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Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:52 pm
by hammersley1965
Ok, this may be complicated and I'm a noob but advice of any form would be appreciated.
I have a Lego Mindstorm (well I bought it for my son). There are a number of issues:
The IR controller (RIS) does not work under windows 7, the OS of my sons laptop.
The IR controller is connected by Serial (rs232)
Any device built on the mindstorm relys on and established IR connection which seriously limits its range for real time user control.

I am considering a raspberry pi using:
a USB to serial converter (requires kernal 2.4 for drivers)
a usb wifi device
web server on Pi as interface to control the RCX
mount the whole lot on the robot under battery power
talk to the robot via the web interface from the laptop.

has any one experience of USB to serial under linux?
has anyone successfully interfaced with RIS under linux?
has anyone experience of getting a webserver to send commands/data to a serial port?
Am I being way too ambitious?

I want a project to do with my 10 year old son next winter, quality indoor time that doesn't involve TV and playing computer games! Could this be it? :?

Thanks in anticipation

Re: Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:48 pm
by AndrewS
Not something I've ever looked into myself, but ... mindstorms seems to have lots of info?

USB->Serial adaptors tend to "just work" with all modern versions of Linux - very standardised drivers. Alternatively with an appropriate adaptor you can hook up directly to the RPi's serial port (although you'll probably need to edit the /boot/cmndline.txt and /etc/inittab files to stop boot messages being sent to the UART).

Good luck with your project, sounds fun :)

Re: Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:40 pm
by broo0ose
I know nothing about Mindstoms but bear with me...

I have played with the Android App Inventor which is a bit like Scratch for Android phones, and that has Mindstorms capability. So I wondered if anyone had done the same for Scratch ...

A bit of Googleing ... turned up this but it's for Windows 7

No use for the Pi, but it may help you.

But vote for this suggestion and Scratch might support Mindstorms directly .. ... ms-robots-


Re: Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:36 am
by AndrewS
broo0ose wrote:A bit of Googleing ... turned up this but it's for Windows 7
That same page has a link to so it might not be a total dead-end...

Re: Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:59 pm
by Cannon Fodder
I have a Lego Mindstorms RIS 2.0 kit with the RCX, I found that it is possible to run the Lego software in a virtual machine running XP, But your way sounds more fun :D
All things about the RCX have been reversed engineered including the IR tower protocols can be found online and I think Lego even released information as well. Maybe you could connect a IR LED and receiver via the Ras Pi's GPIO header to directly communicate with the RCX. Have a look at the following links for more information.

Have fun, and let us know how you and your son get on

Re: Raspberry Pi & Lego RIS

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:04 pm
by Hexark
wow!~ I had the exact same though about merging my RCX and PI too! Let me know how you are going on with it! Digging out my old set of lego minstorms.