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Avtor Sporočilo
OdgovorObjavljeno: 27 Avg 2013, 14:56 
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Pridružen: 16 Avg 2008, 14:52
Prispevkov: 2245
Set number: 31313
Name: Mindstorms EV3 Home Edition
Number of bricks: 601
Year: 2013
Price: 349,99eur (S@H)

Until now, we had two major Mindstorms generations:

-Robotics Invention System (also called RCX) with all its versions and add-ons (1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and bunch of add-ons). They all shared same smart brick (with small modifiaction between verisons) and used normal motors and sensors compatible with some other lego products. It lasted full 8 years

-In 2006 LEGO presented completely new Mindstorms NXT system, with USB and bluetooth conection, new servo motors with rotation sensor and sevral new sensors. In 2009 they introduce 2.0 version, with just small differences in included sensors and bricks.

-In that time LEGO was introducing Power Functions to Technic and Creator product ranges, so there was some speculation if ne Mindstorms set will also go that way. After long wait and speculations LEGO finally introduced new generation in the beginning of this year. They gave new, fancy name EV3 and announced that it will be partialy compatible to NXT.

Like in NXT, there are two versions: retail (called Home Edition) and Education, intended for schools and available only through LEGO Education sale channels. I will focus on Home Editioon in this review, which should be available for purchase after september 1st in all major stores.

In contrast to Education version, which has nice plastic storage box, we get normal LEGO box here. Its designed really nicely, with blue-red-white combination and showing all major features of this set.

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After we try to open it there is a suprise: "box" is just an envelope. After you brek the seals, another, very similar box slides out. Sadly, its not top flap open type, but opens on the side, like those from cheaper lego sets.

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After checking back side we see that envelope needs to be cut?

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It all makes sense after we check inside of envelope and see that its actually test pad.

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Here are instructions:

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Lego took the thing about reducing box size really seriously: box is exactly the same size as those from 60-70 euro range from last few years.

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And even that is just half full. There are no inside boxes or other stuff like in NXT. Weight is considerable hovewer:

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Contents of box. Large motors are just put in (might be different in final verson). EV3 brick is in white cardboard box and other stuff, including M-motor and sensors are in polybags. We also get instructions, USB cable, sticker sheet and software CD (not final verison here, so I dont know if there will be DVD included or you will have to download it)

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Sorted parts. Mostly standard parts. Its good to see even 5 rare black 36T double bevel gears. Bricks are now white and not VLBG as in NXT, se there is no problem to add more parts. I noticed something interesting. Almost all parts are present in just one colour. I guess thats to avoid confusion when building from on screen instructions.

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Those are possibily new (might be some Bionicle part though):

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And those blades:

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Ball shooting sistem is same as in NXT2.

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EV3 brick is the same as in Education version. Its slightly bigger than NXT brick and more square. On top side are the usual direction, enter and back keys. There is also pair of LED-s, which can glow in green, orange or red colour. Those give you status of brick, but can also be programmed to perform certain actions when running program.

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One of biggest disadvantages is non-lit display. It has better resolution, but its really hard to see anything (and even harder to photograph)

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Four motor ports, which is one more than before. For me this is most valuable improvement over NXT brick. Brick is supposed bo compatible with NXT motors and NXT brick should work with EV3 motors (I was not able to test this because I sold all my NXT stuff)

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There are also four sensor ports, as on NXT. Old NXT sensors should work ok, but EV3 sensors will not work on NXT bricks. Usb slave connection is "mini" type this time.

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On left side is slot for Micro-SD cards (used for storing programs and possibly data from data logger) and USB host port. It supports Wifi dongle (not included) and possibly other peripheral devices.

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Right side is empty, with exception of slits, possibly for louodspeaker. Sound is improved compared to previous version, but its still nothing special.

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Ev3 brick takes six AA batteries. Rechargable battery will be available, but there was memo from TLG few days back about some problems, so I recommend to wait with purchase until this is solved.

Bluetooth is present and it even has special modes for ipad/iphone/ipod. It requires special application, which is not online yet, so I was not able to try it. Instructions suggest that it could contain 3d instructions for included models and enables us to remote control them.

Brick runs LINUX, which is probably why it needs so much time to start (3o seconds or so). What is strange, is that it needs almost the same amount of time to power down.

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Other interesting stuff:

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In upper part we see two "large" motors. They are identical to those from NXT, just with different design. They work as servo motors and user can adjust angle, speed and power of rotation and get angle from integrated sensor.

Bottom left is another very useful addition: "medium" motor. Its similary sized to PF-L motor, and it has all functions as "large" motors. It also seems to be able to spin a little faster (and is probably not so powerful).

Next to it is touch sensor. Again, with exception of design, it same as NXT version. It can detect "presed", "non pressed" and "bump" modes.

In the middle is colour sensor. Its also similar to previous one from NXT. It detects seven different colours and it can measure light intensity.

Bottom right are IR remote/beacon and IR receiver. Remote takes two additional AAA batteries and it works similar to PF remote control. It has four channels and two up/down buttons which gives us option of controling eight motors. I tested compatibilty between PF and NXT and it didnt work, but there are some reports on EB that it should, so I will try again. It can also work as beacon and for that it has toggle switch and status LED.

IR receiver is similary shaped to ultrasonic sensor from edu version or NXT. It can measure distance to walls or object up to 70cm far. It can also measure distance and angle to IR beacon/remote with activated beacon switch. This can be used for "tracking" somthing or innovative option of remote control. Range is around 2 meters.

When both work as remote control, it can be done in two modes: via NXT-G programming, using remote to triger programed actions or movements. It has its own block and act as eight switches. Other mode is generic remote. You select "IR remote" option on Ev3 brick and you can remotly control two motors per channel (as seen on picture)

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Paper instructions are included for basic model.

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Program is preloaded in EV3 brick, so you dont need computer to start:

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Finished model is really basic and more of a testing rig for components. It can drive straight, turn and rotate "blades". It can also drive with remote control.

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Programming is also possible directly on the brick, but its not really useful, because of unlit screen and small resolution. It could come handy for quickly fixing something.

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For anything more, included software most be installed. Here is home screen. Most links dont work yet, but that shold change soon.

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There are five main builds: 3verstorm (large humanoid robot), Track3r (basic dual wheeled pod with different attachments, based on build from pritned instructions), Gripp3r (kind of "sitting" robot, which can carry stuff), R3ptar (snake like robot) and Spik3r (similar to one from nxt1). Each model has description and video:

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Build is modular, divided to "missions". You build, test and program each subassembly separately, which eases troubleshoting.

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Programming is similar to NXT, except that there is no connecting beam (blocks connect to each other directly). In bottom part you have colour coded groups of blocks for motors, sensor, logic, loops etc... I havent realy tried programming anything my own, so I will have postpone my opinion here.

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Blocks for sensors from education set are sadly not present. there is option to "import blocks" so I guees that we just have wait for them to become available.


That's it, for now. I started building Spik3r yesterday evening, but it was too late to finish. Please check in following days for descriptons of included builds.

First impressions:

Positive:

-compatibility to NXT
-standard colour
-additional motor port
-medium motor
-IR sensor and remote
-better software
-connection to mobile devices
-great design

Negativno:

-just three motors and three sensors included instead of higher price (they could add at least additional touch sensor)
-box, which is unusable for storing set
-unlit display
-long power up and power down times
-price. I know it sonds like ranting again, but after all this progress in technology one would assume that price could also be optimised or at least kept at same level.

Inventory from last page of instrucions (if you wish to order something)

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I would like to thank Jan Beyer and CEE team for making this preview possible.

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