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The latest update to the Bricktronics 6xAA Battery Holder mounting plate (v6) has been released. This version adds four new mounting holes for an alternate battery holder. Our original pick, Eagle Plastic Devices 12BH361A-GR (apparently a Mouser house-brand), has been sporadically out of stock in 2016, so we wanted to find a second source for this part. Memory Protection Devices BH36AAW (DigiKey part BH36AAW-ND) is a pretty good replacement, but has different mounting holes. Version 6 of this mounting plate adds those needed holes.

In the image below, the new design is shown on top, the middle is the original EPD battery holder mounted to the v4 mounting plate, and the bottom is the new MPD battery holder.

Download SVG and PDF of new design from our GitHub repository.

One of the most important motivations and goals of the recent Bricktronics Software libraries upgrades was to make it much easier to use the Bricktronics hardware and software with other boards besides the Arduino Uno and Arduino Mega 2560. To this end, we’ll be testing out the new libraries with a variety of other boards in the coming weeks, and we’ll post a update for each one. This time we are looking at using the Bricktronics Shield with the Arduino Leonardo, a 5v compatible board very similar to the Arduino Uno, but with a few important differences:

The Leonardo differs from all preceding boards in that the ATmega32u4 has built-in USB communication, eliminating the need for a secondary processor. This allows the Leonardo to appear to a connected computer as a mouse and keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port.

The ability to appear as a computer mouse or keyboard makes for a lot of cool possibilities! Want to make a simple LEGO keyboard? Use the BricktronicsButton library to read a series of touch sensors and type in different keystrokes for each sensor. You could use the mouse capability with the BricktronicsUltrasonic library to make a theremin-like mouse for your computer! (Actually I might have to make that mouse theremin someday, that sounds too cool to miss!)


Image credit: “Arduino Leonardo Front with headers” by Arduino LLC, licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0

Since the Leonardo is Rev3 compatible, put the I2C select switch in the “Rev3” position.


Unfortunately, while the Leonardo has dedicated Rev3 I2C pins, it also has the I2C signals on the D2 and D3 pins, which are used by both motor 1 and motor 2. This means that the bricktronics shield cannot use any motors without breaking the I2C communications with the on-board MCP23017 chip. However, it is still possible to use NXT and EV3 motors with the Arduino Leonardo using our new product the Bricktronics Motor Driver, currently in pre-release but available in our store. More details about this new product will be released in the next few weeks, but it lets you drive two NXT/EV3 motors with any 5 volt compatible, real-time microcontroller board.


If no motors are plugged in, the I2C communication to the MCP23017 chip work perfectly, meaning that sensors will work just fine. We have tested all currently-supported sensors on the Bricktronics Shield on the Leonardo, and they work great! If you are looking for a sensors-only Bricktronics solution, then the Bricktronics Shield is a fine choice, as well as the Bricktronics Breakout Boards.

We recently went through a significant refactoring of the Bricktronics software libraries for Arduino (and other platforms). The all-encompassing library was split into separate sub-libraries, one for each motor and sensor type, plus one library for the Bricktronics Shield and Megashield. We’re calling this new set of software libraries “Bricktronics v1.2”.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • Complete API documentation for each library
  • Addition of two new sensors: Color sensor and Light sensor
  • Addition of better PID control for motors, including position control, angle control, as well as brake/coast functionality
  • New examples for the new motor API functionality
  • Now easier to use the individual libraries with other platforms such as ChipKit, Teensy, etc
  • All library dependencies (such as required 3rd party libraries) are clearly mentioned in all examples and Readme files, including links and installation directions.

This is the list of the new individual Bricktronics software libraries. Unfortunately they are not compatible with the original libraries, but since they are better in every way, we strong recommend everyone upgrade to these new v1.2 libraries.

We still have more website updates to make, including new photos, new examples, new demonstration videos, and new hardware(!) but we want to let you know about the new software libraries because we’re really proud of them. Please let us know what you think in the W&L Forum.


