• Powered UP AFOL Community Answers


    Kim Thomsen

    With the launch of the new Powered Up system in the LEGO Train 60197 and 60198 a lot of questions surfaced in the AFOL Community. We asked the Ambassadors of the Recognized Communities to bring all those questions to us and below you have the answers to all those questions.

    We hope this will clarify and answer a lot of the questions and concerns in the AFOL Community.

    If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below and we'll do our best to answer them - as long as they are on topic.

     

     

    Physical product/platform details:

    Is "Powered Up!" the collective name for all things electric with the new connector (and thus includes Boost and WeDo 2.0), or is "Powered Up!" just the name for the new train engines and the ones in the new tumbler?
    Powered UP is the name of the new LEGO electronic building platform. This new platform has 2 main connectors: The new plug used for wired connections and a wireless RF connection using Bluetooth LE. The wireless connection is both used between physical Powered UP elements and to mobile smart devices. Current products using elements from the Powered UP platform are: WeDo 2.0, Boost, CITY Trains, DUPLO Trains and the App controlled Batmobile.

    Seeing that this new system has also been incorporated into the App-Controlled Batmobile set for the DC Comics SuperHeroes theme upon its debut, has Powered Up been designed in mind in any way to be more easily utilized by many other themes than before with Power Functions?
    The Powered UP platform is being designed to replace the Power Functions platform. It is offering a more intelligent wired connection with broader usability, a wireless BLE connection with better possibilities than IR and link to mobile smart devices opening a new range of App connected possibilities.

    Wouldn't it have been possible to incorporate more than 2 outlets in the battery box? For many applications more than 2 options would've been great (especially technic, eg cranes where you need one motor each for rotating the crane, raising/lowering the hook and moving the hook)
    Moving ahead with the Powered UP platform development we will design elements for different model and product purposes.

    Will the new system roll out to the Techinc line and if so, has consideration been given to the frequent use of more then 2 motors in many Technic MOCs?
    Without disclosing how we are going to develop and launch the Powered UP platform we can say that it is the future LEGO electronic building platform to cover products across both DUPLO, LEGO and TECHNIC building areas.

    Is there any way to stack the new connectors like the PF 1.0 ones?
    The new plug is not stackable like the Power Functions plug. Sensors cannot be stacked and in most cases you want to control one output function at the time and not more together. This was done to enable more intelligent interactions through the wire.

    An example of this is that all elements can now be electrically identified, so when attaching e.g. a train motor, the Hub and the App can now recognise it is a train motor. This allows us to help younger users put things in the right place. Another benefit is that we can optimise functionality based on particular elements, for example when using a train motor or the add-on light, the handset increments/decrements power (good for train / setting light) but when using the medium motor, the handset sets 100% power when a button is pressed down (good for RC vehicles).

    What are the electrical characteristics of the system: max current at the outputs, minimum and maximum voltage at the outputs?
    More technical details will follow later this year

    What type of batteries and how many will the pack hold? And the remote?
    The LEGO Smart Hub 2 I/O (used in the CITY Trains and the Batmobile) hold 6 AAA batteries and the Smart Controller hold 4 AAA batteries.

    Can you use rechargeable batteries? (Lithium, NiMh, …)
    Yes, you can use rechargeable AAA batteries.

    How does the battery life compare to the old PF system? How did power consumption changed since switching from Infrared to Bluetooth?
    The power consumption is comparable between the two platforms.

    Will the hub be eventually programmable and/or use sensors?
    The Powered UP Hubs will support all components that can be plugged in (such as motors, sensors, light etc..). The firmware of most Hubs can be updated to ensure support of new functions across the platform (the WeDo 2.0 Hub is not firmware updatable).

