michaelgale

Eurobricks Vassals
  • Content Count

    58
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About michaelgale

Spam Prevention

  • What is favorite LEGO theme? (we need this info to prevent spam)
    Trains
  • Which LEGO set did you recently purchase or build?
    Ninjago 71741

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Electronics, software, photography, graphic design, running, and of course trains and LEGO!

Extra

  • Country
    Canada

Recent Profile Visitors

741 profile views
  1. michaelgale

    PFX brick Sound with Trains

    @legonerd54321 Wow...your timing is spooky! Just this week, we've been trying out pre-release candidates of our new firmware which include enhanced sound playback effects for trains. Some of the key features: 1. Gated Playback - Gated playback of sound files (for "chuff" type sounds) can include up to 4 different and sequentially played sound files. This makes the sound playback sound less "robotic" and flat. Furthermore, you can have up to 4x groups of 4x playback sounds. A group is selected based on motor speed with the same boundaries as the indexed playback. This will let you specify a different "chuff" sound sequence through a locomotive's total speed range. 2. Speed Triggered Extra Sounds - The indexed playback mode now includes specifying playback of extra sound effects based on speed. This includes: a) Accelerating from stop - e.g. a turbo-charger "whine" sound, a steam or air brake release sound, etc. b) Accelerating while moving - e.g. turbo charger sound c) Slowing down quickly while moving - e.g. dynamic brake sounds, fans, steam release, etc. d) Slowing down to stop - brake squeal sounds Note that these sounds are based on acceleration as well as absolute speed. Therefore a gradual slow down to stop might not incur a brake squeal sound. This makes the overall sound from the model feel more realistic and life-like. 3. Developer Tools in Python - We've added some more scripts and tools to help developers with make sound profiles for the PFx Brick. For example, you can specify all the details of a sound profile in a convenient plain text YAML file. A python script will read this file and automatically load the sounds, configure motor and playback actions and setup the PFx Brick ready to use. This will let you make changes and fine-tune the behaviour of the sound profile quickly since the script only makes changes that are required to the PFx Brick. For example, if you change one audio sample file, it will only load that changed file and not reload the entire set of files. There's still a bit more work to do in terms of testing and documentation; however, we're getting very close to a public release. This will include: 1. New ICD document v.3.38 2. New firmware release v.1.50 3. New PFx App release v.1.10 4. New pfx-brick-py Python language tools (v.0.8.0 on pypi probably) Stay tuned!
  2. @Jedi Bert Great! Thank you! We've increased the weight limit to the USA to 10 kg. We've also added shipping rates to UK / AU / NZ up to 5 kg. The store now also has a currency selector in the footer so that you can see equivalent pricing in CAD, USD, GBP, and EUR. Note that our default currency is CAD. A reminder to folks in the EU (and the UK): purchase your Fx Track from JB Spielwaren (in Germany). They offer very competitive flat rate shipping to the EU. For PFx Brick and accessory purchase, you may continue to use our Canadian web shop from our website.
  3. Thanks all to have already placed pre-orders for more Fx Track--much appreciated! There was an issue with weight thresholds for shipping that should hopefully be resolved. Standard shipping products are for <2 kg; therefore we have added shipping tiers for up to 6 kg (USA) and 5 kg (Aus/NZ). @TuffTuffTuff We're not exactly sure when the M-Speaker brick will be available again--our manufacturing pipeline is just stuffed with track! :) The CAD for the new M Speaker is complete, we just have to figure out when to schedule it for manufacturing. It is very likely we will use JB Spielwaren for reselling the PFx Brick and a few key accessories; however, we're just getting started with EU distribution and our focus is getting the process working smoothly for Fx Track. We're not sure when this will occur, but it will. As @zephyr1934 pointed out, all our store's pricing is in Canadian dollars (CAD)--US dollar (USD) prices are approx. 20% lower. And indeed you require twice as many R88 elements to make a full circle as R72. Since our cost is actually based on the number of elements, curve radii above R72 will cost more--its just the reality of what you're physically producing and its associated cost. One last word on prices: its really difficult to keep prices low these days: 1. Manufacturing costs have increased dramatically this past year 2. Freight costs have gone up 3x !!! 3. Electronics availability is going crazy: e.g. the CPU in the PFx Brick is currently 48 weeks lead time! the Bluetooth radio is 14 weeks with ZERO stock worldwide. You probably have seen items in the news about "chip shortages" etc. -- this is very real and it is impacting us. Luckily we have a good inventory buffer for the electronics so far--but we're getting concerned about future products like our motor bogie and speed controller. In any case, these are factors we can't control. For the factors which we can control, we try to offer the best retail price we can. If we were making USB cables for Amazon--then low cost matters--custom engineered LEGO compatible metal track is different story!
  4. @Jedi Bert There should be no issue shipping to the USA. However, we suspect that their might be a weight restriction with standard shipping options offered automatically by the new store. It be worth trying to process an order with a combined shipping weight of <2 kg? We're going to look at configuring alternative shipping options for larger/heavier orders. Sorry about the trouble, but we're just getting up to speed with this new e-commerce platform! @Black Knight We set retail pricing in USD and it is up to JBS to setup their equivalent MSRP in EUR. We suspect that their pricing is due to currency exchange rate fluctuations and other factors. Its tricky for us since we're dealing with multiple currencies for sorts of things in our business! In any case, JBS still offers great value since they offer very competitive flat rate shipping for the entire EU.
