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  • Powered Up Update


    Sara Skahill

    At the request of Ambassadors, we have a short update from the Powered Up team:

    Today the Powered Up Team launched a website dedicated to Powered Up components, where they highlight most important benefits of the platform and show what can be done with components when you buy them separately. There will be also app update where you can newly code your own creations - create your own code, modify it, save it and come back to it. This Mobile app is available in App store or Google Play, but models can be also controlled by Powered Up remote control via Bluebooth.

    Where is Powered Up used?

    LEGO ® Powered Up platform is used in the active lines LEGO® DC Super Heroes App-Controlled Batmobile (76112), the LEGO® City Cargo Train (60198), or the LEGO® City Passenger Train (60197) and it continue to be used in future products

    Can I buy the Powered Up Components Separately? 

    Separate components will be available from 1st of April at LEGO Shop at Home, LEGO Brand Retail and LEGO Certified StoriesAll components will be sold separately in see-through packaging (used for example with polybags, gift with purchase)

    What about Power Functions?

    Powered Up platform  is in general replacement for Power Functions components (used until now in some Creator Expert models and some Technic models) which will remain active until end of 2020.

    Exceptions: - 8878 Power Functions Rechargeable battery box → Exited 31.12.2018 and - 45517 Transformer 10V DC  → Exits 31.12.2021

    If you have further questions regarding Powered Up, please leave a comment below and we will pass it along to the Powered Up Team. 

    Edited by Sara Skahill

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    Will it be possible to run power functions motors through powered up, maybe something of converter cable to switch the different plug types?

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    There has already been an update to the Powered Up app and frankly I think it is fantastic. A lot of programming support has been added and the link between device and hub is not immediately severed if you screen goes dark or the app goes to the background. 

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about this new website...

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    Thanks for sharing  the details Sara.  The new powered up app is a great extension to the range.  Do you know if it is planned to be able to run multiple hubs in the same programming window/instance 

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    Ordered 8878 a couple months ago, then it went out of stock, ordered from education with some cables, the cables shipped, called a month later, noticed they had remove the battery from the education site, their answer was it would not be replenished.

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    Is there any way to use the mains for Powered Up, like the old 9v train speed regulator (Part 2868) with a converter cable worked on PF motors? I'm specifically asking as a Great Ball Contraption builder, the PU motors will in all likelihood be more expensive than PF motors. 

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    I've added the website link into the blog post, sorry about that! 

    @Josh Gay SPSLUG @M_longer_ Sorry there was an error in the blog post, 8878 Power Functions Rechargeable battery box → Exited 31.12.2018. 

    @UncleConfidentGorilla This will to some extend be device dependent. On iOS devices the current limit is 10 hubs and it may change over time.

    @Willi Badenhorst 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.

    More details on the specifics of Powered Up can be found in this Q&A: 

     

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    Is there a way to be more environmentally conscious with powered up and power it from something like the 45517 Transformer 10V DC, instead of batteries?

    Would like to be able to run for a whole weekend without changing batteries for Great Ball Contraption.

    Thanks,

    Brian

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    14 hours ago, Sara Skahill said:

    Sorry there was an error in the blog post, 8878 Power Functions Rechargeable battery box → Exited 31.12.2018. 

    Oh wow, great news. And what now, half year waiting for new rechargeable box, not compatible with PF system, that will cost 120$?

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    Will the FAQ on dedicated powered up website be updated? 

    For example. Boost motors are now compatible with powered hub as far as i know.

     

    And some thoughts about PU ecosystem. 

    It would be great if PU (powered up) box was compatible with old PF (power function), because many of us have multiple PF motors, that have received Bluetooth control using some devices like buwizz/sbrick/pfbrick.But PU box adds great features like programming. So if PU box had compatibility it would be great, i understand that having PF connectors would make top side of PU box less usable, but may be we could receive connector plate selling separately, that will have small PU wires, to connect it to PU hub, with PF connectors, so that collection of our motors can be reused. This part won't be needed for most people, but buying separate components is mostly prerogative of FOLs. And FOLs i think will love this part. May be it could be just connector part, like someone suggest on eurobricks. We can take cheap bricks from 70s and use it now, but every new power product make old one obsolete, without a way to "build on each other". Making some connectivity part will be a way to respect the community, and the efforts they have put in building their collection of pf parts.

