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Everything posted by Xris

  1. Xris

    Christmas Tree Trimmings (LEGO)

    Hi ecmo47, that's a really nice Shay engine encircling your xmas tree, congrats! Xris
  2. Xris

    Christmas Tree Trimmings (LEGO)

    Yeah, we usually did so. At least an oval around the tree. Usually, it grew and ended up in a vast layout. However, kids do change your xmas habits - at least regarding your LEGO train layout. E.g., last year, we bought a City Train Super Set, but didn't manage to build it. While "Godzilla I" came out of her prime destructive age, 9-month old "Godzilla II" seemed to impose a quite to high danger level to any LEGO construction within 80 cm of the ground level. Ever since, the Super Set is awaiting its unboxing and construction in our living room. Today, Godzilla II endagers everything within 200 cm above ground level (he is able and willing to use climbable furniture, ladders and tools like sticks to reach his goal). Perhaps I will manage to fix enough wall mountings to create a safe asylum for our LEGO xmas-train layout this year - on shelves 210 cm above grould level :-) Xris
  3. Xris

    What got you into lego trains!

    Ever since I can think I had those LEGO 4.5 V trains (blue period). During my childhood, I got some more cars (no engines, I just had a single 4.5V steamer, everything else had to be created by myself). My father also owned a Märklin HO model railroad, which became more and more interesting due to the fascination of automated electric remote switches, signals, decouplers etc. Then I got envolved into RPG and board games and entered my dark ages in the late 80's. Years later, my father reactivated the old idea of building a HO scale model railway and cleared his basement from my of LEGO collection. Sorting and rebuilding all the old LEGO sets, I looked for part list and building instruction for sets from the 60's to 80's and stumbled over some great AFOL websites. Thus, my dark ages ended in 2005. I started building LEGO castles again and finaly got the idea of blending some of my old hobbies: LEGO building, model railroading and electronics. First, I ordered some more 4.5V rails before I switched to the 9V system just when LEGO recently had dropped that system. Currently, I am planning a big 9V track design with motors modified to support looped-in bidirectional DCC decoders and motorized switches. Xris
  4. Xris

    Train Tracking with RFID

    Hi, There are more useful applications to RFID-tagged cars. E.g. identifying all cars can be used to emulate wheel counters: With 2 RFID-Reader on the track, you can check, whether each car that has entered the track also has left it - thus finding out whether the train has fully cleared the track. This might help increase safety on automated layouts dramatically. You can also use this to automatically operate warning lights and fences at level crossings. Regards Xris
  5. Xris

    Duplo Trains discussion

    Aye! All the stuff you present here ist really amazing. Seems I underestimated the usability of the DUPLO trains system. Getting some crates of DUPLO track and some engines would make up all you need for a beginner's CS practical course. However, even using DUPLO rails, creating a tape of sufficient length for this task might remain a too big challenge - at least for my wallet . Xris
  6. Xris

    IR Range for PF train

    Hi, The PF IR-protocol allows for absolute speed control within a single command message. While LEGO's remote controls do not support this feature (or better: they use it for emergency halt only), you can tackle the described problem by using a self-built remote control: Connecting the HiTechnic "NXT IRLink Sensor" to your Mindstorms NXT you can program it to get an advanced IR remote (not only) for your trains. +1 Xris
  7. Hi, thanks for sharing your work results. I am going to make a large 9V layout and will need to do many "adjustments" to the original track. So, it's nice to read about your experiences with it. I have no problem with cutting and modding LEGO tracks, when it is required to allow building somewhat "realistic" track layouts. And for the kids, it is good to see how to analyse and solve problems. Thanks Christian
  8. Xris

    The Sodor Railways and others Mocs

    Hello Sergio and Eros, I'd love to watch the pfotos of your builds, but unfortunately the linked Brickshelf folders are still non-public. Regards, Christian
  9. 41. by Devid (2 votes) 72. by by minifignick (1 vote) 110. by Tazmaniac (1 vote) 144. by moctown (3 votes) 180. by kritch (1 vote) 206. by Cara (1 vote)
  10. Xris

