Control your LEGO® or FischerTechnik® creations or any other low voltage electric creations with your smartphone or tablet!
About this project
As enthusiastic fans we always were and are fascinated by the great models that you can build with LEGO® or FischerTechnik® or of course your very own models.
And for all of these we created the BSC – BlueSmartControl Unit with outputs for 6 motors or lights and 4 inputs for switches or readers to control your model also in a closed loop! (closed loop is making an action until a sensor is activated, then stop the action)
Have you ever encountered one of the following problems:
- I don’t want to run after my models, being chained to them by a bunch of wires.
- When I want to control all the motors and lights of my model, I need several receivers and bulky remote controllers.
- I need more than the standard two channels in my Lego® receiver and more than the 4 channels of other 3rd party controllers.
- I need to control my Low Voltage motors (max 11Volt / 3Ampere)
- I have no space to place all the two-channel receivers I need inside my model.
- I need feedback from my model’s sensors or switches.
- I would like to get some control of my model automated, e.g. running sequences, having actions initiated by a sensor, driving several motors with the same control and whatever you can imagine!
- I need to know where is my train (at least when it’s passing on some particular points)
- Adding a receiver would disfigure my model’s looks.
- My model does not work in direct sunlight or certain indoor lighting conditions.
- My model should not just stop because the line of sight is broken.
For all these problems we have developed a solution for you:
- control your models wireless via Bluetooth
- control your models with your smartphone or tablet
- control up to 6 motors with a single BlueSmartControl-device
- if you have enough space for a 2-channel IR receiver and you need more than 4 outputs, you have enough space for our BSC-device
- thanks to Bluetooth you can hide our BSC-device completely in your model
- a BSC-device can easily be controlled even outdoors
- And the best part – you can get feedback by using switches or sensors in your model!
Watch this video, this was the very first prototype tested by Sariel(c)!
To see more videos, please visit our YouTube channel:
Some samples how to use BSC with Fischer Technik !
When we started the design for our BlueSmartControl, we took great care to check for pending patents. Therefore, the existing design is a unique approach by using a compact and versatile concept of flexible adapter cables.
Pending Patents: The PFS connector is patented by the LEGO® company!
- Almost each and every Bluetooth-enabled smartphone can control your BlueSmartControl.
- Up to six Lego® Power Function System (PFS) motors can be controlled with a granularity of 16 steps forward and backward.
- The LEGO® servo can be controlled in all available positions.
- Every low voltage motor (max. 11V) can be used!
- BSC is strong: every channel can supply up to 3 Amperes with a supply voltage of up to 11 Volt. Just be aware that Lego® PFS connectors may only supply a maximum of 3 Amperes at a time, which is also valid for the cable from the battery box to the BSC unit.
Compared to IR Receiver – 1A in Version 1 and 2A Version 2 !
- SC is robust: every channel is fitted with internal thermal and current protection.
- BSC is welcoming: the open communication protocol will encourage anybody able to program a smartphone to build up his very specific application.
- The concept with sockets on board gives the user more flexibility to place the module in your model.
- Readily configured cables in various lengths will be available.
- Because of patent issues, we have to use genuine Lego® PFS cables and modify them by adding a connector for our BSC unit (this explains why cables are not free).
- Beside these cables, you can get “standard” open end cables for your own specific motor, light or whatever you like to control.
- If you need the system to be adapted to your needs, talk to us, and we will find a solution.
- In the future, connector sets will be available so you can make your own cables.
- Every small DC motor with adequate power consumption can be controlled.
- The compact design of the receiver allows it to fit even into smaller models.
- In addition to the six output channels, we also offer input channels for up to four switches or one RFID reader:
- Switches, reed contacts, and simple sensors can be used to get feedback from the model and trigger programmable actions in the BSC software.
- The RFID reader can be used to create a simple free track reporting system with the RFID reader in the train and the transponders in or next to the tracks.
As a result following functions are possible:
- To get the ID of a train on your track, you connect a RFID reader as an input device. On passing the coil it will readout the transponder on the train and you will immediately know which train is passing the controlled section
- Sensors to be used: switch contacts, reed contacts, light sensors, RFID readers and a lot of more in the future.
- If You like to get more Train Signals or RFID readers please leavs us a note, You will get the information how You can order more!
The unique BSC control center is your one stop shop to control all your BlueSmartControl devices. To be able to use a wide range of devices, we kept the minimum requirements of the app as low as possible:
- Android 4.0
- Bluetooth 2.1
This allows the use even of older tablets or smartphones as remote controllers. The user interface has many great features:
- All elements can be moved, rotated, resized and colored, and offer many configurable parameters.
- The screen is organized as “scenario” (a set of controls and labels), which can be completely designed by yourself!
- All scenarios can be saved.
- A scenario can be spread over several screens.
- Commands can be combined to programmable control sequences.
- Virtual devices allow controlling several outputs from one interface control.
- An event management allows your scenario to react to input events by automatically calling control sequences.
- Most important: all design and configuration is done within the app, without the need for a PC or internet connection.
- We also started an implementation to get the SBrick also controlled by this powerful application ; tests are in progress and promising!
- Please note that BSC app is designed for Android and there is no IPhone/Windowsphone/… software (but as mentioned before, the communication protocol is open ; developers are welcome!).
- App is not under development, but fully usable. Obviously, this does not mean that it’s 100% bugfree and won’t receive new features but what is released is finished and tested!
Additional translations of these information can be found on our homepage <http://www.bluesmartcontrol.com>.
A lot of tests have been made in the last 2 years to prove our versatile and powerful concept.
Our “betatesters” have made a lot of practice and tests ; here you can see some home-made videos (initialy done only for other betatesters, done quickly but showing features).
How this project came to life:
I, Andreas, have got some LEGO cranes since years and I was impressed by the possibility. But I found immediately a big drawback: how to remotely control this crane in my garden?
LEGO IR did not help well, so I decide to build my own remote control and found a lot of people waiting for such a solution.
The hardware was ready within some weeks and then I needed a graphical user interface. There Phillip entered in the game, as a very experienced software engineer. He told me “Yes of course, I can do it for you!”. So the project started:
- Dec 2013: first Idea
- Feb 2014: first prototype
- May 2014: how to make a user Interface
- August 2014: first presentation at a KidsEvent in Vienna.
- Then questions came in numbers: how to get it into production, where to get all parts, how to do this and that, and so on…
- April 2015: loss of a component supplier, leading to redesign a part of the hardware
- Fall 2015: improving system with new features (upgradable firmware, new RFID antenna, …)
- Winter 2015/2016: testing again and again…
- April 2016: here we are, starting this KickStarter campaign!
The founders of BSC at their first exebition in Mondsee, Austria !
Risks and challenges
Where is the project now and what are the risks for the future production?
Project status today:
– The project is fully developed and the first test production run with 100 pieces was succesfull!
– All LEGO motors have been carefully tested, including the LEGO servo-motor!
– Enclosures have been made with 3D Printers.
Possible production issues:
– Mold for enclosure may take longer as expected.
– Supply of various specific parts may take longer as planned.