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I'm interested in trying a second-hand Mindstorms kit, but can't afford the full kit. It doesn't need to be the latest version, either. If compatible with my computer, RCX would do.

Is it possible to learn the basics from a subset of parts from the kit? If so, is there a recommended set of parts to do so?

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I would suggest at least one sensor. Of course you can program the brick (which version ever) with a motor or two. But that are very limited programs. If you have a sensor, you can create programs that can interact with the environment.

Which sensor is irrelevant in my opinion. For example one touch sensor or an infrared/ultrasonic sensor.

  • The touch is the cheapest. Also... no accusations, but this looks a lot like my answer. – Caleb Woodman Sep 1 '16 at 14:10
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I would get the NXT brick itself, at least one but preferably two motors, and the touch sensor.

Obviously, you need a brain brick, but you also need a way for it to do something, thus the motors. And if you want to do anything particularly interesting, that doesn't need to be automatic functions only, you'll need a sensor to start different functions at the proper times and in the proper conditions.

You could expand a little by adding the motion detector, but mostly you just need an input, output, and brain.

  • Is the touch sensor mandatory? Can you create a simple program with only the NXT and 2 motors (and even one)? – A.L Aug 30 '16 at 11:37
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    Yeah, but that means activating the program from the brick, meaning a lot less options/fun than using a designated inputting sensor, the cheapest of which is the touch. – Caleb Woodman Aug 30 '16 at 13:50

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