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Thanks for a great campaign!

We think 421 must be our lucky number! We had 421 awesome backers on our last campaign, and now we have to thank another 421 awesome backers for making the PFx ...

New Kickstarter Campaign Relaunches Today!

Our new Kickstarter campaign launches Jun 1, 2017 and will run for 20 days until Jun 21. Please go to our Kickstarter campaign page to find out more and pledge ...

Awesome Feedback from Beta Tester Sariel

One of our beta testers is the well known Technic builder Sariel from Poland. He has literally written the book on Technic, having just released his second ...

Thanks for a great campaign!

We think 421 must be our lucky number! We had 421 awesome backers on our last campaign, and now we have to thank another 421 awesome backers for making the PFx Brick a reality! Of the 421, we would like to especially acknowledge the repeat backers who came back and supported us on this campaign. It is your faith in this project which made it all possible and gave us the motivation to launch again.

We're going to be opening our web store very soon to start accepting pre-orders on the PFx Brick as well as its associated accessories. Many of you were wondering about getting multiple rewards for your pledge. We're going to try to make this happen using the Kickstarter reward survey platform as best we can. Also, if you want to add more items to your reward (now that your pledge is locked in)--you will be able to do this on our web store with a special coupon code which will alert us to add it to your reward and combine the shipping. More details will follow once we get the system up and running.

We're super-excited to get the production of the PFx Brick going! We will have a lot to do in the next few weeks, and will do the best we can to respond to your questions and feedback--even if it might take us a little longer to do so!

New Kickstarter Campaign Relaunches Today!

Our new Kickstarter campaign launches Jun 1, 2017 and will run for 20 days until Jun 21. Please go to our Kickstarter campaign page to find out more and pledge your support to make the PFx Brick a reality!

Since the conclusion of our Kickstarter campaign in April, we have been very busy regrouping our efforts to relaunch a new Kickstarter campaign for the PFx Brick. Here's what we have been working on:

1. PFx Brick V4 Prototype

We have completed all of the hardware design modifications to incorporate the Bluetooth radio chipset as well as some additional changes to improve the PFx Brick EMC immunity. We are currently testing the new V4 circuit boards.

2. PFx Brick Cost

Our initial Kickstarter campaign was designed around the cost to produce 1000x PFx Bricks. We did not acheive this goal, but it did inform us that the demand was closer 500x PFx Bricks. On this basis we re-computed all of PFx Brick production costs and it reveals the following:

Producing 500x bricks increases the cost of the PFx Brick by 25% ($65 USD to $80 USD)
The increase in cost is mainly due to the one-time costs of injection molding and certification. These costs contribute more per unit since they can not be amortized over the same number of units. Additionally, purchasing electronics for 500x units does not attract the same volume discounts as 1000x units. This also increases the per unit cost.

Therefore, the only action we can take to keep the cost the same is by substituting injection molding with 3D printing. On this basis, we can keep the cost of the PFx Brick the same as before:

Ideally, we would have preferred to have an injection molded brick enclosure; however, our volumes cannot justify this expense. We will have a stretch goal for injection molding corresponding to sufficient volume to justify this production method.

3. 3D Printing

By adopting a 3D printed enclosure, we wanted to ensure the resulting product was going to have sufficient quality and functional performance as injection molding. To that end, we have found a 3D printing partner which perfectly satifisies our goals: 4DBrix. 4DBrix currently sells a range of high quality ABS plastic LEGO® compatible monorail and train track components. Therefore, they understand the functional requirements of plastic components particular to working with LEGO® elements; namely, clutch power, tolerance, colour, and durability. We have worked very closely with 4DBrix to adapt the PFx Brick enclosure and the speaker accessories to optimally take advantage of their ABS plastic 3D printing process. Furthermore, they can render the PFx Brick in colour-matched versions of light and dark bluish grey in addition to other colours if we wish.

4. PFx Lite Brick

Another strategy to help fund production costs is our decision to offer a lower cost PFx Lite Brick. This product is a PFx Brick designed only for lighting f/x. It has the same enclosure shape, supports the same lighting effects and accessories and is compatible with the PFx App.

