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An Easier Way to Add Lights
One of the most common questions our customers ask is: "What do I need to make it all work?" That's usually followed by a question like, "How do I know what works with what?"
It's something we think a lot about. Because we can't make a light + sound kit for every model ever released, our approach has always been to empower our customers to assemble their own light and sound kits using a set of common parts. One of the founding principles behind Brickstuff is that anyone can add lights and sound to any model, no electronics or technical expertise required. Some of the most amazing creations we've ever seen have come from customers who were initially hesitant to work with any lighting system, but who took the leap by purchasing one of our Starter Kits and letting their imagination be their guide.
Recently, it became apparent based on customer feedback and also based on some of the supply chain shortages related to Covid-19 that our 12-year-old lighting system was in need of simplification and upgrade. After more than two years of behind-the-scenes work, trial and error, and deep market research, I'm thrilled to announce the official launch of the Brickstuff EasyLight™ System.
The EasyLight™ System At A Glance
At its core, the EasyLight™ System does the following:
Standardizes on Small Connecting Plugs
Since Brickstuff began, our products have used two different-sized power connecting plugs: one "large" and one "small." We've called the small plug our "Pico plug" or "Pico connector," because this is the plug we've used with our Pico LED lights. You can see a photo comparing the two sizes of plugs below:
Over time, our "Pico plug" design has been adopted by most other hobby lighting companies around the world as the global standard, which is incredible. It also means that customers with lighting products made by different companies are often left wondering if our products will work with parts they already have.
The EasyLight™ System focuses on the "Pico plug" as the new standard. We're going to be calling this our "small plug," and you'll see that reflected in the EasyLight™ marketing materials, on our website, and on our new packaging.
Long-time customers don't have to worry, however! Many of the EasyLight™ products have both small and large plugs, meaning you can use either a small or large plug to connect power, lights, or extensions. We're also going to continue selling our heavy-duty (thick) connecting cables with large plugs, as well as many of our popular adapter boards with large plugs.
To make things easy to understand, we've introduced some new labeling that will begin appearing on our website, in marketing materials, and on our packaging. There are three new icons that will show at a glance which parts work with others:
Enables Parts from Different Companies to Work Together
While we'd love it if Brickstuff was your sole hobby lighting supplier, we know that's not always realistic given the rise of other companies offering low-cost light kits.
We want Brickstuff to be the one company that brings everything together for our customers, so we're introducing a line of adapter boards as part of the EasyLight™ System launch that are designed to work with almost every other company's lighting components. Using these adapters, you can connect lights and light sets from most every other manufacturer to Brickstuff system components. Of course this means you can also use these adapters to connect one brand of lighting parts to another brand, even if there are no Brickstuff lights in between.
If there's a type of connector, a voltage, or a company we're missing, let us know by sending us a message! Our goal is to create the most inclusive system for hobby lighting, so if there's interest in an adapter we have yet to make, we'll look into it.
Has Parts Sorted into Easy-to-Recognize Categories, Sold in Packs
To make EasyLight™ System parts easy to use, we've sorted them into 12 categories, each with its own distinctive packaging color. Here are the seven categories of parts form the core of the system:
Mini Power Packs
Mini Power Packs include a compact battery pack and an adapter board to power up to four lights. These are designed for adding lights to vehicles or small structures, where just a few lights are needed and space is tight.
Power Packs are the bigger cousins to the Mini Power Packs. Each Power Pack includes a power source and an adapter board to power up to five lights. Both small and large plugs are provided, so Power Packs will work with older Brickstuff components with large plugs.
While the adapter board included with each Power Pack can power up to five lights out of the box, every Power Pack can scale up to power 100 lights or more using Expansion Packs.
Connecting Packs include wires and cables needed to expand your lighting setup. Remember, the cables and/or adapter boards needed to get started with up to four lights are included with every Power Pack/Mini Power Pack, so you don't need to worry about adding cables until you're ready to grow. Each Connecting Pack has four cables, and we offer a variety of lengths.
Adapter Packs include adapter boards in various configurations: small plugs, large plugs, or a mixture of both. These Packs also include adapter boards to connect 3rd-party lighting parts to the Brickstuff system. This is where the true magic of the EasyLight™ System really happens.
