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I'd love to add lights to the Rivendell set to improve the look of the displayed model in low light.

Rivendell set photo

Ideally, the lights would provide a flame-like effect where appropriate.

What is the best way to do this using official LEGO parts?

1 Answer 1

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Here's a still photo showing the final look that I came up with:

Rivendell Illuminated

Here's an animation attempting to capture the subtle flame effect:

Overall with flicker animation

Parts

I've used 3 City Powered Up hubs (28738) in this modification:

Powered Up Hub

I used 5 Powered Up lights (88005-1) connected to those hubs:

Powered Up Light

I also used a few very common parts to make minor modifications to the model and secure the lights.

Modifications

This set is composed of three distinct sections that can be moved independently. I chose to maintain this independence for easy portability.

Left Section

From left to right, the first section is the tower and the bedroom. I chose the hide the battery box where the bookshelf would have been in the lower room:

Left battery

The hub itself provides a modest amount of light on the lower level and drives an LED in the roof of the bedroom:

Bedroom light

The second LED on that pair snakes up to the top of the tower:

Tower light part 1

Tower light part 2

Tower light part 3

Center Section

For the center section, I chose to hide the battery box in the roof. I found that it fits quite nicely once it gets wiggled into position:

Center battery box

One pair of LEDs is used to light the main section. I've attached them via 1x2 Technic bricks in the rafters above the shards of Narsil:

Shards of Narsil Lights

The second set of lights from this hub are split up. One goes to the small tower:

Center tower light

The other light is hidden in roof of the small structure jutting out from the main hall:

Center front light

Right Section

One pair of lights is used under the bridge to accent the water. These are affixed to a pair of 1x2 Technic bricks placed under the bridge:

Bridge Lights

The second set of lights are split up. One provides general moonlight-like illuminate for the gazebo:

Gazebo Light

The final light is placed behind the fire for the forge. It is attached to a Technic brick that replaced the black panel behind the fire in the original build:

Forge Light

Software

I wanted to use the City Hubs for this project, as they are relatively small, widely available, and most compatible with System building. Unfortunately, these hubs can't be used without a constant connection to a smart device using the default firmware.

This limitation can be overcome using Pybricks. I wrote some basic code to the hub that would turn on any attached lights without the need for a smart device. From there, it is fairly straightforward to add a flickering algorithm.

While I was making things more complicated, I figured that it also made sense to leverage the RGB LED built into the hubs. I set this to also flicker in a nice orange hue. The code for all of this is available on Github if its useful to anyone.

I like the final look of the flickering quite well. Here's my attempt to capture it again:

Overall with flicker animation

Final Model

Here are few shots from various parts of the model showing off the lighting:

Forge

Gazeebo with Aragorn and Arwen

Boromir and the shards of Narsil

Frodo with Gandalf

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  • That's nicely done. I saw something quite interesting about flickering a while back, but I can't find it now. One thing that's interesting is that a flame that goes steady (after flickering) gets whiter as well as brighter. I played with flame flickering on a Arduino - it was quite effective but I don't seem to have uploaded the code anywhere. You could simulate different fires flickering separately, but also a breeze causing them to behave in sync
    – Chris H
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 12:53

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