Friends Hot Dog Cart

I have a tendency to buy Friends sets, mainly because of the animals and the different color pallet.  I wind up heavily modding the sets for use in my city.  The first thing I do is to change out the Minidolls for Minifigs.  (The Minidolls do not go to waste: they go to a LUG member who uses them).

The Friends Hot Dog Cart was another example of a set I really liked and I wanted a food truck in my City.  As a bonus, it lent itself to lighting.  The only downside to lighting the model is that it required extensive modding to create enough space under the vehicle to store many of the boards and battery.  This has made the model quite fragile.

I won't go into much detail on the design changes I made to make space for the lighting, but here's the parts list I used:

  • 9 Warm White Pico LEDs
  • 1 1:9 Expansion Adapter with Micro Plugs
  • 1 Mini Lighting Effect Controller (or you can use the newer 2-Channel Micro Lighting Effect Controller with Flickering Effect)
  • 1 1:2 Expansion Adapter
  • 2 Pico LED 1:2 Adapters
  • 1 Coin Cell Battery Pack with On/Off Switch
  • 1 6" Extension Cable
  • 3 1.5" Extension Cables

So 6 of the Pico LEDs are wired through the Trans-Yellow 1x1 Round Plates (I did drill a hole through the middle) and then to the 1:9 Expansion Adapter.  That adapter is connected to the 6" Extension cable routed through the 1 x 1 Purple Round bricks to the underside of the cart.

The 3 other Pico LEDs are under the grill (1 x 1 Trans-Orange 1x1 Round Plates).  The 1 x 4 Black Plate underneath the grill + round plates is where I drilled holes to run the wiring, though the height of the LEDs is pushing up the grill plates slightly.  Under the chassis, the 1st and 3rd lights are attached to one Pico LED 1:2 Adapter and the 2nd light is attached to the other.  Then I used the 1.5" cables to attach each adapter board to one of the output channels to the LEC.

The 3rd 1.5" Cable and the other end of the 6" cable is attached to the 1:2 Expansion Adapter and the other end of this board is attached to the Coin Cell Battery Pack.  We have a lit model!

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  • That is just awesome!  So much crammed into such a small space, and I love the use of the Friends theme (I'd love to see even more lit Friends sets).  Any chance you could also post a video (or animated gif using a tool like giphy) to show us the grill effect?  Hopefully you'll bring this with you to Cantigny next month-- would love to see it in person!  Thanks again for sharing.


  • yes it will be at Cantigny.  I'll work on the video/agif and a schematic.

  • Looking great!

  • Here's a 4sec video of the grill.

    Like 1
  • Awesome!

  • Here's the wiring schematic

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  • Jim Pirzyk Thanks for posting!  I see you are using one of our old mini effect boards.  I wonder if there is interest for us to make these again?  The advantage over the micro effect boards is that you can connect more than two LEDs per effect board.  The disadvantage is they are larger boards....

  • hrm... more I think about it, the less useful the micro effect board would be in this case.  You could use the multi effect board instead.  The room issue would be different though.  Having only 2 lights under the grill may be a viable solution.

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  • I love the lights you've added to the Hot Dog Cart!!! I'd like to know if the new wireless power transmitter/receiver would run this set up? Thank you!

  • Amanda Lydon That's a really good question: is there a recommended (or working) limit of how many lights one can power up via the wireless setup?  (Didn't see anything on the product's page beyond needing a dedicated 3 AAA battery or USB power supply...)

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  • Paul George Amanda Lydon With the hot dog cart, I think the biggest limitation may be the diameter of the transmission/receiver coils.  Both are 44m in diameter, so maybe too large to fit underneath the hot dog cart.  What do you think?

    In terms of number of lights that can be powered by the wireless setup, you should be fine with 10-20, so that wouldn't be the main limitation.

  • Duh - darn metric conversions (that I didn't mentally do).   44 MM = 4.4 CM = ~1 3/4 inches. 

    While the cart is strictly speaking wide enough (6 dots is roughly, exactly, 1 3/4 inches), I guess placement to make it subtle could be fun, given this gem has the curved bottom.  I'm guessing -- but not confident - that the coil can be gently bent?  If so, maybe a gentle bend following the curvature of the base (and using my personal favorite: black electrical tape) could keep it snug, attached and concealed.

  • Paul George Actually the coil wires are fairly thick, and in order for them to correctly receive power from the transmitter, I think they need to be kept flat.  If you've ever used a wireless phone charger, you know that the phone needs to be positioned exactly over the coils/charging area in order for it to work.  😪

  • And I finally peeled myself off the chair to look at the cart: flat bottom (whew!). It's got the 2x12? plate running the length, and a step up of a single plate on either side between the wheels, so I'd figure Amanda Lydon , add in a plate to level it out, and affix the coil there (should avail a 6x6 dot space) and wham - fits like a glove.

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  • Paul George I may need to pick up the hot dog cart and try it myself!

  • Oh, you mean figuratively.  ;)

    It looks like it'd be a 2x 1x6 plate inside and 2x 1x4 outside (to follow the curve of the coil), without having to modify two 2x6 plates to accommodate the wheels.

    ... but geez, having to buy LEGO "for work."  Tough gig.  (Oh, wait... I do that, too...)  Hurrah!

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  • Sorry I've been out of touch for a few days.  Thanks for working through the details, guys! I use my Hot Dot Cart for my Christmas set up.  Only the front of it is visible so even if I had to mount the coil a little off center, it wouldn't be noticeable.  I'm so excited!!! Thanks again for figuring this out!

  • Amanda Lydon Hopefully the coil will work out for you-- please keep us posted with photos and let us know your results!

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