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Todd's LEGO Mindstorms Personal-FAQ
Front of Mindstorms box
front of LEGO Mindstorms box
Back of Mindstorms box
back of LEGO Mindstorms box
Open cover of Mindstorms box
open cover of LEGO Mindstorms box
Inside of Mindstorms box
inside LEGO Mindstorms box
RCX
RCX photo
Other Unofficial LEGO Mindstorms Sites
General Topic Programming
Todd's LEGO General Information Page
What I've learned so far (in no particular order)...
Where to order Mindstorms in the United States.
I called the LEGO US office at 800-243-4870. Those residing in the US can also order it from LEGO's online catalog on the Tiger Direct storefront. The LEGO Mindstorms site leads directly to this store front.
Current Prices (November 1998) is US Dollars.
Robotics Invention System: $219.99. RoboSports: $49.99. Extreme Creatures. $49.99.
Part #, Price, & Shipping Information.
The Mindstorms part number is 9719. The list price was $200 USD in August 1998. My shipping cost was $19 USD. It was shipped via USPS (United States Postal Service) Priority Mail.
Time to deliver the product.
I ordered my kit on the evening of September 2 (Wednesday). It arrived on September 5 (Saturday).
Compatible PC Operating Systems
Windows 95 and NT (and probably 98). No support for Windows CE, Macintosh, Linux.
Power Source
6 AA batteries for the RCX. 9V for the Infrared transmitter. Alkaline batteries are recommended. No mention of pros or cons of rechargeable batteries. Non-polarized 9 to 12V A/C transformer input also available on RCX.
Default power down time
15 minutes. Can be set to between 1 and 99 minutes. Power down time can also be set to infinity. This is useful when using the optional A/C adapter.
Cable Interface
DB9-to-DB9 serial cable. DB9 to female-DB25 adapter provided.
Optimal distance between RCX and Infrared Transmitter
4 o 6 inches (approx. 10 to 15 cm). However, it is possible to communicate up to 90 ft (approx. 27m) using the Long-Range setting.
RCX features
Three input ports: Three gray 4-stud bricks above LCD labeled 1, 2, 3. Three output ports: Three black 4-stud bricks below LCD labeled, A, B, C. Four control buttons (View, On-Off, Prgm, Run). LCD display.
Number of built-in RCX programs
Five (5). These programs can be overwritten.
LEGO Mindstorms Membership Card
What is it? A card with a membership number to allow you access to special areas within the LEGO Mindstorms website.
Different Kits
Robotics Invention System, RoboSports, Extreme Creatures, Exploration Mars.
Inside Spirit OCX
News article posted to rec.toys.lego by Patrick R. Gili. Click here to read what Patrick found. More information can be found at Scott Holdren's Spirit.OCX web site. Information about creating a wrapper using Visual C++ 5 can be found in Bjarne Rene's newsgroup article linked here.
Extra Mindstorm Set Pieces
News article posted to rec.toys.lego by Dave Baum. Click here to read what Dave found.
Official LEGO Programmable Bricks Reference Guide
This is a link to LEGO's Technical Reference Document (467KB) and sample Visual BASIC project (4KB).
RCX Internals
Description and photos on Kekoa Proudfoot's web site.
Mindstorms Internals
Russell Nelson's description of LEGO Mindstorm internals
Description of Electronic Components
Ralph Hempel's description of Mindstorm's electronic components based on Kekoa's RCX photos.
Technical overview of the H-8/3297/3296/3294/3292 CPU.
Where to buy Dacta sensors for use with Mindstorms
Pitsco LEGO Dacta
From a Lapsed LEGOer: First Things I Needed to Learn...
  • How do the motors work? E.g, reversing the power connectors reverse the motor direction.
  • How do I create a stable motor enclosure/mount? Lots of trial and error.
  • How can I use the built-in RCX programs to quickly test ideas? I.e., concentrate on the LEGO aspect before starting to program.
RCX Instruction Type RCX Instruction Names
Program Block (Green Blocks) program program-name
Commands
(Green Blocks)
On, On For, Off, Set Power, Set Direction, Reverse Direction, Wait, Beep, Tone, Reset Counter, Add to Counter, Reset Rotation, Reset Message, Reset Timer, Send to RCX
Sensor Watchers
(Blue Blocks)
Touch, Light, Rotation, Temperature, Counter, Timer, RCX
Stack Controllers
(Red Blocks)
Check & Choose, Repeat, Repeat Forever, Repeat While, Wait Until
My Commands
(Yellow Blocks)
User created RCX functions
Test Panel Debugging feature

Lego Mindstorms