I am a teacher and I use for years Lego RCX in science and technology . Now that I have Windows Surface Pro 2 , I would like if possible to use my RCX robotics kits on windows 10 ? Is that possible ?
I have successfully used RCX with a USB to Serial converter (hardware) to connect to the tower, and Bricxcc software with Windows 7. The Bricxcc is free software. I found that I had to start by upgrading the RCX firmware to
firm0332.lgo: RCX firmware version 3.32. This version came with the last Robotics sets with the RCX released by LEGO Education. As far as I’m aware , this is the last version ever released by LEGO.
as recommended on the pbrick dot info site. After that everything went smoothly. I used nqc for all the programming.
My son built the Minerva robot from the book "The Unofficial Guide to Lego Mindstorms Robots" for a school project and a biped from another book with the RCX.
We didn't try to get the "RCX Code Graphical Programming Environment" working at all.
If what you want is to run the Lego RCX software under Windows 10, I cannot answer that, but you can still use the RCX brick as long as you can access the tower to send code to it.
Don't bother unless you want lots of pain with little results. You can try a windows emulator, either on a Windows or Mac host. I recall parallels on the Mac worked quite well.
It won't work with Linux or Mac Wine very well, though you will have better luck if you have a traditional serial tower with some hosts.
As per the other answer, switch to another environment like BricxCC or NQC or LejOS.
Update in 2020:
The original, "official" Lego software doesn't work on modern Windows. It was designed for Windows 98, and then abandoned in favor of the NXT ecosystem. Some people have gotten it to work on Windows XP, with some difficulty, but that's not exactly "modern" either.
So it seems that that software is effectively dead, unless you have a Windows 98 machine to run it on. Physically or in a virtual machine.
BUT, there is an independent programming environment called BricxCC, which is available to download here, and you can visit the home page here. The program itself runs just fine on my Windows 10 machine, but it still has some trouble with communication.
The Lego USB tower, like the software, isn't very well supported on modern systems. There's no official, modern driver for it.
But the serial tower is timeless! You just have to have a serial port to run it.
(The serial "driver" is built into BricxCC itself just because of how serial ports work in general. That's one of the few advantages of the old computing idea of having each application run the hardware directly.)
So now we need to get a 9-pin serial port on a modern system. Yes, Windows 10 still supports it...but it doesn't support all of the USB adapters that there ever were. Same problem as the Lego USB tower: no driver. So if you pull a USB to Serial Adapter out of the old-parts drawer, it may or may not work, no fault of the adapter.
You can buy one that IS supported, or you can do like me and flip over to my Linux side (dual-booting is nice!), and see that the same adapter works just fine over there!
And then there's the problem of running BricxCC, which is only made for Windows, on Linux.
Fortunately for that, there's Wine!
Install Wine on Linux by the usual means, and then the BricxCC installer and application run in Wine as if it were Windows. Not every program works like that, hence the bad reviews for Wine, but this one does, as well as the LDraw tools.
(When the installers ask, I'd install everything, grab some lunch while it runs, and then poke around later to see what the entire package can do.)
And a bit of housekeeping:
- You'll need to add yourself to the
dialoutgroup in Linux, to make the serial port available to you. (it was originally used for phone modems, and the terminology stuck, hence the name)
- You'll need to map a COM port in Wine so that a Windows application can use it.
And now I have a fully-working RCX programming environment on a fully modern system!
(Lubuntu 20.04 LTS)
It's text-based, similar to C, instead of the original drag-and-drop graphical thing that Lego had, but if you're going to advance much past this, you're going to use text-based languages anyway. (C, Python, Java, etc.)
It does have a template box that you can select from, so you don't have to "just know" what to type. And the help file is pretty good too.