Fixing LEGO Railroad switches / points

So you flip the LEGO switch on your LEGO Railroad system and… nothing happens. Or the switch moves half-way and stops.

There is a post here: https://bricks.stackexchange.com/questions/11141/lego-track-switch-doesnt-close-properly describing what I was facing recently. I found a better solution than described there and a more permanent fix.

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Posted in LEGO, Powered Up | 2 Comments

Elgato Camlink 4k vs. China “HDMI to USB” converter

A lot was posted all over the internet about capturing HDMI output and whether CamLink is worth its $120 price tag since there are $20 alternatives out there. Trying to decide for myself I googled around and all I found were discussions on image/video quality, like this very informative video from Tech Audit TV:

What this (and similar videos) don’t go into, but what is as important, is what these dongles really do, because that’s where the rub is.

TL; DR

Elgato Camlink 4kChina HDMI to USB dongle
does not do scaling of imagescales image to set size
passes through raw data streamcompresses data stream to MJPEG
PC side needs to process data rate at resolution and fps the camera sends itPC side can request data at lower rate (resolution, fps)
Provides the actual camera fpsProvides own fps, you can select from a list, but for non-standard ones you are at loss
TL; DR version
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LEGO Classroom for EV3 bugs (Windows/Android)

Lego has released their Classroom app for Windows/Android. Which is great, as now you can actually do some serious programming on your Android tablet (previously you had to go for a full-fledged Windows system to get variables, custom blocks etc. pp.). And you get a scratch-like programming interface, which is helpful as Scratch is sort of beginner-standard in learning to code. However, this works only as long, as the software works as expected. Which it doesn’t.

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Lego PoweredUp bugs/missing features

Lego Powered Up is a mixed bag of features. There are some great ideas and many not that great. I sometimes wonder, if the app gets any sort of testing before being released to the public. It gives me the impression of something quickly nailed together and shoved out of the door without any QA.

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Posted in LEGO, Powered Up, rants etc. | 2 Comments

LEGO Powered Up Connector

Recently (years, not decades) LEGO introduced a new family of motors, sensors and control system – it was and is a bit confusing, but whether you think of LEGO WeDo, Control+, Powered Up, Spike Prime or the new Mindstorms 51515 it is all based around common backbone and, especially, a common connector – a 6-pole non-stackable plug.

Which, by sheer coincidence naturally, is completely incompatible with the old Power Functions connector from LEGO, who also claimed not to intend to manufacture an adapter cable because reasons.

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Posted in LEGO, rants etc. | Tagged , , , | 73 Comments