Monday, June 25, 2012

Someone feeding images from 2H2012 sets while building...

There are lots of new images from the new 2H2012 Technic sets, being posted on the German "Doktor Brick Community" forum by someone who managed to buy the sets, while he is building them (9396 thread, 9398 thread).

Below some detailed photos of the PF-Servo motor. Interestingly on the first one we can see a couple of dot marks at the orange front output and servo head to check whether the "zero" is offset or not (it seems not exactly in this one and another I've also seen). As we can't see any adjustment screw or similar, I wonder if this is prone to drift over time and use, hopping we won't need to permanently steering to keep the crawler or any other vehicle to drive straight...
I remember the servo on the PF 'RC Steering and Receiver Unit' (bb396c01) used on former Creator sets 8183 and 8184 had such adjustment screw to align the steering. On the other way the natural backlash from Technic gears may turn this factor absolutely irrelevant.
One thing is for sure, we are not here dealing with expensive hobby RC cars, neither high cost and quality servos, whose offsets can be compensated through horn displacement and trim adjustments at the RC remotes.
Motor overall size is 5x3x7 modules.

The PF L-motor below offers quite a large variety of options to attach it to the models' structure, which is probably one of the big wins from this motor - Besides its power which is still unknown.
The motor head has a complex design of slits, which is the way to design a "simple" mold suitable to produce such elements in one single piece and capable to admit Technic pins from several directions without breaking TLG design rules (I mean the pins could not remain in tension after being snapped in the counterpart holes).
The motor has a relative unusual form factor in terms of boxing envelope. It has 3x3 head and rear mounts with a 3x4 body, which makes it something like (3+0,5+0,5)x3x7 modules - It protrudes half module in each direction of one single transverse axis.
Design from the rear side where the 4-wire cable comes out is also very well thought, so that cable can be easily routed out of the module with interfering with the connections.
From a first look to the overall motor form factor and prior to any further tests it looks it has the same planetary gear reduction stage as used in the PF M-motor. The electrical motor inside should have also a very similar electrical motor in terms of form factor, but larger. In a first analysis it could mean similar rotation speed and quite larger torque. It rests to see when I get to open one and measure its characteristics.
Quite a brilliant piece of engineering and design, as it looks so far.

As previously anticipated [1] here we have also the same new 90 degrees connector, as released with the new Monster Fighter sets.

Below we can also see two cases where the 4L tan axle [2] is being used (large steering ball joints and differential). Apparently it will help to avoid axle sliding and to keep gears in place at very specific use cases.

In the meantime you can also check the new 9398 4x4 Crawler parts list.

Also available for the 9396 Helicopter in the respective forum thread.


Dave said...

Good analysis of the German photographs! It's refreshing to have some detailed perspective about these new Power Functions parts. There are still many questions to answer, so keep the information coming! TechnicBRICKS is THE BEST at analyzing new Lego Technic sets (thanks to you)!

TechnicBRICKs said...

As I've anticipated yesterday in this post, PF L-motor speed might be pretty the same as the former M-Motor.

I measure 340-360rpm for the L-Motor with LEGO Speed Computer with a PF Rechargeable Battery at 8,36V (fresh recharged).
In the same conditions conditions M-Motor runs at 360-380rpm.

These are not ideal measures like Philo uses to do in his setup (9V steady power supply and optically measured non-load speed).
In such conditions I should have measured the same 405rpm for the L-motor has he did and I'm sure the M-motor would follow very close (virtually the same speed) as the planetary stage suggests.

As for the torque also no precise measures, however while a one can easily stop the M-Motor with one hand (directly gripping to an output axle) the same is not possible for the L-Motor (Ok! I'm not the strongest guy in the world...). But this gives already a rough idea on what we got.

As for the weight, while the PF M-motor weights 31g, PF L-motor has 43g and PF SV-motor has 41g. Agoin not yet very precise.

Menno Gorter said...

The L-motor may not consume more than an M-motor, since two of the L-motors have to act on one receiver-output !
The best way to get more torque, at the same speed and current, is a much higher efficiency.
The shape reveals an electro-motor with a wider rotor and bigger magnets..... ;-)

TechnicBRICKs said...

@Menno Gorter

Well thought! :)

Allanp said...