    MOD: 7938

    Hi, using capacitors to store electric energy is a good idea in general. The only problem with it is, that you need to consider the capacitor's polarity (for both, goldcaps and electrolytic types). On the LEGO 9V system, polarity is switched in oder to reverse the train, so you need an electronic circuit to load the capacitor and to maintain the train's current direction in case of lost contact to the rails - switching the capacitor's output polarity when required. Just soldering a capacitor in parallel to the motor won't have the desired effect but damage the capacitor (and most likely, the motor will still stutter). When you use onboard controllers (like those used for DCC-controlled trains) you can easily use decoders with support for storage capacitors (e.g. ZIMO and ESU provide some types with this feature). Regards, Xris
  11. Xris

    Lego 60051

    Hello, if you want an improve remote control, you could make use a "learning" RC and teach it the PF-codes. But you could also build your own remote: Use Mindstorms 2.0 and the LEGO-certified IRLink-Sensor from hitechnic.com. You can easily construct and program an "intelligent" remote control, that will control any kind of IR-controlled LEGO builds at once and prevents you from accidently reversing your trains! Using additional sensors, you can do more fancy things, like using a gyroscopic to set the speed. Regards Xris
  12. Hello Exa, I just found a munufacturer who offers a wall-shelf system consisting of U-profile steel rails and steel consoles. You can fix the rails vertically to the wall and mount consoles in arbitrary heights on them. They provide consoles with widths 300, 400, 480, 600 mm which is nice, however I would prefer getting some 800 mm consoles for my station segments. While this solution would be highly flexible, it would cost me about 1.300 EUR just for the mounting system . In addition to this, I need to build segment plates from plywood on a frame of wooden ledges, covered with footfall sound insulation in order to limit noise transfer from the running trains to the walls.
  13. Hi Exa, lucky you! I'll need to build my railway on 2-4 levels all around the perimeter of our appartment's corridor (11500 mm x 1900 mm) - at an elevation of 2000 mm above the doors. Currently, I am looking for a nice wall mounting system using bars and consoles to hold the board segments. After that, I'll need to construct two mobile platforms/stages before I can start working on the track... Xris
  14. Hello, what about the length of your trains? Are the platform tracks long enough to fully hold trains that overtake or cross each other at the station? How many persons should be able to play with your layout? In order to run 2 trains at once, you will need 2 drivers and 1 switchmen at least. A single - longer - track might be an alternative solution. In addition to extendes main track length, this would allow you to add some sidings, allow for lots of shunting. This might add some plaing fun and allows you to add more meaningful buildings along the tracks. Xris
  15. Hi , also the model railroad industry has not brought up a suitable solution for this by now. Some providers offer couplings with up to 6 electrical connections (e.g. Krois for HO gauge: http://www.krois-mod...produkt/stkupp/), but these are not robust enough to withstand 7yo players. Regards Xris
  16. Hi Haddock51, I intend to use cramps/staples and hot glue to attach the fence to the plywood forming the bedding for the track. Using craps could be tricky, if the plywood bedding is too thin. A local model railroading club reported some problems with this topic, so I will call them a visit to learn from their experience. They also told me, that othagonal supports under the bedding often cause problems, because the plywood between two such supports tends to sagging. Regards Xris
  17. Hi Haddock51, I will use 9V tracks and motors, but I will additionally create custom-made power pickups and various PowerFunction motors. Max inclination of 3,7% is for the connecting ramps between the fixed parts of the layout running along the walls. I do not need AACs to connect the three levels of the permanent layout. I even do not need any inclined curves here, since a can use the long walls to gain all the vertical space I need. The AAC is needed to connect extensional layout elements on the floor with the permanent installation starting at 200 cm above the floor. In the AAC I need the steeper 4.77% ramp of almost 1.5 plates heights per 16 stud rail segment in order to achieve the clearance of 14 bricks. Each ramp ist started and ended by 2 - 4 segments with gradually increasing/decreasing inclination. For the fixed parts of the layout, I intend to create horizontal shelf like elements from plywood on a lattice. The upper side will be covered with felt or cork to dampen the noise of running trains. The lower side will be covered with removable decorated plates with built-in elements for ambient lighting. Between the two layers, technical installation, as decoders, switch motors and electric wiring will be hidden away. For the AAC, I intend to use some a cheap standard shelf (like "IVAR" series from IKEA) and mount thread bars on it, which will connect to the ramp made of plywood. On the both lateral sides of the ramp, "fences" of plywood or thin acrylic glass will add to the ramp's stability and protect derailed units from falling down. I am planning with a maximum train length of 20 rail segments (=320 studs or 2.5 m). This should be enough, since the layout models a single track branch line. Since I'll be on a vacation until wednesday, I won't be able to read the forum before then. CU Xris
  18. Hi Haddock51, I am preparing a similar project, involving 3 levels at 200, 220 and 240 cm above floor level. The corridor I want to use is approx. 10m x 1.9m. At the moment, the design has a total track length of about 200 m. I plan to have inclinations of at most 3.7% between the levels. I also want to include an "AAC" from the second level down to the floor. The device will allow me to have "temporary" extensions of the design and to allow for additions by the kids. It will be mounted on a dedicated mobile rack, so I can store it separately. For the AAC I am planning 16 curves plus 6 straights per turn (more doesn't fit into the corridor or through the doors). The trains and track support require a head clearing of at least 14 bricks (13.44 cm) height between two turns. This results in an inclination of 0.64 bricks per track segment (4.77%) and 17 turns in total. I have not made any experiments with the pulling force of LEGO trains yet, but I am quite sure, this will bring them to their limits. The main problem I expect is the increased friction within the inclines curves of the AAC. Do you plan experiments covering this problem? Greetings Xris
  19. Hi kc2dc, I think your new layout is much better than the old one. The bridges and 2-storied stations and the railroad / monorail work nice. However, I think instead of showing all the mentioned themes (downtown area, suburban area, industrial area, airport and harbor) it would be better to concentrate on 2 of them - maybe harbour and downtown area in order to allow for more convincing scenery. Using two levels should allow you to separate the chosen themes. Regards Christian
  20. Xris

