I've been digging around for cheap ways to build and control simple devices and was looking at the Mindstorms sets when I found WeDo and WeDo 2.0. WeDo appears to be compatible with Power Functions sets, but WeDo 2.0 uses a different connector which is similar to, but not the same as, Mindstorms.

I'd like to start low-budget (suggesting WeDo as my starting point, because those controllers are much cheaper) but I want the option of expanding to more of the Mindstorms functionality in the future.

For my purposes, right now, WeDo seems adequate, but it looks like a dead end (unless the WeDo 2.0 connector is the future, in which case maybe EV3 is the dead end!). That's antithetical to the reasons I would even consider Lego in the first place.

Digging further I see rumors that WeDo 2.0 and Mindstorms may be set to converge in the future. So even if I convince myself that i have no choice but to start with EV3, that could still turn out to be incompatible with future parts; but on the other hand it may turn out that my cheap WeDo 2.0 controller would work with future Mindstorms accessories.

Perhaps WeDo 2.0 and EV3 are compatible using just a cheap adapter, like how PF1 parts are. I don't know.

In brief; if I want to expand my kit in the future, and I don't want to spend a lot of money today, then what should I buy? Is there any concrete information available about compatibility or future kits that would help me make this decision?

  • Any adapters to get components from one set working with another would be worth knowing any, too. – sh1 Oct 4 '16 at 4:29
  • A helpful but out-of-date overview here. – sh1 Oct 4 '16 at 22:47

According to the WeDo 2.0 FAQ

Is this a new plug system?

Yes, this is the new LEGO Power Functions plug that has been optimized also to meet potential future needs.

What does that mean for the existing plug systems on other Power Function and MINDSTORMS products? Will they also be changed?

Yes, eventually we will convert to the new plug system after a transition period. The exact timing of this transition has not been determined.

However, if you want to build something today, WeDo is a good choice since it is compatible with the current Power Functions products.

There is also the 3rd-party SBrick that works with current Power Functions products but uses Bluetooth Low Energy like WeDo 2.0.

  • How does that fit in with Mindstorms products? The power functions set seems a little limited and if that doesn't change, and if they're not compatible (say, with an adapter), then I might have to abandon them and repurchase everything when I come up against that limit. – sh1 Oct 4 '16 at 3:14
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    Your question seems mostly about WeDo. Perhaps you could reword your question a bit to make it more clear what exactly you would like to know. For example, what is the end result that you hope to accomplish? – David Lechner Oct 4 '16 at 17:27

Looking more closely at all the options, I see that only the Mindstorms sets have removable cables in the devices themselves. That gives me the option of buying spare cables to make into adapters for other kinds of controller without having to spoil the device itself.

So I think it's best if I buy just the motors and sensors from the EV3 family that I need, and use a cheap third-party controller rather than the EV3 brick.

I do see a couple of devices designed to control EV3 parts (eg., PiStorms and EVShield), so I wouldn't even need to make up an adapter. Those are more expensive than the WeDo controllers, but they're at least compatible with Mindstorms parts.

But I think what I'm more likely to do is to rip apart a cable and attach it to a micro:bit, because break-out boards and motor control boards for that are dirt cheap and I already have the main board sitting here in front of me.

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