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Old school 9v or the new PF?

Peter1975Peter1975 DeventerMember Posts: 166
edited August 2013 in Building and Techniques
I finally had a change to buy the 10194 Emerald Night. It will be a nice addition to my Winter Village. I just to need to power it up.
Everybody is full about the Power Function, I wonder why?
I just prepared the Emerald with an 9v motor, disconnect the radarwork inside the train and made the tender a bit more heavy with lead.

So why use Power Functions (you keep changing batteries) instead of 9volt?

(interested in seeing the Emerald going, look at:
)
«13

Comments

  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    I think most people new to the trains prefer the PF because you don't have to sell a kidney on the black market to get enough track to make a decent setup. I like it over 9v for the ability to have one connected track setup with multiple trains going different speeds.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    ^I'm just the opposite. I have a ton of 9V Track and don't want to deal with PF. The great thing is you can use PF on 9V track, so I might have to deal with it.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    edited August 2013
    I have 2 Extra 9V Motors and I will try to motorize the Lone Ranger Constitution Train and The Horizon Express. I won't run more than 2 trains at the same time, so I can switch out the motors for each train.

    What I like about 9V is you can run many lights and functions while switching on the transformer. Lights for my buildings light up and so does my crossing lights.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    ^ I have a ton of both track but only because I started buying the older trains after getting into the newer ones, but I've been installing PF into all the trains. On some it requires building a new car which I think is part of the fun. I'm not really into putting lights into everything so that doesn't bother me. But I already have plans to wire my table with a 9v transformer so I don't have to have battery boxes for my PF switch stations so if I decide I want lights I'll be able to power them with that.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    I think they can work well with each other. I have something in the works right now, but I will keep that under wraps for right now seeing it is not completed yet ;)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    @graphite I plan on modifying my 9V Speed Regulator to accommodate more functions other than Forward/Reverse. That's not what I'm working on though right now.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    ^ I'm working on a self regulated system that monitors train speed and location and manipulates them using the IR receivers =)
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    Alright show off ;)
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 442
    Any love for proper old skool 12v? You have to be a bit careful through the points with the EN, but as everything is centrally controlled you don't even have to move from your seat :)
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 914
    ^ 12V all the way here - but I think that your preference is heavily influenced by when you got into the trains in the first place!

    The nice thing about the 12V and 9V systems is that you only have to worry about where you're going to stick the motor on your train, rather than having to account for a battery pack and receiver. 12V wins with the control options - points, signals etc; but 9V does seem to have the edge regarding reliability and need to clean the track less than every hour or so!
  • Peter1975Peter1975 DeventerMember Posts: 166
    Can anyone tell me if the 9v control panel from set 8485 is a handy piece, if you want to control multiple trains or lights?
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    edited August 2013
    You probably could. The unit has a built in mini computer inside and it can record your inputs. It can only hold 2 separate programs; Program 1 and Program 2. What you would do is hit the Program button and then Record and use the yellow pad to control a motor or what not. Then you would stop the "recording" and push play to see your "recording" in action. I don't know if you can create a loop that keeps playing or if the program stops after the recording is done.

    I'm sure all you have to do is do 2 separate simple programs to operate two trains. Program 1 for Train 1 and Program 2 for Train 2. The unit is not a Speed Regulator, so I don't know how much power it sends to what it is hooked up to. I fear that this can only be used for things that just need power and thats it, like motors and lights.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    The main reason why i like 9V over the "current" Power Function is because the rechargable batteries run at about 7.2V and make the motors slower and less powerful than they would be on 9V. I don't like alkaline batteries because their voltage drops as their charge is used up.

    You can use PF with the 9V system though. All you have to do is tether the PF system to the 9V Speed Regulator.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    edited August 2013
    @PeteM and @mr_benn I love the functionality of the 12V system. There was no need to be a computer programmer and a Mindstorms expert to operate you trains and lights. I am neither ;)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    I have just set up my Santa Fe Super Chief and I have to tell you that this is one heavy train w/ cars. I don't actually know if a PF set up would have enough power to move this many cars.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    ^ That would be when you add a 2nd engine either after the first like a real train (although not passenger train) or add an end engine and power it as well.

