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Exposed: HiTechnic Angle Sensor

NXT Angle SensorThe HiTechnic Angle Sensor was released a few weeks ago and I’ve been eagerly awaiting a production version of it.  The wait is over now and of course the first thing that came to my mind was “I wonder what it looks like on the inside.”

Gus from HiTechnic did mention that it uses a magnetic sensor to detect the movement of the axle on the MindBoards forums but that’s not really saying much.  So I wasted no time taking a sharp blade to the casing and opening this thing up. I would not recommend doing this with your own.  It took quite a bit of fiddling around to put it back together. Not to mention a new white sensor casing.

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Side view, the axle sort of hangs in the frame, it is held in place by the front piece (not shown here). The back of the PCB.  There is a small processor on it and a few components.


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You can see the magnetic field sensor. The axle with the small magnet on the back.  It has a Lego axle hole on the front.

Here’s a small video of the axle spinning around and a small test program I made to check the functionality of my driver. The really cool thing about this sensor is its ability to retain its position even when it’s power cycled.  That means that if you make a robot arm and hook these up on all its rotational points, you can safely shutdown the NXT and have the robot know exactly what its position is when it comes back online.  Pretty freaking handy, if you ask me.  You can set the zero point at any position you like.

HiTechnic Angle Sensor

If only I had had a bunch of these when making my giant robot arm!  A driver for this sensor should be in the next release of the 3rd Party ROBOTC Driver Suite.

About Xander

Xander Soldaat is a Software Engineer and former Infrastructure Architect. He loves building and programming robots. He recently had the opportunity to turn his robotics hobby into his profession and has started working for Robomatter, the makers of ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Words.