Jim

BuWizz - High Performance LEGO Power Functions Controller and Battery

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A backer here. 9 days left and I'm starting to worry. As an AFOL, I don't think there's anything in the product that would prevent success. I think it's visibility. You should take every action you can to increase it and let people know you are there. You are not getting enough followers in Facebook and you are in Instagram with zero posts.

There's a 9000 people Lego Technic group in Facebook that has SBrick stuff all over it. I browsed a few pages but could not find anything from you. I know these groups are not very fond of manufacturers coming in and advertising. But maybe someone who's active there could share your campaign again to put up a fight with SBrick there?

I think it's more than just visibility.

For me personally for example, I like that the sBrick has the same size as a normal Lego IR receiver. That way, I can take someone's IR based MOC and build it without any modifications but do use my sBrick.

And besides that, for the prize of 1 BuWizz, I can buy 2 sBricks (which account for 8 motors or 4 IR receivers, Lego's own maximum which means I can control almost ALL mocs with sbricks). I think a lot of people find the prize too high (I'm not saying it's a wrong prize for what you get, I mean the absolute costs, not the relative).

That being said, I do see the potential of the BuWizz. Although I haven't bought one (my Lego budget is almost empty at the moment), I might in the future :classic:

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I also see potential in it, and I must admit I am amazed by the performance. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Still, there is too much disadvantage for me - similar to Sbrick: namely all the peripherial devices. Too much additional cost and IT buzzing for a simple user like me.

I am an oldschool guy in that way, I just want to turn the model on, and go. I saw Sbrick models live, for me just killing the fun till everything runs ok (app, device1, device 2, "who doesn't switched off his own? :angry:"). and meanwhile I was already enjoying the track with my regular IR setup... :classic:

The whole package should be combined with physical controller unit, like the Lego IR one (maybe exact same shape), only with automatic BT activation, and linear control switches instead of digital 0-1.

I imagine like this: turning the BuWizz unit ON will wake up the controller. Or / and in case signal lost, there must be a dedicated "Search" button which connects the controller unit with active BuWizz. Sounds reasonable, and super user-friendly, so I assume it would be hell lot of work to do. :grin:

I hope, this feedback just will improve the product, fingers crossed for You!

p.s.: no offense against Sbrick, I like their product too, but also please consider a controller like above. :wink:

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A physical controller is a must at some point, I agree. But you have to start somewhere, and the basic infrastructure is in place with Buwizz.

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I will pick up my BuWizz later today. This means I will do some testing tomorrow and post my findings.

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After watching the test videos from ZBLJ I finally got interested in this and have a few questions about things that I am not sure :

-Which will be the final price for the BuWizz?

-Will the red version be available or it is just a prototype?

-In the case the red version is also available: will it be a sold separately case or it will be factory made?

Also,what about constant power outputs?

Example: I build a car and apart from RC functions it has PF lights activated with a switch inside the car.I would need to install another bb, right?

Sorry if that was already answered before,couldn't find it.I wish you guys to success on this campaign, unfortunately I am < 18 and my parents did not let me back on it

Edited by LXF

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I will pick up my BuWizz later today. This means I will do some testing tomorrow and post my findings.

Looking forward to it as well... Curious what you think of it! :-)

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This High performance PF system looks neat. I like the compact design. The Speed setting is an interesting idea and is certainly worth using. Looking forward to more see already seen some great stuff. Are we going to see it fly?

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After watching the test videos from ZBLJ I finally got interested in this and have a few questions about things that I am not sure :

-Which will be the final price for the BuWizz?

-Will the red version be available or it is just a prototype?

-In the case the red version is also available: will it be a sold separately case or it will be factory made?

Also,what about constant power outputs?

Example: I build a car and apart from RC functions it has PF lights activated with a switch inside the car.I would need to install another bb, right?

Sorry if that was already answered before,couldn't find it.I wish you guys to success on this campaign, unfortunately I am < 18 and my parents did not let me back on it

Hi, im Žiga from the team.

