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There seem to be two competing standards for powered LEGO modules in 2023.

  • Power Functions

  • Powered Up

I have read that Power Functions may be retired soon, but can easily work in a standalone matter. Powered Up seems to require Bluetooth devices and apps to work correctly.

I would like to get started building GBC modules with motors and, maybe, sensors. As both standards seem not to be compatible with each other, which one would be the most sensible to pick in 2023? I have to pick one before I start acquiring parts.

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The GBC setups I've seen/participated in, have included modules using all kinds of electrical components, but mostly Power Functions (PF) since it's not hard to power those with a train regulator that can easily be attached to the power grid. Recently I've also seen some Powered Up (PU) controlled modules in a setup where most modules where PF.

But as you say PU modules require a bluetooth device nearby, and that gets impractical quickly. Some modules can share a motor, and probably a bluetooth controller, but I don't foresee the guys I know who has 100+ modules buying 100+ phones/tablets. I also don't know if it's possible to make several hundred bluetooth connections within a setup.

As it is now old parts (the train regulator probably takes the lead) are the best for GBC, but that's only good for a limited time (and mostly for those of us who already has a supply of those parts). But I have no idea what the future for GBC will look like (I'm fearing it will just die due to a lack of recent parts that are usable).

Edit: One of the things I set out to write, but forgot as I got into it: If you intend to exhibit your creations (and GBC modules are boring if not), you should also abide by any local rules your local LUG (or wherever you intend to exhibit) has.

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  • This is no longer correct, PU modules do not require a bluetooth device, there is the "dumb" battery box 88015 and Spike Prime or Robot Inventor hubs can also run independently without any bluetooth connection. Jul 31, 2023 at 13:02
  • Haven't seen that yet, but it does make things a little better. Does that also have a power input so we don't have to spend the whole day changing batteries when doing large GBC setups? Aug 1, 2023 at 6:36
  • The RI and spike prime hubs have a rechargable battery that you can leave plugged in all day (although the battery actually only charges when motors are stopped with recent firmware). The 88015 has no power input, but modifying so it takes 9V from a transfo should be a trivial mod for an electronics hobbyist. Aug 1, 2023 at 6:51

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