Quick question, what colors does the NXT color sensor support? Is it the entire rainbow or only specific colors?

2 Answers 2


It depends on which version you're talking about.

NXT 1.0 Light Sensor: This sensor should detect up to 100 shades from white(100) to black(0).

NXT compatible Hitechnic Color Sensor: This sensor will detect 17 colors including white(17) and black(0) or 100 shades from white(100) to black(0).

NXT 2.0 Color Sensor: This sensor can detect 6 colors including white(6) and black(1).

To complete the list (even though it is not backward compatible with NXT) - EV3 Color Sensor: This sensor can detect 7 colors which are the same as the NXT 2.0 sensor plus “No Color”? Yes, according to LEGO's website, this new sensor can detect when there's no color. Does this means white or that the detector is not sensing a color? This needs to be validated too.

This is one area where, as new versions are coming out, the possibilities of the sensors are diminishing.

  • So I should try to find an older model? Seems kind of silly they would remove functionality... Is there then an advantage to even using the second model? Faster speed / detection, faster data transfer, or is it same but with less color support? Feb 4, 2013 at 22:06
  • This simplification is probably is link to two factors: the sensors design itself and (most probably) keeping it simple for the target users. Do you need a wide range of color sensing?
    – pcantin
    Feb 4, 2013 at 22:52
  • It would help but I figured out a way to reduce the colors needed. Thanks for your help! Feb 5, 2013 at 3:45
  • 1
    The EV3 sensors are not compatible with NXT. Only the motors are. mindstorms.lego.com/en-us/News/ReadMore/Default.aspx?id=476781
    – Carl Smith
    Feb 13, 2013 at 3:27
  • The NXT 1.0 sensor is a light sensor, it does not differentiate colors - only 100 shades of light. The 2.0 sensor can be used in "raw" mode (in NXC for example) where it could distinguish many colors, and it can also be used as a light sensor generating a 0-100 value. Therefore, there was no removal of functionality :)
    – Conrado
    Feb 22, 2013 at 14:08

The NXT 2.0 Colour Sensor can detect black, blue, green, yellow, red and white but cannot distinguish between different shades of colours (for example, different shades of green).

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