LEGO

LEGO GBC – Color Sorting and Train Module

Posted by on Jun 28, 2015 in LEGO | 0 comments

This LEGO great ball contraption consists of a module that sorts the balls by its color and a train module that returns the balls to the start. Both modules use Mindstorms EV3s to control the motors. The train EV3 controls and original LEGO RC Train motor using a DIY cable.

 

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Prime News and New Zealand Herald report on our LEGO Robot

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in LEGO, Press, Research | 0 comments

Today Prime News, a national New Zealand TV show, reported on our LEGO Fireman Robot. The New Zealand Herald also covered the story in more depth.

 

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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 | 2 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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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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