The price. It sure won't get lower, but we do not intend to raise it after the campaign.

The red version is an idea. As many AFOLS who follow BuWizz campaign know, BuWizz is an idea coming to life. We know we can make it, tested and confirmed, but colors are not set yet. Waiting to see how last 6 days of campaign will proceed and see what the result is. I'm afraid though BuWizz is coming in one color only. Unspecified which.

If the red BuWizz is born, it will come as a complete product.

BuWizz combines the technology to control motors, lights and other different functions from one brick. But one brick has 4 outs, so i guess i reccomend buying two. Most AFOLS did just that.

Thank you and everyone here. Our campaign is your campaign.

Are we going to see it fly?

As much as i'd like to tell, Roni would bury me if i told you what to expect next.

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Hi, im Žiga from the team.

The price. It sure won't get lower, but we do not intend to raise it after the campaign.

Thanks for the answers!

So around 120 € per unit ?

Edited by LXF

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Thanks for the answers!

So around 120 € per unit ?

With discounts for certain coupons or codes, and discounts on buying more. But no numbers will be definite untill we are successful 6 days from now.

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Whelp, went ahead and backed for 2 units. Hopefully it will make it! Only 4 days left and still need $9300. I think the stretch goals were announced a little late so I'm not holding my hopes up for Ludicrous speed :cry_sad:

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I think the timing of the Kickstarter project is not ideal. Summer holidays and 2nd half 2016 sets becoming available, make spending 180 Euros on 2 BuWizz units difficult to justify, at least for me.

Good luck!

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The Ludicrous setting looks excellent. I do not think you will reach founding goal, however...please prove me wrong, I am very interested in this project!

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Ironically, the fact that so much power can be derived from one BuWizz makes me far less inclined to back it for two of them... but I do want this to succeed and I wouldn't mind putting a bit more towards the funding goal, up to what I would have paid for one BuWizz if it could already be purchased.

As for the timing, I seem to remember SBrick's Kickstarter launching late May/early June 2014, so it's not a huge difference. Of course, SBrick didn't have the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Bucket Wheel Excavator, Claas Xerion and Volvo EW160E as competitors for AFOLs' cash!

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Hi all,

Thanks for all your support and very positive response to BuWizz.

@agrof: Our Android app already has automatic setup: you start the app, if you have just one buWizz everything is setup automatically. you can of course change the setup (=which control for which output, etc.). We will have Gamepad support from the start (Android gamepad for starters, planned dedicated gamepad support later). Incidentally: nobody below 25 who tried BuWizz is missing any sort of "gamepad" (those kids have the smartphone almost as part of their body), it's only us older geezers or the ones used to model airplanes/helicopters/quadcopters who miss physical controls.

Regarding Ludicrous mode, color options, etc: we do have stretch goals set up for those options :-)

Retail price: we feel Kickstarter price is very favorable considering all benefits BuWizz brings (the two for $199 pledge). Planned retail price is HIGHER than KS price. Please consider again all features and use cases of BuWizz compared to other solutions, especially at $199 for 2 units.

Regarding campaign: Yeah, we knew in advance timing was not perfect. We wanted to run the campaign earlier, but were delayed and not keen to start even later...

One of the main problems we have is lack of media coverage - not that we did not try very hard for this; makes one consider possibility of a big brother blocking coverage ;-)

@Jay Psi: Jul 14 - Aug 13 2014

Now enough of this whining ;-)

Project is not dead yet. Only 8k is still missing and 4 days to go. Please help us do one final push! Spread the word (tell your friends, your LuG, share BuWizz on FB, LI, Instagram, Twitter,...) and, well, re-purpose your LEGO budgets a bit - the Porsche and H2 sets will be available for many months to follow, while, sadly, we will not be able to make BuWizz happen without successful Kickstarter...

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I wrote the following post with an misunderstanding of "Strechted Goals" - sorry for this.