    When I bought my #4512 I had a friend in another state pick it up and hold it for me. It ended up having an almost complete #4561 with it which I already had. So I doubled mine up. I had added a 2nd car to hold the batter box and modified the engine slightly to hold the IR receiver but with how light that small engine car is it would spin its wheels trying to pull the full train so I just recently got around to adding a 2nd motor to the battery car I added and it has 2 now. The front car still spins a bit when changing speeds but only for a half second or so until it gets going at the new speed.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    Cargo trains are much lighter. The Santa Fe Super Chief has a boiler car that you would add another battery box if you want. My set-up will eventually have another engine and boiler cars. $$$$$$$$$.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    I actually have both. I have about 30 curves and maybe 10-12 straights for the 9v system. I won a whole load of curves and all the power connectors on ebay and while the track was a little dirty it cleans up nicely with some brasso and away you go. The engine was actually the most expensive part and I got that from brick link and it was about 20 euro I think...i forget. I got that to power the Toy Story train as it was the easiest way, definitely not the cheapest however but I got lucky - cost me around 60 euro for all the track and transformer.

    The PF stuff, I have both the passenger train and the cargo train and all the track as well as the station and the level crossing that has 4 straight track pieces each too. So on either front I have plenty track...now if only I had the space.

    The beauty of all this is the PF and 9V track can be used together for PF, and PF engines are so cheap from S&H. 9V is easier to work with however and takes up less engine space. It's a trade off. That and you can also use regular PF motors to power trains like the Emerald Night as well and I have a few of those too.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    I have had 9v in the past, though just an oval, but once I got into PF, there was no looking back. It's pretty close to the DCC controls that you find in model railroading.

    I prefer PF because...
    • You don't have to clean the track
    • The train doesn't ever encounter dead spots (though to be fair, losing line-of-sight with PF is kinda a dead spot)
    • The train always has constant voltage (the further you are from a transformer, the lower the voltage)
    • The fact that the train literally powers itself (i.e. even the "fuel" is on-board) adds to the immersion
    • You can control 8 things simultaneously (motors and lights)
    • Related to above, you can have 8 different engines on the same track
    • PF is the current standard (until it is replaced with something, of course)
    • The track is much cheaper (i.e. you don't need to encase it with metal, or deal with traversing power through points or crossing tracks - btw Lego, where's my PF crossing track?)
    • Track is currently available
    • With the rechargeable pack, you barely ever have to fiddle with replacing the batteries (or even recharging all that often - the charge lasts a long time)
    • You can walk around and still control the trains with the IR controller
    The main advantage I see for 9v (or any direct-power) is the ability to upgrade an engine immediately - just throw on the powered trucks. PF really needs to have an all-in one, single-piece power unit that includes the motor, battery and IR sensor that you can build off of into an engine, tender or carriage. Routing all the wires for the three, separate items (four or five if you have lights) can get ridiculous at times. The second best advantage I see is that 9v is more powerful overall, which others have already written about. A third benefit that is less used is the ability for cars to pull power directly off the track to light up the interiors.

    So, what is "better" all comes down to what is important to you, which is why it's a personal choice. Though, honestly, because Lego is going with PF only at this point, it's less of a choice as a result. As for the future, what I'd like to see in the next iteration:
    • Prototypical sounds (horn, whistle, chuff, clickety-clack, etc.)
    • Automatic uncoupling
    • Remote turnout control
    • Smoke!
    • Better lighting technology (especially to light cars, buildings, etc.)
    sidersddYellowcastle
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    Oh yeah, some track requests also:
    • Curved track with different radii
    • Straight and curved track with shorter lengths (to accommodate more complex layouts, especially when coupled with the above request)
    • Turnouts that actually turnout into a curve (the current ones turn, then begin to straighten out a bit)
    • 2ft, one-piece straight tracks
    It's tough making neat layouts with the limited track components such that they are. I always feel my minifigs are getting whiplash going around a corner.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    I agree with @tensor Let the gods have mercy on my soul ;)

    I already had a ton of 9V track. If you saw my layout, one could gather as much. For me to switch right now would cost me a bunch and a lot of time to change all my 9V trains to PF. I don't need to buy any track.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    I added more track to my layout that was originally drawn up. Like I said, a lot of track ;)
    TheLoneTensorEKSam
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    BTW, is it just me or is #2150 the best Train Station Lego ever produced?
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Nice, that reminds me of my own (non-Lego) ceiling train.