360-380 rpm? I was NOT expecting that and it's very dissapointing. We already have a very slow motor (the m-motor) and an even slower motor (the XL-motor). Why the heck have they released yet another very slow motor? How did that meeting go? "we have these two really boringly slow motors, and now we want to release a new L-motor. I know, lets make that one boringly slow too. Great!" Because as we all know, prefabricating the gear reductions for you leaving you with a bunch of 12, 16 and 20t gears is what technic is all about, right? WROOOOONG!!!!!! Oh well, at least the servo motor looks to be awesome, tho sadly, now I no longer want these new very slow motors, I can't see me buying this whole set just for one servo. I will be buying plenty of servos from TLG but i'll skip 9398.

TechnicBRICKs said...


At 9V it should be a little faster.
Guess it be around 400rpm, as it shows to be slightly slower than M.
Although it should have significant higher torque so that it can be better used at higher speeds with a proper gear train.
I know... still not what you wanted!
You wanted a PF version from the old RC... So do I, but this one has sill some pros. :)

rherberg said...

I think the servo isn't centered because it isn't powered, normally a servo centers after turning on the power, maybe it auto-centers perfectly?

Alex Campos said...

@Allanp: You always have the E-Motor. ;)

As for me, who grew up with the 4.5V motor, then the 4x5 motor, then the 4x4 motor (the one used on the likes of the RCX: nothing directly related to off-road vehicles. ;)), integrated gearing down is very welcome. True, it gives us less flexibility in choosing gear ratios, but allows for much more compact designs, and the only use I had for the ungeared motors was on a fan; otherwise I always had to build gear trains.

Allanp said...

PF version of the RC buggy motor would be much better but i'm not sure the recievers or the battery box could supply the power. I was hoping for a motor that was very fast but not as much torque as the m-motor, like the old 9v square motor. I just don't like these shortcuts where gear reductions have been preassembled for you. The hauler is the worst model for this. You take a motor (with half the gear reduction needed already built into it), stick it onto the end of an LA (with the other half of the gear reduction via worm screw + the rotary to linear motion conversion preassembled for you) and that's it, a motorised tipping bed. Technic shouldn't be about preassembled shortcuts like this, it's too easy, boring and just not technic (and kinda negates the idea of it). This is not a rant against preassembled parts (like pneumatics obviously or the servo motor), it's aimed soley at preassembled mechanisms and gear reductions or juniorised shortcuts like the ones used in the hauler, a £50 motorised technic set with one gear in the whole set! (not counting the turn table).

Allanp said...

The e-motor? that's about the worst of both worlds, both too slow and too weak. Besides what's so bad about building gear trains, don't you like building gear trains? I thought that was the whole point ;)

TechnicBRICKs said...


I'm not a specialist on RC models, but aren't such servos prone to drift over time and use?
Here we don't have a trim button on the remote, neither a screw to make adjustments like we had on the RC Racers base unit.

TechnicBRICKs said...


I understand your point despite I do not share exactly the same idea here.
I like mechanisms where they're essential and offer a significant challenge. We are plenty of Technic sets with lots of gears and interesting mechanisms!
Using trains of gears just to reduce motors' speed doesn't make much sense to me and usually requires to much space where you don't have it.
However I admit in specific situations an high-speed motor would be useful.

Allanp said...

@ Fernando Correia

Good point. I don't know. When I think of sets like the 8064 universal set, the fast spinning gears/axles and the whirring noises and intricate gearing down (the forklift had a reduction of 648:1!), the gear trains just seemed cooler giving a far more satisfying sight and sound coming from anything from forklifts to space shuttles. Kids like lots of noise and speed too right? Maybe it's nostaligia but I know i'de personally prefer an ungeared motor with a few stages of gear reduction (maybe a few belt drives thrown in for variety) rather than a pre built thing, despite needing more space. But I still have my old 9v ungeared motors, motorised my 8081 with one. Sounds really cool with the insanely fast spinning engine and gears and lots of power/torque at the wheels via lots of reduction.

efferman said...
the mind has made a simple test to find out which power the new L motor has.
a liftarm is connected to the motor and press it on a weighing machine.
the M has pressed 310g, the L 475g, and the XL 785g.
so it seems that the L has roundabout 50% more power than the M motor
And the L motor is slower than the M motor

Menno Gorter said...

