Jim

BuWizz - High Performance LEGO Power Functions Controller and Battery

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After using the SBrick for half of a show linked to my iPhone, the one issue that I found was that the connection between my device and the train could be interrupted if I was pairing a bluetooth device on my iPad. Has the robustness of the connection between the receiver brick and the device powering the app been validated so that someone pairing a bluetooth headset does not cause you to lose connection with the train that is being controlled?

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The most we can do is use the best solutions available - and we are doing that. We use one of the top Bluetooth chips and we cooperate with a company who does only Bluetooth LE for a living (their solution's range is up to 120 m!).

With Bluetooth, there are no guarantees. So far we did not have issues you mention and we were running up to 10 BuWizz bricks in parallel (paired to various number of smartphones).

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Great device! I was looking for similar functionality.

I decided to back the project, but first tried to do basic due-diligence about the project leaders, and failed miserably.

I was unable to find any tangible info.

-- the BUWIZZ.COM site lists no contact info -- the contact page does not exist

-- on kickstarter, the individual who verified his identity for this project seems to live in NYC, while the bio claims the team is in Slovenia. Further, I could not find any info outside of kickstarter, corroborating his relationship to buwizz.

-- Also, the facebook link on the bio page points to someone else’s' facebook page.

Has anyone had more success verifying the veracity of this project?

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@dbk: thanks for your concern, the answers to all your questions are very simple:

1: Guilty; we did some page updates & deleted contact page by mistake. Now it works again. You can also contact us through messages & comments on KS or this forum.

2. True. You need a US bank account & social security number to receive funds from KS. We are using a US company for this. We have a business agreement with this person & his company to act as our representative on KS. We are based in Slovenia and KS does not support Slovenia. Other people for instance chose to go through UK, but we prefer USD instead of GBP as currency.

3. What someone else's page? One FB link points to my page (my name is listed on KS as team leader), the other points to my sub-page, dedicated to BuWizz project. My name and names of all other team members are listed on the project page. Please do Linkedin search for our profiles (we do not post direct links since we do not want to receive tons of cooperation offers from dubious vendors). It is my humble opinion Linkedin is a much better way of checking someone's level of professionalism than FB.

My Linkedin BuWizz Post.

Edited by Ron1

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This looks VERY interesting, and I have yet more questions :blush:

1) Apart from the horizontal and vertical sliders is it possible to have other options? For example:

A simple dial (useful for trains)

Toggle switches and push muttons, momentary and latching

A 2 way slider (so moving a slider up and down controls one motor, moving the same slider left and right controls a second motor),

One or more "gear shifters". This is a little tricky to explain but imagine a gear shifter gate with six gears or positions (this would control 3 motors, usually 3 servos, each servo connected to one of the 3 driving rings in a typical technic 6 speed gearbox for example) where if you tap once on the screen on first gear, the BuWizz moves one servo an keeps it in that position until another gear is selected. For example, tap the center of the gate to center all three servos. Tap reverse and servo one moves to the left. Tap first gear and servo one moves to the right. Tap 2nd gear and servo one automatically moves back to the center position and servo 2 moves to the left, and so on. You could also have a "flappy paddle" option.

2) Apart from switching directions Is it possible to have more customisation options over each of the channels, for example:

Setting upper and lower limits (this would set limits to how far a servo moves if you do not wish to have it move the full 90 degrees or limit the speed of a motor. This would be useful for a servo motor moving a drive ring (because you do not want the drive ring slider to move the full 90 degrees) of for when controlling a pneumatic valve (so you could set how far the valve moves in one direction whilst allowing it to go to it maximal position the other way, effectively being able to set how quickly a heavy boom comes down, from very slow and controlled to crashing down at full speed, when the slider is moved to it's limit),

Dead zone cancellation (again, tricky to explain, but imagine you have a servo connected to a steering mechanism that has a lot of mechanical slack or a pneumatic valve that has a large dead zone in the middle. By setting the deadzone cancellation setting, upon moving the slider by a pixel or two to the left for example, the servo will quickly move to the left to a desired amount depending on the dead zone setting, so it would take up all the mechanical slack of the steering mechanism or move the pneumatic valve right to the edge of it's dead zone if set correctly. Did that make any sense?)

3) Easily selectable steering modes:

Ok, so now imagine you have a monster truck or a tractor and you want it to have several steering modes, to do this you have 2 servos, one for steering each axle. In steering mode one you have regular steering (moving the slider operates only one servo motor which steers the front axle), In mode two you have 4 wheel steering (moving the slider now controls two servos in opposite directions which steers all 4 wheels), in mode 3 you have crab steering (moving the slider now moves both servos in the same direction, steering all 4 wheels the same way). It would be great to have a slider with a little toggle switch below it which would enable you to switch between steering modes on the fly. There could be other options for steering more axles using up to 4 servos, each moving by different amounts and in different directions, depending on the steering mode selected, all by moving one slider.

