MINDSTORMS Support

Frequently Asked Questions

1.1 What is LEGO® MINDSTORMS®?

LEGO MINDSTORMS is a programmable robotics construction set that gives you the power to create and command your own LEGO robots. The new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set includes everything you need to create robots that walk, talk, move and do whatever you want them to. Create your own robot and command it through the intuitive Software program, the intelligent EV3 Brick or your smart device. If you can think it, LEGO MINDSTORMS lets you create and command it!

1.2 What does EV3 stand for?

This is the third generation of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® platform and the “EV” stands for evolution, hence EV3.

1.3 What is an Intelligent EV3 Brick?

The EV3 Brick is a programmable intelligent Brick that as the brain of your robot, controls motors and sensors to make it move, walk and talk; as well as provide wireless communication through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

2.1 What comes in the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Set?

Building instruction for the starter robot, TRACK3R
Connecter cables
1 USB cable
LEGO Technic Elements: 594 pieces
1 EV3 Brick
2 Large Interactive Servo Motors
1 Medium Interactive Servo Motor
1 Touch Sensor
1 Color Sensor
1 Infrared Sensor
1 Infrared Beacon

2.2 Are all the building instructions available as PDFs?

Yes. You can download the building instructions for TRACK3R, SPIK3R, R3PTAR, GRIPP3R and EV3RSTORM from LEGO.com/mindstorms. You can also download them as 3D building instructions as part of our EV3 3D Builder app which is free-to-download for iOS and Android tablet devices from App Store and Google Play.

2.3 How many Robots can I build from my LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set (31313)?

There are five robots which you can build straight out of the box – the building instructions along with accompanying programs are available in the EV3 Software. In addition there are a further 12 fan-made bonus robots that can be accessed via the EV3 Software Lobby or via the website – all 12 can be built using the elements from the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 (31313) set.

3.1 Can I use the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software on both a Macintosh and PC?

Yes. The EV3 Software can be used on both Macintosh and PC platforms to program LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Bricks. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition software is free to download from LEGO.com/mindstorms.

3.2 What are the recommended system requirements to run LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition?

Microsoft Windows:

  • Windows XP (32 bit only) and Vista (32/64 bit) excluding Starter Edition - with the latest Service Packs
  • Windows 7 (32/64 bit) and Windows 8 desktop mode including Starter Edition - with the latest Service packs
  • Dual core processor 2.0 GHz or better
  • 2GB of RAM or more
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • XGA display (1024 x 768)
  • 1 available USB port
Apple Macintosh:
  • Mac OS 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 with the latest Service packs
  • Dual core processor 2.0 GHz or better
  • 2GB of RAM or more
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • XGA display (1024 x 768)
  • 1 available USB port

3.3 What languages are the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software available in?

You can download the EV3 Software for free from LEGO.com/mindstorms in the following languages:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • US English
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Spansh (ESSA)

3.4 Are there User Guides available for the EV3 Software?

Yes. User Guides are available for download as Pdf’s from LEGO.com/mindstorms

3.5 What languages is the User Guides for the EV3 Software available in?

You can download the EV3 User Guides from LEGO.com/mindstorms in the following languages:

  • Czech
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English (US)
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spansh (ESSA)
  • Swedish
  • Ukrainian

3.6 Is there EV3 On-Brick Programming?

Yes. We have continued and improved the On-Brick Programming App with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick. You can easily program basic tasks on the EV3 Brick. All of the EV3 Brick Programs can be uploaded into the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition Software for continued and advanced programming.

3.7 Will there be tools to create my own software Programming Blocks for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software?

Yes. For most users, the tool is called MyBlocks and is already available inside the standard EV3 Software. For people creating their own hardware, a Software developer kit will be made available.

3.8 Can I program the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick using NXT Software?

No. It is not possible to program your EV3 Brick with the NXT Software.

3.9 Will there be a pdf which shows how to program both on the EV3 Brick and using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software?

There is a pdf User Guide which gives a short introduction to the EV3 Brick Programming App on the EV3 Brick and describes how to make a program. For EV3 Software Programming, there are two Quick Start videos in the Lobby of the Software which will introduce you to programming.

3.10 Is the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software backward-compatible with NXT Hardware?

Yes. You can program your NXT Intelligent Brick using the new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition Software. However, not all Software features are supported by the NXT Intelligent Brick.

3.11 Will the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Software work on my tablet?

No. The EV3 Software works on PC and Macintosh laptop and desktop systems only. However, you can download for free the EV3 Commander app for iOS and Android devices via App Store and Google Play – this app will enable you to Command your EV3 Robots via Bluetooth.

3.12 Other than the EV3 Software, what programming platforms can I use to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks?

Besides the EV3 Software, you can also use LabVIEW and RobotC. EV3 Software is an open-source platform, and, therefore, we anticipate the MINDSTORMS community to develop additional languages such as JAVA.

3.13 What are the new features in the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Home Edition Software versus NXT?

