Mindstorms for Beginner - Interesting Books and Resources

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I have bought Mindstorms for my 9year old son, so he has made the Track3r, which is cool, but then we didn't quite knew what to do next... We could make other premade models, but I thought that isn't quite that interesting...


Then I have grabbed the Valk's EV3 Discovery Book, and I must say it is amazing. The things became more and more fun, I am learning now to add sensors...


Just to say - I miss somewhat a tip from LEGO for ordinary buyers, like - buy the Valk's book and start learning or something like that... Because there are a lot of tutorials on YT and all sorts of blogs online, the man could not know where to start. 

The Valk's book is easy to understand and deep enough to start programming...



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If you're just starting out with programming for the EV3, I'd recommend Microsofts MakeCode over LEGOs more advanced LabView based IDE. Make sure to install V1.10E of the firmware if you want to use MakeCode.

MakeCode has an EV3 simulator, including motors, sensors, and IR.

PS get the teachers edition of LEGOs EV3 software.

Edited by BlueBillCanada

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I agree with you about Valk's book.

We used it as the intro book for our LEGO club. Got us into a few years competing in the First LEGO League. And we won a first in the robotics competition in our second year! But, of course, if you read the First LEGO League boiler plate, they say it isn't really about robot building! Go figure: all about STEM, but not robotics. Some people?!

I have all the MINDSTORMS Laboratory books. The programming book is worth getting if you are just starting out:

And a really good book for techical building is the unofficial builder's guide:

Just get them out of the library if you can't splurge for the purchase. They are well worth your time! Loads of ideas and you can find all kinds of solutions to the problems that keep popping up.

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Changed the topic title and added it to the Index :thumbup:

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Well, let me add another book, in keeping with the modified title.

The book describes how to make and test a LEGO windmill generator. I got the feeling reading the book that it was an upscaled rewrite and remodelling of the LEGO 9688 kit: Renewable Energy Add-on Set for Machines and Mechanisms by LEGO® Education.

The book is for the Jr. Engineer.

Koch begins by describing generators. He shows a LEGO Technic Mini-Motor disassembled and used to decribe the parts and functions of a generator. What's a generator, you ask? Let's compare them to motors: "Motors create rotary motion with an electrical input, whereas a generator uses rotary motion to create electrical output." There: simple.

He shares his research on which LEGO motor is best for generating power: Technic Mini-Motor, Power Functions M Motor, Power Functions E Motor, and then the EV3 Medium Motor.

The next four chapters are devoted to making the windmill, including gearing, the vertical-axis turbine, airfoil blades, and the horizontal-axis turbine. Purists might cringe with the airfoils, but, hey, this book one-ups the 9688 kit.

The measuring performance chapter is the perhaps the most technical. The book uses the Energy Display from the 9688 and the EV3 Mindstorms software to log the power output. Proper impedence matching is left to the builder to test, but Koch gives a starting point resistor, variations, and lots of background explanation. But, ya, it's not all connect the dots. 

The last few chapters deal with tweaks like adding a steering vane, introductin variations like using dual generators, and making a pneumatic windmill generator. The appendix has numerous parts lists and there is an index.

Highly recommended for those who want to move closer to modelling real-world operations whilst predominantly using LEGO kit.


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