I'm sure TLC isn't fond of the stories about people who succeeded in melting their Lego, caused by the friction which is overwhelming. ;-)
From that point of view: the well greased planetary gearing inside the PF-motors save us from too much white powder and battery consumption. :-)

In other words: I prefer efficiency above noise.
At events I'm too much busy with charging and changing batteries. :-(

The range of PF-motors made a lot more possible for my kind of builds.
And the new motors seems to add something to that.
My Quadzilla will be followed soon by a version with these new motors for sure.

TechnicBRICKs said...

At 9,0V the PF L-Motor runs at 380-400rpm. Almost no load condition applied - Only the LEGO speed computer head is attached to the motor output.

No load current as measured in my power supply, is 110mA. Quite above the M-motor (65mA).

santi said...

I'm with Allanp here. Too much internal reduction is precisely what I have been complaining about the new NXT motors for ages. It just removes a lot of fun in building things... You can just attach the actuator to the motor, and voila! done! with the old LEGO motors, you always needed to figure out a way to reduce the speed, and that was a lot of fun!

GuiliuG said...

Yes, an ungeared motor could be usefull, but, the more gears you need to put to reduce motor speed, the more space you take, the more friction you put and the less efficiency you finally have.Just imagine how impossible it would be to create a 8043 excavator with such motors ^^. I prefer to have motors at the appropriated speed, so you can put on the same place two functions rather than just reducing one motor speed. Also, with such motors you are nearly obliged to put worm gear and I hate them because their efficiency is very bad. But I understand that it's very fun to see gears run fast and if you want to do an excentric, a fast motor is the only way to do that...

Conchas, I guess you already have the model? If so, I'm pressed to see your review ( always interessting) :).

Menno Gorter said...

@ Fernando

Can you tell us about the stalled current?

The new receivers; (at least they seem to have a new number) can they handle higher currents?

Does the servo function with the "older" receiver?

Sariel said...

@Allanp and all speed maniacs - it's funny how you don't see that your own arguments can be turned against you. You want speed and you like when there is a lot of gearing? Well, LEGO just gave you a challenge - gear the L motor up to your desired speed. The old motors were so boring, because you could get high speed from them without any gearing, everything was preassembled and juniorized and whatever, now you can gear the hell out of it :P
Also, if you love the old motors so much, nobody stops you from using them. Your reaction looks like Lego was taking your motors away and forcing you to use the L motor instead.

TechnicBRICKs said...


I'm doing it but not on rush.
I prefer a lower pace, to take some photos and try to make a nice video.
That's why I decided to post some photos on FB while building.

But you will have a review for sure. :)

Alexandre is also doing 9396. ;)

TechnicBRICKs said...


As Philo explains, stalled current is VERY imprecise and that's why I didn't mentioned it earlier.
It goes very high as you block motor's output and falls VERY FAST as the thermistor starts to actuate, so that you never se a stable value.

Nevertheless I tried it and the power supply indicates measures instantaneously current about 1500mA which then start to fall very fast.

About IR receiver specs, I'm in the process of checking it.

And yes, the servo works with first receiver releases.

Menno Gorter said...

@ Fernando

I was asking because the "older" receivers are cutting the current to about 1000mA, so two L-motors are easily capable to reach that limit.

Were are my original questions? :-)
(And please: my name is meNNo....)

@ GuliuG and Sariel: I can only totally agree.
So the total range of motors is getting better.

TechnicBRICKs said...

@Menno Gorter

Sorry for the misspelling! :(

I saw your questions in the comments digest at my mailbox, but didn't found them on the blog. Decided to answer anyway. :)

But now that you talk about that, I remember you had the same issue in the past (comments disappearing) and I think we never sorted it out.
Just let me check if they're getting to the spam automatically, for some reason.

santi said...


Gearing a motor up doesn't make sense unless you are building a fan, or a propeller. And about your suggestion of using "old motors", that is precisely what I do :) I use the old Mindstorm RCX motors most of the time :)

Dave said...

Since kids are going to be driving their 9398 4x4 Crawlers outside (in the dirt & grit), I don't know why having a bunch of GEAR TRAINS would be good. Lego Trial Trucks get "gummed up" if driven in sand. With the new PF L-motor's internal gearing, the drivetrain may not suffer as much.

Dave said...

