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Los Altos Robotics FLL Kit Program for 2007 Season

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The Los Altos Robotics FLL Kit Program provides leasing, spare parts and consulting.

Robotics Kit Coordinator and Leasing: Tom Sartor KitsTransparent blue at with underline for hiding email addresses.LosAltosRobotics.Org

Our Goals are to

  • Help teams navigate the high equipment cost barrier for starting a new team.
  • Provide a way to help teams acquire their own kits over a 2 year period.
  • Help teams deal with failed components such as the RCX.
  • Have a plan that encourages teams to donate kits back after they are done with the FLL program.

How it works

One of the roles of the Los Altos FLL Board of Directors is robotics kit coordinator. Coaches and team managers may contact that person for:

  • Kit support and questions.
  • Renting a kit for a cost equivalent to its purchase with the ability to get a partial refund if the kit is returned by August 1 of the following year. The terms for this "rental" are different for the RCX and NXT kits and are provided below.
  • Help in getting replacement parts for lost pieces by using old kits and by buying spare parts from LEGO and secondary sources.

RCX kits

We have a few RCX kits available for rental. The terms reflect the fact that we are discounting these kits in order to concentrate more on the NXT version. The NXT kits are easier to use than RCX and therefore better for new teams. Some players may also feel they are at a disadvantage with the RCX kits. However, RCX is still a great robotics platform and in some ways required teams to be more creative with gears and drivetrains.

The RCX kits are readily available and relatively cheap. The RCX software runs more efficiently than NXT and can run on a simpler computer (400 MHz, 125 Meg of memory). The NXT software requires at least a 1GHz cpu and 650 Meg of memory to run efficiently. This may be an issue on some laptops. The new NXT 1.1 version may be more efficient.

RCX Rental Price is $150 and we will refund the following amounts if the kits are returned by August 1 of the following year:

  • $100 if the kit is returned fully sorted with all parts accounted for.
  • $75 if the kit is returned mostly intact.

This pricing schedule means that teams with two team members per kit (an ideal arrangement) can charge each team member $38/year and own a kit in two years. Or if they want out after one year, they only end up paying $25 to $38 per team member.

NXT kits

We are starting the season with very few NXT kits in stock. We are always looking for NXT kit donations and we will purchase NXT kits if they are in good shape.

To help us get our stock built up, if you order your own extra kits from LEGO Education, we will reimburse you when you return them next August on the same terms as below. In fact, if you are NOT ordering a kit from FLL this year when your team registers, please order an NXT kit anyway and we will reimburse you. Please contact the kit coordinator to take us up on any of these offers.

Rental Price is $360 and we will refund the following amounts if the kits are returned by August 1 of the following year:

  • $240 if the kit is returned fully sorted with all parts accounted for.
  • $180 if the kit is returned mostly intact.

This pricing schedule means that teams with two team members per kit can charge each team member $90/year and own a kit in two years. Or if they want out after one year, they only end up paying $60 per team member.

In most cases, we will be renting second kits for teams that have already ordered their own first NXT kit. This means that the team will already have software and we will not provide more. The NXT/FLL Kit Team License says that a team can use the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT Software on as many computers as they need and on more than one robot. What software we do obtain will be reserved for teams renting their first kit.

The rental kits will be the same as what you get from FLL less the software. A team is allowed to purchase one FLL set for $280 when registered. To purchase additional sets equivalent to the FLL set w/o software, two parts are required:

  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education Base Set part number 979797 for $250.
    • Comes with rechargeable battery.
    • Does not have software. The software license that comes with the team kit says teams can use that software on multiple computers to support team activities.
  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education Resource Set part number 979648 for $59.
  • http://www.legoeducation.com/store/detail.aspx?CategoryID=178&by;=9&ID;=1277&c;=1&t;=0&l;=0
    • More building elements (631 pieces).

Note that the kit you get from FLL includes the following software.

  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education Software part number 70077 for $49.
    • Contains LabView type software for the NXT.
  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT Software Upgrade 1.1 part number 900093 for $19.
    • Upgrades the NXT software with some memory and program improvements.
    • Claims Vista compatible.

Note that the commercial Mindstorm NXT kit is available for about $250 plus shipping and handling. It has the same robot, sensors, and software, but fewer parts overall. It also lacks the rechargeable battery. The commercial Mindstorm NXT kit comes in a cardboard box while the Team Kit and the ones purchased from LEGO Education website come in very nice plastic bins with sorting trays. We will not be offering a reimbursement on commercial Mindstorm NXT kits. We will only be offering reimbursement on the FLL NXT Team Kits and the LEGO Educational kits made up of part numbers 979797 and 979648.

Spare Parts and Replacement Parts

Buying spare parts is pretty easy on the web. You may want to email the kit coordinator first to see if he can help you, especially if you need it right away.

  • www.bricklink.com is a great source of used and new parts.  You can buy individual parts from many different vendors that have store fronts at the Brick Links site.  This is a great place to buy replacement parts.
  • www.legoeducationstore.com is where we buy the kits from.  They sell sets with a variety of parts and bags with 10 to 100 of the same parts in them.  They also sell individual motors, sensors, and other big parts.

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