    Of course, I don't have mine crawling by Paul Mitchell products either, so you win :)
    Pitfall69sidersddEKSamchuxtoyboxYellowcastle
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    edited August 2013
    Love it @tensor. Beautiful!!!

    Yeah, I can't help the Paul Mitchell products being there. Hey, if you don't look good, we don't look good ;)

    Are you a Red Wings fan? I live just outside of Detroit.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,528
    edited August 2013
    Pitfall69 said:

    BTW, is it just me or is #2150 the best Train Station Lego ever produced?

    It is one of the best for sure.
    I also think that, for their age, #7822 and #7824 are pretty nice too IMO


  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    I've always been partial to #7997 myself. The pillars remind me of old-school grand train stations. I also really like the current one #7937, even if it is a rehash of #7822. And, to stay somewhat on topic, this is actually the kind of thing I'd like to see illuminated, be it PF, 9v whatever. And yeah @pitfall69, we're Red Wing fans (and hockey in general).
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    tensor said:

    Oh yeah, some track requests also:

    • Curved track with different radii
    • Straight and curved track with shorter lengths (to accommodate more complex layouts, especially when coupled with the above request)
    Unfortunately the "flex" track was probably LEGO's solution to this so these requests will probably never be fulfilled.

    My request is a new double crossover with independent switching.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    graphite said:

    tensor said:

    Oh yeah, some track requests also:

    • Curved track with different radii
    • Straight and curved track with shorter lengths (to accommodate more complex layouts, especially when coupled with the above request)
    Unfortunately the "flex" track was probably LEGO's solution to this so these requests will probably never be fulfilled.

    My request is a new double crossover with independent switching.
    Here's hoping the flex track was a one and done. I don't even consider it train track, it's more like Mario Kart Knex track. And it's ugly. Die flex track, die.

    And yeah, thumbs up to an independent crossover.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    I guess it is because I lived in NY for 18 years and now live near Detroit going on 18 years.

    Grand Central Station Pic 1
    Detroit Train Station Pic 2

    The Detroit Train Station was featured in the Transformers movie.
  • The_MackThe_Mack Member Posts: 239
    tensor said:

    I have had 9v in the past, though just an oval, but once I got into PF, there was no looking back. It's pretty close to the DCC controls that you find in model railroading.

    I prefer PF because...

    • You don't have to clean the track
    • The train doesn't ever encounter dead spots (though to be fair, losing line-of-sight with PF is kinda a dead spot)
    • The train always has constant voltage (the further you are from a transformer, the lower the voltage)
    • The fact that the train literally powers itself (i.e. even the "fuel" is on-board) adds to the immersion
    • You can control 8 things simultaneously (motors and lights)
    • Related to above, you can have 8 different engines on the same track
    • PF is the current standard (until it is replaced with something, of course)
    • The track is much cheaper (i.e. you don't need to encase it with metal, or deal with traversing power through points or crossing tracks - btw Lego, where's my PF crossing track?)
    • Track is currently available
    • With the rechargeable pack, you barely ever have to fiddle with replacing the batteries (or even recharging all that often - the charge lasts a long time)
    • You can walk around and still control the trains with the IR controller
    You forgot to add, more complex layouts with PF. You can create a return loop on PF, where a 9V or 12v will cause a short of the tracks.

    I own both 9V and PF. While I enjoy the ease of the 9V system, I like the complexity of track setups allowed in PF. But TLG need to get their controlling components smaller. There is no reason why the IR port can't be built into the motor, or battery box, or just move to a RF signal.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    My track layouts are always simple and I like the ease of using the 9V system.

    In the future I will probably do some trains with PF components.

    So in review of the OP's question:

    If you are just starting out, I would recommend using the current PF components.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    Has anyone used a PF powered train up a slow grade?
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    Pitfall69 said:

    The Detroit Train Station was featured in the Transformers movie.

    Easier to film in locations when they're deserted =)

    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    graphite said:

    Pitfall69 said:

    The Detroit Train Station was featured in the Transformers movie.

