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BuWizz | Bluetooth Control Battery | Review

Lego BuWizz Review

The Lego Car Blog Elves love remote control Lego creations. Well, they love them if they are at the controls. As regular readers will know there have been a number of remote control related incidents here at TLCB Towers, resulting in much Elven hospitalisation. Well things are about to get taken up a notch…

Revealed here as a Kickstarter project back in June 2016 the BuWizz bluetooth control battery brick has become a regular third-party accessory within the Lego Community. With claims of up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions battery set-up, now expanded to twelve times with the release of BuWizz 2.0, the potential to transform the way Lego models move is huge. But does the BuWizz live up to the hype? We’ve been sent a copy to find out…

Lego BuWizz Review

The Brick

Our BuWizz arrived a simple cardboard box, packaged only with a little piece of paper denoting the required warnings and LED indicator meanings. The BuWizz brick is a clever thing, incorporating both a rechargeable li-ion battery and a bluetooth control into one 8×4 stud box, reminiscent of LEGO’s own battery boxes from the 1980s. There are studs on top, tubes on the bottom, and four Technic pin holes with which the BuWizz can be attached to genuine LEGO pieces.

Our BuWizz came in a dark grey hue that we don’t think matches any of LEGO’s colours, but seeing as it can be mounted internally within a creation an exact match isn’t required. The moulding quality is OK, perfectly adequate for the job in hand, but certainly not as good as an official LEGO piece (or the rival SBrick reviewed here previously). On top of the BuWizz are two connection ports, a status LED, and four LEGO Power Functions compatible power outlets.

You must charge your BuWizz upon arrival via a micro USB, which the pack does not contain. This is a bit of a shame as it means the device is not truly plug-and-play, requiring a lead from something else in order to charge. We found a lead, plugged in the BuWizz, which let us know it was charging via the LED on top, and busied ourselves for a few hours.

Lego BuWizz Review

Set Up

Upon returning to our BuWizz a green light indicated we were ready to go. Like the aforementioned SBrick, the Buwizz brick uses an app to connect your phone or tablet to itself. The app is an easy download and connects the device seamlessly. Within it are six pre-programmed control interfaces available to operate your model. Each requires a small amount of set-up so that the app knows which of your motors is connected to which port which is simple enough, although there is no ‘test’ function as per the SBrick, which would be useful.

We connected four XL motors mounted within a direct-drive skid-steer test rig to the BuWizz battery and hit the controls. Weirdly one motor (and only one) span the wrong way, but the BuWizz’s simple ‘reverse’ option soon cured that. Then, because we have the mental age of five, we engaged ‘Ludicrous Mode’…

Inspired by Tesla, BuWizz’s ‘Ludicrous Mode’ turns up the power to the motors by a factor of three. Multiply that by the four motors you can drive at once and you get twelve times the power! And boy, does it show… Continue reading

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BuWizz Buggy

Lego Technic Remote Control Buggy

[Whiiiir] [Elven Screaming] [Thump] [Whiiiir]…

An all too familiar pattern of noises floated into TLCB Office from the corridor today. Said pattern has been heard here at TLCB Towers on numerous occasions and it always means tidying up for us. Sigh.

A glance into the corridor revealed the scene of expected carnage, with an Elf – high on power – repeatedly driving a nimble off-road buggy over a group of already squashed Elves.

The controls have now been taken away, the victims patched up, and we can take a look at the vehicular weapon in question. Built by Anto of Eurobricks it’s an entry into the current BuWizz Fast Car Competition, in which the third-party bluetooth brick specialists have challenged builders to make, well… a BuWizz powered fast car.

Lego Technic RC Buggy

With up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions battery/receiver system a BuWizz powered creation is certainly able to outrun a fleeing TLCB Elf, and with competition entrants having to complete the longest jump possible Anto’s RC buggy had the suspension to bounce over victims without any problems at all.

There’s more to see of Anto’s brilliant remote control buggy at the Eurobricks forum, plus you can watch it in action via the video below.

We’ve also got our hands on our own BuWizz brick, courtesy of the BuWizz team, and will be conducting our own tests shortly [maniacal laugh!] in order to bring you a full review. Whilst we find out whether eight times the power really is possible you can find all of the BuWizz powered creations previously featured here via this archives search, and you can read our five-star review of BuWizz’s rival SBrick by clicking here.

