EV3 - First Impressions

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EV3 - First Impressions

Postby mrblp » 01 Sep 2013, 20:44

Hello all :-)

I want to tell you my first impressions of the EV3 / 31313 after I finally got my set. In contrast to all the insiders writing here who got their EV3 before the official launch... I am very pleased about this new set and about the new brick, the new IR sensor and IR beacon. This is a really great step for LEGO and us customers :-)

The outer packaging is the parcour and should be pulled off carefully by first cutting the four small tapes.

The package is the standard LEGO mindstorms package with the opening at the sides.

My first view went to the new brick: Its color is white in contrast to light gray as the NXT is. The gray and white color is made in one molded part - great :-) On the other side the edge between the upper and lower part is seen easily. The NXT housing has some overlapping between the upper and lower part so this edge is not as easily seen.

There is a micro sd-card reader - great :-) There is no ejection mechanism, it is a simple type.

The boot time is about 30 seconds and the shutdown time is about 45 seconds (v1.01H). That is OK for me but I am not so sure about the impatient children ;-)

I like the user interface in general. You can check the autodetection feature. You can also check different modes of the sensors. OnBrickProgramming has more steps and more possibilities - but no real option in my eyes. The menue does not allow to step from the last entry in a list to the first entry in that list. You need to step back in the list.

The USB Host is of USB 1.1 type which I believe is enough for WiFi and for logging data.

The speaker is unchanged so there is still some potential for LEGO to get some better sound in future models.

My next view went to the sensors. The new housings are... well... new. Great: There are holes for axles. Bad: Why no rounded edges at these? All other technic beams with axle holes have rounded edges to easily fit the axle into it. The housing parts are a bit loose also - specially of the touch sensor. Oh, the touch _sensor_ not the touch _sensors_. We got a touch sensor and an IR beacon instead of two touch sensors. And there is the IR sensor - funny is that there is nothing behind the "eyes". The sensor could have been manufactured in the slim housing like the others. Why no LEDs in the eyes like the US sensor of the education set? And the sensor housings are shorter than the NXT ones. That may be a minus when using with the motors and position detection via touch-sensor.

Now to the overall things of the set.

The parcours is a bit unconventional for a robot system: No black loop on this one... How to use it in general? I am not sure about the folding.

There are eight connectors, seven cables and six devices. Mh. There is no spare cable in the packages of the additional sensors and there are no single cables in the shop. At the moment there is even no cable set in the shop of LEGO. How to get any spare cable? And why did they descide to put seven cables in the box?

About the other parts let us see over time... ;-)

Some words about the Apps:
Big Apps but much more functional that the ones of the NXT. They look great at the first view :-)

I will start to try different languages - not to say leJOS ;-)

And now the really positive point: Technical this brick is of course a lot more sophisticated than the NXT and LEGO understands to make the changes under the hood. The original mindstorms concept is still visible and dominant.

Hopefully this sounds not only critically and this sounds like fan who generelly likes this set a lot :-)
Bye marvin
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Re: EV3 - First Impressions

Postby tcwan » 02 Sep 2013, 06:55

Thanks for the first impressions. It is very useful to me.
Any info on the NXT-G software, especially if there are new Fantom drivers needed? I'm curious if they have new Fantom drivers with Mac OSX 64-bit support.

mrblp wrote:The boot time is about 30 seconds and the shutdown time is about 45 seconds (v1.01H). That is OK for me but I am not so sure about the impatient children ;-)

Bye marvin


There has been work done to reduce Linux boot time. I'm not sure how much of that is transferrable to the EV3. Perhaps it is possible to reduce it further.

http://elinux.org/Boot_Time
http://electronicdesign.com/embedded/how-boot-linux-under-one-second
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Re: EV3 - First Impressions

Postby mrblp » 02 Sep 2013, 20:32

Hello,

tcwan wrote:Thanks for the first impressions. It is very useful to me.
Any info on the NXT-G software, especially if there are new Fantom drivers needed? I'm curious if they have new Fantom drivers with Mac OSX 64-bit support.


I am using linux only and I am working on a leJOS environement at the moment. I have no clue about the new EV3 software. The apps are nice but they do not work with the NXT so I think there is a replacement for the Fantom driver.

There has been work done to reduce Linux boot time. I'm not sure how much of that is transferrable to the EV3. Perhaps it is possible to reduce it further.

http://elinux.org/Boot_Time
http://electronicdesign.com/embedded/how-boot-linux-under-one-second


Thank you I will have a look at it :-)

Bye - Marvin
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Re: EV3 - First Impressions

Postby mightor » 04 Sep 2013, 05:19

There is a part of the boot process where the ramdisk containing the VM and the saved programs is created. This takes about 13 seconds but could potentially be shortened a bit. The actual kernel takes about 14 seconds to boot.

The shutting down takes so long because the VM needs to be shut down first before the flash drive can be accessed, then the ramdisk with your programs is tar'd up and gzipped and written to flash.

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Re: EV3 - First Impressions

Postby h-g-t » 13 Sep 2013, 21:45

Seems to be quite a lot of discussions about the EV3 at Robot Square http://robotsquare.com/2013/07/16/ev3-n ... atibility/
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Re: EV3 - First Impressions

Postby tcwan » 14 Sep 2013, 06:51

tcwan wrote:Thanks for the first impressions. It is very useful to me.
Any info on the NXT-G software, especially if there are new Fantom drivers needed? I'm curious if they have new Fantom drivers with Mac OSX 64-bit support.



After installing the Retail EV3 Software and some digging, I found that the Fantom drivers for the Mac OS X is 1.2f0 (which is the latest version bundled with RobotC AFAIK), but it is still 32-bit only. Looks like there isn't native 64-bit Fantom drivers available for Mac OS X.

However, the EV3 programming software is written in Silverlight. This is going to face continued support issues in the future since Microsoft has indicated that it will be retired http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-retiring-silverlight-for-wp7-app-development. I hope it won't face the same issues as the NXT-G software in terms of future OS support.

Edit: Added observation on Silverlight Software Platform.
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