What is MINDSTORMS?
I will explain MINDSTORMS in the pieces that are inside the box. Click on each picture to go to where you can find it and buy it.
This is the NXT Brick. It is the brain of the robot. It is the processor that processes the commands that are given by the computer that you made through NXT-G or lab view or whatever programming language you used. The NXT Brick has 4 import sensors and 3 output/input commands ports.The NXT has a 32-bit microprocessor and flash memory. It also has a 100×60 pixel monochrome LCD display and four buttons. The buttons are used to navigate through the NXT menus. The NXT is powered by six AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack. It also has a speaker and can play sound files at sampling rates up to 8 kHz. The NXT has a firmware from 1.01 to the most recent up date 1.31. If you didn't have this, your robot would be as still as, well... a decoration. The NXT Brick also has a USB Port. You can either connect the NXT to the computer with a USB Cable or a Bluetooth chip. The NXT has via Bluetooth chip to allow wireless contention to another Bluetooth device (i.e.other NXT, Kinect, Wii, phone, computer...) . A black version of the brick was made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mindstorms System with no change to the internals. $177.99 at lego.com
The Black NXT
$344.28 at amazon.com but the only different change is that it is black.
DC Rechargeable Battery Pack
This is the NXT DC Rechargeable Battery. It replaces the 6 AA batteries that you need to power the NXT Brick. If you get this, you need to buy the charger too. $59.95 at Lego Education
LEGO Mindstorms Set #9833 Transformer/Charger
This Charger goes with the DC Rechargeable Battery pack it is $24.95 at Lego Education
The Retail Sensors
The Ultrasonic Sensor
The Ultrasonic Sensor (commonly known as US) comes with all the NXT sets and it has been By Far the best sensor added the the retail brand set. This is sensor has range of 0-100 inches but the closer the more accurate. We revealed two weaknesses of the Ultrasonic Sensor. The first issue is that it showed some areas where the sensor tends to measure 255 cm/100 in instead of the actual distance. The second even more important issue is the critical area in between 25 cm and 50 cm where the sensor has a high probability of returning the wrong value of 48 cm! But how does this sensor work? Well the sensor sends ulorta high pitch sound signals and records how long it takes them to reach and bounce back so you can see how there can be some problems. One the sensor can only tell the distance if the object is; hard with few jagged edges. that is really all it needs but that is a lot so cloth is a big one. But all in all this sensor is the best buy ever. $32.50 at lego.com
The Touch Sensor
The Touch Sensor is a true or false value sensor meaning that if it is pressed it is true and no then false. But on add on from the RCX is that it has a third value called bumped, what that is is if you tap the touch sensor it can tell. There is not much to this simple sensor it is compact and good to use only for machines not for a bumper. The Ultrasonic Sensor is what you need for a moving object, not a touch sensor. $18.99 at lego.com
The Light/Color/Distance sensor?
The newest sensor and the one with the most functions is the Color Sensor. But it is also a color lamp and light sensor. But how is it a Distance sensor? It is the most one that few people know about, well here If you think about the lego Light sensor, there are essentially three variables that determine the value The color or shininess of the surface. Since the LED is illuminating the surface, the more light that comes back the higher the value. White high, black low. The distance to the surface. If the surface is closer, more of the light from the LED makes it back into the sensor element so you get a higher value. And finally, the ambient light. This is especially true when the sensor is further away from the surface. In that case the illumination from the LED is usually relatively weak compared to the ambient light so the variation can be significant. So you can replace a ultrasonic sensor but this one will "see" the object around 3-4 inches before it encounters it. Color Sensor? The way it is a color sensor is a color sensor is it can't see the color like you and me but it measures the reflective light. It does this by having a tiny LED and when this LED shines the closest object will stop the light movement and the object will light up from the reflective light. So then the light sensor picks up how much red light is abundant and tell the color because each color object has a different reflective amount. Light Sensor? The light sensor is the basics that makes all the other sensors work. The light sensor takes the light from the outside world and tell it radiance. Color Lamp? if you notice there is R G B on the top of the LED well that big bulb is the LED with three different colors red blue green and those three colors can be programmed to light up but only one at a time. $34.95 at lego.com
The Sound Sensor
The sound sensor comes in the 1.0 set why? well really it didn't match expatiation, let me enplane. The sound sensor measures the sound not your voice so it can pick up readings of like; 23, 45, 67, 89 but no; yes, no, stop. so you can understand the problem but you can use it as a wait block such as " wait till sound is 50+ to make a right turn" but other than that there is not much else you can do. Why? this sensor has a lot of options i.e raw value, yes no... so on but why can't raw value help us? it is because if you want you robot to function even close to what you intended then you not going to plug in your raw value to motor power. Because the sound sensor measures the sound at very fast intervals so every .1 second your motor will be changing speed. so as you can see with out a modified version of this sensor it is not that helpful. $27.99 at lego.com
The Light Sensor
The light sensor is a one function sensor that came out before the 2.0 color sensor. It only does is measure light and reflective light. So users have tried to use this as a color sensor and have gotten it to work for the most part. But if you want to know how this works go to color sensor and look under light sensor and color sensor. $18.99 at lego.com
A Few New Sensors That Could Be Helpful
The Infrared Link
First all these sensors look the same. The Infrared Link sensor ( IR Link sensor) lets the Mindstorm NXT through this sensor communicate to the Powerfunctions IR receiver. The way you can understand this sensor is if only you know a little about the Powerfunctions items. Powerfunctions work by having a IR message sent by the IR remote. When the signal is reached it can be the blue or red motor, and which way it will go. But the NXT has Bluetooth not IR so this sensor lets the NXT use the IR signals and operate the motors. $54.95 at HiTechnic.com.
The NXT Gyro Sensor is a sensor that measures gravity and orients the robot. Its good for balancing and that's about it. The accelerometer is probably a better buy because it puts the robot in an xyz plane and orients the robot from there, so it can tell where the robot is facing, and has more programing options than a gyro sensor. I have had the Gyro and accelerometer but the accelerometer is better. But this sensor has other ups as I said self balancing but also a remote like a Wii it does the same thing. Although the Accelerometer is about the same it is your distinction which one you want. It is $54.95 at HiTechnic.com.
The dFlex sensor is a new one on all of you, but I have found it and it looks very nice and can come in handy. This sensor measures the bending of its cable such as the more you bend it the more different the number will be from the original. This sensor gives you a number from -90 to 180 such as -23 45 -3 89.... and backwards will give you a negative number and forwards will give you a positive number. It is $32.99 at Dexter industries
NXT Servo Motor/Rotation Sensor
If you are wondering why the Servo Motor is under the sensors category is because it is a sensor. This is a Rotation sensor it can measure -2147483647 - 2147483647 degrees/rotations NOT infinity because the NXT can handle only so much data and can get over loaded but this is not something you need to worry about. The motor has a torque of 16.7 N.cm well none of us know what that is (expect me) well that is right under four pounds! The rotation speed is 177 rpm unloaded with 12V but that is never true and impossible with the NXT so with 9V 117 rpm unloaded but that is never true so more or less 82 rpm and that is the average with little load. This is very big so it is hard to add (dd not ss) *none of you will ever get it* it to your models but over all it is the best motor LEGO has made.