    Where is the logic? In the hub, on the Hub Smart Device or on both?
    You can say it is a bit of both. The mobile smart device can receive information and send control commands to the hubs. Logic links can then be programmed on the smart device. Apps to support this will be developed over time.
    Naturally there is enough logic/functionality within the Hubs to support handset control without a connected app. We are doing some functionality local to Hubs as needed, for example speed regulation on the tacho motors of the Smart Move Hub in Boost as this needs to function faster than control over Bluetooth LE can provide.

    How reliable is the system in an environment with many active controllers?
    The Powered UP platform is designed to be used in a classroom environment with many active devices (products such as WeDo 2.0).
    With WeDo 2.0 we have seen over 45 active independent networks working OK without noticeable impact to model action/reaction.

    Are you planning to make over the air updates possible? If the answer is yes, how about making the controller software Open Source under some conditions?
    Most Powered UP Hubs have updatable firmware. It is the aim to make interface specifications available for open source use. More technical specification will follow later this year.

     

    Elements

    Can we stack different elements on the same port?
    The Powered UP plug cannot be stacked. This architecture is chosen to enable more intelligent interaction through the wire. See previous notes.

    Motors used for PowerUp system look to be similar to PF ones. Are there any 
    improvements of similar type motors compared with PF?

    We are always aiming to improve quality and performance within the frames possible.

    What is the Nm (torque) for: The train motor, the medium motor & the Boost motor? Is the internal train motor the same as the PF train motor?
    More technical specification will follow later this year.

     

    Connectivity

    How many Powered Up hubs can I control with a single remote?
    You can link up to 5 devices (Smart Hubs or Smart Controllers) together.
    To create a network you first need to connect a Smart Hub and a Smart Controller.

    How many hubs can I control with a smartphone/pc?
    This will to some extend be device dependant. On iOS devices the current limit is 10 hubs and it may change over time.

    Can I synchronize the hubs using the remote or the app? How?
    You can have multiple Hubs on the same channel color and control them simultaneously.

    How many motors can you control with a single hub?
    With the “Smart Move Hub 2 I/O” used in the Boost product you can control up to 4 motors – the 2 internal and 2 external. With the “Smart Hub 2 I/O” you can control 2 external motors.

    Does that mean a Technic set with more than two features will need multiple hubs?
    Without disclosing how we are going to develop and launch the Powered UP platform we can say that it is the future LEGO electronic building platform to cover products across both DUPLO, LEGO and TECHNIC building areas.

    The range on the remote has been reported to be only 3-4 meters. What range is Powered Up supposed to have? Why is it so small?
    The range of the BLE connection can be limited by different factors such as electromagnetic interference. Under normal circumstances the range should be well above 10 meters.
    We are looking into the specific case giving only 3-4 meters range.

    How does the train motor behave when the controller goes out of range? Will it continue to run or stop? How long does it take to re-establish connection when the controller comes back in range?
    When the Hub and Controller go out of range the connection is lost and both Hub and Controller will enter advertising mode (LED blinking white). If a motor is running it is turned OFF. If Hub and Controller get inside range again while advertising they will link again.

    Is it possible to select what happens when the transmitter goes out of range? (e.g. choose between “keep doing what you’re doing” which is useful for trains and “full stop” which is useful for many other applications)
    You cannot select to keep the motor running. After advertising without connection established the Hub and Controller will turn OFF.

    Can the controller work as directional 'bang/bang' (hold to drive) or only accelerate/decelerate? Or do you need a different controller for that (like the PF Train and Technic controllers)?
    The default function of the direct link between Controller and Hub will depend on the component controlled. The Train motor will be speed controlled with the “+” and “-“ buttons and stopped with the red button. A Medium motor (used in Batmobile) and the Tacho motor (used in Boost) will be “bang-bang” controlled with “+” and “-“ buttons. When releasing these buttons the motor will coast and pressing the red button will brake it.
    Note: The Smart Controller can also be connected to a mobile smart device and then you can make the buttons do other functions through an app (not available from LEGO by now).

    Can you simply connect a motor or lights to the power hub and turn it on without needing a remote or an app?
    The Hubs of the Powered UP platform are connection points for wireless link and control.

