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I got the LEGO 4x4 crawler for my birthday and I love it. But there is one slight thing which I hate: it has terrible range when using it outside. I know there is BuWizz which is a third party receiver but it can only be used with a phone. So I can’t use that, because the whole reason why I got the 4x4 crawler was to get me off of my iPad. Does anyone know a 3rd party remote, receiver or battery box?

I’m 12 and unable to do any electronic modifications, like using tools and modifying electric components.

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As you have mentioned, there is BuWizz and SBrick which, while primarily are intended to work with smartphones, are said to be able to work with joysticks or gamepads, albeit possibly with bugs.

I don't really see why would your age mean that you can't do modding, but assuming you have budget restrains or parents who would not allow it then these are valid reasons. Anyways, I'm sure you have your own reasons, just don't underestimate your abilities just because of your age.

There is of course the new Powered Up system from Lego, on the right side of this image you'll see the controller and the motors currently in use: enter image description here Drawback: There are no servo motors available for it yet, so you can't fully control the 4x4 crawler without extensive modifications to either

  • use a second motor for steering or
  • settle for a tank-style drive with a separate channel and motor for the left and right wheels.

Another third party solution I have managed to find is the CADA controller. The main selling point is exactly what you are asking for:

The most interesting feature is indeed dedicated controller, unlike buwizz/sbrick there is no need for smart phone.

According to one reviewer:

The range is limited to 10-12 meters

so it should yield better results as the PF infrared remote.

  • Any touch screen device has a huge disadvantage - lack of touch feedback. You don't feel if you already moved your fingers out of switch control zone. And you don't know how much you need to moves fingers back to make a counter movement. This is not to mention inability to locate (another) control buttons. – Alex Feb 13 at 15:46
  • While CADA looks promising, it has small capacity battery, which won't last long, espeacially with a crawler. – Alex Feb 13 at 15:48
  • Note that there is also the PfxBrick as a thrid party option. – Phil B. Mar 6 at 14:22
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+50

The original question asked about complete turnkey systems, without "any electronic modifications, like using tools and modifying electric components", for which the other answer provides solutions. This is the answer for all other possibilities, as prompted by Aziraphale:

It might be that third party producers provide remote controls ready for implementation in LEGO sets. We see the same for lighting systems that contain LEDs, batteries, ultra-thin wires etc. I would also accept non-professional custom solutions that allow usage of non-LEGO parts in my sets, possibly by showing how to glue/connect non-LEGO equipment to LEGO bricks.

Disclaimer: I have neither authored, nor tested any of these ideas, but I have reviewed them all and deemed them useful and correct. The information contained them might nonetheless be incorrect, outdated or unusable for any other reasons.

The simplest option would be to extend the range of the existing receiver by increasing the power emitted by the IR remote control, by using a custom IR transmitter:

headphone jack IR amplifier

A fully LEGO compatible DIY electronics project is authored by w4ilun and uses a Toshiba motor controller embedded in a custom-designed printed circuit board to interface with cut and repurposed PF cables: complete circuit board image

If we are willing to forego LEGO Power Function motors as well, we can use any kind of DC motor we can build a LEGO compatible enclosure for. This project uses the radio control parts salvaged from a toy car to integrate them into a LEGO chassis: 3d printed motor enclosure, servo glued to steering axle

Or an existing 2.4 GHz remote can be used with this custom designed receiver:

enter image description here

  • Thank you for expanding the scope of your answer. This is the type of things that I would like to see. Not only to improve the LEGO electronics solutions, but also to be able to do things with LEGO that had not been possible at all. – Aziraphale Mar 12 at 9:28
  • Thanks for the bounty, even though I feel neither I nor this answer deserves it. I have just searched for these solutions, and compiled a link-only answer which is usually frowned upon. But I can't copy the contents over here either as it would amount to copyright infringement. I think I should thus ask the Meta community about this as soon as I find the time for it. – zovits Mar 12 at 11:00
  • I disagree. Even if most of the information is too much for my little electronics skills, some of it is useful for me (e.g. custom motor housing ). If some other forum get something out of it, then it is worth the points. – Aziraphale Mar 12 at 16:08

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