  5. We've not finalized pricing yet. However, the price does not simply scale with the size of the item. Each track item is roughly the equivalent in terms of tooling costs, i.e. plastic mold + one (for straights) or two (for curves) pressed metal stamping tools. The amount of plastic consumed per unit is not a big cost driver. Furthermore, other costs such as shipping, labour, and material prices have increased a great deal in just the past 6 months--each of which contributes to our cost of goods.
  6. Hi folks! Sorry for the delay in updating you guys with updated product availability. We've posted a detailed update on our site here: https://www.fxbricks.com/fxblog/?post_id=46&amp;title=new-fx-track-product-availability TLDR: 1. Pre-orders of S8, S32, R72 and R88 tracks start June 1, 2021 2. Deliveries expected to start late July/early August depending on sea container shipping. 3. No per-customer quantity limits 4. R56 and R104 available in 2021, confirmed schedule TBD 5. P40 switches currently in tooling -- complex manufacturing with many parts, but expect availability in 2021. 6. Motor bogie, power accessories in detailed design / some components in prototyping Thanks again for your awesome support, feedback, reviews, etc. -- we can't wait to bring you guys more products and are committed to applying the very best of our engineering and design skills and quality standards to these exciting new products!
  7. @Ashi Valkoinen The short straights (S1.6 and S3.2) are not out of the catalog. They will be made. We're still deciding how they will be packaged. They could be packaged with the switch, or as a separate pack of "short straights". We're leaning towards offering them as a pack of short straights since folks are likely to need very different amounts depending on what they are building. It will likely come as a box of 8x S1.6, 8x S3.2 and 2x or 4x S8. The website needs updating. The short straights do not appear on the catalog page since they are likely to cause confusion without an explanation about how they are used.
  8. @Wimmer Thanks very much for your support--much appreciated! :) I see the error and will make a manual entry into the order database to make sure it is processed. Your order will likely ship tomorrow.
  9. @Duq Honestly, we don't know what the retail price will be for the switch kit yet. I guess all I can say is that it will be expensive :( The development costs are pretty big. However, it will not be out of line compared with model train switches in the biggest scales. @Duq, @Black Knight, @Ashi Valkoinen Don't forget, there is one nice use for the "leftover" R64P curves: short and grid aligned S-bends!
  10. @SD100 We are very likely going to sell the switches as a kit which includes the following: 1x P40L Left Switch, 1x P40R Right Switch, 2x S8 Straight Tracks, and 2x R64P Curve Tracks. These components allow you to build a complete parallel loop siding. The reason we want to start selling the switches as a pair is to avoid asymmetric inventory by selling Left and Right separately. At least in the beginning, this will be important for recovering some of our development costs. In future, we would be open to selling the switches individually for Left and Right. @Ashi Valkoinen We will likely remove the 3x quantity per order limit on the next batches available for sale. We are increasing the production quantities of all the next items in the pipeline.
  11. @Wimmer We're doing our best to develop and produce the key elements of our system, in particular the motor bogie and controller. We're glad you like the P40 switch! We spent a great deal of engineering on this element and applied the same geometric principles used in designing real railway switches in 1:1 scale! Unlike an all-plastic switch, the design of a metal rail switch is much more complicated. Not only are there more components, but the design must maintain electrical continuity for each rail and ensure sufficient clearances for wheels without short circuiting. @Ashi Valkoinen Glad you like the S32 straight tracks--thank you! The P40 switch is already in the pre-tooling stage with our manufacturers and it is going to be produced for this year. It does not depend on the sales of our other track elements; however, it does help! Technically, the diverging route of this switch is not a perfect segment of a R104 circle. However it is very very close. In all likelihood, given the wide tolerances of Lego train track, you would be able to form a parallel return curve from the diverging route with 2x additional R104 curve tracks. The reason why using R104 curves it is not a geometrically perfect configuration is because the diverging route centreline MUST terminate 64 mm (8 studs) laterally and 0 mm axially relative to the straight route. This is necessary so that you can make a crossover with 2x switches with 16 studs parallel separation. Two R104 curves with 11.25 deg sector angles form a R104 curve segment diverging at 22.5 deg. Its centreline terminal point is +7.9 studs (63.2 mm) laterally and -0.2 studs (1.6mm) axially instead of (+8.0 / 0.0). This error would be added to a parallel return curve and is not on the "grid". However, since our P40 switch terminates at (+8.0 / 0.0) at a diverging angle of 22.62 deg, a perfect return curve can be made with S8 straight element and R64 curve element (with 22.62 sector angle). It is not just close, but mathematically perfect. That explains why we have chosen the geometry of our switch to be 22.62 deg diverging. Furthermore, a 22.62 deg rotated geometry can always be "realigned" in 16 stud intervals indefinitely with the use of multiples of S1.6 (12.8 mm) straight elements. If you stack P40 switches in a yard ladder configuration separated with S1.6 straights, you can build infinite yard ladders aligned to 16 studs LATERALLY. And by adding repeating multiples of S1.6 in each siding, you can align sidings AXIALLY to 16 studs. As it turns out, the diverging route is tantalizing close to a R104 curve, but not enough that we would label the product as a "R104 switch". If you look at how real railway (and some model train) switches are described, they rarely use "radius" in the terminology. Often they will use other more important factors such as the length of switch and the angle of crossing frog/vee. We chose the nomenclature of P40x since it is short and sweet and concisely descriptive of what this switch really is (and is not).
