Bricktronics Megashield Kit for NXT Motors & Sensors

Bricktronics Shield
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Want too build awesome robotic contraptions using LEGO Mindstorms NXT motors and sensors and your Arduino Mega? Well now thanks to the boys at Bricktronics, you can with there Bricktronics Megashield Kit.

BricktronicsMegashieldAssembled

The Bricktronics Megashield Kit connects an Arduino Mega to LEGO NXT motors and sensors. You can use Mindstorms NXT motors touch sensors, colour sensors, ultrasonic sensor, and a variety of other add-ons.

BricktronicsMegashieldKit

You can use the Bricktronics Megashield Kit to connect up to six LEGO NXT motors and four LEGO NXT sensors to an Arduino Mega.

  • Supports up to six LEGO NXT motors, and reading their encoders
  • Supports up to four simultaneous LEGO NXT sensors
  • Supports LEGO NXT touch sensors on all four sensor ports
  • Supports LEGO NXT 2.0 color sensor on all four sensor ports
  • Supports LEGO NXT ultrasonic sensor on all four sensor ports
  • Uses standard LEGO NXT cables
  • Tested compatible with the Arduino Mega 2560, but should work on many other Arduino compatibles

The Bricktronics Megashield can be purchased in two kit configurations — Pre-assembled, or as a solder-it-yourself kit. Neither option supports the “stacking headers” that many Arduino shields use to permit stacking multiple shields (due to interference between the motor ports and the stacking headers), which means that you must place the Megashield as the top shield of your stack. However, we did include an extra set of holes next to the header pins, which can be used to attach wires and test probes. You can also get a set of standard female headers to fit in those extra holes if you wish.

bricktronics megashield callouts

This kit is sold as open source hardware. The hardware source files, like the schematic and the PCB files are available for anyone to use as long as they credit us and release any modifications as open source hardware. The schematic and pcb files are available on the Bricktronics downloads page.

oshw-logo-150x122If you don’t buy the pre-assembled version, the Bricktronics Megashield Kit only requires basic soldering skills. At a minimum, you’ll need a soldering iron, solder, and a diagonal cutters. Clear Assembly instructions are available at the Bricktronics Megashield project webpage. It should only take an hour to build, but it will be depend upon your experience with the black art of soldering PCBs.

The kit contains a Bricktronics Megashield printed circuit board, ten custom injection-molded NXT-compatible sockets, a 2.1mm DC power supply socket, eight jumpers, three 0.1 uF ceramic capacitors, a 6mm reset pushbutton, six 100 kΩ resistors, three 100 uF electrolytic capacitors, three 10 uF electrolytic capactitors, three L293D H-Bridge motor-driver chips, one PTC over-current protection fuse, and headers.

[youtube]vqlI21J04M0[/youtube] Bricktronics Shield Kit

The NXT Motors take more power than can be supplied by a USB Port, which is typically limited to 500 mA maximum. The LEGO NXT motors typically need about 600 mA each, but under heavy loads can draw up to 1000 mA peak per motor. Therefore to drive 5 or 6 NXT motors with heavy loads will require a beefy power supply on the order of 3-5 amps. For mobile creations a 6x AA battery pack should work well, but a high mAh rated Li-Po would be a far more practical approach.

BricktronicsShield-01

Also available is the Bricktronics Shield Kit which allows you to connect up to two LEGO NXT motors and four LEGO NXT sensors to an Arduino.

  • Supports up to two LEGO NXT motors, and reading their encoders
  • Supports up to four simultaneous LEGO NXT sensors
  • Supports LEGO NXT touch sensors on all four sensor ports
  • Supports LEGO NXT 2.0 color sensor on two ports
  • Supports LEGO NXT ultrasonic sensor on two ports
  • Uses NXT cables
  • Two TIP120 transistors help you switch larger loads
  • Tested compatible with Uno and Duemilanove, but will work on many other Arduino compatibles (contact us for details)

 BricktronicsShield-03BricktronicsShield

Just Solder the kit together, download the easy-to-use Arduino library, check out the examples, and start building your first Arduino controlled LEGO Mindstorms Robot!

I hope to add a ‘Bricktronics Megashield‘ to my ever growing collection of Microcontroller Interfaces for controlling LEGO Mindstorms based Robots in coming weeks. I will put together a detailed review at that stage.

A portion of the profits of this kit go to John Baichtal, an author of the Make: Lego and Arduino Projects book.

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