Home > Store

Basic Robot Building With LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Basic Robot Building With LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0

eBook (Watermarked)

  • Your Price: $13.59
  • List Price: $16.99
  • About Watermarked eBooks
  • This PDF will be accessible from your Account page after purchase and requires PDF reading software, such as Acrobat® Reader®.

    The eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.

    Watermarked eBook FAQ


  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-311182-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-311182-8

Basic Robot Building with LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT 2.0


Learn LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT 2.0 from the ground up, hands-on, in full color!

Ever wanted to build a robot? Now’s the time, LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT 2.0 is the technology, and this is the book. You can do this, even if you’ve never built or programmed anything!

Don’t worry about where to begin: start right here. John Baichtal explains everything you need to know, one ridiculously simple step at a time… and shows you every key step with stunningly clear full-color photos! You won’t just learn concepts–you’ll put them to work in three start-to-finish projects, including three remarkable bots you can build right this minute, with zero knowledge of programming or robotics. It’s going to be simple–and it’s going to be fun. All you need is in the
box–and in this book!

  • Unbox your LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT 2.0 set, and discover exactly what you’ve got
  • Build a Backscratching Bot immediately
  • Connect the NXT Intelligent Brick to your computer (Windows or Mac)
  • Navigate the Brick’s menus and upload programs
  • Start writing simple new programs–painlessly
  • Build the Clothesline Cruiser, a robot that travels via rope
  • Program your robot’s movements
  • Learn to create stronger, tougher models
  • Help your robot sense everything from distance and movement to sound and color
  • Build a miniature tank-treaded robot that knows how to rebound
  • Write smarter programs by creating your own programming blocks
  • Discover what to learn next, and which additional parts you might want to buy

JOHN BAICHTAL is a contributor to MAKE magazine and Wired’s GeekDad blog. He is the co-author of The Cult of Lego (No Starch) and author of Hack This: 24 Incredible Hackerspace Projects from the DIY Movement (Que). Most recently he wrote Make: Lego and Arduino Projects for MAKE, collaborating with Adam Wolf and Matthew Beckler. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and three children.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Conventions Used in This Book 4

    Special Elements 4

Chapter 1 Unboxing the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Set 7

The Box 7

    Under the Flap 8

    Opening the Box 9

The Contents 9

    Reading Material 10

    Connector Pegs 11

    3M Connector Pegs 12

    Connector Pegs with Bushing 13

    Connector Pegs with Cross-Axle Ends 14

    2M Axle Peg 14

    Connector Peg with Towball 15

    1/2 Connector Pegs 16

    Bushings 16

    Cross Axles 17

    Cross Axles with End Stops 18

    Wheels and Treads 19

    Gears 20

    Teeth 21

    Balls 21

    Beams With Pegs 22

    Beams 23

    Angle Beams 24

    Car Parts 25

    Steering Links 26

    Angle Elements 26

    Cross-Axle Connectors 27

    Cross Blocks 27

    More Miscellaneous Parts 28

    Peg Joiner 29

    Motors, Wires, and Sensors 31

    USB Cable 34

    Mindstorms Wires 35

    The NXT Brick 35

Next Chapter 36

Chapter 2 Project: Backscratcher Bot 37

Adding Batteries to the NXT Brick 38

Parts You Need 40

Step-by-Step Assembly Instructions 42

Programming the Backscratcher Bot 49

Running the Backscratcher Bot 56

Next Chapter 56

Chapter 3 Anatomy of the NXT Brick 57

The Brick 58

    Buttons 59

    Ports 59

    Connector Holes 61

    Reset Button 62

Menus 63

    My Files 63

    NXT Program 66

    Try Me 67

    The View Menu 68

    NXT Datalog 70

    Settings 70

    Bluetooth 73

Powering Your NXT 77

Resetting a Crash 78

Updating NXT Firmware 78

The Next Chapter 79

Chapter 4 Introduction to Programming 81

System Requirements 82

Installing the Software 83

    Installing on a PC 83

    Installing on a Mac 84

NXT-G 101 85

    The Programming Block 85

    Commonplace Blocks 87

Programming the Backscratcher Bot 92

    Create the Program 92

    Connect to the NXT Brick 93

    Download the Program 94

The Next Chapter 94

Chapter 5 Project: Clothesline Cruiser 95

Parts You Need 96

Step-by-Step Instructions 97

Programming the Clothesline Cruiser 119

Setting Up the Clothesline 120

What to Do With Your Cruiser? 121

The Next Chapter 122

Chapter 6 Building Stronger Models 123

Use Multiple Pegs 123

Connect Each Part to as Many Others as Possible 123

Reinforce Corners with Angle Beams 124

Use Combination Parts and Cross Blocks 124

Attach Cross Axles 125

Combine Technic and System Bricks 126

Use Chassis Bricks 128

The Next Chapter 129

Chapter 7 Know Your Sensors 131

Mindstorms Sensors 131

    Touch Sensors 132

    Ultrasonic Sensors 133

    Color Sensors 133

    Sound Sensor 134

    Motor 135

Calibrating Sensors 136

Third-Party Sensors 137

    Compass Sensor 138

    Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensor 138

    Wi-Fi Sensor 138

    Magnetic Sensor 139

    Flex Sensor 139

    Voltage Sensor 140

    Barometric Sensor 140

    Inertial Motion Sensor 140

The Next Chapter 141

Chapter 8 Advanced Programming 143

Data Wires 144

    Green Wires 144

    Yellow Wires 145

    Orange Wires 145

    Gray Wires 146

Connecting Wires 147

Additional Blocks 148

    Variable Block 148

    Constant Block 149

    Random Block 150

    Keep Alive Block 150

    Light Sensor Block 151

    Rotation Sensor Block 151

    Display Block 152

    Bluetooth Block 152

    Logic Block 153

Creating Your Own Blocks 154

The Next Chapter 156

Chapter 9 Project: Rebounder 157

Parts You Need 158

Step-by-Step Instructions 159

A Note About Tank Treads 175

Programming the Rebounder 176

The Next Chapter 180

Chapter 10 Expanding on Mindstorms 181

Read Blogs 181

    The NXT STEP 181

    Mindstorms 182

Design Virtual Models 183

Attend Gatherings 184

    LUGs 185

    Conventions 185

FIRST LEGO League 186

Read BrickJournal 188

Expand Your Collection 188

    Bricklink 189

    Pick a Brick 189

    LEGO Education 189

Third-Party Brick Makers 190

    Omni Wheels 190

    Bricktronics 190

    Tetrix 191

Print Your Own 192

Glossary 195

Index 201


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020