Our friend Alexander Ehle from Germany has recently released a German language book that LEGO fans have needed for a long time: LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten. It explores the vast topic of lighting LEGO models of all shapes, sizes and themes. We feel privileged to have been able to contribute to this outstanding resource for all LEGO fans.
LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten is a comprehensive reference for anyone with an interest in applying the best possible lighting effects to virtually any model (not just LEGO). The book also introduces readers to the basics of electrical circuits and electronics, helping them discover the unlimited possibilities of DIY lighting solutions. There is fantastic practical advice on choosing tools and lighting products, as well as tips on modifying parts for new and clever ways of putting lights into difficult locations in a model.
Examples of LEGO models showcase the range of impressive lighting possibilities throughout the book. It illustrates not just the clever and imaginative techniques for using different products and installation methods, but also the ways of using animated lighting effects to bring life and excitement to your creations.
At Fx Bricks, we are very familiar with the unlimited possibilities for cool lighting effects! We are humbled and excited that an entire chapter of the book dedicated to the PFx Brick. It is the owner's manual that we wish we had written ourselves (and that's just on the topic of lighting!). Alexander has explored and documented each and every possible lighting effect on the PFx Brick and offers tips for configuring and tuning these effects for optimum results.
Currently, LEGO®-Modelle beleuchten is only available in the German language. However, we are told that an English language version is in the pipeline and will likely be released. We will keep you updated on its release. Until then, check out Alexander's website brickelectronic.de. He has all kinds of resources to help builders with lighting as well as a web shop selling cool accessories to help you with your projects.
I cannot help but shamelessly plug this epic Lego hospital MOC for not one but two good reasons. First, it includes a PFx Brick powered working elevator and a full light/sound ambulance. But most importantly, it was built by my talented wife (Dr. Lucie Filteau) as a labour of love over the past few years. This epic creation is a faithful representation of the Ottawa Civic Hospital, specifically the original 1924 built structure structure which now forms part of a large expanded campus. It is a workplace which has become a beloved part of Lucie's life over the past 20 years and was a natural inspiration for its recreation in Lego bricks.
The building consists of an architectural facade and side walls partitioned into three sections. Inside, the building contains a framework with integrated lighting (PCB LED strips) on every one of its 4 floors. The framework is an open "substrate" into which detailed interior modules can be inserted. These modules are built to a common standard size and represent individual "vignettes" of a typical hospital environment such as operating rooms, MRI clinic, labour and delivery, etc. as well as common public spaces such as the coffee shop and gift shop. This method of construction, while brick intensive, does offer immense flexibility for reconfiguration and makes each individual clinical module a standalone MOC in its own right. Modules can be conveniently built by themselves without the rest of the hospital's structure in the way.
Recently, CTV national news discovered this project and were eager to feature it. The crew spent a few hours capturing footage of our Lego building studio and getting the story behind Lucie's creation as well as her involvement in the Lego hobby. It also delivers a simple and inspiring message that its never too late to get started in this awesome creative hobby!
More photos can be found on Lucie's flickr page.
We're excited to announce that our Holiday Train conversion kit is now available! It brings the magic of light and sound to the LEGO® 10254 Holiday Train set. This conversion kit comes complete with all of the components you need to rebuild the Holiday Train with added lights and optional sound. You simply combine the contents of this conversion kit with the Holiday Train set and follow our instruction books. When built, you can download the Holiday Train profile from our website and install it into your PFx Brick using the PFx App. This profile pre-configures the PFx Brick lighting outputs and effects, adds steam train sound effects, and pre-configures the remote control actions. Using the PFx App you can modify the profile to change the lighting effects, add/change sound effects/songs, or reconfigure the remote control actions.
- Locomotive headlight
- 8x Tender blinking lights
- 8x Caboose blinking lights
- 2x Caboose porch lights
- Custom light accessory board to connect PFx Brick
- All electronics pre-wired and ready to use
- Extra LEGO® parts required to modify and convert the Holiday Train set
- Colour printed instruction books (+ digital download instructions)
- PFx Brick profile with steam train sounds, music, sleigh bells, Santa's "Ho Ho Ho!"
To use this kit, you must have the following LEGO® brand items (available separately from shop.lego.com):
- 10254 Holiday Train Set
- 88000 Power Functions Battery Box
- 8886 Power Functions Extension Wire
- 8879 Power Functions Speed Remote
- 88002 Power Functions Train Motor
This kit is designed to work with any PFx Brick (IR, 4 MB, 8 MB, etc.) which is sold separately.
There are three versions of this kit:
1. Basic - Lighting conversion without sound
2. Standard - Lighting and sound conversion (adds Fx Bricks M-Speaker brick)
3. Deluxe - Lighting and sound conversion with separately purchased Speaker Wagon add-on kit
The Speaker Wagon is an exclusive custom designed wagon kit to expand your Holiday Train! The visual style of the wagon has been carefully designed to harmonize with the design style of the LEGO® Holiday Train. Of course, the real function of the Speaker Wagon is to maximize the sound performance of the sound effects from the PFx Brick by enclosing a powerful XL Speaker Brick. Even though the XL Speaker is hidden inside the wagon, the wagon roof and end walls have carefully designed grilles to allow the sound to project from the wagon. This charming new wagon will look (and sound!) perfectly with your Holiday Train!
