Ninjago City # 70620
I'm new to this forum and site. I recently got back into Lego for the first time since childhood, thanks to a birthday present from a friend. Recently I joined Lego VIP to prepare for the rumored UCS Millennium Falcon and got an announcement for Ninjago City and found it so cool I just had to get it.
I just finished the city and it is screaming for lighting which is why I am so excited to have found this site!!
I have lots of ideas and can't wait to get started, but the big questions is how to install the wiring in this modular construction which has 10 interior spaces on 6 different levels, plus 3 complex exterior spaces and water! The elevator shaft is consistent through all the levels and seems a good choice for hiding wiring - but how to connect/disconnect the wiring easily when taking the units apart and putting them back together is the big challenge.
I see the magnet switch on the site, which would be a simple and elegant solution, but it is set to be ON when the magnets separate and not when they are together. Is it possible to reverse that?
Any other suggestions for connectors that are easy to manipulate would be much appreciated.
I will probably have more questions - and look forward to others' as I start to tackle this huge project.
Ah, the Pandora's Box of lighting: do we light it fully, keep it play-able, or try for both? Great post, and an essential question I think both us in "AFOL land" and the blokes at BrickStuff both tackle regularly.
I recall seeing some working efforts of the BrickStuff folks with power that can run through floors/levels (think tin foil on the stud and the next-up floor), but my recollection is this is/was all still prototype. Magnets are intriguing, but I think the bigger challenge is routing power upwards in floors (if I recall, the magnet is more a sensor for trains and such to toggle a state from off to on, or vice versa...?)
The Disney castle kit had some "quick connect" plugs (awesome idea, and work wonderfully), but those aren't currently available as a stand-alone item, so we'd either need to hold our water for a kit, or improvise if you're looking to light this beauty quick.
In my world - Modularton - I try to light based on keeping things "playable." My co-builder still counts her years in single digits, so I know - all threats and promises aside - she's going to split up floors when she's trying to squeeze Friends girls into LEGO chairs.
To that end, I just illuminate the ground floors. Easy to tack wires, but yes, at night the upper floor(s) are darker than I'd prefer.
Water - ah, the challenge (and my current project). My vision - still mostly on paper - is to see if I can't fashion something with fiber optics - a la the fireworks in the Disney castle, and put a blue LED as its light source, and leveraging the unused "flicker" channel of the one fancy pants controller, see if a bright, subtle flicker would give me a water movement effect. (Helps that my water is also a two-plate-high scenario, so I can sandwich the fibers in between... but more on this as it unfolds.)Reply
David Newell Thanks for joining the forum, and thanks for your post! I'm glad you have decided to take the plunge with Ninjago City (and bravo, also, for taking on such a challenging project as your first!). I see you placed an order on our site this week-- thank you for that! Hopefully the lights you ordered will get you started.
Playability is always an issue as you mention, and as Paul reiterated. For sets like our lighting kit for the Ghostbusters Firehouse, we opted for BRANCH04 ("Y" Adapter) boards on the back of each floor (stuck on with sticky squares):
This approach provides a semi-quick connect solution, though it's not as elegant as magnets would be. The magnetic switch you referred to is only for switching power on and off-- it does not transmit power itself. We have been working on some prototypes with magnets (which would transmit power) to sit between floors of modular buildings:
These work great, where you have the space for them (they do take up a lot of room on the inside or outside wall), and they are expensive ($22/pair) so if you have many floors, cost can escalate quickly. We're working to get both the footprint and cost down, but today I think the best recommendation would be to position BRANCH04 boards in an inconspicuous location on each level of Ninjago City, and use this to connect a wire to the next level up.
We have purchased the City set ourselves, but have not yet had the courage to put it together. 😊 Please keep us posted with photos of your lighting project-- we're most likely going to work on a kit for this set, so it would be great to get the benefit of your experience.
Also, please let us know if you have any questions about the lights you just ordered. There are a lot of great articles on this forum about building lighting, but something like Ninjago City poses a host of challenges and opportunities, so again I'm very eager to see what you come up with. Thanks again for posting, and best of luck with your project!Reply
Rob Klingberg Magnets?!? I feel like I missed a memo. 😏 But very intrguing...!
I like the swivel approach, too -- avoids the challenge of reversed polarity and rigid application.
And selfishly, this would be a HUGE boost to powering the monster stadium lights I have on that build: right now it's a trio of 24-inch wires that mean nothing moves if Dad's not home to move it.
Hmmm... but love it!Reply
Thank you Paul George & Rob Klingberg for the advice and encouragement! What's that saying about "Fools rush in...?" 😁
Yes, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my order. Meanwhile I'm trying to get a plan laid out, starting from the bottom "Old World" level since that makes the most sense and having some exposed wiring will add to the details of that part of the set. Thank you for the tip on the Y adapters, there looks to be good options for tucking them away under shingles, awnings, etc.
Thinking ahead to some of the upper levels, I was looking at the Disney Castle sets description and the controlled color changing units are a great idea for the large white circle at the top of the "High Rise" level tower. Are those lights/controller available for purchase separately? If not, I may end up buying the Disney package anyway, as it looks to have a lot of useful parts pre-assembled by you that can be used in the city.
One thing I am realizing is I will have to do a fair amount of "unbuilding" to run wires and place lights due to the nature of the city's 360 degree design. I'll try to keep documentation of that work so it could be used with a kit allowing builders to do the build and lighting simultaneously.
Hope to have some photos to share soon!Reply
David Newell Thank you for your efforts to document your process-- I know others here on the forum will appreciate it. There seem to be so many options for lighting the City-- I'm excited to see what you come up with.
RE: the color-changing lights, yes this is something we are looking to sell separately soon. If you had thoughts about how a color-changing display could work at the top of the City, please let me know-- it would be quick and easy to make a custom string for you, and we could make just about any color-changing effect you thought would look good in the City.Reply
I received my order today and eagerly began to experiment when I got home. After a few hours of that I felt like I should accomplish SOMETHING, so installed some flickering lights which look great with the yellow Pico in the orange colored lamps.
I did have a few thoughts/ questions while playing around:
Given the weight of the set I'm guessing I should avoid running wires thru bricks, since it will end up cutting them (I already broke one light tonight by not pulling correctly 🙁).
How do you feel about rubber cement to place lights? The mounting pieces are a bit puffy. I got them to work in the lamps by cutting them into quarters. I thought of rubber cement since it gets and stays tacky quickly but is still removable and less extreme than The Kra-g-le.
What is the best option for mounting controllers under a plate? Mounting squares? Given the design of this set there are more 'under' options for tucking away equipment. Or is it better to suspend a piece under that will hold the board using the designed holes? There is a lot of depth under the top 'High Rise' level so that would not be a problem.
Thanks in advance for your advise and expertise!Reply
David Newell Hi David, thanks for posting the video of the lights-- I agree, they look great!
RE: running wires through bricks, that normally shouldn't be an issue-- the wires are definitely thin enough to be squeezed. It sounds like you broke one though-- just let me know what you need replaced, and I'll send it.
RE: using rubber cement to place lights, this would probably work, though I'd be a little wary of putting something flammable close to electrical things. Here's another suggestion:
Make sure you get the 5mm size-- these will work well.
Another option for holding Pico LEDs in position (if you have sufficient space) is to use clear "boat stud" LEGO pieces in the trans-clear color. These require a 2x2 flat space in order to mount.
Hopefully this information is helpful-- let us know if you have any other questions, and keep posting photos of your progress with Ninjago City!Reply