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Can LEGO trains go up an incline?

As the topic says, I want to make a train track layout (as small as possible) that can go up an incline. The incline doesn't have to be much- just about 10 bricks tall. I have both 9v and the new plastic track systems. Is this possible? If so, what is the best way to do this?

Comments

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    There was a thread that had this info in it somewhere but I have no idea where it is or the title of it. I have done it. The best way is to make the rise in height one plate per track section if you have the room. Otherwise you'll need a short train or a couple of motors to do it. 
    gmonkey76catwrangler
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,390
    edited July 2016
    ^ I would agree with that. One plate per section will cause no issues at all, so to raise 10 bricks you'll need 30 sections. You might get away with 1 per section to start and end, and increasing to two in the middle of the incline but you won't get away with more than that.
    gmonkey76catwrangler
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    @oldtodd33and @Huw That's it? Ugh. Would multiple motors/a short train work? I'm really just going for movement, not looks.

  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    It's actually for a Great Ball Contraption.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,390
    In that case I'm sure you'll get away with more. Maybe you could use a rack and pinion system to help it up the incline, or haul it up with a rope/string/chain mechanism.

    Funnily enough I thought about building a GBC module with a train so I'd be interested to see what you come up with.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Ah, that's good. One other question- about how far can a 9v train travel over the old 4.5v track (the ridged one)?
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    Do you mean just the train cars and not the motor itself? The motor will stop as soon as it runs out of electricity obviously but the cars will run on the 4.5v track with few problems any distance you want. 
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    @oldtodd33 Yeah, I meant for the train to coast over 1 length of old track- I didn't know if the train would stop too quickly, or not fit on the track or something like that.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2016
    The main governing factors of a train being able to pull its weight is:

    a) Is the motor powerful enough?
    b) Does the engine have enough enough traction against the track to utilize that power?

    This applies to pulling lots of cars, very heavy cars, cars around a curve, or up a grade.  It's all the same really from the perspective of the engine.

    If the motor is not powerful enough, you need a more powerful motor, or you gear your existing one down to gain more power (sacrificing speed as a result).  A good example of this is the generic motor trucks #88002, which have less power than a geared-down #8882 XL-Motor.  This is why the Emerald Night (which uses #8882) can pull many more cars than can a single Maersk (which uses #88002).

    If the the motor is powerful enough, but the wheels are slipping, you need more weight over the top of the wheels.  Retired part 73090b is a great thing for this, or you can just hide some dense metal inside the engine.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    The 9V motor will fit on the track but WILL stop immediately. Maybe if you had a lot of weight to the train it could go a bit further. 
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Okay, so that throws another kink in my plans. Has anyone had any luck combining both 9v and the new train motors?
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    One more question- 9v tracks be powered by a battery box?
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,390
    ^ Don't see why not...
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    I have run them on the same train before but balancing their output is a little hard. 
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2016
    If you are looking to just go round and round, I'll state that it's impossible without some kind of advanced electronic control system, as they will never go the same speed.

    Now, if you have a big enough layout, and you're using a PF helper engine, and you're into active engineering, you can operate it kinda like real trains do, which is really fun.  I.e. if an engine is struggling up a hill, another can come along and give it some help.

    As illustrated by one of the greatest books ever written:



    Bumblepants
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Which is faster- 9v or PF?
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,404
    In my experience, the PF is a bit faster but it doesn't really matter too much because they are hard to synchronize. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,515
    If you are looking to just go round and round, I'll state that it's impossible without some kind of advanced electronic control system, as they will never go the same speed.

    A fairly un-advanced child-based control system would work too. Not that our trains manage to get round one circuit without being derailed because of body parts (either minifigure or a real child) on the line.
    SprinkleOtter
  • mldj77mldj77 Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 63
    I have several inclines in my train layout. I average one brick high per train track section. It also helps that my trains have two 9v motors, one in front, one in the rear. 
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 397
    One of the reviews of the product linked below seems to suggest it can used to link the old train motors with the PF battery pack, though I'm a 12v man so can't test it out myself...

    http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/LEGO-Power-Functions-Extension-Wire-8886
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,437
    Maybe the train and tracks could be modified to work like a cog railway? Do the LEGO motors produce enough torque to make this work?
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited July 2016
    Absolutely (and a very cool reference for how engineering solves these kinds of problems - the old Fisher-Price GeoTrax stuff implemented this concept brilliantly).  But again, torque & speed are still constant.  You can't gain one without sacrificing the other.  In this system you gain incredibly high torque for incredibly slow speed.
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 397
    Also useful advice on the incline issue:

    http://www.diesel-dave.com/lego/train_depot/inclines.htm
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,437
    I have lots of the GeoTrax gear, but almost nothing for LEGO trains. Are there different LEGO motors that could be used? A high-torque/low speed motor to dive the cog system and a high-speed/low torque motor to drive the standard wheels would allow for a speedy train that can climb hills. 
  • GallardoLUGallardoLU USAMember Posts: 644
    out of curiosity have you considered not powering the train, and instead raising and lowering one end of the track to cause the motion? a simple lever lift with your pivot on the high end of the rail could be effective in transferring the cargo. (though visually it would be very different, it would negate the power to climb issues)
    catwrangler
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    out of curiosity have you considered not powering the train, and instead raising and lowering one end of the track to cause the motion? a simple lever lift with your pivot on the high end of the rail could be effective in transferring the cargo. (though visually it would be very different, it would negate the power to climb issues)
    I have not considered that, but I wanted the train to push loose balls down an inclosed track (with a plow, of course), so that might mess with the visuals.
  • palmers9grbpalmers9grb ukMember Posts: 203
    Interesting thread, I have been wondering about the some of the same questions. As I want to combine my old 9v with the new pf ones. But fairly new to trains and the 9v one just used to go around and around til I crashed a truck or a person in to it
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