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Is there a way to make the Winter Holiday Train powered without the IR receiver or Remote Control?

I only set it up at Christmas time and just want it to go around the track at the one speed. I want to avoid the expense of purchasing all the parts. I understand I can reduce the power supply of the recommended battery box by adding dummy batteries but I read somewhere that LEGO has a rechargeable battery box with variable speed. Can I use this instead of the recommended battery box and connect directly to motor?

  • If only solar panels produced enough power. – chicks Nov 23 '20 at 20:34
  • @chicks, youtube.com/watch?v=aKCJ0WS33UU so its possible, adding a couple of the lego solar panels on a 9V track could work in my opinion. Only, working lego solar panels are hard to find and not much sun this time of year – Michael Verschaeve Nov 24 '20 at 10:09
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If you want to “turn on and forget” you might want to look into obtaining a circle of old 9V track (metal rails produced by LEGO until 2007) and a power supply, plus a 9V train motor. It will not be cheap (the track pieces, especially curves, won’t be too expensive but a working 9V train motor is a $50-$75 purchase) however it will allow you to turn the train on and keep it running.

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(Image copied from this thread which will be useful to troubleshoot if you have issues with your 9V setup).

FOLLOW-UP: After writing this answer, I realized I too need a circle of 9V track for my Christmas tree train :). I went ahead and bought an incomplete but working 9V train set on EBay for $100, which gives me the transformer, power cord, power supply, a 9V motor and some track. I then added the missing pieces of track from BrickLink (<$1 per curve, $4-$5 for straight, plus shipping) and was all done for less than $150, with extra pieces from the incomplete set such as wheel sets, magnetic couplers and the sunken train bases which are quite valuable nowadays. If you compare that with buying the retired rechargeable battery box and all the PF components, that is similar money, with the downside for PF that you still need to charge every so often - which is what I used to do. One watch-out: these 9V tracks were made both in Dark Gray as well as in Dark Bluish Gray, so expect color differences if you try to mix and match these. I don’t mind as I intend to ballast my tracks anyways, and color differences make for a more “natural” look.

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    Haven't operated any PF trains for a while, but AFAIK PF battery box has a built-in timeout and will switch off after 2 hours of continuous operation. PUP is even worse, it could (and does) stop if/when connection with controller is lost due to distance, BT interference or discharging batteries (in controller!, duh). – Alex Nov 26 '20 at 18:16
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Yes, the rechargeable battery box would work.

However, if your intention is to avoid expenses, you are better off with buying the IR-receiver, IR remote and the regular battery box rather than the rechargeable one. The rechargeable battery box is no longer available from Lego for quite some time now and is getting expensive on the secondary market as well (e.g. on Bricklink the cheapest offer is 90$)

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