At Brickworld 2009 my table backed up to the www.lifelites.com folks. I got to talking with them and the eLite Jr. kit was just neato cool. Okay, the eLights in general are neato cool, but at $20, the Jr was actually starting to be affordable for anything I might do with it. It is a great little processor. The controller and battery fit in a box about the size of a 2x4 brick and fits on top of lego studs. It has 4 leads coming out for LEDs embedded in technic half pins. The Jr has limited memory, so you can choose from various preloaded collections at the time of purchase. For whatever reason, it was easier for them to show me the “everything planned” list of collections rather than the “everything available” list. Well wouldn’t you know it, the “diesel” collection (or some name very close to that) just had me drooling: a Mars light, ditch lights, flashers, and I think dimmers. (in each set two lights stayed on full and two lights would do the function except dimmers where all four would do it). Most of the functions also have settings, e.g., you can choose a fast Mars light or a slow Mars light. They had a couple of other collections for the Jr aimed specifically at trains as well as many aimed simply at the AFOL.
There was just one hitch, they hadn’t actually programmed the diesel collection yet. I don’t know if it was a slow day or if I looked so forlorn, but they made a couple of calls to the guys back at the shops and they said, “we hope to have it by the end of the day tomorrow”.
They did and wow, 24 hrs later I was the proud owner of the first Jr with the diesel collection.
With all that weight on my shoulders, I had to do something with it. With the introduction of my S3
to my Hiawatha set, the rear of the train was starting to lose its luster. So of course I had to do something with it. It took some work to figure out how to get the Mars light on the back. But once I did, I had two extra leads with constant on. Well, I had to light up the marker lamps. I also modified the roof so that the Jr sits just above the top of the windows for easy access (yep, it fits comfortably between the windows and the roof).
The full gallery has a few movies illustrating the Mars light operation. And here’s a youtube video showing the protype in action.