    Can the hub or future product in the line be used as a static power source (turn on and run, without connecting to a controller)
    Currently the Hubs can only run input and output actions when they are connected.
    Note:
    Most Powered UP Hubs have updatable firmware so new functionality will be added in the future.

    Do you get more range with the phone vs LEGO controller?
    The wireless range from a smart mobile device will depend on the device. The range from Smart Controller and mobile device should be comparable.

    With the new phone app, what happens to the motor when the phone goes to sleep/standby? (Does the train motor keep running?)
    When connection is lost the Hub will enter advertising mode and motors will turn OFF.

    What platforms will the control app be available on?
    This will develop over time and will be communicated together with the app information.

    What are the required minimum specifications for iOS, Android and any other platform the app will be released on? will there be a list of android devices on which the software will work available
    This will develop over time and will be communicated together with the app information.

    Is there any way to "nail a pairing down"? Imagine I have a Controller C(A) and a Receiver R(A) to control my first train, and another set C(B) and R(B) to control my second train. Now I restart the whole layout on the next day, can I be sure that C(A) still connects to R(A) and not to R(B)?
    When a network (one or more Controllers to one or more Hubs) is established this network is remembered when turned OFF (press and hold the Hub button to make it leave the network, press and hold the Controller button to turn the network OFF). When you turn the members ON again the network is re-established. If you are running more networks (like described in the question) remember to turn members of the network ON together.
    Note: Erase network memory by turning the Hub OFF, then press and hold the button for 5 sec, the LED blinks purple, release the button, done.

    Does each receiver have a unique ID/address?  E.g. can anyone with a controller set to 'blue' take control of a receiver on that channel, or is it limited to the controller that has been paired with it?  If I have multiple receivers set to 'blue', will the 'blue' controller activate them all?
    The actual network you make is running with unique addresses, so you can have multiple “blue” networks running simultaneously.

    Why can't we stack multiple motors/lights to one slot?
    The new plug is not stackable like the Power Functions plug. Sensors cannot be stacked and in most cases you want to control one output function at the time. This was done to enable more intelligent interactions through the wire.

    Is there any way you can add programmed behaviour into the hub to respond to sensor inputs, etc? Will the smartphone app allow to trigger pre-programmed sequences?
    Currently the Hubs can only run input and output actions when they are connected.
    Note:
    Most Powered UP Hubs have updatable firmware so new functionality will be added in the future.

    Can the behaviour of the outputs (bang-bang, increase/decrease, or something in-between) be configured in the app?
    The Smart Controller can also be connected to a mobile smart device and then you can make the buttons do other functions through an app (not available from LEGO by now).
    Note:
    Most Powered UP Hubs have updatable firmware so new functionality will be added in the future.

    Will it be possible to pair a controller with two receivers for multi-engine trains?
    See below.

    How can one single BT remote be used to control multiple receivers or switch among them? Will this be possible in the app?
    You can link up to 5 devices (Smart Hubs or Smart Controllers) together.
    To create a network you first need to connect a Samrt Hub and a Smart Controller.
    First Hub connection
    Turn Hub and Controller ON by pressing their green buttons and they will link. The LED will blink white and then shift to same channel color e.g. blue. You can now change the channel color by pressing the green button on the hub and toggle through the 5 channel colors. When turning OFF the Hub or Controller the last connection is remembered and re-established when turning both ON.
    Adding Hub to network
    With the first Hub and the Controller ON and connected you can add extra Hubs to the network by turning the new Hub ON and then press both green buttons simultaneously on the new Hub and one of the components in the network (Hub or Controller). The new Hub is now added to the network with the same channel color as the currently selected channel. Again toggle to another channel by pressing the green button on the Hub. When more Hubs on different channels are added to the network you toggle between the different channels by pressing the green button on the Controller.

    Note: The current Powered UP app supports control of a single train.

