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NXT anniversary

Discuss anything and everything. Keep it clean (or else).

Re: NXT anniversary

Postby savedcoder » 15 Jun 2011, 18:20

Well, here's my story:

I have been playing with Legos all my life. My first set belonged to my Mom when she was a girl.

Unlike several users here, I learned computer programming first. I think I was eleven when I started. A year or two later (I think...), I attended an event where one of the activities was programming an RCX to do something. (I forget what.) I loved it! After that, I attended several other events where I worked with Lego robots, and I was hooked!

I decided that I wanted an NXT. So, after months (probably half a year or more) of saving my paper-route pay, I bought an NXT 1.0 on E Bay for $10 less than the retail price and free shipping. After what seemed like years, it finally arrived, and I raced up to my room to unpack it. I built Tribot later that day, then had to wait two days to program it, because my computer didn't have XP sp. 2. :lol: (Why is that even required?! :x )

As a programmer already, I was disappointed with NXT-G. It was slow, buggy and inefficient. It wasn't long before I was looking up NXC. I tried to write my next few programs in NXC, but (probably due to my mistakes) they didn't work very well. So I went back to NXT-G. Around this time, I had been thinking about combining my computer programming with the NXT. The headers for the fantom were in c(++) and I only used FreeBASIC, but I managed to make a FreeBASIC compatible one. After writing a few simple battery and sensor monitoring tools, I decided to write a complete replacement for the tools in NXT-G.

NeXT Commander was born. After a month or so of work, I reached the point where I didn't have the skills to continue. NeXT Commander was put on hold for a year. After that, with the skills I had learned working on some other projects, I was ready to continue. After being halfway rewritten, NeXT Commander EDIT: ( was never released.) was placed on SourceForge.

Today, I still have only one NXT 1.0. I have upgraded it with a rechargeable battery pack and the LeJOS firmware (I'm slowly learning Java), but other than that, not much has changed. I still love Mindstorms!
Last edited by savedcoder on 17 Jun 2011, 15:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NXT anniversary

Postby mattallen37 » 15 Jun 2011, 20:05

I have been playing with legos my whole life as well. For a while I just played with all the parts that my older brothers had collected, which was quite a pile (or so I thought then). Until I was about 10 I rarely got sets to add to the pile. Then in mid 2004, I got really interested in the Technic line. I started saving money, and that fall, Lego released 8464. I wanted it so much. I was able to order it, but before it arrived, I was able to get 8435 locally for 50% off ($25). So, I got both sets within a couple days, and absolutely loved them. That Christmas, I got the large pneumatic backhoe (8455). Since those three sets, I have slowly grown my technic collection. I think I have about 20 sets, as well as many other parts I have gotten along the way.

I got my first RCX in Dec 2006. It was just the RCX brick itself, no other electronics with it. In Feb 2007, I got 2 motors, two touch sensors, RXC Code CD, serial IR tower, and a remote. You better believe it, I was hooked! I could now make anything I wanted, it would do anything I wanted, and it was all lego! Since then I have bought a zillion more RCXs. I noticed there were occasionally RCXs that didn't work that were being sold on eBay for <$15. I figured there must be a reason why they didn't work, and there must be a fix to them. I got a lot of 4 broken ones, and fixed all but 1. I sold 2, and that more than paid for the 1 good one I kept, and the 1 broken one I wasn't able to fix. I got (in total) about 16 broken RCXs, and only have two broken ones today (both the same model BTW). Last I counted, I think I have bought a total of about 25 RCXs, and have sold about 15 (I gave one to my younger brother). I now have 8, plus 2 broken ones that I take parts from.

I got my first NXT set in Jan 2009. It was set 8527. Late 2009, I started using BCC, but only to program the RCX's (in NQC). It wasn't until mid Feb 2010 that I started using NXC. That was right about the same time I joined NXTasy, and also got my second NXT set; 9797. Since then, I have switched to only using NXC for the NXT. Sometime in there, I got a PSP-Nx and a couple HT accel sensors. Now I have 6 NXTs, of which 4 are complete (or almost complete) sets.

It was slightly before I got my first RCX that I started playing with electronics. My uncle is an EE, so for months I called him several times a week to ask questions. He would also send me parts (I had no idea you could buy that type of thing online). It wasn't long after I got the RCX that I started mixing them :D I still remember my first Electronics + RCX project; a line follower. I didn't have a light sensor at the time, so I used a photoresistor and a lego lamp. It actually worked very well. I read the sensor using a temperature RCX Code "block". Now I not only use analog and logic electronics, but also digital, and you better believe I interface them with the NXT ;)

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Re: NXT anniversary

Postby kirkpthompson » 16 Jun 2011, 23:37

Well, My sister had Legos when we were young but those bricks got kinda boring for me. I liked Tinkertoys and the Erector set in that I could build machines. In 2007-2008 (don't remember exactly), while attending a trade show sponsered by National Instruments (who developed NXT-G with Lego, based on NI LabView), they had a NXT set on display (and finally door-prized to someone) which I though was entirely cool! I had to have one!

I searched and got a set off Amazon and the fun began. I started out with the NXT-G language but the IDE was buggy and pretty limited (I am a software developer by trade) but it got me going. I would lose hours of time to the joy of mechanical design and software development! The more I searched online, the more I found out that there is a HUGE fanbase of Lego enthusiasts (I had no idea) and since Lego opensource the NXT, I could use different programming languages! I now use LeJOS to work with my NXTs.

I have bought a few Technic sets (crane, tractor, some space/mars theme vehicle with minifigures, etc. Don't know the #s) for fun (and parts!) and gotten another NXT set off ebay. Sometimes I laugh at the expressions i get when people ask what my hobbies are: "I play with Legos". I guess that's funny when an "old" guy says it...

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Re: NXT anniversary

Postby dimasterooo » 18 Jun 2011, 17:47

I'm most like your regular NXT user. I'd been playing with technic for a while when the NXT comercials hit the tube (I never herd a thing about RCX before that). I got the set for my birthday (must've been about 4-4.5 years ago), and started making the included robots, deadly afraid of combining mindstorms with my regular technic pieces because I didn't want to get them mixed up (strange...). Then, when NXT-G started to get annoying and hard to work with, I kinda quit for a while.
A youtube video got me back into mindstorms about a year after, when I moved to Germany. So I owe Basmac quite a lot for making his NXTified theatre. I made a replica, and baught my first third party sensor from HiTechnic: the IR link, to cpmtrol the things pf motors. Eventhough I never got it to work, it got me into mindstorms again, ajd I started following famous blogs like NXTStep and I'd rather be building robots.
Now I've got my own blog (one year anniversary was about a week ago), and program in RobotC. these other stories are rly inspiring!
- Leon Overweel (aka. dimastero/ dimasterooo)

My blog: http://www.leonoverweel.com
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