     

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    The Powered Up FAQ needs a bit of an update, given that Boost now works with the Powered Up app, and boost elements can be controlled from the Powered Up hub, using the app. I’m sure it’s coming.

    [Somehow I missed the comment above before I posted - apologies for the redundancy]

    Edited by Richard Jones
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    13 hours ago, tkf said:

    We can take cheap bricks from 70s and use it now, but every new power product make old one obsolete, without a way to "build on each other". Making some connectivity part will be a way to respect the community, and the efforts they have put in building their collection of pf parts.

    @Kim Ellekjær Thomsen those are changes that i'm talking about. "Only the profit is good enough". This tendency is more and more prominent :(

    One catch phrases of Lego Bricks ued to be "everything fits together". Used to be.:)

    Edited by Rafał Piasek
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    56 minutes ago, tkf said:

     

     We can take cheap bricks from 70s and use it now, but every new power product make old one obsolete, without a way to "build on each other". Making some connectivity part will be a way to respect the community, and the efforts they have put in building their collection of pf parts.

     

    That's true just for this last transition. Many iterations before that were fully compatible (only limitation was that voltage needed to be 9v).

    I often use PF motors with 9v train controllers from 1991 (it would be really difficult to imagine GBC without fine speed control from those), "buggy" motors work very well with PF receiver, micro motor also etc...

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    33 minutes ago, Boštjan Svetličič said:

     I often use PF motors with 9v train controllers from 1991 (it would be really difficult to imagine GBC without fine speed control from those), "buggy" motors work very well with PF receiver, micro motor also etc...

    And so it is hard to understand why PU had broken this compatibility. We had 8886 as PF-9V conversion helper. 
    We got RCX-NXT connector - 8528 

    RCX/PF were incompatible, but using  8886 + 5306b you could make them work. Adding 8528 and you can use NXT with PF. Yes NXT wasn't compatible with PF directly, but there were official way to use it together.

    EV3 was developed with compatibility in mind, and it's adoption was fast. 

    But Boost and PU are making EV3 and PF obsolete, and there are no reason for it. Replacing all PF stack will take much time, if it can be used with PU, it will imo boost PU adoption in technic community. 

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    10 minutes ago, Boštjan Svetličič said:

    That's true just for this last transition. Many iterations before that were fully compatible (only limitation was that voltage needed to be 9v).

    On the other hand, MINDSTORMS NXT was a complete departure from that connectivity, even though there were conversion cables available for a short time. 

    This new platform appears to be bringing System, Technic and MINDSTORMS all into the same connection type and protocol.

    We'll have to see if and how some backwards compatibility is added. Losing the ability to connect a power supply would be a sore blow, not to mention the ability to regulate the power as with the train regulator

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    Quote

    Today the Powered Up Team launched a website dedicated to Powered Up components, where they highlight most important benefits of the platform and show what can be done with components when you buy them separately.

    Now I'm a tad confused. There has been a PoweredUp! FAQ page for quite some time. So what is new with this site? On a first glance I have not found any real updates.

    I, too, want to chime in into the BIG drawbacks I currently see in the PoweredUp! product line. For me, they are not a real issue (I can use a soldering iron), but I can see the market demand. It might not sell as well as YAMF, but it will sell.

