Build robots and contraptions! Experiment with mechatronics using Arduino and LEGO Mindstorms NXT!
Use the Bricktronics Shield Kit to connect up to two LEGO NXT motors and four LEGO NXT sensors to an Arduino.
All you need to do is solder the kit (if you don't get the pre-assembled version), download the easy-to-use Arduino library, check out the examples, and start building!
We have many more video examples with code and instructions.
The kit contains a Bricktronics Shield printed circuit board, six custom injection-molded NXT-compatible sockets, five long jumpers, two female four-pin headers, two 0.1 uF ceramic capacitors, two TIP120s, a DPDT switch, a 6mm push button, two 100 kΩ resistors, two 1 kΩ resistors, a 100 uF electrolytic capacitor, a 10 uF electrolytic capactitor, two 1N4001 diodes, a MCP23017 I2C I/O expander, a L293D H-Bridge chip, a 28-pin DIP socket, and headers to connect to your Arduino.
The contents are also listed and explained individually on the Parts List portion of the Bricktronics Shield project page.
The Bricktronics Shield can be purchased in two kit configurations-- Pre-assembled, or as a solder-it-yourself kit.
If you are interested in working with non-NXT sensors and motors, or just want to be able to plug wires into your Arduino even when a shield is attached, then it may be useful to install "stacking headers" instead of the standard male headers when assembling your kit. The Bricktronics Shield PCB also includes a row of holes adjacent to each row of header pin connections (which work well with standard 0.1" female headers), for making temporary or permanent electrical connections to the Arduino. However, be aware that the Bricktronics Shield uses almost all the Arduino pins for various functionality (pin-use listing available here), so there are not many free pins left. However, some pins (notably D0 and D1) are unused, which enables the use of chips and shields that only use pins 0 and 1 (serial port RX/TX) or only use the I2C pins (I2C allows multiple chips per bus).
The Bricktronics Shield Kit connects an Arduino to LEGO NXT motors and sensors. Arduino, motors, sensors and NXT cables are not included. The Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set includes three motors, two touch sensors, one color sensor, one ultrasonic sensor, and a variety of NXT cables.
Motors need more power than can be supplied by a USB cable. You typically want about 600 mA per motor, but up to 1000 mA peak per motor. Our 9V 2A wall adapter works great, but any 2.1mm 9V adapter with at least 1.3A should work. If you want to power your creations on the go, our 6 AA battery pack works well.
If you don't buy the pre-assembled version, the Bricktronics Shield Kit is a through-hole soldering kit. It requires basic soldering skill. At a minimum, you'll need a soldering iron, solder, and a diagonal cutters. Clear instructions are available at the Bricktronics Shield project webpage.
It usually takes under an hour to build, but it may take more or less time depending upon your experience with soldering.
This kit is open source hardware. We make the hardware source files like the schematic and the pcb files available for anyone to use as long as they credit us and release any modifications as open source hardware. The schematic and pcb files are available on the Bricktronics Shield download page.
When you're finished building the kit, let us know how it went! We use feedback to improve future versions of our kits, and the warm fuzzies help us make more kits! Let us know in the forum or via email.
A portion of the profits of this kit go to John Baichtal, an author of the Make: Lego and Arduino Projects book.
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.