Need Help From Train Enthusists

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ImmortalShark
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Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by ImmortalShark » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:36 am

Hi All,

I've been wanting to get into trains for a while and I thought the after Christmas sale from Lego [email protected] was a nice inexpensive way to get started. I picked up the the Level Crossing set (7936) and the Train Motor (8866) thinking that I could do something with all of the sets that my kids have gotten the past few years.

Well, it wasn't as easy as I hoped (A lesson to do your homework and not jump on sales at Christmas when there is no time for research). I was hoping the the motor would be a plain stop and go unit. (Put in some batteries, turn on/off) but that is not the case. So my question is, what do I need to use this motor? I'm guessing a battery pack and a connector minimum. Probably a remote and remote sensor as well.

Help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

IS.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by hankdelsi » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:55 pm

you could go aftermarket shopping such as on bricklink to get other items or maybe an easier all inclusive way is to buy one of the train sets that have everything you need.

wheels for other train cars, battery pack, connecting wires, train track, infrared receiver, and remote. i'd recommend the yellow or red cargo train sets as the only thing they don't include is the batteries. off the top of my head i don't know which motor that is that you have.

lots of options out there and the sky is the limit. hope that helps :up:

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by dr_spock » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:24 pm

This setup will allow you to control the speed.

Image

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Brownstone » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:04 am

The 8866 motor you bought is an Remote Control (RC) motor. The RC train products are sort of orphaned as they were only used briefly in between the end of 9V 10153 motor and the beginning of Power Functions (PF) 88002 motor. Two train kits used the PF motor, 7897 and 7898. RC bridged the gap between 9V and PF, it is somewhat compatible with both systems but is also a standalone system of its own.

As you've noticed the RC motor doesn't come with any sort of cable to connect to a power supply, so the first thing you need to do is buy a cable to connect it. This leads to a choice; are you going to connect it to an old-style 9V power supply or a new-style PF power supply? A cable that can connect to the old-style 9V power supplies is LEGO 75565 (Bricklink 5306bc015). A cable that can connect to the new-style PF connector is LEGO 8886 (Bricklink 60656). Those are the part numbers for the most common cable length, but there are technically other lengths (and part numbers) that would work.

I'm assuming that you don't want to go with the 9V system as you are just getting started and you have no reason to stick with the legacy systems and having to track down discontinued parts. That means you need PF parts.

The PF battery box you want is 88000. Combine that with cable 8886 and you have the cheapest possible system that will make your motor go. You can turn the power on/off and reverse directions with the switches on top of the battery box but you won't have any speed control. Unfortunately the motor directly connected to the battery like this runs too fast to negotiate turns; your trains will jump off the rails.

To get speed control you need to add the IR receiver 8884 and the IR remote control 8879. This will give you seven speeds in each forward and reverse. This setup is basically what is shown in dr_spock's picture above although he didn't make the distinction between PF and RC, and he is probably showing the PF motor under all that stuff.

This setup will get you started. There are a couple of quirks to your 8866 motor that will probably make you want to move to the 88002 PF motor eventually; the key quirk is that the motor/cable combination of 8866/8886 has four studs that inconveniently stick out and prevent this combination from properly swiveling when used as a train bogie.

So, in short, here are your options:

#1: Get a 9V cable and use 9V legacy parts. I don't recommend this.

#2: Cable 8886 and battery 88000. Can only run full-speed forward and full-speed reverse. Absolute simplest way to get started given the motor you already have.

#3: Cable 8886, battery 88000, receiver 8884, remote 8879. Now you have a fully-functioning motorized train base to play with.

Good luck!

P.S. I guess a 4th option would be to build an all-RC system, in which case you would need a RC remote (2016b) and the funky RC combined train base / IR receiver / battery box (2016c01). But that really doesn't make sense when you can just go PF instead.
Last edited by Brownstone on Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Brownstone » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:33 am

One more thought...

The parts for getting stared in LEGO train can add up quickly. Price for the electronics I mentioned above (battery, receiver, remote) will probably be $40 - $50. Enough track to make some sort of basic loop will probably be another $50 - $60. So someone just getting started (from scratch) is looking at $90 - $100 to get a simple layout running, and that would be with just one motorized toy going around in a loop.

When you start connecting multiple cars together into a train you quickly run into the need for various specialized train pieces: magnetic buffers, train wheels and holders, bogie plates, etc. It can easily add up to around $10-$15 per train car.

If you build a complete LEGO PF train "from scratch" with a speed-controlled motor, simple track, and 2-3 cars following the engine then you are looking at $110 to $145. And that is before you add any bricks to build something on top of your motor and wheeled train bases.

Looking at it like that, I think that the train sets LEGO offers can be a good deal. Set 7938 is $130 and gets you a nice basic passenger train with the engine, two cars, track, and motorization. At $180, set 7939 is definitely a "big ticket" item. But the extra $50 gets a lot of play value with the cars and the container that can be loaded/unloaded using the crane. Set 3677 sort of fits in the middle at $160.

You didn't say if you had any track other than what came with your 7936 Level Crossing. If you already have some other track to star with then ignore what I wrote above, but if you find yourself in a position of having to purchase a lot of electronics and track to make this all work, the kits may be a good value.

Good luck!

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by ImmortalShark » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:24 pm

Thanks for the advise guys. These were my first two train purchases and I was looking to expand later by picking up track here and there. Since it looks like I'll need to get a bunch of stuff to get any kind of train going, it looks like a box set is probably my best bet.

Thanks again for the help.

IS

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by dehnehsu » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:05 am

Anyone ever get the Chinese Knockoff track made by "Enlighten" ? Check ebay and search for "Enlighten Track" and try a search for "Enlighten brick" too. You can see the Lego inspired rip offs!


http://www.ebay.com/itm/EN-640-Enlighte ... 2eba5cfacf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Bobsterino » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:58 am

If you use the trains a lot, consider swapping out the battery box for a rechargeable battery box. The six AAA batteries will go faster than you'd think, and the rechargeable box has the advantage of a built-in speed control. The downside is the price though - $50 for the rechargeable vs. $13 for the battery box.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Bobsterino » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:12 am

Also consider a motor other than the LEGO train motor, they also have the M-Motor and the XL-Motor for PF control. You'll have to hide these inside the body of your engine somewhere, but you have a lot more leeway in the truck design. I have an XL-Motor inside my cab (kind of ugly) as described in the official instructions, but you could also fit the M-Motor inside the boiler without too much trouble.

For price reference, at LEGO [email protected] right now the XL-Motor is $9.99 and the M-Motor is $7.50.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Brownstone » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:05 am

Bobsterino wrote:Also consider a motor other than the LEGO train motor, they also have the M-Motor and the XL-Motor for PF control. You'll have to hide these inside the body of your engine somewhere, but you have a lot more leeway in the truck design. I have an XL-Motor inside my cab (kind of ugly) as described in the official instructions, but you could also fit the M-Motor inside the boiler without too much trouble.
The PF motors are a good option but they probably aren't best for someone just starting in trains. You'll either have to design non-articulated drive wheels (like the Emerald Night uses) or design some sort of gear train to drive a powered bogie. The powered bogie solution can be made to work, but the torque applied to the bogie make certain derailments (on switches) more likely.

I think I'd still recommend the PF train motor to someone just getting started as it is pretty much guaranteed to work in any design you come up with as long as you can get power to it.

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Re: Need Help From Train Enthusists

Post by Bobsterino » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:23 pm

The train motors are definitely easier, but I wanted to make sure IS knew about some other options.

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