    Easier to film in locations when they're deserted =)

    It is being rebuilt now.

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    @Pitfall69 Yes, I have. I used a #7938 up a slope that did a 13 brick rise 1 plate per 5" section at a time. The train did the incline but the new magnets don't hold as well as the old style and the cars kept de-coupling. You could either put the engine in the back of the train or put 1 x 2 tiles on the new style couplings to keep the train together.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    Ahhhh. Yes, I totally forgot about the new style magnets. That's a problem.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    Pitfall69 said:

    @graphite I plan on modifying my 9V Speed Regulator to accommodate more functions other than Forward/Reverse. That's not what I'm working on though right now.

    What else is there? Sideways and up or down? :}
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    Silly @chuxtoybox, not thinking fourth-dimensionally!

    image
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453

    Pitfall69 said:

    @graphite I plan on modifying my 9V Speed Regulator to accommodate more functions other than Forward/Reverse. That's not what I'm working on though right now.

    What else is there? Sideways and up or down? :}
    More functions like operating lights and motors and even sound. If @tensor can drill into his Lego parts, I can modify my Speed Regulator. Although, I might just purchase a Technic Box as mentioned previously.

    beegeedee
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    edited August 2013
    Sounds: yes please. And the lights could be better. Of course if you're going to mod then you could just wire some LEDs to small batteries and use them instead of the PF lights. Would be fairly inexpensive too.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    I don't even see trains as a product category on Lego.com. I'm surprised Lego doesn't have more train related sets like they used to. Are they missing another opportunity or have trains gone the way of the western and kids aren't interested in them anymore?

    I have set 4559 set up right now. I'm building a "town" right now and I want the basic theme of it to be older time periods like western and pirate and old England and that train is just too modern.

    I was thinking of transforming 4559 into a "steam engine" type of train. Which train would you say was the best of Lego's older 9V trains? Or could I easily turn the new Lone Ranger train into a 9V?

    Oh, and I'm also trying to build a tunnel, but I want to be able to build on top of it. Does anyone have any tips on this as well? :}
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Trains are come and go with Lego. 1.5 years ago you had three active train sets, two individual trains (Maersk & EN), a train station, level crossing and switch tracks. Now I think we have one train set, one individual (HE) and one train station. We're definitely due to have a new set and an accessory piece.

    Well, old western = Constitution, England = Emerald Night, so set your sites on those (hint, one is more affordable than the other). Btw, you did read the thread right, including the whole 9v being real easy to slap on to any train part?
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    @chuxtoybox You could try #4534 or #4535 if you want old time 9v train sets.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    oldtodd33 said:

    @chuxtoybox You could try #4534 or #4535 if you want old time 9v train sets.

    Yes, I was looking at 4535. I'm thinking of building it from loose elements (is there AFOL terminology for this?) because I can't afford the set right now. Are there any special elements besides the decals that would be hard to get? It doesn't seem like it from the parts list.
    tensor said:



    Well, old western = Constitution, England = Emerald Night, so set your sites on those (hint, one is more affordable than the other). Btw, you did read the thread right, including the whole 9v being real easy to slap on to any train part?

    Pitfall69's avatar distracts me too much and I find it hard to concentrate on what I'm reading. :}

    Emerald Night looks awesome but, once again, are there parts to it that are expensive if you tried to build it buying individual elements?

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    @chuxtoybox We call it moc'ing. The sticker sheet would be hard to get for the 4534, but you can BL those parts too.

    As far as the EN goes, the roof pieces for the passenger car and the windows I think are expensive, so I wouldn't recommend that set on a budget.
    chuxtoybox
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    @tensor Is that a G scale train on your ceiling? I like that size, my brother has a bunch of LGB G scale trains he does at Christmas.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    @chuxtoybox

    Here is the current state of my mountain with train tunnel for my table setup. The colors are just what is visible of the 2x4 and 1x4 lattice structure that makes up the inside and will be covered in rock formation like the front is.

    image
    khmellymelEKSamgifinimCCC
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    ^It's O gauge. If you have the room, G is better because of the fact that it's being seen from a relative distance. That said, G is over twice the size of O, so you need a huge room or it will likely look out of place (or simply interfere with your walls because you'll need so much head clearance).
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