    Is the system bidirectional? That is, can information be sent back to the controller?
    The network communication is bidirectional. The Controller send information about button actions.

     

    Compatibility

    Is there any kind of backward compatibility with Power Functions?
    The plugs in Power Functions and Powered UP are not compatible.
    Note: The 2 power control wires of the 9V system, Power Functions and Powered UP have the same function across the 3 platforms.

    Will it be compatible with the 9V system?
    See above.

    If not, why? What happened to "all LEGO bricks fit together" paradigm?
    With the Powered UP platform our aim is to reach broader possibilities including integration with mobile smart devices.

    Will all different Powered Up components (Boost, WeDo, Train, etc) be able to communicate and control each other, e.g. running a Boost program sequence using a Powered Up hub or using sensors with Powered Up hubs?
    ·         Can I use the Powered Up remote with the WeDo hub?
    ·         Can I use the Powered Up remote with the Boost hub?
    ·         Can I use Boost/WeDo sensors with the Powered Up hub?
    ·         Can I use the Boost/WeDo/Powered Up app to control (any of) the other platforms?

    It is the aim that the Powered UP platform will work together across both with the wired and wireless connection.
    Some of these connections are not implemented yet and will come through firmware and app updates.

    Is Powered Up compatible with MINDSTORMS?
    The plugs in MINDSTORMS NXT/EV3 and Powered UP are not compatible.
    Note: Some cross over can be made through modifications.

    Is it possible to control MINDSTORMS motors with new system?
    See above.

    Will Powered Up be rolled out in other themes (e.g. Technic)?
    Without disclosing how we are going to develop and launch the Powered UP platform we can say that it is the future LEGO electronic building platform to cover products across both DUPLO, LEGO and TECHNIC building areas.

    Is it possible to upgrade older sets with powered up or is a lot of rework to be done?
    This will very much depend on the product in question. For trains it should be very easy since the Powered UP hub has the same shape as the Power Functions battery box and the train motors are also same shape.

     

    Control

    The Boost motor only stays on as long as I press a + or - button on the remote (bang-bang remote). This makes sense as it is a servo motor. However, the M motor (WeDo) might need either graded control (if used on a train) or bang-bang controls (if used in a car). Will we be able to define the behaviour of motors depending on our needs?
    The default function of the direct link between Controller and Hub will depend on the component controlled. The Train motor will be speed controlled with the “+” and “-“ buttons and stopped with the red button. A Medium motor (used in the Batmobile) and the Tacho motor (used in Boost) will be “bang-bang” controlled with “+” and “-“ buttons. When releasing these buttons the motor will coast and pressing the red button will brake it.
    Note: The Smart Controller can also be connected to a mobile smart device and then you can make the buttons do other functions through an app (not available from LEGO by now).

    Will it be possible to "sync" two or train motors together so that one or more locomotive can pull a long train?  This occurs inherently with 9V track powered designs but has been tricky since then.
    If you add 2 train motors to the same Hub on port A and B then you can control both from the same Controller, but you need to press the 2 buttons together to sync.
    If you build 2 or more Hubs into the same train and give them all the same channel color then you can drive up to 5 train motors in sync by connecting them to the same output on each Hub.

    How can I use two motors at the same time from the same controller where one motor needs its polarity reversed? (Old PF: putting two motors on the IR receiver was no problem and we have a polarity switch available)
    “Polarity reversing” on the Powered UP controller is done by turning the button interface to the direction of control needed.
    Note: This is also very handy for controlling vehicles where you want vertical control for fwd/bwd drive and horizontal for steering.

    Can outputs be "mirrored"? (one controller, multiple hubs on the same channel, each linked to the same throttle)
    See above.

    Are there any limitations of the physical controller versus the app (apart from the sound effects)?
    The current Powered UP app has a limited set of control directed to the trains. Look for future updates.
    Note: The Smart Controller can also be connected to a mobile smart device and then you can make the buttons do other functions through an app (not available from LEGO by now).