There are many new features and improvements from the NXT Software to the EV3 Software. Some of the more noticeable ones are: Lobby:

  • New full screen Lobby to navigate through the content provided including access to the project files for the five EV3 Hero Robots, TRACK3R, SPIK3R, R3PTAR, GRIPP3R and EV3RSTORM, plus direct links to the 12 Fan-made Bonus Robots.
Content Editor:
  • Content is editable directly inside the software, enabling customization of existing projects or creation of new ones from scratch.
Tighter integration between the EV3 Brick and the programming environment:
  • The hardware page enables monitoring of the status and values measured by all the hardware elements.
  • Hardware elements are automatically recognized thanks to Auto ID.
  • Bluetooth configuration is facilitated by the USB-to-Bluetooth features.
Debugging features are now part of the programming environment:
  • Execution highlight
  • Programming blocks will display a warning symbol if expected hardware by the programming block is different from the detected hardware by Auto ID.
  • Probes enable seeing the values go through the data wires.
New programming blocks’ possibilities:
  • Simple strip programming by snapping blocks together (no need to use the beam anymore).
  • Block parameters are configured directly on blocks.
  • Read the program sequence directly on blocks.
  • Improved sequence wires facilitate showing the structure of the program and create parallel execution.
  • “Wait for change” has been added to easily create robots that behave according to change in the environment, as opposed to waiting for the threshold, which only works by comparing measured values.
  • Data wires are improved and data casting has been added to simplify data type conversion.
  • Arrays integrated in the standard blocks.
  • Loop Interruption is now possible, enabling the creation of advanced state control mechanisms.

3.14 What is the Content Editor in the EV3 Software?

The Content Editor enables you to edit, adapt, and customize projects — or create your own from scratch. You can use the Content Editor to customize your projects by inserting text, images, videos, and sound.

3.15 Will the content editor support .MOV and .AVI files?

The Content Editor will support the following file formats, which does not include .AVI:
Picture: JPG, PNG
Video: MP4, ASF, WMV, MOV
Sound: MP3, WMA

3.16 How do I update the EV3 Software?

Under Help at the top menu bar of the EV3 Software, you can enable the EV3 Software to automatically check for updates. By clicking Check for Software Updates, a check mark will appear and the EV3 Software will regularly check for updates. (This requires an Internet connection.) If a relevant update is available, you will be notified by the EV3 Software. If you wish to install the EV3 Software update, you will be taken to LEGO.com/mindstorms where you can download the update file. Once downloaded, you can install the update.

4.1 What can Bluetooth in the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick be used for?

The Bluetooth allows for communication to the EV3 Software or for EV3 Brick-to-Brick communication.

4.2 Why use a USB cable to connect the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick to the computer when there is Bluetooth communication?

USB connection is faster, and some PCs do not have Bluetooth.

4.3 Can LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks be daisy-chained through Bluetooth?

No. A daisy chain uses the USB cable to connect EV3 Bricks.

4.4 What is the difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth serve different purposes. Bluetooth is for close-range communication between two devices. Wi-Fi is for network communication on a wider range, requires a Wi-Fi access point–router, and will consume more battery power than Bluetooth.

4.5 What does “made for iPod, iPhone and iPad” mean?

The Bluetooth communication on the EV3 Brick will support the same protocol that iOS devices use, e.g., you can communicate with iPod, iPhone and iPad. (That is not possible in the NXT Brick).

5.1 What can Wi-Fi with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick be used for?

The Wi-Fi feature can be used for communication from the EV3 Brick to the EV3 Software. A Wi-Fi dongle must be connected to the USB host of the EV3 Intelligent Brick. (A Wi-Fi dongle is not included with the product)

5.2 Is there a Wi-Fi dongle that you recommend be used with the EV3 Intelligent Brick?

Yes. The NETGEAR N150 Wireless Adapter (WNA1100) is the recommended Wi-Fi dongle for use with the EV3 Intelligent Brick.

5.3 Why use a USB cable to connect the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick to the computer when there is Wi-Fi communication?

The USB connection is faster. The battery will last longer if the Wi-Fi is turned off.

5.4 Can LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks be daisy-chained through Wi-Fi?

No. A daisy chain uses the USB cable to connect EV3 Bricks.

5.5 Is a router needed?

Yes. If you want to use Wi-Fi, a router is needed.

5.6 Is Wi-Fi better than Bluetooth?

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth serve different purposes. Bluetooth is for close-range communication between two devices. Wi-Fi is for network communication on a wider range and will consume more battery power than Bluetooth.

6.1 What LEGO sensors are available for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3?

The following sensors are included in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set (31313):

  • 1 Touch Sensor
  • 1 Color Sensor
  • 1 Infrared Sensor
  • 1 Infrared Beacon
The following sensors are also available for purchase as add-ons, through shop.LEGO.com:
  • Gyro Sensor
  • Ultrasonic Sensor, as well as, third-party sensors

6.2 How do the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 sensors compare with the NXT sensors?

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Sensors are completely new sensors, providing a better build interface, higher performance, and more accuracy than NXT Sensors.

