd handle the overall architecture, but it'd probably have to be a (relatively) low gauge wire running in a power bus around the layout with each servo tapping power from the bus, while the PWM signals travel to and from the controller directly. This prevents any issue with a high-current device (servo) trying to draw too much power through a tiny wire and yanking the voltage too low by accident.
  2. Phoxtane

    Lego 10277 - Crocodile Locomotive

    Mine is also on the 60-day backorder. It'll be a nice treat in August when I've forgotten about it. One down, four to go!
  3. Phoxtane

    Lego 10277 - Crocodile Locomotive

    Is it known what, if any, unique parts there are to this set? I guess we could argue that the sticker sheet (if there's more than just the one for the display plaque) could be considered "a part". Also, we have printed parts unique to that set... I guess what I mean is: aside from parts with printed designs on them, and stickers, are there new parts, or parts in new colors? I'm curious about how feasible it would be to build one of these out of an existing collection or through Bricklink (again, ignoring stickers and printed pieces).
  4. Phoxtane

    Lego 10277 - Crocodile Locomotive

    Oof. I don't know that I would have the space to store all those. I'd like a new locomotive every other year, with rail car packs released on the off years. It's entirely possible to end up with too many locomotives and nothing to pull with them.
  5. Phoxtane

    My Own Lego World

    How do you tell your dogs apart?
  6. Phoxtane

    Alternative train wheel set with ball bearings

    A source I like for ball bearings in the US is Fast Eddy Bearings (unaffiliated). $.99 per piece but they're sold by a "real" company, not off Ebay. The site is aimed at RC hobbyists but they'll happily sell bearings to anybody with a valid credit card.
  7. Phoxtane

    Lego 10277 - Crocodile Locomotive

    Somebody else mentioned earlier in the thread that sets can begin life up to three years before going on sale. If we're only a handful of months out from this set going on sale, they'll have already committed to getting boxes and manuals printed, marketing materials made up, etc. - they'd have to rework all of that, which costs $$$!
  8. Phoxtane

    Lego 10277 - Crocodile Locomotive

    I want two. Actually, I want four: two to run, one for display, and one to sell at exorbitant prices on the second-hand market in ten year's time. (I kid, it won't be exorbitant, just scandalous.)
  9. Phoxtane

    New England BrickWorks: 3rd party curves and switches

    I believe you're talking about resin casting/molding. Like many of the attempts we've seen before, I'll believe it when I see it. I would strongly advise against crowdfunding - ME Models poisoned the well there so I'm not keen on the idea of people putting cash towards another attempt to make third party tracks.
  10. Phoxtane

    E-Drive and PE-Drive

    ME Models used to sell plastic curved tracks in different sizes, made up like the old 12V system (individual rails connected with a basic 2x8 plate). They planned on branching out into all-metal rails, and started a Kickstarter to get the project going. Four (?) years and $87,000 later, the community only ever saw prototypes at a handful of conventions. In fact, the prototyping and production phases went so poorly ME Models is no longer in business as best I can tell - both their website and Facebook page have vanished into the ether. If you look at the Kickstarter page, the comments are full of a bunch of disappointed enthusiasts who put their money on the line in the hopes that ME Models would bring metal rails to market. I believe this to be why people in Train Tech, including myself, are very skeptical of crowdfunding campaigns for Lego Train-related items.
  11. Phoxtane

    E-Drive and PE-Drive

    (I don't like making double posts but I somehow managed to absolutely destroy the post editing system with my last one so here we are) One final thought: I would avoid Kickstarter (or any crowdfunding platform) until you have an actual, physical, operating prototype. "Projects must be honest and clearly presented. Our community is built on trust and communication. Projects can’t mislead people or misrepresent facts, and creators should be candid about what they plan to accomplish. When a project involves manufacturing and distributing something complex, like a gadget, we require projects to show backers a prototype of what they’re making, and we prohibit the use of misleading imagery." (Emphasis mine). Please also keep in mind many of us are VERY skeptical of crowdfunding stuff for Lego trains due to the fiasco of the ME Models metal rails. Four (?) years later most people still haven't gotten anything, pledges haven't been refunded, and ME Models is, for all intents and purposes, out of business. As a result we're a very tough crowd when it comes to crowdfunding.
  12. Phoxtane

    Technical problem 9V

    I can confirm this is why you were having those problems. Say you have one regulator at full blast one way putting out +9V (measured from the left rail to the right rail), and the second one is at full blast the other direction, putting out -9V (measured again from the left rail to the right rail). Since you had inadvertently connected your regulators in parallel, your regulators would now be cancelling each other out (add -9 to +9) resulting in no movement on either track. Paralleling your regulators is totally fine if you wanted some extra current capacity - but you've already modded some of your regulators to achieve that so it doesn't seem like it's necessary. In addition, if you wanted to parallel them you'd have to make sure they were all at the same setting every time you changed the speed.
  13. Phoxtane