    Is it possible to program the physical controller, e.g. to assign outputs/hubs to the different buttons?
    See above.

    Will we be able to program the train to stop at the station for a certain time and then let it run again or get it to go forward, stop and a specific point, wait and then reverse?
    See above.

     

    Documentation

    Will LEGO handle the protocols openly (Both the BT protocol and whatever is happening on the cable)?
    (When) will we get an SDK?

    Is the pin-out for the connector available?
    What is the purpose of the extra 2 wires?

    Can we get the source code of the firmware?
    More technical specification will follow later this year

     

    Miscellaneous

    In designing the new system, did the team consult any LEGO train fans? If not, why not?
    In the change from Power Functions to Powered UP we have had to balance many needs across all LEGO areas including LEGO Education. In the development of the Power Functions components also used for the LEGO trains we had a range of workshops with LEGO Train fans to ensure the best solutions. With the Powered UP platform the extra IR Receiver needing line of sight integration in the train is removed, we get better range, more channels and a link without need of line of sight. Moving ahead we will have dialogues with the LEGO Train fan community to see how we can improve and expand the possibilities even further.

    Will the Power Function 1.0 line be discontinued and if so, when? / Are any product lines, such as PF, being phased out and if so, which ones?
    Over time the Power Functions platform will be phased out as the Powered UP platform is further developed.

    Will we have warning to stock up on specific components? Or will they simply disappear suddenly?
    The Power Functions platform will not disappear from one day to the other and components will be available through shop@home in an overlapping period.

    Can you use the battery box/receiver without the bottom cover? Or does it need to be screwed together to function?
    Without the bottom cover screwed on the battery holder might fall out.

    Is the socket and plug something cooked up and patented by LEGO, or are these parts actually available on the market?
    The Powered UP plug is designed and patented by LEGO to best deliver to the needs across the platform. This has among other things given us a male and female plug that fits very well inside the LEGO building grid.

    Will you help AFOLs with train MOCs and layouts converting to the new system, i.e. with a (limited) discount or offer of a special bulk order on motors or adapters, controllers, and receivers?
    TBD

    What will be the retail price for the individual elements?
    Most Powered UP elements will be available through shop@home from beginning of 2019. Prices will be balanced across and will change over time.

    What lessons from past "traumatic events" (to use Tormod's term) were incorporated into the development and release of the new system?
    We are always striving towards delivering LEGO technology solutions that will support our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow and innovate LEGO system in play.

     

    A list of wishes towards the Powered Up system was also compiled and this is the comment we received from the Powered Up Team:
    Thanks a lot for all your ideas and wishes. This is really valuable input for further development of the Powered UP platform. We are always striving towards delivering LEGO technology solutions that will support our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow and innovate LEGO system in play. Moving ahead we will have dialogues with the LEGO Train fan community to see how we can improve and expand the possibilities even further.
    Without disclosing how we are going to develop and launch the Powered UP platform we can say that it is the future LEGO electronic building platform to cover products across both DUPLO, LEGO and TECHNIC building areas.

     

     

    powered_up_icon.png.73dd102207351eaa68d8a2a87b7862b4.png

    (click icon for LEGO.com Customer Service page on Powered Up).

    Edited by Kim Thomsen

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    How do you control 2 train motors with one button using 2 hubs, but have one of the train motors installed 180 degrees in line with the other (motor reversing)

    How do you use an new style M motor in a (custom built MOC) train if you can only have bang-bang control (will firmware be updated to allow smooth control and other features like allowing the motor to continue running without holding +/-)

    Will there be extension cables for larger builds?

