Few people use this group any more, especially as many ISPs aren't even
supporting Usenet these days. I swing by rarely myself.
Anyway, my guess is that none of us would do any better than Google or
Yahoo finding a better price. I think you'll find it's pretty squarely
$199. I remember seeing some deal at WalMart.com, but just checking
again the product appears to be sold out.
That leaves eBay, which doesn't warrant mentioning as it's pretty
I think it depends on what you want to do with these. For LEGO I'd start
at Lugnet. For VEX they have a forum, and often other forum members will
mention an only resource they like. I usually spend 10-15 minutes
quickly reading through messages, and bookmarking anything of interest
into a "pending" folder. Then later on I'll cull through that to find
things that are interesting.
For general robotics most of the sites these days are fairly shallow
blogs or forums people have set up just so they can pimp up some Google
ads. I prefer a more narrow approach. For example, I've been playing
around with the Arduino microcontroller lately. Doing a search on that
yields a lot more useful links. It just so happens that since the
Arduino is basically designed for robotics and other small-scale
automation, many of the links are about amateur robotics.
I'll also suggest looking at the robotics club sites, such as this
one for the Atlanta Hobby Robot Club (okay, full disclosure, I'm a
Click on links, and at the bottom are links to other robotics clubs
And of course if you're ever near any of these club meetings, be
sure to go. There's no charge to attend AHRC meetings, membership is
mainly to offer financial support to the club and to be able to vote
Yes, this is true.
Full disclosure...I work for Heathkit, and I'm running the robot project.
We're into the school market, and fully realize that some of the choices
we've made won't work out in the hobby market. The Mindstorms limitations
discussion in this thread tells the story...despite all that it's extremely
popular in schools, and curriculum is easy to find and there's some great
books and lessons written.
Anyway, I'm here to learn from you guys. :-)
This is sort of a non response...
The Lego corporation has a very strange strategy about deciding who
they will let sell their products. In particular, if you choose to
sell Lego products, you usually have to sign up to sell across all
of their product line. For specialized network robot stores, they
can not afford to do that. About the only place I see Lego NXT kits
are at Lego stores in selected high volume shopping malls and at the
Lego web site. There is very little discounting on Lego products.
By the way, many Lego enthusiasts feel that Lego corporation is killing
themselves with this strategy. The story of Lego Mindstorms version 1
is actually quite appalling. The NXT (version 2) seems to be a little
better, but after being burned by version, I decided to take a pass of
About the best price I found for NXT with very limited searching was
$219 at Nextag; this is off list price of $249. You can try bidding
on one on Ebay, but I doubt you will beat $210.
Just saw one on ebay for less than $200 + free shipping.
I would guess that trolling ebay in the next few weeks might be a good bet.
There are bound to be some given as gifts and then
lost interest in ...
I've had good luck searching for misspellings now & then, too. Less bidders for
the ones spelled wrong (*most* of the time).
Thanks for the responses everyone.
Wayne, could you explain what you mean about "being burned by the
I guess he means he was somehow burned by the first version, maybe he
bought one and then the NXT came out.
Speaking of Mindstorms, I'm clearing out my personal inventory of
RCX-based Mindstorms. I think I have three of those but none are
complete, 3-4 of the Discovery bots (which can be programmed by the same
IR tower), and various accessory packs. I'm not decided if I want to
sell them as closeouts on Budget Robotics or put them on eBay (which I
don't like using). I'm pretty sure at least two of my RCX bricks have
modified firmware, so they'd be for the more advanced user. If anyone is
interested, shoot me an e-mail to the un-spammed version of my e-mail.
And sorry TMT for stealing the thread a bit. I actually forgot I had
these in storage...
Nothing like that. I bought 2 NXT's and had a friend donate a 3rd
one to me. They are gathering dust in drawer somewhere.
My real problem with the Mindstorms is that it is a dead end system.
Once you build a few simple robots, you spend the rest of your time
fighting the limitations of the system. The documentation is awful.
If you need more parts, there is no easy way to obtain them. If you
run out of sensor/motor ports, tough. The vendor supplied software
is really quite crippled and useless. After spending a fair amount
of time and money struggling with the system, people get frustrated,
and drop out of the hobby. The Lego corporation is not very committed
to robotics. Since I think robotics is a neat hobby, I get frustrated
when I see people bail out due to frustration.
For those of you who do not know, I am currently the president of
the HomeBrew Robotics Club in Silicon Valley (San Jose, Calif.)
As president, I frequently get asked where to start. After
asking a few questions in response ("what are your skill levels in
electrical, mechanical, and software?") I usually point them at the
Parallax stuff (or sometimes the VEX stuff.) The advantage with
the Parallax stuff is that much of what you are learning can be
moved forward when finally exhaust the capabilities of the Basic
Stamp 2. Parallax has a ton of excellent documentation, sensors,
etc. The Vex system has some great mechanical stuff and the Vex
"brick" is way more capabilities than the Mindstorms bricks.
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