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LEGOs and micro:bits

Many moons ago, in a SparkFun chair not so far away, I sat down and built a LEGO WALL-E. It was my first week here, and I knew almost no one in the building. This guy stopped by and asked me what I was doing, thus launching a 20-minute geek-out session about LEGOs, hobby motors, all the fun hacks that were possible, and why my toolkit included purple eyebrow tweezers (for real, they are great for fine board work). Turns out, that guy was our founder Nate – pretty much the coolest intro to a company ever.

WALL-E unfortunately sat on my desk for months, staring at me forlornly until I couldn't take it anymore.

wall-e's plaintive look

Cue up the DC motors, serial-controlled motor driver and micro:bits. Inspired by Bobby's micro:bit tutorial here, I set about rebuilding the innards of my LEGO bot to give myself more space for boards and the like. The kit and instructions are amazing; I may have uttered some impolite words about my ineptitude at reverse engineering said kit.

Wall-E's innards

Even with the additional space, I had to downsize everything. I had wanted to use the moto:bit, but with the space issues, there was no way. Instead I used the serial-controlled motor driver and powered the motors with two LiPos in series, using the LiPo Charger/Booster - 5V/1A. The micro:bit got hooked up to our SparkFun micro:bit Breakout and set up as a backpack. I used the gamer:bit as a controller to send wireless commands to WALL-E.

Wall-E's backpack!

I got a nice surprise when I found that the moto:bit and the serial-controlled motor driver both use the same chip, so the MakeCode I wrote for the moto:bit in prototyping still worked just fine.

Driving Wall-E Around

At some point in the future I might add sound, but I may need to do a complete rebuild of the bot for an MP3 trigger and speaker. For now, he'll drive around and deliver candy to my co-workers, especially as they did not call me out on all my impolite words.

Have you used our boards to hack your LEGO kits? Or do you have other bot projects you used our boards for? Tell us in the comments!

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from SparkFun: Commerce Blog


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