There have been three generations of LEGO® Mindstorms®robot kits since 1998. The first being the RCX (released in 1998), the second the NXT (released in 2008), and the third the EV3 (released in 2013). LEGO® no longer makes NXT or RCX kits or offers updates for the programming software. To buy a RCX or NXT now, you will have to search for collectors who sell them and they will be quite expensive. So, those of you who still have an RCX or NXT might be wondering should I shelf the electronics of the RCX or NXT and run out and buy an EV3? Well, if you want to continue with Mindstorms robotics you will need to eventually buy an EV3 kit. However, don’t be so quick to toss away the old RCX and NXT kits.
Let’s take a look at the electronics of the NXT and EV3.
The NXT Brick
The NXT is the 2nd generation of LEGO Mindstorms. Before the 2009 update (for the NXT) the NXT original kit included: 3 servo motors, 4 sensors (ultrasonic, sound, touch, and light), 7 connection cables, a USB interface cable, and the NXT Intelligent Brick.
The 2009 update included: 3 Servo Motors, 5 sensors (ultrasonic, sound, 2 touch, and color), 7 connection cables, a USB interface cable, ant the NXT Intelligent Brick.
The EV3 is the 3rd generation of LEGO Mindstorms. The EV3 has 4 motor ports, 4 sensor ports, a USB host port, and a micro SD card slot. The EV3 Education kit includes two large servo motors, one medium motor, and 4 different sensors (ultrasonic, touch, light/color, and gyro). The home kit comes with the same accessories, however it comes with three different sensors instead of four (IR, touch, and light/color). The home edition includes an IR controller as well.
What sets the two bricks apart?
After reading the about the NXT and EV3 bricks, many differences can be found between the two bricks. The EV3 has more motor outputs compared to the NXT. The EV3 kit includes more sensors than the NXT kit. One major difference between the two bricks is the EV3 is compatible with NXT motors and sensors in addition to its own. That is a good reason not to get rid of your old NXT motors, the touch sensor, the ultrasonic (to some degree), the color sensor used in Reflected & Ambient Light Intensity mode. The NXT is only compatible with EV3 motors.
The EV3 has a larger display screen, but smaller text size, and includes a USB host port and a micro SD card slot. This helpful feature can be used to add more storage to the brick or to connect multiple EV3 bricks to one another.
So it is a win-win situation if you have the old NXT kits you can still make use of some of the electronics (and definitely the LEGO® elements in the kits), plus buying an EV3 kit, which offers way more features than the NXT. The EV3 beats the NXT in software compatibility as well (see B2B - Academy: NXT and EV3, they work together....)
Future posting: Comparing the NXT and EV3 motors!