Expansion Packs feature a combination of cables and adapter boards designed to quickly allow you to scale up your lighting installations. We've designed the Expansion Packs to relate to easy-to-understand scenarios, like adding light to a medium-size LEGO® City building. Over time, we'll be rolling out guidance about which Expansion Pack can be used with which LEGO® or hobby set, so you'll have an easy reference.
What's a lighting system without lights? EasyLight™ Light Packs offer a wide range of different lighting components with a variety of different cable lengths. Most Light Packs include four lights; this was done to make them comparable to the packaging offered by our competitors, again to give customers the ability to make apples-to-apples comparisons.
Long-time Brickstuff customers will notice some changes in how we're packaging our lights with the new Light Packs:
Most lights will be sold in packs of four. We don't plan to offer bulk packs of lights any longer, but we've also adjusted the price of our lights so buying them in 4-packs is now actually less expensive than buying them before in 10-packs.
Light Packs just include lights. In the past we included adapter boards and sticky squares in many of our light packs. Customers who need sticky squares can now purchase them separately, and the adapter boards are no longer needed now that every Power Pack/Mini Power Pack includes the parts to connect up to four lights to power right out of the box. When expanding, customers can either purchase Connecting Packs and Adapter Packs, or just purchase an Expansion Pack which will have all of the necessary cables and adapter boards for specific situations.
With the introduction of these new Light Packs, we're also selling lights with a wider variety of cable lengths than ever before.
Specialty Packs are products that are hand-made, or made in small quantities, that are designed for a specific use. They differ from standard Light Packs (which can be used anywhere, in any scale or brand of model) because they are pre-installed or mounted inside specific parts. One example would be our flickering LEGO® candles: these are hand-made by us and have a tiny flickering LED pre-mounted inside a LEGO® candle element. In most cases, you won't be able to find Specialty Packs anywhere else, and we'll be making them in limited quantities.
Beyond the Core Categories
The seven categories above make up the heart of the EasyLight™ system. For customers wanting to "go beyond the basics," we also have five categories of "optional" products (optional in the sense that they are not required for any size lighting setup, but they sure make whatever you create a lot more fun):
Long-time customers know we make some of the best lighting effect controller boards available anywhere, and with the new EasyLight™ versions of these effect controllers, we're raising the bar yet again. Effect Packs will include just the lighting effect controller: all lights, power, cables, and adapter boards will be available separately. Of course, if you already have some lights and a Power Pack/Mini Power Pack, you'll be able to just drop in an Effect Pack to add, for example, flickering fire effects to your setup.
Control Packs will provide added functionality like the ability to turn your lights on or off remotely, or with a built-in timer, or even over the Internet using services like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Home Assistant, your phone via a 3rd-party app, or even using web services such as MQTT and IFTTT.
Long-time customers also know us for our sound modules, and we're creating a whole new line of them for the EasyLight™ system.
While Automation Packs are still in development at the time of this writing (May 2023), the vision is to provide motion you can add to your models and control. Think of servos that open and close a LEGO® Star Wars docking bay door automatically, or rotating blades on an airplane or helicopter model. We'll be releasing more information about our Automation Packs over time.
We're blessed to have a large and growing base of DIY customers: model builders, people with electronics experience, robotics classes, or just anyone who wants to dig a little deeper and use our parts to make their own great creations. That's the spirit of DIY Packs. More information on these packs will be coming soon.
Although the EasyLight™ System and its components will work in any setup and for any scale or type of model, EasyLight™ won't be the entire Brickstuff product line. EasyLight™ is just one of several offerings from the full Brickstuff assortment. The graphic below shows our full range, and the four major product categories of which EasyLight™ is a part.
Over time, we'll be working the new EasyLight™ components into all of these product lines, with the similar transition to the "small plug" architecture with continued support for legacy "large plug" components. Using all of the same components in all of our product lines gives customers the power and flexibility to connect "anything to anything," no matter how small or large their ideas and models.
This is just a small introduction to EasyLight™, the thinking behind it, and how we think it will empower our customers to create amazing and unique setups. EasyLight™ represents the biggest investment of time, effort, and money since our founding, so we hope you agree it has good potential. As always, we want to hear from you if there are areas we're missing, or if anything in the new system is more confusing than helpful. And of course we look forward to seeing photos and videos of all the amazing things you'll create using these new parts!
On behalf of our small group of enthusiasts working in our small company in a small town in Minnesota, USA, thank you for everything you do to support us every day.
DISCLAIMER:LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of Companies which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse any Brickstuff product.