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BuWizz Fast Car Competition

BuWizz Competition

Third-party bluetooth control wizards BuWizz have powered numerous creations that have appeared here at The Lego Car Blog over the past few years. With up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions battery and IR Receiver set-up, BuWizz-powered creations are capable of very un-LEGO-like speeds.

The BuWizz team would like to see just how fast your creation can go and as such they’re running a competition this month to find the fastest Lego cars on the internet. There’s a twist too, which can you discover in the link and/or video below…

BuWizz RC Battery for Lego

If you’d like to enter your own remote control Lego creation you can do so via the BuWizz website, and there are some fantastic prizes on offer for the winners! First place will receive the new LEGO Technic 42083 Bugatti Chiron set revealed here previously, whilst second and third places will get their hands on some awesome BuWizz goodies (so you can make your fast car even faster!).

To read the competition rules and to enter your own fast car click the link below!

Enter the BuWizz Fast Car Competition

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Nomad

Lego Technic Ariel Nomad BuWizz RC

Originally a motorcycle manufacturer, then maker of the ridiculous Atom, Ariel have since stepped into the world of off-road buggies, and what a way they’ve done it. Using the Atom’s unique external cage design and a 2.4 litre Honda engine, the Nomad can annihilate almost anything off-road, and it doesn’t even have all-wheel-drive.

This incredible-looking Technic version can, we strongly suspect, do exactly the same within the off-road Lego Community (there is such a thing!), especially as it’s rocking a third-party BuWizz+ bluetooth control battery that can deliver up to eight times the Power of LEGO’s own system to the twin XL motors driving the rear wheels.

Builder Corrado has filmed a video review of the BuWizz+ device using his Technic Nomad, with impressive results. You can see all the images of the build on both Flickr and Eurobricks, you can watch Corrado’s video review below, and you can read TLCB’s review of the BuWizz bluetooth brick by clicking here.

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1970 Porsche 917K | Picture Special

Lego Technic Porsche 917K Le Mans 1970

The year is 1970, and Porsche need to win some races. Their new 917 endurance racer proved hugely unstable in 1969, with downforce still a relatively new phenomenon harnessing it was still largely experimental.

Cue chief engineer John Horsman, and an unlikely revelation caused by the splattering of bugs on the Porsche’s bodywork. John noticed that the 917’s tail was clean from insects, meaning that air wasn’t reaching it. A hasty modification with some aluminium sheets was made to the cars, and the 917 was transformed.

Lego Porsche 917 Gulf Racing

The newly modified 917K won all but one race in the 1970 endurance championship, taking first and second at Le Mans and, along with the Porcshe 908, relegating Ferrari to fourth place.

The 917 was run by serval works and part-works teams in the early 1970s, and it dominated sports car racing. The most famous of these are perhaps the Gulf Racing cars, thanks largely to Steve McQueen and his 1971 film ‘Le Mans’.

It’s this car that Technic building legend Sariel has chosen to recreate in Lego form, and he’s done so brilliantly.

Lego Porsche 917 Gulf Racing

Underneath the incredible bodywork (which includes wonderful period-correct decals) are no less than four LEGO RC Buggy Motors, with two third-party BuWizz 2.0 bricks controlling a pair each. This gives Sariel’s Porsche 917K both amazing speed and the ability to be controlled remotely via a bluetooth device.

Sariel’s 917 also features fully-independent double-wishbone suspension both front and rear, dihedral opening doors, and remote control steering that turns the steering wheel in the authentically detailed cockpit too.

Lego Porsche 917K Gulf Racing

It’s one of the finest Technic supercars of 2018 and one that is definitely worth a closer look. An extensive gallery of images is available to view at Sariel’s Porsche 917K Flickr album and you watch a video of the model in action and join the discussion courtesy of the Eurobricks forum.

See more of Sariel’s astonishing Technic recreation of the greatest endurance racer of the 1970s via the links above, and you can watch the original trailer for the 1971 movie ‘Le Mans’ by clicking here.

Lego Porsche 917 Sariel

 

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McLaren P1 | Picture Special

Lego Technic McLaren P1

This is a near perfect working replica of the McLaren P1, it’s really orange, and it might be the finest Technic Supercar of 2018…

Built by brunojj1 of Eurobricks, this incredible 1:8 model of McLaren’s flagship hybrid hypercar measures over 70 studs / almost 60cm in length and is constructed from over 3,000 LEGO pieces.