@ Fernando Correia: Since you have the 9398 set, do you have access to the B-Model instructions? Can you evaluate how you like that alternate yet?

TechnicBRICKs said...


I don't!
Guess it is too soon to have it, so I didn't even ask. Besides it looks I've already several reviews to handle for the moment... :)

However if you ask my first impression on the B-model at the moment - Didn't like it! (at least in what concerns to the aesthetics) :P

Jetro said...

I'm not too crazy about the A-model aesthetics either, but I have a feeling it will look less horrible without the stickers :D

As for playing outside, the instruction booklet clearly indicates it is not meant to be used outside. Not that anyone is going to pay too much attention to that, but they have been warned.

Regarding the slow/fast motor discussion, when you design something you should choose the motor that best fits your purpose. If there is no choice you are stuck with what's available and have to adapt to that. If you do have a choice and decide to go for a motor that runs too fast or slow so you can include a cool gear train (and I like a good gear train as much as anyone here) that may look nice, but it is hardly a sensible engineering decision.
I think the current PF motors are, on average, very well suited for the tasks they normally need to perform, they are cheaper and easier to get than any previous motors and have a great performance. As far as I'm concerned that's win-win-win.

Allanp said...

@ Sariel

Yes I can and do still use the old ungeared motors. But seeing as we already have two of the boringly slow child friendly motors you like where the gear reduction is done for you, what was the point in releasing a third one? I got a better idea anyway that would make us all happier. Why not have the motors be ungeared, and release a planetary gear reduction hub that can be stuck onto the end of it. That way we can have the best of both worlds and also have a separate reduction hub that can be used anywhere in the gear train. You could even have multiple hubs on the end of one motor for the ultra lazy! Now that's what I call a win-win-win.

TechnicBRICKs said...


That's an idea: I've even crafted something similar for the actual motors (still to show someday...).

The problem is that you'd need extra pin space for inter-connectivity, and it can't be as space effective as it actually is. Most likely the equivalent final solution needs to increase about 2L in length.
Not optimal in anyway!... :P

Jetro said...

As much as I sympathise with the origin of your idea, there are several flaws in you reasoning.

As I stated earlier, a fast motor for the sake of a nice gear train is hardly a sound engineering choice.

Secondly, "we" are just a fraction of LEGO's Technic margin and it would be foolish to expect LEGO to produce anything just to keep us happy if they didn't think it would work well with the kids. The way I see it the L motor is the logical extension of the PF range if you look at it from that perspective.

Thirdly, a separate reduction hub? Seriously? I thought the argument was that the current PF motors represent a juniorisation of LEGO motors. How would another ready made fix solve that?

The fact that we still crave for other PF motors (on either side of the fast/slow motor fence) is mainly related to form factor and performance. Speed doesn't need to be part of the argument as you can just as easily gear up as gear down, and in the end what it comes down to is what you are capable of creating with the tools you have.

BTW, your comment on "ultra lazy" reminded of Fernando's experiment in which he put an XL motor reduction stage on top of a complete XL motor. Did you ever build anything with that contraption, Fernando?

santi said...

They actually used to have those "reduction hubs" for the old technic motors ( ). I still have a couple laying around at home. But I remember they could not handle too much torque and they kept jumping when you applied any force to them.

TechnicBRICKs said...


Not really! It was mainly a proof of concept.
I've been waiting to replicate it for the M-motor (which technical solution I've designed also) and only then to present the results.
Meanwhile at least two years have elapsed...


That solution is space effective, but as you mentioned torque is a problem. Technic pins would allow to improve it to some extent.
Connection through plates is not an option here.

Allanp said...

The idea behind it was choice. Right now you have a choice between a slow motor and an even slower motor, both of them juniorised. If the reduction hub was separate you would have a choice between fast motors requireing custom gear trains, or slow juniorised motors. As for gearing up a slow motor, gearing down a motor then gearing it up again is just daft! And yes we are just a small demographic for TLG. I would have thought kids would like lots of fast spinning gears and noise! I think having a motor without any gearing from which you can custom make your own reduction, enabling you to use belt drives and clutches (which is useless for an XL motor) to protect gear trains is a very sound engineering choice, far better than gearing down a motor internally just to gear it up again. The hub itself could just be the outer ring gear piece, using normal gears inside. This way we could build the extra reduction ourselves and use them anywhere, like inside a wheel or in the elbow joint of a space shuttle arm. Oh well. I wasn't planning to rant this much, honest!

