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2002 Jul 07 11:05

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Re: [vox-tech] mindstorms
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Re: [vox-tech] mindstorms

On Sun, 7 Jul 2002, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:

> i'm teaching a class on robotics this summer, and we have them stocked.
> so i cheated.

Hmm, well I just took the plunge and purchased a version 1.0 set off eBay
so it looks like I'll be getting the serial tower.  Good or bad, I'm not
sure - I can always upgrade, firmware or hardware (if need be) later.

Flipping through eBay, it looks like a lot of the parts are available
seperately.  I haven't seen the tower, but lots of motors/sensors are
available there and know you can get lots of individual parts from online
vendors.  Ebay has some interesting _my dog ate half of the pieces_ type
as is sets that might be good for someone looking to find extra parts cheap.

> i'm wondering - maybe you can purchase it mail order from lego?  i mean,
> surely there's got to be a way to replace lost or broken parts.  they
> prolly don't expect you to buy a whole new $200 set if you accidentally
> step on the tower.   at least, they better not!  :-)

I think I read that if you step on it, they cover it, but if you sit on
it, you have to buy a whole new set. :]

> no, not without a driver.  i read specifically in dave baum's book
> "definitive guide to lego mindstorms" that the protocol used is a
> simpler version of irda, but not irda itself.

It's too bad that's not standardized.  I've got two laptops with never
before used IR ports.  It would be nice to take advantage of that.  But
both said laptops also have unused serial ports so ...

It would also be pimping to use a palm or zaurus or some other ir enabled
handheld as a programmable remote control.

> the word "simpler" might be encouraging that someone, somewhere might
> write something.  the "hard part" of reverse engineering the lego IR
> protocol may have been done by the lego linux usb people, unless the
> tower is simply a device that reads raw data and converts it to the lego
> IR protocol using hard firmware.
> at this point, i'm starting to walk on shaky ground, so i better back
> off from saying anything else.   :-)
> pete

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