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We got our control buttons out! You can see them in action in the video below. We got a fair amount of feedback on our initial design of the control buttons. One to the main requests that came up was the possibility to use the buttons in combination with our nControl™ software. That was not part of the initial plan and the buttons were not designed for that. However, there are indeed applications where it makes sense to link the buttons to the software. Now that we have a web interface this would, for example, allow you to control the layout with the buttons but monitor it on a tablet. As such we decided to redesign the control buttons so the same buttons can be used: in a stand-alone way like our initial design in combination with nControl™ through a WiFi or USB link with the computer running the software (the buttons are ready for that, but the WiFi/USB brick still have to be finalized) Another major question was how many buttons could be linked into a control panel. The limiting factor is the power consumption of the buttons and that’s tricky because the power consumption depends on the type of button and how it’s used. The original power brick also had two PF1.0 connectors but as The LEGO Group is moving towards PF2.0/PU that doesn’t make much sense anymore. As such we redesigned the power brick: remove the PF1.0 connectors add a power sensor that drives a variable color LED. The color of the LED will change in function of the power consumption: green > red > red blinking. The following bricks / buttons are currently available: power brick servo motor control button for switches, boom barrier, decouplers, monorail switches. light control button for traffic lights and level crossing lights. The next step will be to create: WiFi Brick or USB brick to link the control panel with nControl™ a ‘Throttle Button’ to pilot the trains. This would control the trains through nControl™ and support our WiFi controller, LEGO PU controller and SBrick. Let us know what you think!
We have been making good progress with the development of the 12V style control buttons to automate LEGO train layouts. We redesigned the buttons using the great suggestions of @CaL: we lowered the back part, moved the LEDs and added additional studs so you can customize the back with tiles to indicate what the buttons do. The first button control is powered by a power brick; the buttons are interconnected and can power each other so you only need one power brick. The power brick connects to a wall socket with a standard 9V power supply. Besides powering the automation button controls it also has 2 PF power outlets that can power PF motors and IR receivers. So you can power a ferris wheel or carousel from a wall outlet instead of using battery power.... Let us know what you think!