    Patriks Trainmodules

    Hello Patrik, using OpenDCC this way is really a very nice approach for controlling a segmented/module based layout! I have obtained some OpenDCC DiBiB assembly sets from Fichtelbahn.de and am now in the progress of assembling them (and editing/improving the available manuals/documentation on that topic). When done with that, I will start testing them to assess their usability for my project. I chose OpenDCC DiBiB because it provides me with RailCom functionality and allows to identify the decoders' whereabouts on extensive layouts (I am planning a 2 level layout along the walls of a 11.5 x 1.9 m corridor). It might still take some time, but I'll definitively contact you in order to exchange experiences with the OpenDCC equipment and running the LEGO trains. I'll enjoy communication in German using private messages, but I thought It would be nice to draw the attention of some more Train Tech members. Perhaps there are some more fans of open projects hiding here... Best regards Christian
  21. Xris


    Hello, I'm Christian from Dortmund/Germany and just joined the forum in order to get into contact with some other Lego train enthusiasts (so, please add my name to the Train Tech scrolls). I started in the 70's with the blue 4.5 V trains and extended my collection some years ago, just before I switched to the 9V system. By now, my locos and coaches primarily collect dust waiting on top of our book shelves - an unbearable situation, that must be changed. The major problem: godzilla on the loose - impersonated by my cute little daughter. So, I am currently planning the permanent installation of a 2-level layout in our corridor (11.5 m x 1.9 m). Since multiple trains and dozends of switches and signals need to be controlled 2 metres above the floor level, I'll employ my computer and DCC to get the job done. I have just decided on the general layout and started to prepare some tests of electronic equipment and motor performance, especially regarding climbing long, steep and curved slopes. I'm eager to exchange any bit of experience collected answering my or similar challenges! Best regards Xris
  22. Xris

    Patriks Trainmodules

    Hi Patrik, I am currently planning my L-gauge layout and would like to use OpenDCC/BiDiB to control it. It would be nice to learn from your experience. I think you use standard LEGO motors inside the 9V train motor blocks. Which current is applied to the tracks? If more than say 10V, do you "reduce" it using the duty cycle restrictions fuctionality of the decoder via CVs settings? Regards Christian