The heart of Lego Mindstorms. A small computer which is actually more powerful than a TI-83 graphing calculator.

The RCX brick is build upon the Hitachi H8300 chip which is supported by both gnu binutils and the gnu compiler, gcc. This is particularly cool, because some german folks used this to program legOS, a microkernel / operating system for the RCX brick. With this setup, you can use gcc to compile C and C++ programs to control whatever robot you can make out of the Lego bricks. If you ever wanted to code a neural net for your Mindstorm robot, this is your chance.

The RCX has three inputs (for different kinds of sensor) and three outputs (for motors, beepers, lights, etc.). It takes 6 AA cells (Batteries not included). The RCX brick that shipped in the original Robotics Invention System also took an external power adapter, while the RCX in RIS 1.5 does not. This was a nice feature, and no-one has explained why it was removed.

The RCX communicates with the PC over infrared. 5 programs may be installed via infrared, and then run. Also, the RCX may store data in a 'datalog', for upload to the PC later.

    IR port
+---=======---+
|             |
| |A| |B| |C| |   3 inputs
|             |
| V +-----+ P |   View (black), Program choice (grey)
|   | lcd |   |
| S +-----+ G |   Stop (red),   Go (green)
|             |
|             |
| |1| |2| |3| |   3 Outputs
|             |
+-------------+
The program choice button selects from the available programs. The view button shows the status of the 3 inputs and outputs on the LCD in turn, or a clock. This can be set time or (by default) shows how long the RCX has been on.

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