New Project: Bricktronics Mini Tank

arduino, bricktronics, Lego Mindstorms EV3, mindstorms, Robotics, wayne and layne Commenti disabilitati su New Project: Bricktronics Mini Tank 

IMG_8868Build this simple rolling Mini Tank to learn how to combine Arduino microcontrollers with Lego Mindstorms robotics.

Read more on MAKE


(Mind)Storms are Brewing in the Shed

arduino, bricktronics, Lego Mindstorms, Robotics Commenti disabilitati su (Mind)Storms are Brewing in the Shed 

slide 20Think of the best pairing you know, be it chocolate and peanut butter, rainy days and good books, or the purr of an engine and the open road. Then, imagine pairing one of the best toys of your childhood, Legos, and the hobbyist toy of your adulthood, the Arduino microcontroller. Combined, these […]

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The Lego Standard: Combining Building Sets to Make Better Projects

arduino, bricktronics, LEGO, Makeblock, mindstorms, Robotics Commenti disabilitati su The Lego Standard: Combining Building Sets to Make Better Projects 

photoThe popularity of Lego has spawned a flood of third-party products that tie into the Lego ecosystem. The latest is Technic-compatible Makeblock beams.

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Bricktronics Breakout Board review by Xander at Bot Bench

bricktronics, kitbiz, LEGO, review Commenti disabilitati su Bricktronics Breakout Board review by Xander at Bot Bench 

Xander at Bot Bench wrote up a nice review of our Bricktronics Breakout Boards:

These adapters would definitely be indispensable if you’re planning to do any kind of tinkering with your Arduino and whatever NXT peripherals you had in mind.

I had a lot of fun putting them together and they plugged into the breadboard very easily and sat very snugly afterwards. They’re very reasonably priced at just $4 a piece. They come with the required 82K Ohm resistor, which you will need for the pull-up.

Read more:


New Bricktronics Updates!

bricktronics, LEGO, python, Raspi, webdev Commenti disabilitati su New Bricktronics Updates! 

Today at the Bay Area Maker Faire, we are announcing a couple of cool new projects we’ve been working on with the Bricktronics Kits.

1. Bricktronics Megashield – Build robots and contraptions! Experiment with mechatronics using Arduino and LEGO Mindstorms NXT! Our latest kit, the Bricktronics Megashield, to connect up to and to an Arduino Mega. Works with the standard LEGO NXT motors and the touch, ultrasonic, and color sensors. Uses the same easy-to-use software interface as the original Bricktronics Shield, but supports more motors and supports all types of sensors on all ports.


The Megashield is available for purchase at the Maker Faire this weekend, and is now available for purchase from the Wayne and Layne store!

2. Project codename “Trifrost” – We created a small python web framework for connecting local serial devices (such as an Arduino) to Linux computers (such as the RaspberryPi and the BeagleBone) to get real-time web dashboards and interactivity. This is still a work in progress, and we have tons of ideas for extending and enhancing it, so stay tuned.

3. Bricktronics + RaspberryPi = Awesome! – The Raspberry Pi and other low-cost embedded Linux single-board computers are all the rage these days! We combined an Arduino with Shields, and connected them to a RasberryPi, to create a high-power interactive robotics platform. Using a WiFi adapter and a tablet computer, you can use the touchscreen to wirelessly interact with the motors and sensors.


We also created a mobile robot platform, using a LEGO tank platform, an Arduino with Bricktronics Shield, and a Raspberry Pi. Again using the WiFi network connection and a tablet, you can wirelessly drive the tank and read the sensor values.


Once we get more hardware information about the upcoming LEGO Mindstorms EV, we’ll be working on a single-board solution for bringing the power of embedded Linux to LEGO Mindstorms electronics.

For more information about any of these cool projects, subscribe to our RSS feed, or check back in the future for more info.

Note: Wayne and Layne, LLC and our products are not connected to or endorsed by the LEGO Group. LEGO, Mindstorms, and NXT are trademarks of the LEGO Group.

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