    Edited by Rob Hendrix
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    Thank you very much for this very detailed interview :)

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    I can assure LEGO that there will be many who will not agree with the old and new systems not being compatible.  I’m aware that the old PF system needs updating but I feel as though LEGO doesn’t mind  Alienating many of us  Afol . It’s also seems as though they are trying to prevent any third party companies from making devises  that would make the old and new systems compatible. LEGO has already moved on from using more then One PF element in their sets. This confirms their long term plans to do the same . Oh well 

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    Why would we prevent anyone from making devices which would link the systems? The Power Functions system is quite old by now and when introducing a new system which is meant to last for many years, then you have to make some choices. The choices made meant that backwards compability is not going to be included. But that certainly doesn't mean that the AFOL Community couldn't or shouldn't make their own solutions to that problem.

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    3 minutes ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    The choices made meant that backwards compability is not going to be included.

    I really hope the PU Team is still considering at least some compatibility, as the PF extension wires, which double as adapters for 9V, are immensely useful.

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    You can make anything happen with a little customization I guess, but we're not going to provide actual products which allows compatibility.

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    1 hour ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    You can make anything happen with a little customization I guess, but we're not going to provide actual products which allows compatibility.

    I do think it's a little problematic to rely on the community to come up with a solution. I understand that technology progresses and we eventually lose backwards compatibility, but wouldn't it be more sensible from a customer service standpoint to provide some sort of adapter that helps ease the transition, especially as we now have products on the shelves utilizing both technologies (The roller coaster relies on Power Functions but the new passenger train relies on Power Up, for example). I could see how that might be confusing to people less versed in powering LEGO products.

    I hope the AFOL community comes up with a solution, but I hope the concerns that this is a daunting transition are relayed to the proper design teams. We'll adapt, but I think it's understandable the community is frustrated when they raise concerns and get a response that comes across as dismissive (not attacking you personally; just the company's response in general).

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    8 hours ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    Why would we prevent anyone from making devices which would link the systems? The Power Functions system is quite old by now and when introducing a new system which is meant to last for many years, then you have to make some choices. The choices made meant that backwards compability is not going to be included. But that certainly doesn't mean that the AFOL Community couldn't or shouldn't make their own solutions to that problem.

    The Powered Up plug is under patent, so people could, say, buy a Powered Up motor  and 9v wire and splice/solder/heatshrink the 9v wire to the power wires but manufacturing a solution from scratch (or anything more elaborate, like a hub) would violate patent, right?

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    So is it time for us older AFOL to run out and buy up lots of PF?

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    I think it is a bit odd that LEGO with it's effort to be environmentally conscious is expecting all of this system to run on batteries. I understand there are concerns for child safety with anything that plugs into the wall but I don't see this as sustainable. Rechargeable batteries are an environmental issue as much (if not more so) than regular alkaline batteries. And guess what, they have to be plugged in to the wall anyway.

    As a heavy user of PF motors (even if I buy a couple of hundred more right now) I am going to go ahead and predict that Great Ball Contraption as a major attraction will die.

    The lack of backwards compatibility is truly against TLG's own tried and tested rule that allows everything ever made to work somehow with everything made today.

    Kim's point of view that the AFOLs should develop solutions to power and control plus adding compatibility while possible, is not realistic. I think this is especially true with their "designed and patented" connector as it will surely cause legal issues. Will TLG sell us AFOLs the female connectors? Not likely. On top of that us purests wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

    I will be whining about this direction for quite some time...

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    17 hours ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    You can make anything happen with a little customization I guess, but we're not going to provide actual products which allows compatibility.

    That is incredibly disappointing. Compatibility could be made all the way back to 9v with a single converter cable from PUP>PF. The answer itself says the two wire control signal is the same, so it's trivial to make one and release it.

    As you say, the community could step up, but I'm a purist, and this makes me very sad indeed. The Lego "everything works together" mantra gone out of the window. Poor decision making.

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    So, in over 50 years of developing LEGO motors we have now advanced to the point where it is impossible to just connect a battery to a motor (or a light), switch it on, and let it run? How can you now power something like the fairground rides or roller coaster that only need a PF motor and battery box?

    This is a big disappointment that the most basic function of a motor or light has been completely overlooked in chasing the fad of touchscreen tablet control. This system seems to just teach children to be reliant on other consumer services and devices instead of their own resources and ingenuity.

