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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Spybotics Internals

This is a repost of a page I created in 2003 on LUGNET. While the Spybotics line has come and gone, I thought it important to archive this information for anyone who might still be tinkering with these little guys. I know I break them out every once in awhile myself. If you have something to add to this post, drop me a line or leave a comment.

This is not an official LEGO® document or web site. LEGO® and Spybotics® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this document. Copyright © 2003-2009 Steven B. Combs & Bricks in my Pocket (BimP) except where noted. All rights reserved. All photos taken and manipulated by Steven B. Combs unless noted. Images hosted by Brickshelf L.L.C. and LUGNET.)

Gigamesh G60 Spybotics (3806)

Purpose:
The purpose of this page is to document and present the internals of the Spybotic Programmable Controller and the Spybotic Programmable Remote Controller. With the assistance of the LUGNET community the internals of the Spybotic Programmable Controller will be dissected, analyzed, and documented. This page will also serve as a links clearing house for Spybotic related control software and hardware additions/modifications. It is not the intent of this document to reveal any trade secrets but rather provide the LEGO Robotic enthusiast with additional information that will allow them to stretch the limits of this device and add to the enjoyment and service life of the product.

This page is inspired by Kekoa Proudfoot’s RCX Internals page, however, the amount of detail presented is based on the contributions of the LUGNET community since I do not have the technical expertise to completely document technical specifications of the firmware and hardware.

All LUGNET readers are encouraged to assist with the development of this resource and provide feedback. If you have technical skills and/or information to provide, please contact me at steven.combs@gmail.com. At present I am looking for the assistance of an embedded systems professional or EE to provide firmware and electronic information.

Note: This is a working document with much work to be done before it is complete.

The thread of discussion about this project can be found at right.


Spybotics Programmable Controller Internals
Steven Combs
In my free time (yeah...sure Steven) I have begun a little project. It will require the assistance of this group, so if you have some time please visit: (URL) offer some feedback and assistance by responding to this post or e-mailing me at (...) (6 years ago, 4-Jan-03, to lugnet.robotics.spybotics) «

Introduction:
The Spybotics Programmable Controller (SPC) is programmable, microcontroller-based device that can simultaneously operate two motors, one touch sensors, one light sensor, an infrared serial communications interface, and a light output device.

The Spybotics line consists of four differing Spybots shown below (images ©2002 LEGO ):

Gigamesh G60 w/212 elements

Snaptrax S45 w/201 elements

Shadowstrike S70 w/193 elements

Technojaw w/ 244 elements


All four sets contain the same SPC and SPRC. Included are additional LEGO elements to make each Spybot unique in appearance and function.

Primarily geared toward the 10-16 year-old market, the Spybot concept is quite unique. Part computer game and part remote controlled vehicle, the Spybotics system is a an original product. The user or “Agent” first builds his/her Spybot from scratch, using the instructions displayed on the computer screen, and is then presented with missions that can be completed for points. These missions generally involve setting up a physical obstacle course (using spot lights, books and/or other heavy objects) in a large area, downloading a program to the Spybot, and attempting the objective. To control the Spybot during the mission, the Agent uses the Programmable Remote Controller (SPRC). Once the objective is completed (or not) the results are then uploaded back to the computer where the score can be compared to prior missions or uploaded via the Internet to compare against other Agent’s scores.


SPC External Features:
Like most electronic devices that are encased with plastic, the SPC plastic housing protects the internal components (printed circuit board (PCB), motors, batteries, and sensors) and provides the product’s visual aesthetics. For the Spybot, the case also provides LEGO component connection functionality.

The SPC’s overall bounding dimensions are found in the table below.

Description

English (in)

Metric (mm)

LEGO (studs)

Width

2.50

63.50

8

Length

4.75

120.65

15

Height

2.00

50.80

6

The SPC housing is manufactured and molded from a special blend ABS polymer (see news articles at right for more details).