- All LEGO® parts to build the wagon (198 pcs)
- Colour printed instructions (+ digital download instructions)
- XL Speaker Brick
- 8x blinking side lights
- wiring and connections to adjacent Holiday Train wagons
Due to the difficulty in sourcing LEGO® parts with guaranteed delivery times, we have only provisioned for approximately 25 complete kits with guaranteed 2018 shipping. These initial kits are offered as an "Early Bird" production batch with a limit of 1 per customer. Quantities after the Early Bird batch will be fulfilled as best as we can but we cannot guarantee shipping for Christmas 2018.
The "early bird" production batch will sell out quickly; so visit our web store and get your Holiday Train conversion kit as soon as you can!
- Syncronized control of two motors each with a dedicated motor driver channel.
- Adjustable speed curves to suit locomotive type.
- Adjustable limits on both minimum and maximum speed.
- Simulation of momemtum with programmable acceleration and deceleration rates.
- Smart directional headlights.
- Special light effects such as flashing ditch lights, MARS/Gyralite beacons, flickering fire boxes, dimming, and much more.
- 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.
- Bi-directional head and tail lights consisting of a pair of 3 mm LEDs at each end.
- Two Power Functions™ train motor bogies each connected to a dedicated motor channel.
- M Speaker brick for sound effects.
- Rechargeable battery box with top-mounted access to power switch and recharge port.
- Side access doors to allow easy connection of a USB cable to the PFx Brick for programming and configuration.
The PFx Brick has a wide portfolio of emergency vehicle flasher light effects. There are nearly 40 different different sequences each with different flash rates and styles. This enables builders to configure light outputs to match a wide variety of emergency vehicles used around the world and from different eras. A key feature of emergency vehicle flashers is the roof mounted lighting; implemented either as discrete lights or more commonly mounted into a light bar structure on the roof. In addition to the roof/lightbar flashers are auxilary flashing lights. These auxilary lights vary widely in terms of quantity and location among all emergency vehicles. Examples include side mounted flashers, radiator grille flashers, headlamp cluster flashers, etc. Auxilary flashers are often synchronized with one or more of the lightbar flashers and may or may not have the same flashing pattern. The PFx Brick provides a variety of functional flashing light outputs for all emergency flasher types in order to match a wide variety of prototypical emergency vehicles. The builder does not have to use every light output and may chose any combination which best suits their model.
The best way to see how these flashers work is to see them in action! This video shows the police interceptor in action:
The PFx Brick typically uses 7 of the 8 dedicated light channels for emergency vehicle flashers. The definition of each light channel is common for all of the emergency flasher styles and is shown in the diagram below. Also shown are a few examples of flasher lights with the light channels labeled.
The lightbar or roof mounted lights consist of a group of 4 lights which flash in variety of different styles. Often, these lights will be co-packaged into a roof mounted light bar. Two lights are intended for the left side of the vehicle and another pair is intended for the right side. Each left/right pair can have an inner and outer light. This allows light flashing sequences to alternate from left to right or from inside to outside depending on the style. For more simple applications, one of each of the left and right pairs can be used, e.g. just the outer left/right pair.
Two very common types of lightbar flashers are the so-called “Twinsonic” and “Whelen” style light- bars. These are named after the trade-marked products of Federal Signal and Whelen Engineering respectively; manufacturers of emergency vehicle lighting products. These style names are intended to be representative and not exact copies of any particular lighting product. The “Twinsonic” style light bar physically consisted of rotating mirrors around a light source and were common in older or heritage emergency vehicles. The rotating light effect is simulated with periodically variable brightness and has a “softer” flashing effect. The “Whelen” style lightbar is designed to simulate the flashing effects of modern and contemporary LED strobe-type emergency flashers. These light bars have many different strobe-like patterns and sequences. The PFx Brick includes most of the typical sequences available from this style of emergency flasher.
Many emergency vehicles incorporate additional flashing lights to those mounted on the roof. These can consist of flashers which duplicate the flashing sequence from the light bar or flash periodically synchronized with the alternating effect of the lightbar. The PFx Brick provides auxilary flasher outputs in order to connect lights which best represent the flashing light configuration of a particular vehicle.
The left/right auxilary 1x flashers flash periodically at the specificied rate alternating from left to right. The single auxilary 2x flash output flashes periodically at twice the specified flash rate. The 1x and 2x auxilary flashers are simple periodic flashers and do not exhibit the complicated flash sequences of the light bar. They are however synchronized with the light bar flash rate.
In order to showcase the awesome emergency vehicle lighting effects, I decided to build the quintessential North American police car: the Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor. I built the model using reference photographs and wanted to keep the scale of the vehicle within a typical 6-studs wide. The car was wired with operating head/taillights, reverse lights, headlight flashers and of course the roof light bar. Amazingly, the PFx Brick, speaker, and light wiring all fit within the car. A Power Functions extension wire discreetly feeds out of the bottom of the car to connect to an external battery box. A wiring diagram of the police car is shown below.
The PFx Brick was configured to activate the various lighting and sound effects using a dual joystick remote control. The remote actions were configured as follows: