The new LEGO trains are now Powered Up based.
Like WeDo 2 and BOOST, this is a Bluetooth 4 Low Energy (BLE) device that uses the new type of 6-pin plug that LEGO announced a couple of years ago with the WeDo 2. At that time this new design was referenced as Power Functions 2 or PF2 but the final name is now Powered Up.
Unlike BOOST, the new smart hub included with the trains doesn’t include motors. LEGO found a way to arrange 6 AAA batteries inside it in such a compact way that the final size is exactly the same of the Power Functions LiPo or AAA batteries… with all the new electronics included:
Others like Sariel and Hispabrick already reviewed this device so I’ll just show how to to use it.
This new hub announces itself as “HUB NO.4”. It will probably have a much better name but for now I will call it this way.
A good thing with “HUB NO.4” is that it provides the same UUID services as BOOST. So most of the examples I wrote for BOOST work with Powered Up with just a few modifications.
For instance, the LEGO WeDo 2 motors can be used the same way as with BOOST:
gatttool -b 90:84:2B:06:AB:5D --char-write-req --handle 0x0e --value 0800810011510060
The handle (“0Eh”) is the same. The payload is also simillar, with the same 3 initial bytes (“080081”, hexadecimal) followed by a fourth byte that selects the output port (“00” = port A, “01” = port B), followed by the same 3 bytes (“115100”) and finally the last byte is the duty cycle (or speed) applied to the motor (“60h” = 100d = 100%).
Since I already had an Android app made with MIT App Inventor 2 for the Vernie model of the BOOST set I made just a few modifications to make it work with “HUB NO.4”:
- removed the blocks that controlled the head and cannon trigger
- removed the blocks that sensed the colors
- added the BT address of my “HUB NO.4” to the list of devices to pick
- changed the motor commands used by BOOST (simultaneous control of pair A+B) by the motor commands of two WeDo 2 motors
This the Designer view:
and this is the Blocks view:
If you’re interested, I exported the project as an “.aia” file. It’s not polished (for instance the blocks still make references to Vernie) but you get a good base to start.
In my next article I try to explain how this App was created.