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So I want to build a working LEGO train set . . .

JCAJCA CaliforniaMember Posts: 2
I have my eye on a couple LEGO train sets, but I want it to be motorized and preferably with remote speed control. What parts do you recommend?

So far, my list includes the following:
  • LEGO Power Functions Train Motor 88002
  • #8879 Functions Power Functions IR Speed Remote Control 8879
  • #7499 Flexible Tracks
But what about the battery box? Looks like I'd need one of these:
  • #8878 LEGO Power Functions Rechargeable Battery Box
  • #8881 LEGO Power Functions Battery Box
Also, would I need the #8884 LEGO Power Functions IR Receiver or do any of the battery boxes pick up the IR signal?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,260
    I would say watch Amazon, as they have #60052 right now for 149.99 USD, #60051 (passenger train) 124.99 USD. Not hugely great deals, but not bad and they already have their motorization.
  • goshe7goshe7 Columbus, Ohio, USAMember Posts: 515
    JCA said:
    I have my eye on a couple LEGO train sets, but I want it to be motorized and preferably with remote speed control. What parts do you recommend?

    So far, my list includes the following:
    • LEGO Power Functions Train Motor 88002
    • #8879 Functions Power Functions IR Speed Remote Control 8879
    • #7499 Flexible Tracks
    But what about the battery box? Looks like I'd need one of these:
    • #8878 LEGO Power Functions Rechargeable Battery Box
    • #8881 LEGO Power Functions Battery Box
    Also, would I need the #8884 LEGO Power Functions IR Receiver or do any of the battery boxes pick up the IR signal?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    You would need the IR Receiver.  

    I would probably at least cost-compare other sources for track as you will want a good amount to make a decent sized layout.  BrickLink, eBay, BrickOwl are all decent sources.

    The easiest way to get started is to purchase a set that includes all the Power Functions like #60052.  

  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 240
    You need an IR receiver to go with that IR remote. Also, most people recommend avoiding the flexible track. It's not as great as it sounds.

    Considering that you'll probably also want some other wheels, couplers, etc, to build rolling stock, your best bet is to buy a whole train kit. The City trains are usually motorized and come with everything you need.

    I've heard that the rechargeable battery box, while being more expensive, is ultimately more convenient to use than the AAA ones. I use rechargeable AAA batteries in mine and it's fine.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,515
    I'd also go along with buying a kit and modifying it. Better value.

    I like flexi track, never had problems with it.
  • bricktuarybricktuary EuropeMember Posts: 470
    Definitely. Grab one of the sets and take it from there. So much more cost-effective than getting the bits separately.  
    drdavewatfordkiki180703
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    If I remember correctly, the flex track was an issue for the Emerald Night. The rest I don't know about because I don't use it. 
  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 349
    Flex track can derail some trains, and is pretty ugly to boot. But can be useful nonetheless.

    And I have read (though not experienced) that the rechargeable box can cause issues in some sets due to how light it is. The boxes that come with sets take a bunch of batteries, which gives the locomotive some weight over its powered wheels so it has the traction needed to pull a bunch of cars. 
  • JCAJCA CaliforniaMember Posts: 2
    Great advice! Thank you very much.
    SumoLegokiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,731
    You may also want to get an unsecured line of credit from your local bank.  

    This is probably the most expensive aspect of Lego collecting.
    mldj77MrShinyAndNewkiki180703tallblocktooPaperballparkDedgeckoPitfall69thenos
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I agree with everyone saying just get a pre-motorized set like #60052 and see how you like it before diving in further.  Also understand that if the hobby sticks, and you wish to build your own, there are more ways to motorize the engines than just the whiny base train wheel truck.

    And yeah, Lego trains can get really expensive, especially if you look in the rear-view mirror.
    Pitfall69
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,085
    Welcome to Brickset! I'm guessing that you are probably looking at the Emerald Night Steam  train (#10194), the Maersk Freight (#10219) or the Horizon Express (#10233). All three of these trains include directions on how to power them. Here's is a link to the Lego instructions for the Maersk. How to power it starts on page 46.

    http://cache.lego.com/bigdownloads/buildinginstructions/4632677.pdf  

    In the case the the Emerald Night, many of us found better ways than Lego to power it and posted details on the web to include here:

    http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/15407/emerald-night-10194-running-gear-improvements#latest

    As others have said, start off with one of the Lego Train sets that has everything you need. 

    American style freight: #60052

    European Style freight: #60098

    Both are available at Lego.com

    http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Trains-ByTheme


    Lastly, If you want to really enter the world of Lego Trains, look through this forum!

    http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showforum=122


     
    Pitfall69
  • bricktuarybricktuary EuropeMember Posts: 470
    You might want to see if you can pick up the Lone Ranger train Constitution while it's still relatively easy to get. Nice train and lends itself to moc'ing. 
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,389
    edited January 2016
    Yes, if you haven't powered a train before, the best thing to do is get a set like #60052 (a nice little train anyway) which has all the components needed, and see how it's done.