    1. Converter cable from PUp! to PF. I know this will be a bit complicated (i.e. you would need new contact shapes and crimping tools on top of new molds for the connector, and will not cover all cases, i.e. will it have a small board to rectify the power and send them to the "permanent power" lines of the PF connector, even if this could lead to problems? And running the PF Servo will be nearly impossible without a *really* smart interface.
    2. Running the Smart Hub as a rechargeable unit. Now this would be comparably easy, as this would only require to replace the internal battery holder with a rechargeable pack. But on the other hand, logistics for a rechargeable device are a nightmare, so maybe LEGO wants to avoid it for this reason.
    3. Running the Smart Hub on a permanent power source. Now that would be a neat one. It would even be possible to replace the lower part of the Smart Hub to reduce it's size by about two bricks. Care should be taken, though, to get a proper power supply connector, preferably on that is actually available on the market just in case one needs an extension. The usual 90cm of cable that most wall warts sport might be a bit short to get things powered in the middle of a train track display.
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    26 minutes ago, tkf said:

    And so it is hard to understand why PU had broken this compatibility.

    A PF cable has two pairs: The outer pair has a permanent 9V with a fixed polarity. The inner pair is PWM controlled with selectable polarity. This results in three distinct classes of actors in the PF family:

    1. Motors and LEDs that only need the inner pair.
    2. The IR receiver, that only needs the outer pair.
    3. The Servo motor that needs both.

    LEGO can go several ways here:

    1. They could use a cheap way by just routing the lines one and two of the PoweredUp! cable to the PF's center pair. Would still require new molds, new metal stanza and assembly tool designs. And it would only work for the first class, so it would make the use of added IR remotes and PF Servos impossible. Cost: Comparable to the old conversion cable, about €10
    2. They could make a small conversion box with a PCB, where the PUp! lines one and two are rectified and put on the PFs cable outer pair, and the non-rectified version on the inner pair. Both PF motors and LEDs, and PF IR remotes would work (the latter only with 100% power on, of course). PF Servos would still not run. Cost: Comparable to the LEDs plus a bit extra, about €20
    3. A conversion box with a processor talking to the Smart Hub, and a H-Bridge to control the output. The Smart Hub is technically able to do things like that. But we are talking about an active device with a footprint of at least 4x4 studs, if not more. This could run all, PF motors and LEDs, IR receivers, and PF Servos. Cost: Here we are going into the area of €30-40, maybe even €50. Not really where people want a conversion "cable" to end up.

    Now I haven't even touched the idea of PF sensors...

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    There are also the newly announced LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and LEGO Technic Control+. There are so many "next gen" LEGO frameworks at the moment and I am really hoping that they will be compatible with each other at some point with firmware updates and such:

    • BOOST
    • Powered Up
    • Control+
    • SPIKE Prime
    • WeDo 2.0

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    The WeDo hub can't be updated, but the sensors are now compatible with both Powered Up and Boost. So I'm a sense all currently available platforms that use the Powered Up plugs are compatible.

    When SPIKE Prime and Connect+ come out we'll see, but I have high hopes they will be compatible too 

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    A small additional note about PU trains, that one friend of mine have noticed. He makes big train layouts on exhibition, and for them, he need to replace all PU hubs and motors with old ones. Because somehow, he get the working radius of PU is 10 meters, so to control trains on 20m stand he need to go for train, if he is using old PF, there is no problems because his train layouts are not for outside use. so sun don't spoil it. And using IR he can control trains easily. 

    But it is very strange case, coz BLE should give a much better range than PF in most cases. But as it is written in powered up help page, it's efficient bluetooth radius is really just 10 meters :(

    Also it would be great if LEGO PU App could control multiple hubs at once. Having just two connectors in smart hub make it impossible to use two motors along with light 88005. Big trains would also need multiple motors, for example 4 for one train, now it can't be controlled easily with PU. 

    One more note, if you are using PU App, and phone has been blocked, connection is broken, and you need to get closer to pair it again. Also pairing takes much time, around 20s. Apple have made a great work to make their Bluetooth AirPods sync in moments, and work fine, i always was thinking that LEGO is company that will try to make everything as simple as efficient as possible. Children don't like waiting :)

    In fact all lego train funs who i know are disappointed with PU. But when PF replaced 9V everybody also was disappointed ^_^  But it doesn't mean there shouldn't be improvements. 