Here's a comparison of the PFx Brick models that we are offering in the Kickstarter campaign:

Awesome Feedback from Beta Tester Sariel


One of our beta testers is the well known Technic builder Sariel from Poland. He has literally written the book on Technic, having just released his second edition of The Unofficial LEGO® Technic Builder’s Guide. He has very meticulously tested the PFx Brick and provided us with a great deal of valuable feedback. Furthermore, he has generously taken the time to compile this showcase video shown above (and on his YouTube channel).

This video systematically covers aspects of the PFx Brick physical design, capabilities, the PFx software app, and lighting effects. He shows the brick operating by itself as well as inside two Stars Wars spaceships! The feedback we have received from Sariel and our other beta testers has been immensely useful. In fact, we have already incorporated some of their suggestions already.

This testing process is a necessary part of getting a product ready for market. It has to be real-world "road tested" to ensure reliability and to make sure we've captured the key features demanded by builders. Our confidence in the PFx Brick has been consistently rewarded with durable, consistent, and reliable operation--all thanks to continuous testing within a variety of LEGO models!



PFx Brick for Trains Part 2: Configuration

As a continuation from Part 1, the video shown below discusses how the PFx Brick can be configured to exploit features specifically beneficial to LEGO® trains.

The discussion is split in to four main topics:

  • Remote control setup
  • Motor configuration and operation
  • Lighting setup
  • Sound effects

The remote control setup discusses how a typical handheld remote can be configured into logical groups of functionality. It also shows how remote control actions can be assigned completely freely and how functionally dense a remote control can be configured. The motor configuration topic is the lengthiest since it covers almost every aspect of advanced motor control in the PFx Brick including speed control modes, speed steps, dual motor operation, speed curves, acceleration, and much more. Sophisticated and automated lighting behaviours such as directional headlights, flashing ditch lights, and adjustable brightness are discussed as well as loading and configuring sound effects.

The video includes a great deal of helpful illustrations to help explain more complex topics, especially those related to motor control. After completing two videos on this topic, it became clear to me that even more videos could be produced since some areas of functionality could benefit from deeper examination. This applies especially to the topic of sound effects.


PFx Brick for Trains Part 1: Installation

The PFx Brick is capable of transforming LEGO® trains with the addition of smart lighting effects, advanced motor control, and most of all programmable sound effects. Scale model trains have long enjoyed these benefits with the introduction of the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) DCC (Digital Command Control) standard. Retrofitting DCC sound decoders into LEGO® trains is a difficult and challenging exercise requiring specialized tools and modification to LEGO® components. However, with the use of the PFx Brick, these missing features can now be made available to LEGO® trains and installation is no more difficult than fitting other Power Functions™ components. Some of the features that the PFx Brick offers LEGO® trains include:
  1. Syncronized control of two motors each with a dedicated motor driver channel.
  2. Adjustable speed curves to suit locomotive type.
  3. Adjustable limits on both minimum and maximum speed.
  4. Simulation of momemtum with programmable acceleration and deceleration rates.
  5. Smart directional headlights.
  6. Special light effects such as flashing ditch lights, MARS/Gyralite beacons, flickering fire boxes, dimming, and much more.
  7. On command sound effects for bells, whistles, horns, prime movers, chuffing, brake squeel, couplers, compressors, machinery, crossing gates, and much more.

The video shown below is the first of a two part series which discusses the installation aspects of fitting a PFx Brick to a typical LEGO® train. In this video, we modify the locomotive that is part of the City freight train set #7939. However, the techniques and methods shown are equally applicable to virtually any LEGO® train. The challenges a builder will face are the usual factors such as space and clearance for items such as wiring, motors, battery boxes, etc.

The diagram below shows how the PFx Brick has been installed into the locomotive including its accessories. This installation includes:
  1. Bi-directional head and tail lights consisting of a pair of 3 mm LEDs at each end.
  2. Two Power Functions™ train motor bogies each connected to a dedicated motor channel.
  3. M Speaker brick for sound effects.
  4. Rechargeable battery box with top-mounted access to power switch and recharge port.
  5. Side access doors to allow easy connection of a USB cable to the PFx Brick for programming and configuration.

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