Monthly Archives: May 2011

BrickLink Order #2174295

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Items in Order:

A Shinning Light for the NXTCam Camera    Send article as PDF   
I’ve been experimenting with my new Mindsensor NXTCam. As most people are aware of the inherent issues associated with optical sensing, mainly due to changes in lighting level, can be very frustrating. In attempt to minimise this lighting issue, I decide to construct a stable light source for the NXTCam. To begin, I needed to organise some LED lighting modules that I could run from a standard LEGO 7.2-9.0 volt power supply. As I could only source a 12 Volt Modules with which to work with, the project needed some extra electronics to make it work.

Restore or Upgrade Mindsensor NXTCam Firmware

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After receiving my NXTCam a couple of days ago, I experimented with it for an hour or so initially before turning in for the night. The next morning, I found my NXTCam‘s Firmware didn’t like being woken from it’s slumber! I found Deepak Patil of Mindsensors extremely helpful in getting me pointed in the right direction initially when I had issues with my NXTCam v3.0. My panicked emails were responded too very efficiently despite a time zone difference of 12+ hours.

LEGO Mindstorms Cable Tester    Send article as PDF   
I needed a LEGO Mindstorms Cable Checker to allow me to Verify my Connector Cables for connectivity or faults.  A tester is particularly useful for when you are crimping your own cables. I picked up a cheap Network Cable checker of eBay for $2.50, and hacked it to suite Cables. Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as I first anticipated!

Fast Resistor Sorting with LEGO

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Still got that container on the bench with a pile of unsorted resistors left over from projects, or perhaps have purchased a mixed-lot of assorted resistors to begin with. Resistors have colour bands printed on them, rather than numeric values, which makes them more difficult to sort in you don’t know the resistor colour-code of pat (if they still teach it?). Or like me your eyes ain’t what they used to be! Either that a 1/4 watt resistor has shrank by a factor of 4+ in the last 30 years or so….

Mazes for Lego MindStorms Robots    Send article as PDF   

There has been local interest in the new experimental International RoboCup “Rescue B” challenge introduced by the committee headed by Dr. Damien Kee. This was used as a demonstration event in the World RoboCup in Singapore in 2010, and I am told unofficially that it will be a competition event in Istanbul in RoboCup 2011. An important change from the traditional RoboCup Junior Rescue Challenge is the inclusion of a maze. In competition, this maze is reconfigurable, and hence can be a constantly changing new challenge to students.

NXT Laser Range Finding Camera Theory

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Below is Lego Mindstorms Compatible Laser Unit uses a 650nm 5mW (Red) laser module.  I wanted to create a small compact Laser Unit that fitted in as small a footprint as possible. The Laser Module and other electronics fits easily into a standard LEGO ‘2×4 Brick’, with a ‘2×3 plate’ & Technics Connector attached to the bottom. It would have been possible with some effort to fit all the parts within a ‘2×3 Brick’. I decided on a Fly-lead instead of a standard NXT style Socket to keep the unit compact. The Laser is very bright, despite it’s very small size, so as a range-finder the camera can pick it up from a far. Like a NXT Light Sensor’s Red LED, the Laser can be toggled on and of via Software.

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