    Once you have, there's a couple of other things to think about.

    Flexi-tracks: personally I wouldn't bother. It's a nice idea, but not great implementation. They work ok, but look dreadful, and are noisy as well.

    Train Battery Box: Yes, there's two types. The AAA one takes 6 batteries, and is a little heavier than the Rechargable one. The rechargeable one is quite a bit more expensive, and you'll need a charger for it too. However, there are two big advantages to it. Firstly, you don't have to keep buying batteries. Secondly, you don't have to take the train apart to get the batteries out.

    I've found that both of them hold the charge for about 3 to 4 hours, depending on factors like traction, total weight of the train, friction etc.

    How much each of these advantages and disadvantages weighs on you will depend on where and when you intend to run your trains. If running them on a small loop at home for half an hour or so a week, I'd probably go with the AAA box. If you plan on displaying at shows though, I'd go with the rechargable box, because otherwise you'll go through a LOT of batteries (which will quickly offset the cheaper cost of the AAA box), and you don't really want to be fiddling around removing the box and changing the batteries at a show.

    Finally, as @SumoLego said, getting into trains - in a serious way - is expensive. I used the AAA battery box for the first show I ran a train at, back in early 2014. I never did again, as I used 24 or more (good) batteries. I now use rechargable boxes, and have two trains per loop, so that I can take one off to charge and put another fully-charged one on.

    I currently have thirteen rechargable battery boxes (and seven chargers), which means that when I've finished building (I have two trains currently under construction) I will have ten trains that I can run, which works out at five loops of track with trains running at the same time. (Some of the trains will have two battery boxes etc in them).

    It is expensive, but also a bit addictive too.

    Of course, if you just plan on running them at home for a little bit each week, get the AAA box and your wallet will thank you ;)
    pharmjodkiki180703SumoLegoGothamConstructionCo
  • mustang69mustang69 North CarolinaMember Posts: 365
    I'll ask the question here since its pretty much the same topic,

    I want to motorize my #10173 Christmas Train but I want to do it the most basic way. Would it just be a matter of getting the #88002 Motor and #88000 battery box? From looking at both it seems like I would need some other cable as it looks like they only have female connectors on them. I'm not really familiar with LEGO's power functions since I havent used them before.

    I'm not really interested in going the remote control route as I would only really use it a couple of times a year while my winter village display is up at Christmas.
  • legomentallegomental UkMember Posts: 309
    I've got a train query too - is there anyone/anywhere which offers to motorize your Lego trains for you? We have a Harry potter train that my lad would like motorized but I honestly don't the time to sit down and work out which parts I need and how to rebuild it to accommodate those parts. I'd rather pay someone or pay for foolproof instructions 
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    mustang69 said:
    I want to motorize my #10173 Christmas Train but I want to do it the most basic way. Would it just be a matter of getting the #88002 Motor and #88000 battery box?
    In broad terms, yes. Getting it all to fit where you want it might be more entertaining!
    From looking at both it seems like I would need some other cable as it looks like they only have female connectors on them.
    No. The 2 x 2 connected to the motor has different genders top and bottom.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,389
    I'd rather pay someone or pay for foolproof instructions 
    I can't comment on the rest of your post, as i've never heard of that kind of service before, but what I will say is that no matter how idiotproof you try to make something, there'll always be a bigger idiot. ;)
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,240
    I use the AAA boxes in my trains because I have like 25 trains and it gets too expensive for the rechargeable boxes.  For the cost of 2 rechargeable boxes you can get a good charger and like 100 batteries.  I leave the two halves of the AAA box unscrewed and for most of my trains have made modifications for easy removal of the batter side.  I have a couple extra AAA boxes so when I need to swap I just swap a new one in with batteries already in it and pull the batteries out after the train is going again.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    @graphite I think what @mustang69 was posing was that can he just buy the battery box and motor and run the train with just those and skip the whole receiver/controller portion. I don't use PF but I don't think he can do that if I remember. 
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    oldtodd33 said:
    @graphite I think what @mustang69 was posing was that can he just buy the battery box and motor and run the train with just those and skip the whole receiver/controller portion. I don't use PF but I don't think he can do that if I remember. 
    You can use PF without using remote control and have just a motor and battery box.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    ^ Now I have to go home and try this.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,240
    My comment was actually in response to PaperballPark, but yes you can run with a battery box just hooked up to the motor, but you won't have speed control, so a light train might derail on the corners because it goes too fast.  You'll just get full speed all the time.  Or I believe that is what happens.  Haven't actually done it. But it makes sense on how the motors work.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,389
    Two points I'll make:

    1st, yes, if you use the AAA box without speed control, it'll go flat out as soon as you turn it on.

