Lego’s Mindstorms NXT is a great product, you can build robots very quickly, it’s fun, you don’t have to be an expert to get started. But when you aim to build bigger contraptions, it starts to get challenging because of the limitations in place.

Pros/Cons about NXT

These are mine, and mine only:



The Lego Technic is great for building, parts get mounted very easily. The NXT Intelligent Brick is limited in power and RAM.
You can also use Power Function parts The NXT Brick is also limited in term of I/O (4 inputs, 3 outputs ports).
The NXT Servo are great There are plenty of programming language, but when it comes to simplicity, performance, modernism and good environment: nothing beat Microsoft’s .Net.
NXT Sensors and third parties part are good quality  

For me the weakest link is the number of I/O ports the NXT offers, you can buy some Multiplexers and Controllers but it’s pretty expensive and it doesn’t scale that much.

My solution

Replace the NXT Intellignet Brick with a .NET Micro Framework Controller board and get to work ! (because integrating both world won’t be seamless)

The .Net Micro Framework (aka NETMF) gives me:

  • A slightly better CPU : Lego is 32-bits ARM @ 48MHz, NETMF is 32-bits ARM @ 72MHz.
  • Same or more RAM: Lego is 256KB Flash & 64KB RAM, NETMF boards are between from 148KB to 3MB on Flash and 62KB to 12MB on RAM.
  • A lot more I/O: forget the 4 input ports of NXT, now you can reach 50 easily.
  • Motor power: with NETMF you can plug H-bridge based card to control powerful motors for your contraptions.
  • More and cheaper hardware.
  • .net programming under Visual Studio 2010, yeah!

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