Lego Technic McLaren P1

Bruno has designed two different versions of the model, one manual and the other remote controlled, and he’s made instructions available too. Both variants have adjustable front and rear suspension, opening butterfly doors, hood and engine cover, a working V8 engine, and a deployable airbrake/active rear spoiler.

The remote control version adds a suite of Power Functions motors to electronically operate the suspension, airbrake/spoiler and doors, plus drive and steer the model remotely. Two on-board LiPo batteries or third-party BuWizz bricks provide the power, whilst twin SBricks allow the McLaren’s working functions to be controlled via a mobile device.

Lego Technic McLaren P1

A huge gallery of images is available to view through the Eurobricks discussion forum, where you can also find a link to Bruno’s McLaren P1 building instructions and watch a video of the remote control version of the model in action.

Find out more by clicking here, and you can read our reviews of the third-party BuWizz and SBrick parts used in the McLaren via the links in the text above.

Lego Technic McLaren P1 Remote Control

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Strength in Numbers

Lego RC Pick-Up Truck

As any builder of remote control Technic creations will know, LEGO drivetrain components – especially u-joints, axle connections and gears – are often not up to the job of delivering the torque from LEGO’s excellent Power Functions motors to where it needs to go.

Gears shearing in half and u-joints snapping are problems that regularly occur, particularly if third-party battery and software products such as SBrick or BuWizz have been used to increase power far beyond what LEGO envisaged. We’ve even experienced this here at TLCB Towers, as an ‘accidental’ collision between an RC creation and a TLCB Elf can push a part past its breaking-point.

Lego Technic RC Pick-Up Truck

However Eurobricks’ Kevin Moo has designed a cunning solution to the problem, with his Toyota Tundra-esque 4×4 pick-up truck utilising two driveshafts for each of the live-axle suspended differentials.

Power is sent down both sets of components, effectively halving the load on each gear, u-joint and axle connection, and therefore the likelihood of a part failure. It’s an ingenious yet simple solution and one that enables Lego models to take more power, more reliably – watch truck trial builders use this design and then double the number of motors to end up right back where they started!

Lego Technic RC Pick-Up Truck

Kevin’s dual-driveshaft pick-up is also a thoroughly excellent model in addition to its clever driveline. Power to all four wheels comes from a single XL Motor with a Servo for steering, there’s superb live-axle suspension front and rear, opening doors, hood, tailgate and load cover, LED lights, and a realistically detailed body too.

There’s much more to see of Kevin’s brilliant build on Eurobricks via the link above, and you watch how the dual-driveshafts work via the top-quality video below. Take a look whilst we see whether breaking parts in ‘accidental’ collisions with TLCB Elves is a thing of the past (it’s all for science).

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76112 App-Controlled Batmobile | Set Preview

Lego 76112 App Controlled Batmobile

Third-party (i.e. non-LEGO) bluetooth connection devices such as the superb SBrick and BuWizz feature regularly in the models that we publicise here at The Lego Car Blog. Able to connect your creation to your phone for remote control, and – in the case of the SBrick – even programme your model in way that betters LEGO’s own purpose-built robotics systems, they’ve revolutionised what can be achieved in Lego building.

The LEGO Company have been unusually slow to meet this demand themselves, however now (and probably unfortunately for the companies above), LEGO’s own bluetooth-controller is nearly here, launching first as part of the 321-piece 76112 Batmobile set.

Part of LEGO’s rebranded ‘Powered Up’ range, the new controller adds bluetooth control and programming to Power Functions and will be available as a stand-alone product that can be added to existing sets and creations following the launch as part of the 76112 Batmobile set.

LEGO’s press release states;

“The LEGO Batman App-Controlled Batmobile, created for children 8 years of age and older, combines LEGO building and remote-control car play. It is the first codeable and programmable LEGO Batmobile that is fully controllable via smart device. Users can steer the Batmobile using one of two preset remote-control interfaces or personalize their experience through a customizable interface. With the interface unlocked, users move sliders, buttons and other elements to customize the remote control to their liking. Through a coding canvas that will be introduced later this year, users can code and re-code speed, direction, sound and duration to program various movements and stunts and create their own unique driving experiences.”

