Today, I am engrossed with preparing my students for the upcoming GEAR (Getting Excited About Robotics) challenge at UTSA, updating my aging LEGO NXT robotic kits and planning for next year. It’s always something. As I was checking firmware and doing minor inventory checks I realized one of my NXT bricks was powering up, making all the correct sounds, but no image was being displayed on the screen. I immediately thought it was time to toss this one in the trash; after all this brick was probably approaching six years of usage.
Before doing something drastic I took a closer look at my six NXT bricks. I turned them upside down and noticed some numbers to the side on each brick: 5446, 31117, 10418, 33410, 34010 & 34010. If you look closely you can tell the last number(s) give away the year it was built: 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2010. Now there is some rich robo-geek trivia for all of you robotics enthusiasts out there. I assumed this was a way of letting us know when a robot needed to be replaced.
Next I searched the internet and then finally called LEGO Education Tech Support. This is where I found out about the trivia nugget discussed above, got some good information and even better news. The good information was that as long as I updated the batteries or battery pack, software, firmware and drivers that my six year old bricks should work just as well as my one year old ones. The even better news was that if I were to ship my brick back (my expense) to LEGO @ LEGO Technical Support, 1003 East Adams Street, Pittsburg, Kansas, 66762 along with my contact information and a brief explanation of what was not functioning properly they would make the repairs and/or replacements and ship it back to me at no charge. Wow, thank you LEGO! Leave it to a hometown company in Pittsburg, Kansas to show us all how customer support is to be done!