LEGO

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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LEGO Volvo 42030 Loader with SBrick

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

Today I finally had the chance to unpack and test my SBrick. I build this Bluetooth LEGO Power Functions brick into my Volvo 42030 Loader. A profile for this LEGO model was already available in SBricks social profile database. I could just download the profile and configure it. Configuration entails defining what motor is attached to what port. You can also invert the direction of each motor if necessary. Once the profile is downloaded an configured, it works like a charm. The best part is the proportional control. You can steer a little bit right. With the IR control from LEGO it is all or nothing control.

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CTV reported on the Imagination Station

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in LEGO, Press | 0 comments

Canterbury Television reported on the Imagination Station on December 19th, 2014. The clip is now available via YouTube:

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Sensor readings Mindsensors Glide AS with EV3 problem

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Documentation, LEGO | 0 comments

I was working on a new version of my Spirograph Automaton and once I fired up the EV3 software on my computer it informed that a new version was available, including a new 1.06H firmware. I installed both and expected my software to work as it did before. I got some very strange sensor readings. One sensor seemed to overwrite the value of the other sensors. Moreover, once I unplugged and reconnected the sensors it sometimes seem to work again. After rebooting the EV3 it sometimes worked and sometimes it did not. These types of intermittent problems are really annoying and it took me more than an afternoon to figure out that it was not my poor programming skills that caused the problem. Eventually I made a video of the problem and contacted the Mindsensors support.

They replied promptly and informed me that:

“The 1.06H EV3 firmware has a bug in its sensor handler. Even when the i2c addresses are changed the error still occurs. It seems the error stops once the program in executed and then the devices are disconnected and reconnected. This will fix the error until you restart your EV3. If this is too much of an inconvenience, you can use the 1.03H EV3 firmware. 1.03H has been tested and works with the rotation test-ms code. We have notified LEGO about the issue. Hopefully a new firmware fix will come in the near future.”

This information was not available on their website and I hope that my post will safe you some time. In case you want to downgrade to the 1.03H EV3 firmware, have a look at this file. To downgrade place the firmware in the folder (on Mac OS X):

/Applications/LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition.app/Contents/MonoBundle/Resources/Firmware

You need to right click on the EV3 software and select “Show Package Contents” to get into the desired directory. The firmware will then show up in the list of the available firmwares in your “Firmware Update” under the Tools menu in the EV3 desktop software.

installFirmwareEV3

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The 4:30 Show Reported on our LEGO Show

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in LEGO, Press | 0 comments

The 4:30 Show reported on our Christchurch Brick Show 2014. Here is the video:

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The REAL Ninjago

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in LEGO | 0 comments

I am not always happy with how the LEGO Company is treating enthusiastic fans concerning the usage of the LEGO brand. While the company did in the past claim copyright to Minifigures I was not able to find a relevant entry in the relevant registries in the USA. And of course the LEGO company did loose several lawsuit against Mega Blocks in recent years. While the LEGO company is fighting to protect its brand and its market, several competitors have arrived that offer compatible bricks. But what I discovered in a 1 dollar shop recently goes even too far for my taste. The JLB company, whose logo is a clear rip off from the LEGO logo, is offering Ninjago Minifigures. They use the Ninjago logo, the characters names (in this case Lloyd) and even the slogan “Masters of Spinjitzu”. The LEGO company has registered a Ninjago trademark in the USA, so I wonder if you can only buy this little gem or product piracy in New Zealand and China. In any case, I am amazed by JLB’s  boldness of copying a LEGO product. A quick Google search revealed that JLB is also offering Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Super Heroes. I played with Lloyd a little while and the quality of the Minifigure is far below that of the original.

Llyod by JLB

Llyod by JLB

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