    E-Drive and PE-Drive

    I'm not sure I see the functionality/usefulness/effectiveness of PE-Drive, or the business case for E-Drive. It sounds like PE-Drive takes compressed air and uses it to generate electricity to drive the train. I don't think compressed air will be energy-dense enough to allow for any meaningful amount of run time, especially once you run it through a tiny pneumatic V20 motor-generator unit with the efficiency losses there. Examining the efficacy of PE-drive vs batteries: Typically, our Lego trains run off of six AA or AAA batteries in series. Say I use AAA batteries - Duracell Coppertops, part number MN2400 (Duracell because I can find a data sheet for these), and run my train around a track non-stop. It will use on average about 300mA* and thus get about 2.5 hours of run time out of one set of AAA batteries**. This means that at the load this test train is running at, we can extract ~750mAh from those batteries. The PF train motor uses a small brushed DC motor for power, and since it's not hugely expensive let's say it's 75% efficient***. Overall, that means we use 1000mAh for running the train for 2.5 hours (4). Using 1000mAh can also be expressed as having used 32.4 kilojoules of energy (5) (6) (7). Lego pneumatic compressors tend to cap out at around 30psi in my experience, but you're (presumably) using a custom compressor, so let's say that's 40psi. To store 32.4kJ in air that's at 40psi, you would need a reservoir with a volume of 117.47 liters (8). Where in the megablocks does that fit into a Lego train? Even with a 60-gallon 175psi compressor from my local hardware store, that's still a reservoir size of 26.86 liters (9), and IMHO that's a really scary pressure for something the size of an office water cooler tank on my living room floor. That's at an impossible 100% efficiency! This research paper suggests that reciprocating compressed air engines will be, at most, 13% efficient. If your air reservoir is roughly the size of two Lego AAA battery boxes, you have at most .15 liters, and you'd have to compress your reservoir to over 31000psi... In two battery box's worth of volume you could store 42J of energy at 40psi (with an impossible 100% efficient drive train - motor-generator and all). That's the same as a 1.3mAh battery, which will run your train for roughly 3-4 seconds. Even if this gives you a ton of torque in that time, your wheels would slip and most of that energy would be wasted. * ** (have a look at the constant current curve for 250mA on the Coppertop MN2400 AAA datasheet) *** (4)*.75+%3D+750+for+X (5) (6)*9.0*3.6+Joules (7) (8) (9) Due to the above I don't think PE-Drive will be a good candidate for powering our trains any time soon. On the other hand, from a ridiculously cool steampunkish aesthetic and engineering standpoint I'd love to see this system in action! E-Drive is more feasible in my mind because it propose an alternate all-electric power system. However, I don't think it will be economically viable, because it requires more infrastructure than even the old 12V and 9V systems - how are you going to keep the overhead cables from moving relative to the track? Most of us don't have the space or budget for a permanent layout where these things can be glued or bricked down. In addition this also requires new motors/electrical pickups, transformers, etc... Also: On 1/19/2020 at 1:21 PM, Worldwide_build said: The V20 is an air-motor that drives an electric generator. The power that the generator generates goes to the rail trucks to drive the wheels. On-board there is a lower voltage system that powers the controller (think about a stepper motor to control the airflow) and a small electric motor that powers a very compact air-compressor located in the fuel tank area. These two systems are independent of each other, the only relation being to control the motor and the compressor. All-Electric trains are on a completely different level, as the effort required to design this compared to the Pneumatic-Electric system is much higher. Where does PE-Drive get the electrical power to run the onboard compressor? Don't say it comes from the motor-generator unit because that's a perpetual motion machine and those don't exist. And if it comes from wall power via an overhead cable, why bother with the complexity and poor efficiency of a pneumatic motor-generator unit? Why not just use an on-board electric motor, like the 9V, 12V, RC, PF, and PU systems use? You can get a ton of torque out of an electric motor - if you want more than what Lego currently offers, you should see what electric RC racing has done for the availability of small high-torque brushless motors. (Side note: if you do look into RC gear for cramming into Lego trains, please consider stuffing a nitro RC buggy engine into one too. It'll be hilarious.)
  14. Phoxtane

    Lego themes that we would like to happen

    I'd favor more of a Twin Drive System myself...
  15. Phoxtane

    LEGO 40th anniversary classic train

    To my eye it looks like the buffers are boat studs. They're spaced inwards a bit more than the original and look a bit larger.