What is considered Motorized Functionality in a Lego Set
If you have been around Lego sets for a while, you know the sets include features that shoot, rotate, or move. However, what I want to focus on are the motorized options that come with Lego that need a battery and make the sets come alive.
Motorized sets utilize Lego Power Functions which are motors that run off of batteries. There are different type of Power Functions depending on the type of set you have.
- An EV3 Large Servo Motor
- An EV3 Medium Servo Motor
- An L-Motor is a large motor utilized to spin wheels or gears for Technic and Creator sets.
- An M-Motor is a medium motor for smaller jobs
- A Servo Motor is utilized in vehicles for steering capabilities
- A Train Motor is utilized in train sets
Lego Technic - Set 42070 - 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck
6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck
In 2017, Lego released this awesome Tow Truck which includes 2 motors: an M and XL Power Functions motors. The power functions allow you to drive the truck, raise and lower the stabilizers, and raise and lower the wench.
This is not an easy build as the gear box is fairly complicated, however, it is a whole lot of fun once it is put together. Notice in the video, that the speed for this type of remote control vehicle is not the same as a regular RC type. A Lego enthusiast will enjoy this set.
Star Wars Motorized AT-AT - Set 10179
Lego Star Wars AT-AT
In 2007, Lego released a motorized Start Wars AT-AT. The M-Power Functions motor controls all four legs. When moving, the AT-AT does look a little unstable and some other videos does show it falling over. The set includes 4 minifigs, including Luke Skywalker. At 1,121 pieces, this is a formidable set to put together.
High Speed Passenger Train - Set 60051
Lego High Speed Passenger Train - Set 60051
Lego Trains are a whole lot of fun, this set was my first train set and I picked it because it included the power train motor and the remote control. Other train sets, like the Holiday Train, you have to purchase the power functions pieces separately. With three cars and enough track to make an oval, this is a great starter train set and a great way to get to know the Lego power functions.
Volvo L350F Wheel Loader - Set 42030
Lego Motorized Set 42030 - Volvo L350F Wheel Loader
This set contains four motors. A Medium, Large, and Xtra Large Power Functions motors along with a Servo motor. A controller that lifts and tilts the bucket and drives the loader across the floor. Released in 2014, this set contains 1,636 parts.
RC Tracked Racer - Set 42065
Set 42065 - RC Tracked Racer
Another set built with the Medium Power Functions motor. Again, these are not built for speed, but I have seen modifications online that do make them go faster. The does include everything you need, so there is nothing else you need to purchase. This is a much simpler build at 370 pieces and is currently available in the Lego online store.
Lego Grand Carousel - Set 10196
Set 10196 - Lego Grand Carousel
I really like the Lego Grand Carousel set. The medium Power Functions motor does a good job of turning the Carousel and providing movement to each of the characters. This is not a simple build at 3,227 parts. This set is also not easy to find and very expensive on the secondary market. Pair this with the Ferris Wheel and the Roller Coaster and you have a great start to a Lego fair or amusement park.
Lego Mindstorms - Set 31313
Lego Mindstorms - Programming with Lego
The Lego Mindstorms sets typically come with three motors. What makes this set unique is the programmable nature of the brick. Mindstorms has multiple versions as it has evolved over the years. The EV3 version was the latest release, while the previous version was NXT. The Rubick's Cube solver in the video was built with NXT.
As you can see the programmable unit allows you to create all sorts of things to make your builds move and even think.
These sets are not cheap, as the retail prices are hundreds of dollars, and the add-ons continue to drive the cost up.
What powers a Lego motor?
The Lego motors are powered by a battery box. There are two types of battery boxes, a rechargeable version and one that takes AA batteries. When they are included in the set, you don't have a choice.
If you are buying them separately, the cost is significant enough to really think about how often you will be using the set. Each version of the battery box will run a couple of hours, however, buying batteries gets expensive over time. Another consideration is what you need to do to change the non-rechargeable version. If you need to take apart your build each time, it may be worth the extra money to not have to do that.
Lego Sets That a Motor Can be Added
In addition to sets where the motors are included, there are sets where a motor can be incorporated into the build, however, the motor is not included in the set. Typically, the instructions will provide how to incorporate motors into the builds. Those that do not, a simple search of the set name on YouTube, Bing, or Google should pull up instructions on how to do this.