Eurobricks Vassals
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  1. Here's the reply (unedited) to the email inquiry I sent to asking them what's up: With this reply I'm thinking the 965 hour cat countdown might be a web host's sense of humour. I recall that the server-side error pages are hidden pages. If that's still right, then those pages are web host generated and come loaded with the web hosting. They are not necessarily edited or tweaked by those actually managing the content on the site. The pages can be rewritten to match the layout of the site, so it could be a webmaster's sense of humour too. But since the cute cat theme is not very, I suspect the former as more likely. Still, I agree, it doesn't feel quite right. It certainly doesn't inspire confidence. Maybe if it were a cat poster saying "believe!" it would be more LEGO. So maybe something like: "I beleive everything will be fine bye the weekend."
  2. For a while tonight I was getting all web links redirected to a splash page that had a 950+ day countdown: Looked like the cat unplugged the web site. Maybe it was just an 500 or 505 error page. Anyone else encounter this? The links seem to work again.
  3. Thanks all for the links. There seems to be only one answer to the problem. You remember when friends used to chant "jump, jump, jump," largely because they didn't want to go first? Ya, well... I'll just see how deep the water is first.
  4. Has anyone replaced the battery in the "energy storage" unit of the LEGO Energy Meter? It is from the LEGO Education 9688 Renewable Energy Set. The meter is a very useful tool measuring voltage, amps, and surprisingly also energy (power x time). The reported Joules measurement can be converted to energy storage in Watt hours (where 1 Wh = 3600 J). I made a quick on-line search on the battery change in the energy storage box, but found nothing. It seems riveted and not intended for replacement by the manufacturer. And I don't see purchase option either. A case of planned obsolescence? Which would be ironic considering the meter is from the Renewable Energy Set. And has anyone perhaps adapted the meter to a larger capacity battery?
  5. They are calling it "pre-release software," so I guess that accounts for the minimalist (aka non-existent) features.
  6. @Tcm0 Thanks. I obviously didn't check in earnest. Looks like they just scooped some version of Scratch. At first glance, ... I think it looks dismal. Is it just my impatience with the software, or is there actually no way to download preset blocks (e.g., Energy Meter Block, Gyro Sensor Block, Sound Sensor Block, Temperature Sensor Block, and the Ultrasonic Sensor Block)?
  7. Well, let me add another book, in keeping with the modified title. LEGO Wind Energy: Green Energy Projects with Mindstorms EV3, by Grady and Elias Koch, Apress 2019 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.
  8. What does one say to people who take an ad hominum line? What about those who even agree with the message, but can't refrain from trying to slag the messenger? I know: SMH. Tja; there are all kinds of bricks in the LEGO box, even those that failed Informal Logic 101. The joys of social media.
  9. I agree with you about Valk's book. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots (2014): 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: The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming (2014): And a really good book for techical building is the unofficial builder's guide: The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide, 2nd Edition (2016): 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.
  10. Does anyone know if the MINDSTORMS software will be revised / rewritten to work with Catalina? I was more than a little cheesed when I saw the cutesy white no-go sign on MINDSTORMS icon.
  11. Bline

    EV3 Output Voltage

    Grady J. Koch has also tested EV3 voltage output. He reports that pin 1 output is linear across the native power range. Using the "unregulated motor power setting" percentages, he found 10-100% moves from 1V to 8V, with a 38% setting spitting out an even 3V. So, if you want to know the voltage at different unregulated power settings than 100% and you don't have a voltage break out board set up, then you can see the plot on his site: Page: Voltage Source/EV3 Voltage Source.php Image: Voltage Source/EV3 voltage source graph.png
  12. Who doesn’t love LEGO and related innovation industries! But there are limits to our financial protections when trying to buy cool products. You can’t trust everyone. In 2019 I lost $250 CAD to i-Brix (Innovative Brix Ideas, LLC @i-Brix). This is my story. And it is not a lonely story from the naked marketplace. Police in Canada (specifically the OPP) project that 95% of fraud does not get reported! By sharing my i-Brix story I hope to educate others the way things are when using PayPal so fewer people get burned. i-Brix says on their web site: That’s some cool tech. I was keen and ordered a couple sets. I saw them reviewed and praised by reputable folks. It sounded good. There are all kinds of places to use inductive lighting in our LEGO City. We couldn’t wait for them to arrive. Life presses on. You blow past the 6 month waiting period and one day wonder: When were they supposed to arrive? You find your PayPal receipt. Excited again, you contact i-Brix for news, an update, an ETA, just a tiny morsel of information and encouragement. Err, you get nothing. You email again. Nothing. You fill out the contact form. Nothing. Not one reply. Months and months go by. You get sick of corresponding with a brick wall and fear you have been scammed. You ask i-Brix for a refund. Nothing. So you look into the matter more seriously and you discover the game. It turns out, that as you waited patiently and in good faith for the 6-month delivery date to come, you slipped past the hard deadline of the purchase protection period offered by PayPal. They would support a claim against i-Brix within 180 days after purchase, but not after. No worries, you think, my credit card company will take action for me. You call them. Once you battle through the call answer brambles and nonsense, you reach a person. You tell your story and to your surprise learn that the credit card company has only a 110 days actionable protection period. But wait there’s a glimmer of hope still: they will consider action if the merchant failed to meet a delivery deadline that exceeded the 110 day period. No worries, you think: i-Brix said plain as day on their web site that there is a 6-8 month waiting period. But wait a minute: Nothing is promised to you personally. You read again every word on the receipt. There is absolutely nothing to do with delivery dates in writing. Nothing is in writing to you in the i-Brix email replies. Oh ya, they never replied to any of your queries. At that point you feel certain you have just been scammed. Here’s the loophole that helps make this scam possible. PayPal does not give a thought to your possible financial protection beyond their purchase protection period. In one agent’s words the delivery date is “totally taken care of by the merchant.” They offer 180 days, that’s it. And when I told them about the consequences of their policy of not requiring merchants to put their delivery terms and dates in writing on their sales receipts, PayPal customer service said: Good grief. I’ve wasted many hours corresponding with PayPal, a different agent every time, but the same automatic replies: 180 days; a pleasure to assist you; and thank you for choosing PayPal. They won’t even acknowledge their hands off policy can be used as a loophole. I reckon they don’t want to increase the burdens on merchants; they might not use PayPal. When push comes to shove, and there are no i-Brix starter kits in your mailbox almost a year after ordering them, you are simply out of pocket. The kicker is that I lost the game as soon as I believed i-Brix would follow through on a delivery period beyond 180 days. Thank you i-Brix. If you want to support innovation tech, then okay, “buy” as many i-Brix starter kits that you want. But if you want to purchase a product from the company (and have some measure of purchase protection), then never commit to a purchase that does not oblige the merchant to a delivery date in writing, preferably within the protection period of your credit card company. If you use PayPal, realize that you have some protection for 180 days. But they won’t give you the time of day after that. They will thank you for using PayPal though. But they won’t consider a simply policy change that could give purchasers recourse against merchants that project delivery dates past PayPal’s 180 day protection period. Thank you PayPal. At best, anyone using PayPal to purchase from a company promising delivery of a product outside of the protection period of PayPal (or your credit card company) is just walking a financial high wire without a net. More likely, however, you are being scammed. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I won’t hold my breath. Caveat emptor / Buyer beware!