Sariel said...

Seriously folks, your intense hunger for speed is beyond me. The L motor is interesting because if provides high torque from a relatively small motor. It's clearly a progress, why would you call it juniorization or why do you crave for speed so desperately, I have no clue. It opens up new engineering possibilities, it fits where the XL motor is too large or too power-hungry. You don't like it - well, don't use it then. Keep enjoying that old ungeared 5x4 motor that is so weak you can stop it with a sneeze. Seriously, LEGO broadens your choice of motors and you seem to want to see the same motors all over again, except with different plugs type.

TechnicBRICKs said...

I think the discussion on different opinions and perspectives is positive. We hadn't one for awhile... :)

Of course each one has his own opinion and we can't think all the same way. ;)

Allanp said...

Yeah, it's fun :) I know sariel doesn't like it when somebody disagrees with him, so i'll just carry on disagreeing with him haha!

Speaking of which, how do you consider adding yet another slow ass geared motor to the plethora of slow ass geared motors broardening the possibilities? It just isn't really is it! haha! It clearly isn't progress (because it's just more of the same old geared motors) and it obviously is juniorisation (because it's a preassembled shortcut of something we can do just fine with standard gears). Admit it, i'm right and you're wrong, go on, you know you want to haha!

Menno Gorter said...

The only Technic motors without gears are the 4,5V , 12V and 9V-"flatty" .
After these, all the Technic and Mindstorms motors have been geared down internal , if I'm correct.

When you ask me it's really simple: if you need or want speed you should agree with less or no torque or extreme power consumption.
( Gearing up will convert torque into friction... :-0 )
If you want noise and you have the proper power supply: please use the RC-motor and don't complain about empty batteries and worn-out parts. :-)
( This is the only type I would sell to you without any regrets, since it's simply to much of everything. So if someone needs them? )

I'm very glad there is a wider range of Lego-motors, since every version has it's own characteristics and it is the challenge to make the right choice.

When somebody tries to tell me I'm using juniorised parts I could reply only outsiders are saying that to me and of course I've heard that almost my whole life....
So it's totally no use to reply?
At least I have a good hobby isn't it?

BTW I got some mails about Quadzilla:
It has beautiful rims, independent double wishbone suspension and something what comes close to akkerman...
I call it a good example of a 4x4x4. :-)
( Though not possible without forcing an already broken 2x4 electric plate onto the connector of the Dirt Crusher receiver with a tie-rip... ;-( )

Tell me can this be done with the oldest motors? ;-)
( If so: what have I been doing the past Technic years? :-) )

TechnicBRICKs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TechnicBRICKs said...

Eager to see the PF-Quadzilla in action! :)
New L-motors will certainly do a great job there.

And certainly I'd prefer to see the creativity as in such kind of model, then a Quadzilla dragging a long gear train. ;)
Noise may sound appropriate though... Fear Quadzilla! ;D

santi said...

Before this gets ugly, I don't think the argument is "having no reduction is better". I think the argument here is that it'd be great to have the option of reduction or not reduction.

Of course you can do things with geared down motors that you can't with non-geared down. That's obvious and goes without saying. But that's not the point. The point is that it'd be nice to have both options.

Personally, I'm still excited about these two new motors, and most likely will end up buying a bunch of them. But I'd love to see also a non-geared down one. And of course, we are adult lego fans, and we keep asking for more and more. But what can we do about that! :)

Doug said...

I think Lego should design an add on planetary gear box that you can stack on to motors.
I have brought motors from RF spares where you can stack gear packs onto standard motor to achieve the desired reduction right down to 1 rpm if required.
This take up very little space with each stack giving either 3:1 / 4:1 / 5:1.

Menno Gorter said...

If TLC is willing to bring us such a planetary gearbox I prefer a ratio 4:1 . ;-)
It should not be hard to make in a sturdy three studs long version.
(A two long version is possible, but gives problems with pins.)

Allanp said...

Santi is exactly right. Weather or not you prefere geared to non-geared is prefence only, but to be given a choice between the two is better than no choice, and that's fact! Just feel as tho they missed the opportunity. Still looking forward to getting a few servos tho, they look fantastic!

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