couldn’t fix it, but
DISCONNECT worked like
The only downside is
that after DISCONNECT is
used, you will have to do
a “hard reset” to
reprogram the PICAXE.
That is, don’t turn on
PICAXE power until after
you click “Program” in
the Program Editor.
Another possibility is
that you may have
conflicts with pins and
timers based on which
PICAXE you are using.
Manual 2 lists “conflicting
commands” in Appendix
4. So, depending on exactly which
pins and hardware and other
commands you are using (any
hardware serial, hardware I2C,
hardware SPI, or interrupts?), you may
Of course, make sure that your
power supply or batteries and wiring
are all sufficient for supplying the
required voltage and power. I
generally use a single power supply
for the PICAXE and servos, but if your
problems persist, try two different
supplies linked by a common ground.
Q. My daughter attended a FIRST LEGO League event and showed some
enthusiasm for the whole thing. I am
hoping to encourage her to explore
STEM/STEAM by getting her a
robotics kit to work with. Do you
think I should go with the LEGO
robotics kit they use for the
competitions or is that too complex?
A. Good for your daughter! I have twin homeschooled daughters myself and am also interested in
furthering their STEM (now it’s up to
STREAM, sheesh) education. FIRST
and LEGO have four different age
ranges, and teams of girls and boys
enter to compete but more
importantly to have fun and learn.
The LEGO League you mentioned
is for grades 4-8 and introduces kids
to the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3
system. I’m a professional toy designer
and I have the utmost respect for
LEGO and its fabulous products. You
can’t go wrong with a MINDSTORMS
The EV3 system (Figure 4) should
be around until ~2020, and even
when a successor does come along,
parts are typically reverse-compatible.
While not cheap, it’s one of VERY few
$350 tech toys with a 4. 5 star rating
on Amazon for a reason.
It’s modular, open-ended,
expandable, well-thought-out, and just
plain fun. LEGO wrote the book on
clear well-illustrated instructions. Your
daughter can probably do it by
herself, but it sounds like you would
be a great helper and mentor for her.
Obviously, LEGO League is about
learning technology, but other
incidental yet important takeaways are
cooperation, partnership, and learning
to be part of a team.
You can certainly help foster the
team and tech aspects at home, and
hopefully find or even start a local
team of similarly-minded students.
What amazing opportunities our kids
have today. Something other than
cable TV and Facebook!
Got a problem you need help
with? Email questions to
email@example.com and let’s
see if I can help. SV
12 SERVO 02.2017