    36 minutes ago, Christian Treczoks said:

        A conversion box with a processor talking to the Smart Hub, and a H-Bridge to control the output. The Smart Hub is technically able to do things like that. But we are talking about an active device with a footprint of at least 4x4 studs, if not more. This could run all, PF motors and LEDs, IR receivers, and PF Servos. Cost: Here we are going into the area of €30-40, maybe even €50. Not really where people want a conversion "cable" to end up.

    If we are talking about conversion box, then it is same as i wrote above, some small box, with area same of hub, that can be installed above it. 30-40 euros seems high, but people buy buwizz for 100 euros and sbrick for 70 dollars. One M-Motor now is 8 dollars, 88008 is 17 dollars. People have many M/L/XL motors already. Now they have two choices, either stick with PF system, or start to go to PU system, with buying everything again. It is long and not mention that new technic sets come with PF, for example 42095 . 

    So i don't understand positioning. I was thinking that LEGO wants PU/Boost line to reunion and make everything one system. 

    44 minutes ago, Burak Gul said:
    •  Control+

    Control+ connectors seem to have same connectors, if we suggest on image of 45602. 

    Control+ hub will have more than two ports, and it is awesome. But it is another league generally, it is as using EV3 just for train controlling. 

     

    I don't want to demonize PU, and whitewash PF. PF have many disadvantages, and PU is not so bad. We hadn't till delivered good practices for making something big and complex using PU. Because PU is new. Having even simple cable for 10 dollars, that would give ability to add existent motors to PU, i think that this could improve speed of PU adoption (question to @Christian Treczoks why can't PU control speed of PF motors if there will be converted cable, because sbrick/buwizz can control voltage, why PU can't do this also.)

     

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    1 hour ago, Christian Treczoks said:

    A PF cable has two pairs: The outer pair has a permanent 9V with a fixed polarity. The inner pair is PWM controlled with selectable polarity. This results in three distinct classes of actors in the PF family:

    1. Motors and LEDs that only need the inner pair.
    2. The IR receiver, that only needs the outer pair.
    3. The Servo motor that needs both.

    LEGO can go several ways here:

    1. They could use a cheap way by just routing the lines one and two of the PoweredUp! cable to the PF's center pair. Would still require new molds, new metal stanza and assembly tool designs. And it would only work for the first class, so it would make the use of added IR remotes and PF Servos impossible. Cost: Comparable to the old conversion cable, about €10
    2. They could make a small conversion box with a PCB, where the PUp! lines one and two are rectified and put on the PFs cable outer pair, and the non-rectified version on the inner pair. Both PF motors and LEDs, and PF IR remotes would work (the latter only with 100% power on, of course). PF Servos would still not run. Cost: Comparable to the LEDs plus a bit extra, about €20
    3. A conversion box with a processor talking to the Smart Hub, and a H-Bridge to control the output. The Smart Hub is technically able to do things like that. But we are talking about an active device with a footprint of at least 4x4 studs, if not more. This could run all, PF motors and LEDs, IR receivers, and PF Servos. Cost: Here we are going into the area of €30-40, maybe even €50. Not really where people want a conversion "cable" to end up.

    Now I haven't even touched the idea of PF sensors...

    Some think like this maybe257204352_MockupBoottooPF1.0copy.jpg.7ab47f023df1ef9aedd3334f7bc5b30d.jpg

    It will need a diode to stop people connecting a old 9V battery to a Hub but not that hard to place in the 2x2 black part in the middel.

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    42 minutes ago, tkf said:

    Control+ connectors seem to have same connectors, if we suggest on image of 45602. 

     

    According to BrothersBrick post it seems that same connectors won't mean connectivity :(

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    3 hours ago, tkf said:

    One more note, if you are using PU App, and phone has been blocked, connection is broken, and you need to get closer to pair it again. Also pairing takes much time, around 20s. Apple have made a great work to make their Bluetooth AirPods sync in moments, and work fine, i always was thinking that LEGO is company that will try to make everything as simple as efficient as possible. Children don't like waiting :)

    Have to updated to the latest version of the Powered Up app? It doesn't lose connection when you lock your phone or if the app goes to the background! :)

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