    2nd, running 25 trains at a show would get far too expensive for me in terms of AAA batteries needed (I estimate I'd use a minimum of 600 batteries at one show). So, even though 25 rechargable boxes would be eye-wateringly expensive, it'd only take me 3 or 4 shows to recoup the cost through not having to buy AAA batteries. Plus, I don't buy battery boxes all at once, but rather a couple every few months or so, when I need them.
  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366
    As others have said, I recommend starting with one of the current sets and seeing how you like it. I started with the High-Speed Passenger Train (60051). It's not the greatest looking or most desired set, but I think it fits in nicely with a City setup and it's doesn't break the bank. It's $125.04 on Amazon at the moment, but I've seen it drop as low as $109 (that's what I got it for). Great starter train that comes with Power Functions. PF may not be the way you want to go in the long run, but it's a good way to get started.
    SumoLegokiki180703
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2016
    graphite said:
    My comment was actually in response to PaperballPark, but yes you can run with a battery box just hooked up to the motor, but you won't have speed control, so a light train might derail on the corners because it goes too fast.  You'll just get full speed all the time.  Or I believe that is what happens.  Haven't actually done it. But it makes sense on how the motors work.
    True, the AAA box will run at full speed all the time.  However, the rechargeable battery box has a variable speed control built-in, meaning it can effectively be used without an IR.  One more reason it's totally worth it IMHO, even though it's a bigger initial investment.
    Pitfall69SumoLegokiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,731
    As others have said, I recommend starting with one of the current sets and seeing how you like it. I started with the High-Speed Passenger Train (60051). It's not the greatest looking or most desired set, but I think it fits in nicely with a City setup and it's doesn't break the bank. It's $125.04 on Amazon at the moment, but I've seen it drop as low as $109 (that's what I got it for). Great starter train that comes with Power Functions. PF may not be the way you want to go in the long run, but it's a good way to get started.
    Just saw a passenger train on clearance at Target for $109.97.
    Yodaliciouskiki180703
  • ARo2891ARo2891 MAMember Posts: 114
    This thread has actually been super helpful to me as I have been slowly getting more and more interested in trains in the last year so thank you!  What do you guys have to say about the layout of the train and its tracks?  What works best for you?  One of the mental snags I've hit is how to display it without taking up an enormous amount of space (which I don't have) while still having the PF feature available.  Any displaying I would do would be against a wall and a loop of track would likely use up a ton of space unless I wrapped it around my modulars or other larger displays which makes sense but just gives me the feeling that I'm losing half the display to the wall.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    If you stick with an oval, you'll be pretty good to go with a basic table.  The biggest problem with Lego layouts is that the geometry of the switches...sucks.  They are very unforgiving, and can only be laid out in what I consider to be very restrictive positions.  Most switches for "real" model trains are a merging of a straight track and a curved track, meaning you can put it anywhere to replace either a straight track of curve.  Lego switches have the curve arm, but then it straightens out a bit, making it impossible to really be part of a curve.

    Then there's the lack of multiple radius track and multiple length straight track*.  There are third parties that make these, so you might want to check them out.

    *Yes I know there's flex track, but I prefer track that doesn't look like Thomas Take & Play track.
    goshe7
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,389
    Honestly? I don't have track set up at home. I simply don't have space. Instead, I take it all to shows and display it there, running trains around a (usually massive) layout for a few days :)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,233
    ARo2891 said:
    One of the mental snags I've hit is how to display it without taking up an enormous amount of space
    You can't, basically - even a basic oval takes up a lot of space.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    edited February 2016
    @mustang69  I took a video of the set up you are talking about and this is what you can reasonably expect. 
    Kevin_Hyattkiki180703
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    edited February 2016
    Sorry, having trouble loading the video. As you can see, it is heavy enough that it doesn't fly off of the track around the corners. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/24861170155/in/dateposted-public/
  • mustang69mustang69 North CarolinaMember Posts: 365
    oldtodd33 said:
    Sorry, having trouble loading the video. As you can see, it is heavy enough that it doesn't fly off of the track around the corners. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/24861170155/in/dateposted-public/
    Awesome, thank you for the video!! I really appreciate it!!
  • ARo2891ARo2891 MAMember Posts: 114
    Thanks for the responses, I guess I'll have to hold off for now as I still need space for some unbuilt sets before I can think about a train....maybe when I own my own home and can dedicate a room to this hobby.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    You can always setup a train temporarily on a folding banquet table.  Dedicating an entire room to it for permanent display of your trains (and/or personal city) is cool, but not always necessary to enjoy them.
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