  • The EV3 Color Sensor can detect 7 colors (and no colors) as opposed to the NXT Color Sensor which can detect 6 colors
  • With the EV3 Color Sensor you have Reflected Light mode which removes background light.
  • The EV3 sensors can return new values 1000 times/sec where the NXT sensors only return new values 333 times/sec

6.3 Will LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Sensors work with the NXT Intelligent Brick?

No. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Sensors are digital and therefore will not work with the NXT Intelligent Brick.

6.4 Will new connector cables be required?

No. LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 uses the same RJ12 connector cables as the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.

6.5 Can LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Sensors be used together with NXT Sensors?

Yes. LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick uses the same RJ12 connector cables as the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Brick.

6.6 Can NXT Sensors be used with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick?

Yes. LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 uses the same LEGO Technic elements and RJ12 connector cables.

7.1 Which motors are included in the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 set?

Two Large Interactive Servo Motors and one Medium Interactive Servo Motor.

7.2 How do the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Interactive Servo Motors compare with the NXT Interactive Servo Motors?

The EV3 Large Motor specifications are the same as on NXT; however, the build interface is optimized for faster and more complex building possibilities.
The Medium Interactive Servo Motor is a completely new motor, providing new possibilities.

7.3 Are the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Interactive Servo Motors interchangeable with the NXT Interactive Servo Motors?

Technically, yes, but the designs of the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Large Motors and the NXT Interactive Servo Motors are different. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Large Motors allows for a better building experience.

7.4 Can LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and NXT Motors be used together?

Yes.

7.5 Can you use the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Interactive Servo Motors with the Intelligent NXT Brick?

Yes. You can use both the Large Interactive Servo Motors and the Medium Interactive Servo Motor with the Intelligent NXT Brick.

7.6 Can you use power-function motors with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Intelligent Brick?

No. The connectors do not match.

7.7 What does “daisy-chain” mean?

To daisy-chain is the ability to link up to four LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks using a USB cable and thereby enabling your robot to have sixteen output ports and sixteen input ports, all controlled from the main LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick.

7.8 What does a daisy chain require?

Multiple LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks, sensors, and motors, plus additional standard USB cable for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3.

7.9 How many LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Intelligent Bricks can I daisy-chain?

You can daisy-chain up to four LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Bricks.

7.10 Are daisy chains supported between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

No. Daisy chains require a USB cable connection between the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Bricks.

8.1 How is the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Intelligent Brick different from the Intelligent NXT Brick?

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick is a completely new Intelligent Brick: It’s the most powerful Intelligent Brick ever created. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick is built up around a faster and stronger processor, which not only increases performance on all parameters compared to the Intelligent NXT Brick but also introduces new possibilities not available with NXT.

8.2 Will the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick and Intelligent NXT Brick use the same firmware?

No.

9.1 What are the charge times and conditions for the rechargeable battery?

The same as LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT. The full charge time is four hours and requires a LEGO DC charger (product 8887).

9.2 Can I exchange the batteries between the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Intelligent Brick and the Intelligent NXT Brick?

No, but the charger is the same between the two platforms, and you can therefore reuse your current charger.

9.3 Will the chargers interchange?

Yes.

9.4 What are my battery options? AA vs. lithium vs. rechargeables

Recommended use is either 6 x 1.5V AA alkaline batteries or a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 rechargeable battery.

9.5 I have a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT2.0 (8547) set; will there be an upgrade/conversion kit from NXT to LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 (31313)?

No, but LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 offers backward compatibility to NXT. You can therefore use your NXT Intelligent Brick together with Intelligent EV3 Bricks in many situations. However, if you want the full benefit of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, you will need to transition to Intelligent EV3 Bricks.

10.1 Can I use NXT parts with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3?

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick uses the same LEGO Technic elements and RJ12 connector cables as the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Brick, so all your existing sensors, motors and building elements will work with the new platform. Please notice that the NXT rechargeable battery cannot be used together with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick.

10.2 Can I connect my NXT Brick to the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick?

No. It is not possible to daisy-chain with the NXT Brick.

10.3 Can I reuse the rechargeable battery and charger?

No. You cannot reuse your battery, as the build interface has changed, but you can reuse your DC charger (8887).

10.4 Can I program the NXT Brick using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Software?

Yes. You can program your NXT Brick using the new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Software. However, not all of the EV3 Software features are supported by the NXT Brick.
The EV3 Software is free to download from LEGO.com/mindstorms

10.5 Can I program the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Brick using NXT Software?

No. It is not possible to program your LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Brick with the NXT Software.

11.1 Are there any Apps for EV3 available?

Yes. There are three free-to-download LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Apps available on both iOS and Android smart devices.

  • EV3 Fix the Factory – the fun & challenging robot puzzle game from LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
  • EV3 Robot Commander – the official robot command app from LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
  • EV3 3D Builder - the official 3D building experience from LEGO® MINDSTORMS®

11.2 Can I control my EV3 robots using an App?

Yes. EV3 Robot Commander is an app specifically designed with controlling EV3 robots in mind – using the Bluetooth connection between your EV3 Intelligent Brick and your smart device. There are 5 pre-set controls for controlling EV3RSTORM, TRACK3R, SPIK3R, GRIPP3R and R3PTAR. You can also create commands for your very own robot creations using our “Create & Command”.