Did any of that make any sense?! :laugh:

Edited by allanp

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This looks VERY interesting, and I have yet more questions :blush:

1) Apart from the horizontal and vertical sliders is it possible to have other options? For example:

A simple dial (useful for trains)

Toggle switches and push muttons, momentary and latching

A 2 way slider (so moving a slider up and down controls one motor, moving the same slider left and right controls a second motor),

One or more "gear shifters". This is a little tricky to explain but imagine a gear shifter gate with six gears or positions (this would control 3 motors, usually 3 servos, each servo connected to one of the 3 driving rings in a typical technic 6 speed gearbox for example) where if you tap once on the screen on first gear, the BuWizz moves one servo an keeps it in that position until another gear is selected. For example, tap the center of the gate to center all three servos. Tap reverse and servo one moves to the left. Tap first gear and servo one moves to the right. Tap 2nd gear and servo one automatically moves back to the center position and servo 2 moves to the left, and so on. You could also have a "flappy paddle" option.

2) Apart from switching directions Is it possible to have more customisation options over each of the channels, for example:

Setting upper and lower limits (this would set limits to how far a servo moves if you do not wish to have it move the full 90 degrees or limit the speed of a motor. This would be useful for a servo motor moving a drive ring (because you do not want the drive ring slider to move the full 90 degrees) of for when controlling a pneumatic valve (so you could set how far the valve moves in one direction whilst allowing it to go to it maximal position the other way, effectively being able to set how quickly a heavy boom comes down, from very slow and controlled to crashing down at full speed, when the slider is moved to it's limit),

Dead zone cancellation (again, tricky to explain, but imagine you have a servo connected to a steering mechanism that has a lot of mechanical slack or a pneumatic valve that has a large dead zone in the middle. By setting the deadzone cancellation setting, upon moving the slider by a pixel or two to the left for example, the servo will quickly move to the left to a desired amount depending on the dead zone setting, so it would take up all the mechanical slack of the steering mechanism or move the pneumatic valve right to the edge of it's dead zone if set correctly. Did that make any sense?)

3) Easily selectable steering modes:

Ok, so now imagine you have a monster truck or a tractor and you want it to have several steering modes, to do this you have 2 servos, one for steering each axle. In steering mode one you have regular steering (moving the slider operates only one servo motor which steers the front axle), In mode two you have 4 wheel steering (moving the slider now controls two servos in opposite directions which steers all 4 wheels), in mode 3 you have crab steering (moving the slider now moves both servos in the same direction, steering all 4 wheels the same way). It would be great to have a slider with a little toggle switch below it which would enable you to switch between steering modes on the fly. There could be other options for steering more axles using up to 4 servos, each moving by different amounts and in different directions, depending on the steering mode selected, all by moving one slider.

Did any of that make any sense?! :laugh:

Nice ideas!

I have just the same thought about steering with a few servos:)

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Here's my take on stress testing the BuWizz. I had a singled day to compee up with a motor that uses 4 RC motors in order to throughly test the performance in real-life outdoor envoirment.

As you can see the perfromance is really impressive, this solution feeds the needy RC motors with the required power to propell this model with massive Power Puller tyres over all kinds of terrain with a low gear ratio of only 1:5.

Personally I was trully impressed with the perfromance you get from such a small product. Only gripe for me are the touchscreen controls, but I am pretty sure in time the product will be compatible with bluetooth controllers.

Meeting, testing and recording with Roni was an awesome experience, we also learned a lot from these practical tests. Cant wait to try a finished version :sweet:

Edited by Zblj

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Wow, one BuWizz and 4 buggy motors???

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Wow, one BuWizz and 4 buggy motors???

We used two units in this test, because we needed steering outputs too.

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We used two units in this test, because we needed steering outputs too.

Did you connect all 4 RC motors to one unit?

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Here's my take on stress testing the BuWizz.

.....................

Cant wait to try a finished version :sweet:

You are the exactly right tester, well demonstrated :thumbup: ! Finally I do have some buggy motors now and really looking forward to the developement. I´m sure it will satisfy our needs for motorized heavy duty applications way better than SBrick and/or lame performance of PF.

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Now I really want one of these... The performance in fast mode is insane! :drool:

Edited by Offroadcreat1ons

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We used two units in this test, because we needed steering outputs too.

is it possible to connect 3 buggy motors + Servo to one unit? will it work OK with load?

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Did you connect all 4 RC motors to one unit?

We used 2 RC motors per unit. I am not sure about 3 or 4 RC motors per unit, I think Roni is THE person to answer that.

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We used 2 RC motors per unit. I am not sure about 3 or 4 RC motors per unit, I think Roni is THE person to answer that.

That is enough for me, thanks:) Thanks for testing, now I will buy second RC motor for sure.

However, if Roni answer whether BuWizz can power up to 4 RC motors, that would be nice.