Whether this will ultimately usher in the demise of the excellent third-party bluetooth products used by the Lego Community currently or spur them on to further innovation and development we’re not sure. We hope it’s the latter, as this competition could bring about a multitude of top-quality bluetooth options for Lego models in the near future (we’ll see if we can do a back-to-back review of all three bluetooth controllers later in the year).

LEGO’s 76122 App-Powered Batmobile set will hit shelves on August 1st costing around $100, and you can read our reviews of the SBrick and BuWizz bluetooth controllers currently available via the links in the text above.

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The Power of Four

Lego Technic RC Buggy

We are very thankful to reader and previous bloggee Lipko today, as he a) found us this awesome Technic RC buggy, and b) most importantly, he found it before one of the Elves did. That’s because this monstrous creation by Didumos69 features four L Motors, all-wheel-drive, and two BuWizz LiPo battery bluetooth controllers, making it very probably the most capable Elf-smushing creation built yet.

Thankfully there will be no Elven smushing today and you can see more of Didumos69’s riotous build, which also includes a V8 piston engine, superb suspension complete with caster angle and Ackerman geometry steering at the Eurobricks discussion forum, where there’s also a video showing what two BuWizzes can achieve when hooked up to four L Motors and all-wheel-drive…

Lego Technic RC Buggy

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Technic Bugatti Chiron | Picture Special

Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron

A very special supercar requires a very special Lego model…

LEGO’s own Bugatti Chiron set, previewed here at The Lego Car Blog earlier in the year, is due later in 2018. However one builder has beaten LEGO to it, and in doing so may have set the bar not just higher than LEGO themselves could hope to achieve, but possibly higher than any Technic supercar has done to date. This is Leviathan‘s 4,000-piece, 3.7KG, two year in the making 1:8 Technic Bugatti Chiron supercar.

Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron RC

Designed as a modular construction, as per a real car, Leviathan’s Bugatti Chiron features Power Functions remote control operated via a third-party BuWizz bluetooth brick, a seven speed dual-clutch gearbox, all-wheel-drive, working steering with Ackermann geometry, electronically height adjustable independent suspension, a replicated W16 engine, and even active aerodynamics.

Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron Remote Control

Five Power Functions motors are controlled by the BuWizz bluetooth brick, with two RC motors driving all four wheels, an XL motor powering the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, and a fourth motor powering the steering. The fifth motor uses a gearbox to switch between two functions; raising/lowering the suspension, and controlling the three-position rear spoiler/air-brake (shown in the picture above in air-brake mode and in the image below fully retracted).

Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron Supercar

Leviathan’s Bugatti Chiron is very probably the most advanced Lego model we’ll see all year, and if LEGO’s own 42083 Technic Bugatti Chiron set is half as good when it arrives later on this year it’ll definitely be a set worth having. In the meantime you can read full details of Leviathan’s unbelievable creation at the Eurobricks forum, where there are also images showing the amazing engineering within, you can see the full gallery of images on Flickr, and you can watch a video demonstrating all of the model’s incredible functions by clicking here.

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Ugly but Effective

Lego BuWizz RC Trophy Truck

The best off-roaders are never the prettiest things. Sensual curves and wind-cheating aerodynamics come a very distant second to approach/departure angles and suspension articulation.

Eurobricks’ rm8 has employed a similar tactic with his BuWizz-controlled trophy truck. Despite claims that it’s inspired by the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso it has about as much in common with that car as your Mom does with Charlize Theron. They’re the same species, and everything is kinda in the same place, but that’s about it.

Lego Technic Trophy Truck Remote Control

What rm8’s trophy truck lacks in aesthetic appeal however, it more that compensates for with off-road ability. Powered by a LEGO Buggy Motor, with servo steering and BuWizz control, plus bouncy independent front and live-axle rear suspension, it’s absolutely mega off-road, which should help it in the BuWizz Fast Car Competition in which it’s been entered.

There’s lots more to see at the Eurobricks forum via the link above, and you can watch the model in action via the ace video below.

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Diggin’ Double

Lego Technic Remote Control Excavator

LEGO’s excellent Power Functions components have brought a new ease to motorising Technic models. Small, simple to install and reasonably powerful, the wide range of motors, infrared receivers and battery boxes have found their way into countless Lego creations featured here over the years.

