EV3 vs. NXT: Hardware

I love what Lego did with the EV3.   The new brick power and functionality is fantastic, but I think the addition of the new elements and attachment interfaces will make for stronger, more consistent robots.  Yes, I used the words ‘consistent’ and ‘robot’ in the same sentence.

New Chassis Pieces


Lego added two chassis pieces to the the set.  This may not seem like a big deal until you join them with the new motor.  The connection is very strong, which should create a robot that goes straighter and is more consistent.  I know, I used a bad robot word.


znapNew Treads

Lego did add a new tread system to the EV3. Treads look cool and every boy wants to use them, but in my experience, only use treads for FLL if you don’t want a robot to go straight.   They are great for climbing but the consistency trade off is not worth the gain.  Neither of my teams nor I have tried out the new treads yet.  The new system may work better, but I still have nightmares about treads.



Not in EV3 Kit

Motorcycle Wheel

wheelI want the old wheels back.  I am not a fan of the new fat tires.  I have not tested or seen my teams test them but the bounce screams inconsistency.  I am sure there is a reason for this fat tire design, I just don’t see it.  Also, the bigger the wheels the faster the robot.  There are no big wheels.  To satisfy my team’s big wheel addiction, we added the Lego Motorcycle wheels to our kits.


3 thoughts on “EV3 vs. NXT: Hardware

  1. Thad Hughes

    Our team (Power Surge) was quite the opposite. After building with the NXT system, we finally found a perfect geartrain, motor, and wheel combo:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zdssfyiirrtb8de/Volta%20Stuff.pptx Last slide.

    The geartrain allows us to select from 4 different ratios so we get the best speed/precision tradeoff.

    It lets us build sooo compact and sturdily. We used zero sensors outside of the builtin wheel encoders- and we’re able to be super precise on the mat.

    Though the EV3 tires are too big and tall, the smaller flat tires are amazing. Put them in the middle of a bot and put all your weight on them? Zero slippage, small footprint, reliable, et cetera. The fact that there is cushion helps. They seem to be at the optimal footprint- any bigger, and you’re distributing your weight too much and you lose traction. Any smaller, and you don’t have enough traction.

    Who knows, though? We’ll see what this year’s set of iterations brings up. Iterate, iterate, iterate!

  2. Sanjeev Dwivedi

    Ok, so I got some motorcycle tires, put tires on the rims that are powered and left the ones at the back without rims. Experiment after experiment is showing me that the motorcycle tires skid a lot. In fact with the amount of skid it almost seems like they are making a single wheel turn instead of two wheel pivot turn. I put the small fat tires onto the EV3 and it makes amazingly perfect consistent turns again and again. Tried on two different EV3s and same results so not likely that it is the motors. The tires seem to be the culprit. What is your experience?

    1. srakestraw Post author

      We have seen the same issue. With the big fat tires, you are gaining speed but loosing traction. To get the speed and traction, use two tires on each axle.


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