    We all know children are your target market and you have to keep adapting to whatever is lately taking their interest, but as a company LEGO has only survived by always keeping its basic roots in mind and providing children with the 'building blocks' to let their imaginations take form. I think the developers of this system have lost sight of the fundamentals of LEGO and so risk losing the interest of children. Adding the ability to use either a remote control or a touchscreen is commendable, but the PF system did so by adding remote control as a module that could be inserted or removed at will. Building the remote control into the battery box is a step forward in technology, but leaving off a simple on/off switch (or the very useful speed dial that was on the PF rechargeable box) is a major omission.

    Please involve some more AFOLs in the development of this system, and don't immediately dismiss them as having their own interests at heart - they are far more concerned about inspiring kids and keeping LEGO in business than anyone at LEGO may realise.

    My first thought to take this forward is, how-about re-introducing the polarity switch? The battery box could detect it and power it up permanently regardless of any remote connection, then physically operating the polarity switch could turn on a downstream motor, light etc and leave it on. (And an extension lead to go with it, or maybe even just an extension lead that says 'switch me on').

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    I couldn't agree with @jjrailton more. At some point in the future, our devices will become obsolete, and Lego will move from Powered Up to Powered Up 2 in 10 years. At that point we can no longer operate our models as Lego won't have released new apps for new devices.

    I think at minimum, a basic bluetooth-less battery box with a couple of outputs is necessary at some point.

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    You make some valid points and I will make sure to bring them back to the Powered Up Team. 

    Please keep in mind that the system is not "done" we will continue to develop and add on it. As mentioned we do plan to include the AFOL Community in the future development. I do not know the exact products planned for this in the future, but as for Jason's comment on powering up a fairground ride I am certain there is a good solution for that which will be introduced in time.

    I understand your frustrations and especially the GBC community has some valid concerns. Though I struggle a bit to see the exact difference between this and the switch from 9V to Power Functions. Can you please explain it for me @Tom Atkinson so I can properly relay your concerns to the PU Team?

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    7 hours ago, Tom Atkinson said:

    Kim's point of view that the AFOLs should develop solutions to power and control plus adding compatibility while possible, is not realistic. I think this is especially true with their "designed and patented" connector as it will surely cause legal issues. Will TLG sell us AFOLs the female connectors? Not likely. On top of that us purests wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

    I will be whining about this direction for quite some time...

    Why not? Perhaps we could. Let's not rule anything out before investigating it.

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    27 minutes ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    I understand your frustrations and especially the GBC community has some valid concerns. Though I struggle a bit to see the exact difference between this and the switch from 9V to Power Functions. Can you please explain it for me @Tom Atkinson so I can properly relay your concerns to the PU Team?

    I can't speak for Tom, but two things were important in the move to Power Functions:

    1. Rechargeable PF battery boxes, that could be plugged in, not just while charging, but for continual power.

    2. The introduction of the PF extension cable that offered 9v compatibility. This didn't just allow 9v motors to be used with Power Functions, it allowed the reverse - to provide continual power to Power Functions from a 9v train controller. This mechanism is used by GBC contraptions everywhere.

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    23 hours ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    Why would we prevent anyone from making devices which would link the systems? The Power Functions system is quite old by now and when introducing a new system which is meant to last for many years, then you have to make some choices. The choices made meant that backwards compability is not going to be included. But that certainly doesn't mean that the AFOL Community couldn't or shouldn't make their own solutions to that problem.

    Old doesnt mean bad.

    PFS is still perfectly adapted for common use especialy for non remote controled sets

    A system is not better just because you put a tactil/smartphone interface. Its new, but not really better.

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    Thanks @mrhobbles, I will pass on those points to the Powered Up Team. The rechargeable batteries and the PF extension cable are valid points which I will point out.