Therefore the most addressed topics were (of my post) for me) irrelevant, but as Ron1 wrote an answer I think it's a good choise to keep it.

Is there any specific timeline? I mean you started the KS project with an "Buwizz" which has(had) specific features.

Now there where stretched goals, more features for the first "market version", ... so what is your plan? (more features may have an impact on the timeline and/or price)

(independently from the current state that it doesn't look good for reaching the goal on KS.)

Example - regarding the Price, a few days ago you wrote:

The price. It sure won't get lower, but we do not intend to raise it after the campaign.

OK I can understand that it won't get lower, but today (only a few days later) it seems be sure that the price is higher (Features?)

So actually I am lost in my thoughts, I am not sure if I am happy with the "on-going things" (of course, you don't have to care about my feeling :-)).

At the Moment there were a lot of variables, my opinion more as on the start of the KS project, so I am not able to see, which features the product, which I support, has or maybe not.

Edited by Lion1984

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@Lion1984: BuWizz will have the features as described in KS, i.e.: slow-normal-fast mode, single color option, 4 channels, 4 pin holes, etc.. Timeline is also clear: delivery in November for early birds, December for the rest.

Advanced features (transparent upper housing, Ludicrous speed mode, color options, USB connectivity) are stretch goals. I think this is defined in KS clearly - if not, please let me know.

Since at this moment it is not even clear we will reach the basic goal, we can not really commit to any of the additional features - we need your support for additional development as hinted many times ;-)

Regarding price: Žiga was a bit unclear. He was referring to pre-order phase (which we are thinking about doing). When BuWizz becomes a product, the planned retail price is higher than Kickstarter pledges, but retail won't happen until the product is ready to be sold, which is planned to be 5 months down the line.

Edited by Ron1

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@Lion1984: BuWizz will have the features as described in KS, i.e.: slow-normal-fast mode, single color option, 4 channels, 4 pin holes, etc.. Timeline is also clear: delivery in November for early birds, December for the rest.

Advanced features (transparent upper housing, Ludicrous speed mode, color options, USB connectivity) are stretch goals. I think this is defined in KS clearly - if not, please let me know.

Since at this moment it is not even clear we will reach the basic goal, we can not really commit to any of the additional features - we need your support for additional development as hinted many times ;-)

Regarding price: Žiga was a bit unclear. He was referring to pre-order phase (which we are thinking about doing). When BuWizz becomes a product, the planned retail price is higher than Kickstarter pledges, but retail won't happen until the product is ready to be sold, which is planned to be 5 months down the line.

I posted about buwizz on Reddit, hoping I can help out!

As far as social media, though, it doesn't seem like BuWizz is doing any work to get their product out.

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Thanks for the reddit post,

there have been publications and were working on groups with a low budget of input.

But hey, just for kicks i'm going to mention something. The media startles me. I believe many people other than myself tipped off all of the tech/crowdfunding related media. I also went toys/LEGO/geek/hipster/lifestyle media. The news was unpublished, even remotely, even by accident.

There is a large scope of small media that litterally copypastes kickstarter projects. Although some published, and i got a response from a NY senior editor at a nice magazine i like to read, but still no action.

If Techno Buffallo posts a short blurb about us, we're in. But as it seems, not summery enough or something.

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Thanks for the reddit post,

there have been publications and were working on groups with a low budget of input.

But hey, just for kicks i'm going to mention something. The media startles me. I believe many people other than myself tipped off all of the tech/crowdfunding related media. I also went toys/LEGO/geek/hipster/lifestyle media. The news was unpublished, even remotely, even by accident.

There is a large scope of small media that litterally copypastes kickstarter projects. Although some published, and i got a response from a NY senior editor at a nice magazine i like to read, but still no action.

If Techno Buffallo posts a short blurb about us, we're in. But as it seems, not summery enough or something.

you should try again, maybe from a different email address? They might think multiple people are interested.

