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Found 10 results

  1. Concept - Search and Scout vehicle (SASV) More pic here: few dramatic views:
  2. Dear All, there are numerous contributions on electrifying LEGO train switches, including those here on EB. All-LEGO solutions, all-custom solutions and “everything in between” has been presented. One issue for my layout was: How to control about 30 electrified switch points on a fairly large and rather congested layout with many areas not readily accessible – in a purist solution? Using individual cables going from one single “control center” to the switches would result in some considerable cable mess. Alternatively, PF receivers may serve as remote controllers on “PF layouts” – manipulated via IR light from the center. That is a very elegant solution, however, there are only 4 x 2 IR channels (or 8 x 2 in extended mode with a mandatory custom remote control program), which is not enough on my layout, particularly when running several PF controlled trains eating up channels as well. One approach is a fully LEGO based solution using LEGO programmable bricks (PBricks). With such PBricks one can use a variety of motors on the drives and also some fairly flimsy switch drives because of power and timing control of the drive train. Furthermore, with some software development (e.g., NQC, RobotC, NXC, NXT-G …) the controllers may get their own “address” and operation software. However: Cost may become an issue: You need 1 NXT or 1 RCX for each set of 3 switch drives, or 1 Scout for each pair of 2 drives (in case the drive is operated with one additional MicroScout, the Scout can also operate 3 drives) … More recently, LEGO compatible 3rd party switch drive controllers have become available: The 4DBrix ( varieties are extremely nice! What I find particularly intriguing is the control software. The entire product line from switch drive, controller, to full software integration is the best LEGO compatible solution I became aware of. Nevertheless, here is my all-LEGO “solution”: Brick-built switch drive controllers equipped with PBricks. Please don’t take this post too seriously. It was a lot of fun to build these – plus I like to see stuff moving and making noise (in addition to trains that is) on my layout. Since a video says more than 1000 words, here is the “visual summary” of the rather long write-up following below: And here are some more detailed descriptions ... Working principle The idea of this approach is rather old; in 2007 this article in Railbricks Issue #3, page 44 illustrated some details: The controllers serve more than 3 switch drives with only one PBrick by “mechanical address decoding” – or whatever you want to call it. At that time though I did not think about “simple” motorized switch drives; the ones I used then were all equipped with MicroScouts and were designed to run only with these. That limited the applicability of the controllers on my layout significantly: You need to turn on a MicroScout and put it into “P” mode to let it do what is expected from an electrified switch drive. However many of the switches are hard to get to – hiding behind bookshelves and underneath/within furniture. I have thus added mechanical switch drive controllers for operation with NXT, RCX, and Scout PBricks operating most of the LEGO electrical motors, including PF. So far I have electrified all my switches and bunched them up in “groups” using four such switch drive controllers. What are the controllers supposed to do? They serve as “local remote control hubs” for a group of switch drives. There is essentially only a purely mechanical “bricking” limitation on how many switches can be handled by each controller. The controllers have a dedicated address, for simplicity let’s say address 1, 2, 3; the individual switch drive is hooked up to the respective switch drive controller and has a local “address”, let’s say a, b, c, … The last bit of information required is the switch position, let’s call that “straight (s)” or “turn (t)”. The information sent to all the controllers on the layout is then “controller address + local switch address + switch position”, for example “2, d, t” means that switch “d” operated on controller “2” should go into “turn” position. As shown in these posts here and here, all communication on my layout is via the LEGO IR messaging protocol, mostly transported via RF. Figure 1 shows a “bare” Scout operated switch controller without any decorative stuff; Figure 2 a controller with an additional decorative brick structure remotely matching the Toy Story steam engine coaling station, Figure 3 a controller that is residing within a “building” remotely matching (if at all) the appearance the #10027 train shed – however with a rather “transparent” roof (in fact I got hold of 50+ of transparent #41750 pieces for free and all were left handed … what to do with them?). Figure 4 shows a more or less bare controller I built because I needed to serve 12 switch drives in locations under my desk and further away. All four work on the same principle, but use slightly different mechanical operating techniques. The Scout operated controllers in Picture 1 and 2 use the Scout’s Visible Light Link (VLL) terminal (“Output C”) to connect with MicroScout operated switch drives via an optical fiber link. In my opinion, TLC never really exploited the possibilities of the VLL link. They for example never produced optical fibers longer than about 20 cm, as far as I know. Rather cheap plain vanilla optical fibers (1 m for less than 1 €) are good enough. The controller in picture 3 runs with an RCX PBrick and uses PF switches to operate switch drives equipped with PF or 9V motors. It features a moving stage powered by a PF M motor and a Technic mini motor for actuating the lever throwing the PF switches. The controller in Picture 4 operates an almost identical stage. The stage drive is not mounted on the stage itself; the Scout drives the stage via Technic chain links (#3711) with a stationary #47154 motor and again a Technic mini motor (#43362) for switching. Common to all controllers is the “positioning” mechanism of the moving stage: In case of the optical controllers, VLL light from the Scout output needs to go through the corresponding fiber connecting with the MicroScout operating the switch drive. The fibers are simply pushed through Technic bushes into a Technic brick with holes, in other words they are always nicely lined up. So we just need to get the VLL light from the Scout to the corresponding hole. That is accomplished by either moving the entire Scout PBrick (see controller in Picture 2) or by moving the 20 cm long LEGO optical “fibers” (BrickLink ID x400c20). These are more or less plastic tubes that came with the ExoForce sets – finally I found a way to use them …) connected to the VLL terminal to the target hole, see picture 1. The Scout has a built-in light sensor; that one is used to detect when the VLL output diode is in line with a hole or somewhere in between by measuring the light intensity emitted from a LEGO light brick (9V or PF): When the light from that brick goes through a hole, the detector sees it “brightly”, when it is more or less blocked, it only sees a fraction of the “bright” light. When the “hole detection” mechanism is lined up with the fibers, we are done; this is readily the case when stacking Technic bricks with holes. Basically the same approach is used for the RCX controllers; here we need to get in line with the PF switch levers. When lining up PF switches directly next to each other, the levers are 3 holes apart, and we can use a simple optical positioning mechanism again to get to the right switch. The actuator of the moving stage for throwing the PF switches (see Figure 3 + 4 and video) is partly shown in Figure 6. Since the PF switch has three positions (“forward”, “0”, “reverse”) and the switch drive motor is turned on only for less than a second, the PF switch needs to be swiftly turned back to the “0” position. That is tough to do with powering the actuator motor accordingly. Furthermore, the lever needs to be straight up after switching, as the stage/actuator needs to freely pass the switches when moving to a new target. I have used the fairly tight 6.5L shock absorbers (#73129) to push the actuator back into “0” position after the switch was thrown. As mentioned, the switch is thrown with full torque of the Technic mini motor (PBrick output “full forward/reverse”) as the actuator has also always to push against one of the two springs of the shock absorbers. The output of the PBrick is then put into “float” rather than “stop” mode, so that the motor axle turns freely and the compressed spring of the absorber pushes both the PF switch lever as well as the actuator into “0” position. Programming the PBricks The programs running on the PBricks are rather straight forward. NXT, RCX, and Scout PBricks are all capable of multitasking. In my programs, one task is handling incoming messages. The moment an address is recognized by a PBrick as “my ID”, it listens very carefully for the next message(s) to come in; that one contains local switch address and desired position. The routine puts that message onto a stack, sends a “got that” reply and continues to listen for further messages to arrive. A second task watches the stack: Nothing here, nothing to do. Once there are messages on the stack it fetches one, analyzes it and drives the positioning mechanisms to the appropriate output, sends out either VLL