Re: ABS... but which one?
Jim Hughes
Pedro: Your assumptions are absolutely correct. Most of Lego's plastic is a special (top secret) version of Bayer Novodur. Lego also uses a version of Lustran and, more recently, a version of Makrolon. If you spend enough time on the Bayer site they (...) (6 years ago, 3-Jan-03, to lugnet.general)


Re: Melting Point of ABS (Re: Strengthening Gears)
Jim Hughes
Thomas: Lego uses primarily Bayer Novodur (and apparently to some extent Bayer Lustran) for its bricks. The exact composition of the Novodur is of course, like the recipie for Coke, is top secret, but it is probably closest to Bayer Novodur P2M-V A (...) (7 years ago, 6-Mar-02, to lugnet.technic)


SPC Disassembly:
Disassembly of the SPC is very simple and requires only a small Philips screwdriver. Use the steps to the right to open the SPC.

1. Turn the SPC over.
2. Remove the screws found at the locations shown in the figure at right.
3. Carefully separate the top and the bottom (SPC is not sealed with any adhesive).
4. Turn the bottom half over to reveal the SPC internals.


Click to view super size image


SPC Internal Description:
Once the cover is removed and the bottom half is turned over, the internal components of the SPC are revealed (see image at right).


Click to view super size image

The SPC consists of the following hardware and firmware features (information taken from the LEGO Mindstorms 2.5 SDK available at http://mindstorms.lego.com/sdk2point5/default.asp)

Storage

Functional Blocks

Events

Inputs

Outputs

ROM. 7 tasks, 96 engine subroutines, 64 sound effects, and 8 LED animations

Sound control

bump

1 light sensor

1 piezo speaker

CPU RAM. 32 global variables (including 3 counters), 4 local variables per task, 80 stack entries shared between tasks and subs

Motor control

vll

2 IR receivers

2 motors

4k EEPROM. 256 byte scratchpad, 8 tasks, 32 subroutines, 16 sound effects, 8 LED animations

LED control

opto

1 touch sensor

1 laser LED (VLL)



VLL output

counter



7 display LEDs



ping control registers

timer



4 IR transmitters



communications registers (link, RC, and UART registers)

world change







world relations tables (other robots and controllers)

IR/PC msg







3 counters









4 timers and timer controls







SPRC External Features:
Programmable Remote Controller information coming soon.

The SPRC’s overall bounding dimensions are found in the table below.

Description

English (in)

Metric (mm)

LEGO (studs)

Width

n/a

n/a

n/a

Length

n/a

n/a

n/a

Height

n/a

n/a

n/a

The SPRC housing is manufactured and molded from the same blend of ABS as the SPC.


SPRC Disassembly:
Disassembly of the PRC is also simple and requires only a small Philips screwdriver. Use the steps to the right to open the SPRC.

1. Turn the SPRC over.
2. Remove the screws found at the location shown in the figure below (coming soon).
3. Carefully separate the top and the bottom (SPRC is not sealed with any adhesive).
4. Coming Soon

SPRC Internal Description:
Send e-mail to steven@bricksinmypocket.org to contribute to this section.

Related Links:
Lego Spybotics Homepage

The official LEGO Spybotics homepage. Very little technical information is present.

LUGNET Spybotics Newsgroup

You probably found this page while browsing this newsgroup. Use this link to discuss all things Spybotics.

Spybot (Hack)

A Japanese site similar to this one. The link automatically uses BabelFish to translate the contents into very broken English.

Not Quite C (NQC) Homepage

Variant of the C programming language modified for the RCX brick. Newer versions of NQC also provide support for Spybotics.

NQC 2.5 Spybotics Support

Up to date information on NQC and Spybotics.

Joybrix

JoyBricx is an application that allows the remote controll of Spybots and the Bionicle RC Fighter using a joysticks, game pad, keyboard, or mouse. It also allows the user to save the events for later playback.

Bricx Command Center (NQC IDE)

The best integrated development interface (IDE) available for NQC. Automates and structures coding. Allows real time manipulation of RCX. Supports Spybotics.

Apress’ LEGO Spybotics Secret Agent Training Manual Page
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