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Our Android app already has automatic setup: you start the app, if you have just one buWizz everything is setup automatically. you can of course change the setup (=which control for which output, etc.). We will have Gamepad support from the start (Android gamepad for starters, planned dedicated gamepad support later). Incidentally: nobody below 25 who tried BuWizz is missing any sort of "gamepad" (those kids have the smartphone almost as part of their body), it's only us older geezers or the ones used to model airplanes/helicopters/quadcopters who miss physical controls.

Thank You for the detailed answer, sounds good!

Good luck! :thumbup:

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REVIEW - BUWIZZ - HIGH PERFORMANCE LEGO POWER FUNCTIONS CONTROLLER

INTRODUCTION

Recently I stumbled upon a new way to control your LEGO Power Functions models. It's called BuWizz and it's currently being funded using Kickstarter. I was lucky to receive a copy for testing purposes. This small review will reflect my findings.

27224338703_19fe009306_b.jpg

BUWIZZ UNIT

The BuWizz unit isn't just a controller, it's a battery as well. It's conveniently sized like the Power Functions Rechargeable Battery Box and the less expensive Power Functions AAA Battery Box. Check out this interesting article on Philos website for more information about battery boxes.

bat1.jpg

As you can see I received a 3D printed prototype. The white button turns the unit on (and off). There's a green light indicating the unit's on/off state. When I received the unit, I immediately charged it to make sure the battery would be fully charged when testing it.

The pin holes in each side of the unit makes for easy mounting. The boxes designed by TLG don't have these holes, which makes them harder to attach to your model. Pinholes on the short sides would be great, but I understood there's already little room for the circuit board etc.

28281582341_865047826c_c.jpg

MOTORIZED 42039

For this demo I will be using a Motorized 42039 Chassis, which is shown below. It's been sitting on the shelves for a while, so there's some dust here and there. Sorry about that :wink:

28256738342_cb78f2fdcd_c.jpg

Here's a detailed picture of the motor configuration. I like this setup, because it's lean and powerful. Only downside is that you need to remove the fake engine. But it leaves ample space for additional motorizations.

28281582641_7f1fe7a814_c.jpg

I attached both PF L motors to port #3 on the BuWizz and I connected the PF Servo to port #1. Since it's just a single unit, it can be easily mounted somewhere on the model. A single unit can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your model and your goal. If you like to replace the PF setup for some of the official models, you will need more modifications, since the form factor is different. On the other hand (the advantage), the total space you need for connecting 4 motors is less then when you are using two PF IR receivers and a PF battery box. So all in all it's a compact solution, especially when you need to hookup more than two motors.

BUWIZZ APP

Now that I have prepared the hardware and the model, I need to fire up the app. I am using an iPhone 6 for this test by the way. I don't have an Android phone, so I can't compare the two interfaces. From what I understood the iOS interface is still pretty basic and will be improved for the final product.

First step is connecting to a unit. It's possible to connect to multiple BuWizz units with a single app. It's even possible to control your TV with the BuWizz, looking at the image below :wink:

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There are four positions available in the screen, each corresponding to an output/port on the brick.

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For each control/port you can select the type of control you'd like to use. You can choose between:

  • Horizontal or vertical slider
  • Horizontal or vertical accelerometer (tilt controller)
  • Horizontal or vertical mixer (tracked vehicle steering)

SLIDERS

Slider are the basic controls for operating a motor. Sliding vertically or horizontally sends power to the motors, resulting in steering or driving.

ACCELEROMETER

Unlike the sliders, the model is controlled by tilting your phone.

MIXERS

Mixers are used for tracked vehicles. I think this name needs a little work.

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Here you can see I selected the horizontal and vertical slider, for both steering and accelerating. Next to the Start button you can see the CPU Temperature and Battery Voltage.

28326862946_3b9d2ff180_c.jpg

TESTING

I started the test in my photo studio, with very limited space. The BuWizz immediately responded to my commands, so the setup is very straightforward. Installing and configuring only took a couple of minutes. Ease of use if always a big plus when you try a new product.