light or briefly operates the PF switch by changing the driving Technic mini motor from “float” (off) to “forward” (or “reverse”) and then back to float. After completion it throws the message away and continues with the next one on the stack. How does each controller know, where the moving stage actually is? Upon startup, the stage is driven all the way to the right, until it reaches the “right limit” touch sensor. Then the light brick is turned on and the trolley moves all the way back to the “left limit” touch sensor. On this journey, the light sensor continuously monitors the light intensity. The brightest light value detected is then considered a “hole”; everything else “in between”. Then the trolley moves back all the way to the right touch sensor and on its way, holes are counted and each switch is thrown to get all switches into the “straight” position. Now we know how many switch points are present, we know they are all set to straight, and we know that we are at position “0”. Upon getting a message, let’s say “turn switch 5” it starts to move left and simply counts up holes. Once it arrives at “5” it stops and is automatically aligned with either a corresponding hole for the VLL output of the Scout or the lever of a PF switch. Then it either sends out the VLL forward/reverse command (Scout) for a given amount of time or it throws the PF switch (RCX/NXT), again for a given amount of time. The switch drive motors are turned on within a “hundreds of millisecond” time frame. This time is adjusted to the requirements of the switch drive. That is basically it. The VB6 program (I am old …) running on my laptop is showing my layout with all the track including switches. Basically the program is one database with some graphics and in/output around. Clicking on one of the switch symbols makes the corresponding real switch change its direction. The program searches the database and finds out which controller is assigned to this switch. Furthermore it finds out to which local output (a, b, c …) that switch is connected on the selected controller. Since the program knows the current status of the switch on the layout it composes a message as described above: Controller address + local switch address + new position and sends that out via the IR tower into RF space. There is a little more to it. To ensure rather secure communication between host computer and remote controller, there is a handshake protocol: The controllers acknowledge messages they understood. If there is no reply, the host control program repeatedly sends out the same messages. If there is still no answer for let’s say five consecutive attempts, a warning message tells that something is wrong. The controllers also have some safety routines – should the stage go beyond the end points it stops operating and sends an SOS message, and do on. Seeing this happen is real fun! However the SOS thing hardly happens at all … Another thing to notice is that MicroScouts go to “sleep mode” when not doing anything for about 10 minutes. So every 9 minutes or so, the stage is driven all the way to the left, then right, recalibrates the light sensor, and then back left, stopping at every hole and let each MicroScout play some sound. So they never fall asleep … and there is even more action on the layout. One thing I am somewhat proud of is that all that functionality is possible with 396 LEGO byte codes on the Scout controllers. The RCX PBricks have monstrous 8 kByte of storage space – I believe you could use an RCX to successfully fly to the moon, land there, play soccer, and safely return. These TLC folks are ingenious. And if you don’t want to run a clumsy computer based control program – learning remotes work also very well for easily controlling more than 30 switch drives. This was already discussed in this post. The number keys “1” through “9” correspond to switch drives 1 to 9. I first press one color key (ID), addressing a particular controller and then swiftly a number key. The controller that recognizes the address operates the corresponding switch drive and puts the switch to the “branch” position. Upon pressing the address and then number key twice, it goes to “straight” … Some files The LDraw mpd files for three controller types (Fig 1 – 3) are here along with the NQC programs here running on the PBricks. The controller in Fig. 4 is in the works). Please see readme files in the directories. Note that you need to have the official and unofficial LDraw parts libraries installed. When opening the LDraw files with MLCad, the program tells you that newer versions of some parts are available. Ignore that, otherwise the model may be corrupted. All LDraw files open correctly with LDView 4.2 and MLCad 3.5 Best regards, Thorsten
  3. MrBrick&BoB