  12. @Eki1210 @dtomsen Thanks guys! Glad to hear you received the track and that you're happy with it! :) @supertruper1988 @legoboy3998 @bricks n bolts The standalone pickup wheelset will be part of our product system. However, it will come *after* the motor bogie. We believe the motor bogie is the most important component to close the loop on our metal track system since it will have immediate benefit for the majority of train fans. We've got some exciting news on this front which we'll share in greater detail in future; suffice to say we have partnered with a major global model train manufacturer to expedite the development of the motor bogie! There's still a lot engineering and commercial terms to work out, but we're so thrilled that we can combine expertise to bring a next-level motor system never seen before in the Lego train hobby! Furthermore, we are also mocking up some designs for a 3-axle integrated motor bogie with an extended wheelbase. It is 12 studs long with an extra 2-studs added to the wheelbase of the outer wheelsets. We're trying to see if we can have common mechanical elements for both a 2-axle and 3-axle bogie--TBD! @fhurlbrink Yes, both variants of motor bogie will include metal wheelsets for power pickup. In terms of RailCom, it is not an open standard and is covered by trademarks by Lenz. There are some difficulties with the patents/proprietary status of RailCom in the DCC standard. We do not anticipate adding support for RailCom anytime soon. If RailCom support is critical to some users, they can always buy a Lenz RailCom decoder and connect it to our standard motor bogie.
  13. @Duq The new motors will work comfortably with either 9V or 12V (they're rated to 12V). However, 12V operation is preferred since you get more torque and power. In reality, even the old LEGO® 9V motors will work fine up to 12 V as well. The limiting factor is power dissipation. As long as you can get the heat out or do not sustain long periods of operation at heavy load, any motor will be fine. We're actually considering putting vent holes along the top side edges of the new motor bogie for better thermal management and to sustain heavy load operation.
  14. @fhurlbrink Our design goals for the motor bogie are more or less exactly as you describe. We aim to offer a minimum of two motor bogie variants: 1. Standard - pickup terminals and motor terminals will be available on a discrete connector for "hacking" or testing. A switch will let you isolate or jumper the pickup and motor terminals together. In "jumpered" mode, the motor bogie behaves exactly like the LEGO® 9V motor with the power pickup connected directly to the motor. In "isolated" mode, you can place an external controller between the power pickup and motor. This can be a DCC decoder, a PFx Brick, etc. 2. Smart - The smart bogie will have a DCC compatible version of the PFx Brick core integrated inside the motor bogie. This gives a motor bogie capable of operating as standard DC voltage controlled bogie or a DCC controlled bogie. Unlike a OEM DCC decoder, ours will be much easier to configure. You simply configure it using our existing PFx Apps (desktop) via USB. You can also use other DCC command stations and solutions for configuration if you want. Furthermore, we will have a small connector available to connect lights and a speaker for the total sound-decoder operating experience. We've already started to design our Speed Regulator unit. It will be USB-C powered using an external power brick or battery source capable of delivering 65-100W. You can use any USB-C power source as long as it can offer 9V and 12V at 3A. Most laptop type USB-C power bricks support these modes. The advantage of USB-C is the vast eco-system of cables and power sources available. Furthermore, it will let you easily select between 9V or 12V output voltage mode: 9V for legacy LEGO® 9V motor support and 12V mode for our new motor bogies. It will also have many more goodies all enclosed in a pretty injection molded case with a similar form factor to the legacy LEGO® 9V speed regulator. More details will follow soon--including our plans for the power feeder and electrical interconnect. One hint we can offer is that we're leaning heavily towards reviving the awesome classic 9V 2x2 connector plate! We absolutely love its design and versatility! We think it is worth rebooting and extending it further!
  15. Thanks all to our early adopter customers and for the kind feedback--we really appreciate it! We're happy to see that some our EU friends have already received their track. We've finished packing 90% of our received orders in our Canadian store for USA/Canada/RoW and they will be shipped tomorrow (Mar 17, 2021). We'll send out notification emails and tracking numbers (if applicable). We're still waiting for firm schedules from our manufacturing partners--but early indications suggest we should expect new production batches in April to our Hong Kong office. We then need 2-3 weeks of inspection/packaging/distribution to Canada/Germany. As soon as we have a firm delivery commitment, we will start pre-order on new inventory. We've dramatically increased our manufacturing quantities given the encouraging demand and response from you guys. Stay tuned to our website for updated info.