The video below demonstrates driving the model in the garden. Around 30 seconds I switched to ludicrous speed, which actually caused wheel spin. I am very pleased with the performance of the unit.

I noticed some of you having problems with the lack of physical feedback when controlling the unit using a smart phone. I do concur that it can be tricky using the sliders. The final version of the phone will have bigger controls, which will improve the experience. Furthermore, you can use the accelerometer controls and tilt the controls to steer your model. That actually works quite well and is a lot of fun. You can configure the "zero-position" by pressing start in the neutral position.

I have spoken to Roni and there will probably be RC support for the BuWizz. If this becomes a reality, and that's still an if (no guarantees), it means that you can control your model with RC "gamepads". This would obviously be a big plus for BuWizz.

I did run into some connectivity issues where the BuWizz unit would lose connection at the end of the garden. This is because I used the prototype and a different BT solution is chosen for the final product. I quote:

The final product will use BT solution from Slovenian company Chipolo, they do BLE for a living for 3 years now (proximity tags) and they got up to 120m range. This means we will probably get 60m or so since we need reliable communication, not just detection.

VALUE FOR MONEY

How much bang do you get for your buck? The price of a single unit is around $100 (that is 100 USD) excluding S&H. This boils down to $125 for a single unit and $230 for two units, if you choose the recently introduced Double Special.

When you compare the price to the PF rechargeable battery box ($40 plus a $30 transformer makes $70) combined with two PF IR receivers ($15 each) it results in more or less the same price. I know most of us will have plenty IR Receivers, but it's only fair to compare the complete package. So the price seems fair, but worldwide shipping does add a significant percentage of the original price (around 25%).

You do get the BuWizz unit for less money than the final version will be, although I highly doubt people will be inclined to pay more than $100 for a single unit. I personally think $100 will be the psychological ceiling price, but the potential RC support might negate that ceiling.

SUMMARY

So, what do I think of this product? I think it's already a great product. Some improvements can (and will be) made to the final product. Potential addition of RC would definitely add value to the product.

PROS

  • Easy to configure
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of power
  • Ludicrous speed
  • Battery and controller in one (can be Con as well)
  • Form factor
  • Control multiple BuWizz bricks
  • Price is lower then the final version

CONS

  • Form factor is different than original PF setup (can be Pro as well)
  • Lost connection (supposedly solved in final product)
  • Only controllable via an app (would be solved with RC support)
  • Shipping adds a significant percentage to the price

TO BE CONTINUED...

  • Actual range of the final BT receiver
  • Possible RC support

CONCLUSION

I have confidence in this project so I backed it with $199 for two units ($230 including S&H), the Double Special. There are improvements possible, but the easy of use already makes this a great addition to the PF product range for AFOLs and Kids alike.

So don't waste your time and back this project, before it's too late!

CLOSING WORDS

Here's a video (by Zblj) demonstrating the BuWizz unit with 2 RC buggy motors. As you can see the performance is incredible. He used the Android app.

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Excellent review and thanks for being so honest! Also good to know that the developers have plenty of "upgrades" for the final version... :thumbup:

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Hi all, we just posted an update on our Kickstarter page, announcing following news:

Android App:

We developed the first version of the Android App, which is undergoing testing as we speak. Please see ZeroBrick's race car drifting on sand & paved road!

.

Stand alone mode:

A lot of people have asked for this and now it is official: BuWizz will have a stand alone mode. It will be able to act as battery, even without app connection. The power button will be used to cycle between modes (Slow - Normal - Fast - Off), LED will be used to indicate selected mode.

Game pad support:

BuWizz will support gamepad controls from the start. We will implement the universal Android gamepad (Android phone/tablet will be needed for this to work). Direct gamepad to BuWizz connection might follow later, but we can't promise this just yet.

We are getting close to reaching the $50.000 goal! Please help make BuWizz a real product and keep spreading the word about BuWizz to your friends.

Thanks for your support and thank you Jim for the review!

Edited by Ron1

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