    Scout Walker "Iltis"

    Hello, here comes the newest creation out of THE BRICK TIME building yard. The Scout Walker "Iltis" is the main scout- and securevehicle of Terrarian Confederation. Lets have a look: More Details and Pics up THE BRICK TIME Best regards BoB
  4. Samppu

    [MOC] BARC Speeder

    Hello, here is another small build from me, BARC Speeder. There is a Lego spring-loaded shooter under the nose of it. -Samppu
  5. Samppu

    [MOC] Probe Droid

    Hello everyone and regards from Finland, I am a new member on this forum and I thought I'd like to share some of my recent MOCs. I am Star Wars fan to the ultimatum and here you go, as my first MOC here: Lego MOC Probe Droid Features two Lego-battlepack blasters, the other hidden into the core structure, and the other lurking between the legs. The head also rotates as in the movies. This MOC will also make a small part of the Kessel diorama we are setting up for the ModelExpo 2015 in Helsinki (10.-12.4.) with Hereticae and a couple of other builders. Those dark grey clips on the core that hold together those black control sticks on a tube I will change to black ones when I happen find/buy more of them. Those red 1 x 1 plates are the bolts of the blasters that are not very easily seen from this angle. Challenge: take Lego-pictures without cat megablocks in the picture. So far success rate 50 % for Legos. Apparently the Imperial Viper Droid was no match against the mighty Krayt Dragon... -Samppu
  6. Briefing Room, Rogue Clone Base, Nar Eurbrikka: Clone Commander: "Troops, while doing some recon work, I found the cannon the Imperials are using to shell our main base. It's manned by recruits and not our brothers, so take no prisoners." Clone Scout: "Sir, can I take my new sniper rifle? Pleeease?" Commander: "Sure, but remember, it'll be heavy." Scout: "Yay!" (Stormtrooper to himself, listening): "I'd better get back to base and tell the commander. That's an important artillery piece!" Landing Pad, Rogue base: Commander: "Get a move on there, Tix!" Scout (Tix): "This sniper rifle is...[grunt]...heavy!" Commander: "Told you. Now get in the RIG!" [Nomenclature: RIG, Rapid Insertion Gunship, my own invention] Tix: "Sure...Hey! Why do you get the speeder bike?" Commander: "Because, well, I'm the commander and I assign vehicles. Get in the ship!" Meanwhile... Forest between Rogue base and Imperial Outpost Stormtrooper: "Ouch! Oohh..myanklemyanklemyankle!!! Darned planet! Now I can't move, and our gun will be destroyed. Arghh!!" Imperial Outpost: Commander Smith: "Eat fried artillery cannon, stormies!" [Cue loud explosion] Smith: "Hey! There's one less dead stormtrooper than there should be! Let's keep a sharp eye out on the way back to base." Forest between Rogue base and Imperial Outpost Smith: "Here he is...[in a loud voice] You! Are you a clone or a recruit!" Stormtrooper: "Just a clone." Smith: "How would you like to have a life where you get to shoot the guys who enslaved you, drive huge gunships, and make those worthless recruits eat lasers?" Stormtrooper: "Really? Awesome!!" Smith: "I'm Commander Smith. Let's get you some new armor." To be continued... The speeder is an Aratech Industries LRS-14 (non-canon). It does have steering vanes; the grooves in the wheel piece act as them. The steering rod doubles as a Mark IV armor-piercing laser cannon, which gets one shot before it needs to recharge. Thanks, and as always, please comment! ---fmmmlee---
  7. After the beasts destroyed his Freeze Machine, Stormer was left mech-less. So, he collected scraps of metal on the battlefield, and created the Scout Machine, designed to battle Jumper Beasts. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in armour and strength. Stormer equipped it with a bladed staff, powerful spinning laser, orange floodlights and smaller, secondary cannon underneath the torso. It is a tight fit for Stormer, however he is well protected once the armour's up. It is just as armoured from the back. This is where the power source to the laser is kept. Now it's time to beat those beasts! Thanks for reading! C&C appreciated.
  8. IenjoyLego89

    The Courier (Free Build)

    I haven't posted anything in awhile but I've finally found time I'v had this finished moc sitting in the apartment since christmas, and finally had time to picture it It's basically just a scout of Graystar delivering a letter, so here it is This is my first attempt at a house, I think it turned out well I might use it as a template for my buildings in Graystar. It's also my first attempt at an angled build, All C&C welcome, more pics on my flickr
  9. Phoxtane

    BRY-809 Scout Ship

    Well, I've posted a couple things here and there over in Train Tech and the Technic forums, but I figured now is as good a time as any to present my first Sci-Fi build: Introducing the BRY-809 Scout Ship! There's no real backstory to this build, apart from the fact that I got the long trans-neon-green parts off a Galaxy Squad set, noticed that they would fit well size and color-wise with parts of the same color off an older Exo-Force set, and the whole thing kind of went from there. I started at the back and worked my way forward.
  10. A Plastic Infinity


    The Low Altitude Stealth Hovership (LASH) was designed by the Allied Nations to scout out other planets. The craft is equipped with guns and hoverfoils on either side. This photo do NOT do it justice! Neither does this one. Or even this one! Feedback is-as always-appreciated.