    I agree that old doesn't mean bad and I will make sure to pass on the point about the tactile/smartphone interface.

    Thanks for your feedback

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    7 minutes ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    Thanks @mrhobbles, I will pass on those points to the Powered Up Team. The rechargeable batteries and the PF extension cable are valid points which I will point out.

    I agree that old doesn't mean bad and I will make sure to pass on the point about the tactile/smartphone interface.

    Thanks for your feedback

    I think one product alone would make me very happy!

    Take the existing PF extension cable. Chop off the PF only end, and attach a new PUP male connector.

    Make the PUP firmware recognise that cable as a "train motor" so that a PUP controller can control it in power increments (Or give it its own unique ID, whatever works) 

    With one single cable, we could control PF motors and lights, as well as 9v motors and lights. :)

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    Not fully understanding, but I am certain the Powered Up Team will so I will pass that exactly as you wrote it :)

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    4 minutes ago, mrhobbles said:

    Make the PUP firmware recognise that cable as a "train motor" so that a PUP controller can control it in power increments (Or give it its own unique ID, whatever works)

    That would be in my opinion the most problematic compatibility scenario; while it's desirable that some applications use PF motors in increments (like the PU train motor), for others a "bang-bang" behaviour (like the PU medium and Boost motors) works better.

    This configuration could be done in hardware, via a tiny switch on the cable that switched modes (like the polarity reversal in current PF controllers), or via software, by temporarily connect the hub to the phone/tablet and set any options from there.

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    1 hour ago, Alexandre Campos said:

    That would be in my opinion the most problematic compatibility scenario; while it's desirable that some applications use PF motors in increments (like the PU train motor), for others a "bang-bang" behaviour (like the PU medium and Boost motors) works better.

    This configuration could be done in hardware, via a tiny switch on the cable that switched modes (like the polarity reversal in current PF controllers), or via software, by temporarily connect the hub to the phone/tablet and set any options from there.

    Well, I would agree that a switch on the cable for modes would be nice for those users who want bang-bang, I'd argue that constant power is more useful for most, especially if Lego wants to expend minimal resources creating this plug.

    The reason is that that is what powers nearly everything. With constant power you could even power a PF IR receiver, and hang anything you want off that. It essentially would offer a "power supply" plug to all PF and 9v components.

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    3 hours ago, mrhobbles said:

    I can't speak for Tom, but two things were important in the move to Power Functions:

    1. Rechargeable PF battery boxes, that could be plugged in, not just while charging, but for continual power.

    2. The introduction of the PF extension cable that offered 9v compatibility. This didn't just allow 9v motors to be used with Power Functions, it allowed the reverse - to provide continual power to Power Functions from a 9v train controller. This mechanism is used by GBC contraptions everywhere.

    Yes these are the primary reasons 9V to PF worked. Although the PF battery in the middle is not an elegant solution (nor cheap) it does work.

    2 hours ago, mrhobbles said:

    Take the existing PF extension cable. Chop off the PF only end, and attach a new PUP male connector.

    Make the PUP firmware recognise that cable as a "train motor" so that a PUP controller can control it in power increments (Or give it its own unique ID, whatever works) 

    With one single cable, we could control PF motors and lights, as well as 9v motors and lights. :)

    True but we would also need the reverse, attaching a new PUP female connector so we can drive PUP motors with 9V train controllers or PF battery boxes (or even IR receivers). I suspect currently these connectors are only manufactured in a PCB mount style.

    3 hours ago, Kim Thomsen said:

    Why not? Perhaps we could. Let's not rule anything out before investigating it.

    If TLG would sell the female connectors to 3rd party developers that would be amazing and open up lots of possibilities (although still not pure...). Is that really a possibility?

    I apologize for my gruffness in my prior post, this subject is too near and dear to me.

     

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    @Tom Atkinson probably not to 3rd party developers, but let's not rule out anything before we've asked and investigated. I believe we might be able to secure the elements for the AFOL community members' own personal use at least.

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