Did anyone use the Mindstorms sensor port on the cRIO?

I realize this is a weird question to be asking in 2020, but I’m genuinely curious.

For anyone who doesn’t know or doesn’t remember, the cRIO’s Digital Sidecar breakout board included an I^2C port that LEGO Mindstorms sensors could be connected to. I assume this was to help FRC teams moving up from FLL or FTC (they used NXT bricks at the time) use their old sensors, so maybe it got more use than I think it did?

Did anyone do anything cool or useful with that port?

Back when we were using cRIO’s I don’t think using I2C even occurred to most teams.
I’m also not sure there was ever any software support for that particular use case, at least not in the default code libraries; and even if there was, there wouldn’t have been a lot of utility in using LEGO sensors on an FRC robot (even for practice, given the difficulty to implement).

I think most of us were too busy trying to learn CAN and real-time vision processing back in those days. Most of the common COTS sensors used other types of interfaces as well. I’m sure there were some teams that utilized it, but honestly I’ve personally only seen I2C sensors become popular in the last few years.

IIRC that port was also used to connect to the CAN bus for the Jaguars (shudders). We played around with it one preseason but like most teams we never actually did anything with it.

That was the serial port on the main cRIO unit with the serial port to phone line DB9 to RJ-11 adapter. I’m talking about the one on the Digital Sidecar.

Nah, that port was i2c. To talk to the Jags you had to use a Black Jag as a serial-to-CAN bridge.

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Or a 2CAN.


IIRC there were libraries or examples for using the NXT Compass and Accelerometer.

In the NXT, the port could carry either I2c or analog signals. The color sensor used analog and couldn’t be used with the port of the digital sidecar.


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