It didn’t take long however, for the clever boffins in the Lego Community to think ‘Great… but what if Power Functions was really powerful?…’

The result is the BuWizz brick, an integrated rechargeable battery and bluetooth receiver that delivers up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions system. To which Anto of Eurobricks thought ‘Great… but what if I had two…’

This is the fruit of Anto’s endeavour; a neat if unspectacular looking Technic excavator, with two BuWizz third-party bricks. The first controls the independently driven tracks (each powered by a Medium motor), the front-mounted blade (also powered a Medium motor) and the arm-mounted LEDs.

The second BuWizz device controls the superstructure rotation (via a Large motor), the two-stage arm (via an XL motor and Large motor respectively), and finally the bucket (powered by a Medium motor).

That’s a lot of motors and, thanks to those two BuWizz bricks, a lot of power too. So much so that Anto’s Technic excavator really can, well… excavate. Full details can be found at the Eurobricks discussion forum, and you watch Anto’s excavator in action via the video below.

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Election Enforcement

Lego Technic GAZ Tigr SPM-2

Russia’s recent presidential elections once more provided an emphatic win for Vladimir Putin. Securing his fourth consecutive term in office with a huge 77% of the vote, Putin defied the odds, a constitution which limits consecutive terms to two, accusations of voting irregularities, and the assassination and imprisonment of the other candidates. A thoroughly deserved win then!

The run-up to the election which delivered Putin’s decisive victory was also assisted by a thorough and active police force, ensuring the the Russian people were safe and secure to cast their all-important vote. Many vehicles were deployed to this end, but our favourite is this, the GAZ Tigr SPM-2.

Lego Technic GAZ Tigr SPM-2

With 7mm armour plating, a four foot wading depth, and powered by a 5.9 litre Cummins diesel engine, the GAZ Tigr is the perfect vehicle for Russia’s armed forces to traverse their country’s vast and varied landscape. It’s also large enough to hold a number of police officers plus any citizens that are as yet unsure of whom to vote for.

This brilliant police-spec Technic GAZ Tigr SPM-2 comes from previous bloggee filsawgood and instead of containing undecided voters/rival political candidates it’s stuffed full of technical wizardry. All four independently suspended wheels are powered by a pair of BuWizz bluetooth bricks controlling four Large drive motors and Servo steering motor, whilst a Medium motor powers the front-mounted winch. There’s also a six-cylinder piston engine, opening hood, doors and sunroof, and a fully appointed interior ready to receive any political dissidents.

Lego Technic GAZ Tigr SPM-2

There’s lots more to see of filsawgood’s hugely impressive GAZ Tigr SPM-2 at both Flickr and the Eurobricks discussion forum – take a look via the links above and remember to show your support for the President in the comments.

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Orange Crush

Lego Technic Trial Truck RC

Suggested by a reader, and then necessitated by a massive Elven tantrum, today’s post comes from previous bloggee Alexey Tikhvinsky aka SilenWin. It’s based upon an earlier blogged creation of his, which it turn was based upon a model by another previous bloggee Lucio Switch back in 2015.

The subsequent three years of development has led to this, the ‘Indominus Mk3’. Driven by four RC Buggy Motors – the most powerful motors LEGO have ever produced, with two BuWizz third-party bluetooth bricks delivering up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions system, pneumatic shock-absorbers, and portal-axels with planetary gear reduction, SilenWin’s Indominus trial truck can go just about anywhere and over just about anything.

We’re going to explore this all-conquering ability in the corridors of TLCB Towers today, where there may be some ‘accidental’ Elven casualties. Whilst we have some fun at the Elves’ expense you can check out full details of the build on Eurobricks plus you can see all of the images on Flickr here.

Lego Technic Trial Truck RC

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Lean on Me

Lego RC Trike

Weird electric city vehicles seem to pop up all the time in concept form tasked with easing urban congestion and cutting pollution. And then no-one ever builds one because, frankly, consumers would rather sit traffic breathing polluted air in a giant SUV.

Still, one day maybe these things will take off, but until then we’ll make do with previous bloggee Nico71‘s BuWizz-powered leaning tricycle. Similar to Toyota’s limited production i-Road concept, or those weird three-wheeled Piaggio scooter thingies, Nico’s concept can actively lean into corners to keep it stable, and with up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions system from the BuWizz bluetooth brick, it probably needs that function.

It’s not our usual fodder here at The Lego Car Blog, but it’s a rather cleverly engineered build and one that we’ll probably all be driving in real life at some point. See more on Brickshelf via the link above.

Lego RC Trike

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