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@allanp: short answer: yes, yes & yes :classic:

Long answer:

1) 2-way slider: yes, we call this a joystick :wink:

Gear shifter: yes, we call this multiposition switch. You will be able to define how many positions you want (probably 2..6) and for each position you will be able to assign several output channels and set the output value for each of them. This will all work across several BuWizz bricks. On-screen control will be a multiposition switch (you select positions directly) and/or +/- (paddle) switch. Practical example: 6 gear sequential gearbox, 3 servos: for each switch position and each servo you will be able to select the BuWizz brick, channel and desired servo position (-7..+7)

We are using the most basic version of this switch (one servo, 2 positions) in our videos - 8448 convertible roof opening/closing, railroad crossing barrier movement.

2) Some of us come from RC world, where all the options you mentioned were implemented decades ago (first as mechanical/electronic mixers, later with computer controls). We plan to do: servo travel limit (you set both limits of servo travel; servo does not move beyond that point), exponential & dual rate controls (i.e. several non-linear steering options, where servo does not move linearly with input but according to customizable steering curve)

"Slack steering" good idea! we will implement this - for instance, software knows current servo position and the last movement. If you move servo in same direction, there is no slack. If you move it into opposite direction, you add a certain number (customizable) of steps. What do you think? The only problem is, the servo only has 15 positions (7 left, 7 right, center) so each step is fairly large - about 13 degrees.

Another thing we will add now that we are testing Zblj's superfast cars: speed steering. We will limit maximum steering output depending on speed setting. For instance: 0-1/2 speed servo moves -7..+7, 1/2-3/4 speed: -4..+4, 3/4-full speed: -2..+2

With very fast speeds we are testing now, you do not want maximum steering output - bad things can happen (think broken bricks) :wink:

Not unlike driving a car on a highway, where you also turn the steering wheel only slightly :classic:

3) 4 wheel steering modes with 2 servos: yes, we will implement this. Can be a manual setting or automatic, based on speed - i.e. at low speed rear wheels steer in opposite direction to get smaller turning radius, at high speed they steer in the same direction, but only a small angle (maybe just +/- one position of servo) - think the real Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

4) we are already testing several other options - we will post an update soon!

Now the RC motor questions:

We are still testing, but we can only claim one BuWizz can drive 2 RC motors for sure in the fastest speed mode. Nothing bad will happen if you drive 3 or 4 motors, but you will not get the maximum performance since one of the internal protections will trip (thermal, maximum current, battery protection,...).

We are, however, considering an updated BuWizz version, which could drive up to 4 RC motors! We are eager to hear your feedback on this one!

Edited by Ron1

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Impressive performance! I need definitely few of the BuWizz batteries for me. Can I get one/two for testing? :*

I need it necessarily:

Max

Edited by MaxSupercars

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Love the performance on these beasts, nice!

Too bad I missed out on the early bird, shipping @ $25 is a bit much :/

Edited by Mega-l0-maan

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@MaxSupercars: unfortunately we have a very limited number of prototypes and loads of interested testers-to-be. We will do our best to accommodate all, but this means you will need to wait a bit.

@Mega-l0-maan and all EU supporters:

The $25 is not just shipping, it also covers part of VAT for EU supporters (who are not VAT registered entities). From the $189 2x early bird we need to pay $34 VAT at 22% Slovenian rate, leaving us with just $155. Due to KS being in denial VAT even exists, we had to come up with some solution and we decided to cover at least half the VAT costs and "hide" the rest into shipping charge. The other options (shipping from outside EU for instance) would be simple for us, but difficult for supporters - all EU deliveries would need to go through local customs & duties would have to be paid (local VAT + customs + handling fee) - far in excess of the $15 extra we are charging now. Please read the FAQ on KS page, where this is explained.

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@Ron1: What I wonder is adding more motors makes the battery drain faster. Wouldn't it make more sense to stay with 2 RC motors and endurance to the battery instead? Well at least that is what I would expect from such a device!

As you may know I build truck and trailer scale models and what I mention above is what these models require. Extra power, yes please!!! In de end endurance is needed as well... :classic:

BTW cool product with cool features! :thumbup::wub:

@ Zblj: You did an incredible job and really put it to the test...thanks! :thumbup:

Edited by 2LegoOrNot2Lego...

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In Zblj video It looks quite a game changer.

Do you have any future plans if everything goes well with BuWizz? I know it is a premature question but perhaps you got some ideas already...

I am thinking about motors be it compact, powerful, small or toroidal, current Lego offerings are weak, heavy and bulky.

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We have future plans & quite a few ideas for follow-up products, but we need to get this one out first.

A hint: more videos from Zblj with his awesome models are coming ;-)

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Great looking product (I'm still on the fence as I will be moving when the will be shipping units out t backer) but oh man...if this passes there goes the price of buggy motors :hmpf_bad:

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