Documentation

Amazon Author URL

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Documentation | 0 comments

I now have my own little Amazon Author URL: https://www.amazon.com/author/bartneck

Have a look at my books!

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Problem with flickering pixels on Philips BDM4350UC/75

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Documentation, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I enjoyed the large 43″ Philips BDM4350UC/75 for two weeks now and the screen size is just wonderful. It is just like to large monitors in one. I discovered to problems, one just a bit annoying and another rather big issue.

The smaller issue is related to the power saving function. When I ran the all black screen saver on my Mac Pro, the screen seems to go into its own sleep mode of which it does barely ever awake. Sometimes I could bring up the OSD and this would bring the screen back to life. I got used to switching the screen off with its own power switch and turn it back on in the morning. This might not be such a bad idea anyway.

The bigger issue is the display of certain colors, or the lack there of. When I want to show light grays, such as RGB 193,187,194 I get vertical lines of flickering pixels. I took a photo of the screen to demonstrate the effect. We visited the dealer and tried the same color/image on their showcase model with the same result. There seems to be an issue with this Philips display. Be aware!

Philips BDM4350UC/75 flickering pixels

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Tutorial on connecting LEGO Mindstorms EV3 to WiFi

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Documentation, LEGO | 0 comments

This video shows how to connect your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 to your WiFi network so that you can program it away from your computer. I use the Netgear N150 Wireless Adapter (WNA1100), which is the only officially supported WiFi dongle for the EV3. The N150 is difficult to get these days, since Netgear has moved on producing newer sticks. So buy them now before they disappear completely. On the plus side, they are also very cheap right now on eBay and other market places. I got my for only 19 NZD from TradeMe.

It would be great if LEGO would support more dongles, in particular smaller ones. Furthermore, it would be great if it would be possible to use WPS. Entering your WiFi password on the EV3 is tedious. It would even be better if the EV3 would remember the WiFi password. You need to enter it every time you switch the EV3 on.

 

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Cadbury Energy Chocolate Scam

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Culture, Documentation | 0 comments

Cadbury Energy Chocolate Scam

Many products are being sold that are suppose to increase your energy. Unless your food is completely indigestible, this will always be true. Food by definition has calories which provide you with energy. But food manufactures have moved on and this trivial definition of energy is rarely used. These days energy food typically contains Caffeine. In particular energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Mother and V contain a considerable dose.

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Building Instructions for a cable that connects LEGO Power Functions (PF) with Mindstorms NXT/EV3

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Documentation, LEGO, Project | 5 comments

Harry Davis and me built a cable to connect a LEGO Power Functions (PF) motor to a Mindstorms EV3. The goal is to enable the EV3 to control PF motors. In particular I wanted to control a RC train motor through an EV3.

LEGO produced a cable (8528) to connect old motors (RCX) to the NXT, but it is no longer in production. You can still get them through Bricklink, but it will cost you dearly. You still need a PF extension cable to convert the old motor plug (RCX) to the current PF plug.

convert cable

Firgelli produced a cable that allowed you to connect an modern PF to NXT directly, but it is also no longer in production.

firgelli nxt pf cable

There are two more solutions but both are more complex and costly. First, you can use the PF Mate from Mindsensors (currenlty $35). It sends IR signals to the IR PF receiver and thereby allows you to control motors even at a distance. The second option is the GlideWheel PF (currently $38) that directly connects a PF motor to the EV3. It also features a rotation sensor so that you can control the PF just like you would control a Mindstorms encoded motor. Both of these solutions offer a great functionality but they are also expensive, in particular since the components necessary for a custom made cable only costs a few cents.

At Amazon you can get a book Make: Lego and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronics that will show you how to do such projects, but for now it is time to pull up our sleeves and do it ourselves. TechnicRobot already showed that it can be done but detailed instructions were not yet available. We also built a casing for our cable so that it can be easily integrated into your model. Here is the final result:

EV3 PF Cable - 17

And here is a video that shows our solution at work:

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Review Dexter DLight for LEGO Mindstorms

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Documentation, LEGO, Technology | 0 comments

Dexter Industries offers the DLight for LEGO Mindstorms. It allows you to control four full color LEDs through a sensor port of your EV3 or NXT. The first thing to do is to set the toggle switches on each LED to a unique address, so that you can control each LED individually. In the NXT-G environment you can still decide to control all of them at the same time if desired. The biggest nuisance is that only the first LED can use its red component. The other three cannot show any red light. Dexter acknowledges this bug in its forum and offers refunds. It is ridiculous that Dexter does not warn its customers on its product page, in particular since they do not intend to fix this problem.

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