LEGO® Powered Up summary

Important update – a Code Block guide was created for the app, available here.

This page is created to collect and share the latest information about the LEGO® Powered Up platform.

Contents

Summary

The LEGO Powered Up system is the successor of the LEGO Power Functions system. It uses Bluetooth connection instead of infrared, it can use sensors and interactive motors besides the lights and standard motors. LEGO Boost offers a complete visual programming environment in the Boost app, some programming elements are also available in the Powered Up app. LEGO Control+ is the name for the app dedicated to the Technic sets using the new components. The new system uses a mobile/tablet application for control and there’s a 2 channel physical remote controller available as well. The connectors are not compatible with the Power Functions system therefore it is not possible to connect any of the Power Functions motors/lights/etc. It is possible however to control the IR receiver from the Powered Up app with the help of the Color & Distance sensor.

The future of Power Functions

Based on the information received Power Functions components will be available until the end of 2020 with the following exceptions:

  • 8878 Power Functions Rechargeable battery box → Exited 31.12.2018
  • 45517 Transformer 10V DC  → Exits 31.12.2021

Powered Up vs. Control+

The app that controls the sets 42099 X-Treme Off-Roader, the 42100 Liebherr R9800 and the 42109 App-Controlled Top Gear Rally Car is called Control+. This is the set-specific app for Technic, but it only has controls for the specific models and there are no customization options built in.

The hub and the motors in 42099, 42100 and 42109 also belong to the Powered Up family, so they share the same port and protocol like the Powered Up, the Boost and the Spike Prime sets. The app that has and will have the ability to control all these elements is the Powered Up app. It has some set-specific control interfaces for the train sets and the Batmobile, but the main feature is the free play coding area where the components can be controlled with Boost-style program blocks. There’s already a simple 2 slider control interface that can be customised and a joystick+buttons interface, but unfortunately the 3.0 update of the Powered Up app did not bring the free-control ability for Technic MOCs that we expected.

Sets available with Powered Up components

Powered Up components available separately

  • 88005 LED Light
    • similar to the 8870 Power Functions light, except for the new connector and a new style of splitter part in the middle without studs
  • 88006 Move Hub (Boost)
    • can be fully controlled with the Boost app, it has 2 independent inner motors, 2 external ports for motors/sensors and a built-in tilt sensor
  • 88007 Color & Distance Sensor
    • can be used to detect 6 different colors, light intensity and object distance, it can be also used to control the Power Functions IR receiver from the app
  • 88008 Medium Linear Motor (Boost)
    • an interactive medium motor that can be precisely controlled as it reports the speed and the rotation value to the hub
  • 88009 Hub (City)
    • can be controlled with the Powered Up app, the size is identical to the 88000 Power Functions AAA battery box, also needs 6 AAA batteries to operate, it has 2 external ports for motors / sensors
  • 88010 Remote Control
    • it can connect to the 88009 hub, connects up to 5 different hubs giving access to different 10 channels
  • 88011 Train Motor
    • similar to the 88002 Power Functions train motor except for the new style connector
  • 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor
    • similar to the 8883 Power Functions Medium motor, except for the new style connector, it has 4 studs on the top-front part and only has 3 pin holes for connection on the front (the top one is missing)

Powered Up components introduced in 42099, 42100 and 42109 but not available separately

  • Powered Up L motor
    • Official name – TECHNIC Large Linear Motor (Motor no. 2)
    • It has a new form factor, it also acts as a Servo since it can report its position and has return to center function
  • Powered Up XL motor
    • Official name – TECHNIC XL Linear Motor (Motor no. 3)
    • It has a new form factor, it also acts as a Servo since it can report its position and has return to center function
  • AA Control+ hub with 4 ports
    • Official name – TECHNIC Medium Hub (Hub128)
    • This hub appeared in 42099 & 42109, 42100 has two of them, it has 4 ports and it is powered by 6 AA batteries. Only the Control+ app can connect to this hub therefore there are no custom control possibilities.

Official applications available

App/hub/remote connection options

With the current Boost application it is only possible to connect to a single hub. With the 3.0 release of the Powered Up app it is possible to connect to 4 different hubs simultaneously, they can be different types (Boost / Technic / City). With the remote it is possible connect to 5 different hubs so there are 10 channels to control. Each hub will be color coded, it is possible to switch between them with the press of the green button on the remote. It is also possible to assign multiple hubs to the same channel of the remote, so multiple hubs (outputs) can be controlled with the same button on the remote. Example and pairing process is demonstrated in this video.

App/hub/remote compatibility list

  • Boost app with 88006 Boost hub
    • controls the 88008 Medium Linear Motor, 88007 Color & Distance Sensor
    • also controls the hub’s two internal motors, can use them as an input and can use the hub’s internal tilt sensor as an input
    • does not work with the 88005 LED Light, 88011 Train Motor, 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor
    • it cannot connect to the 88009 Hub
       
  • Powered Up app with 88009 Hub
    • Batmobile sub-app
      • controls the 88011 Train Motor, 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor, 88008 Medium Linear Motor
      • does not work with the 88005 LED Light and 88007 Color & Distance Sensor
      • it connects to the 88006 Boost hub and controls the two internal motors (A & B outputs)
    • Train sub-app
      • controls the 88011 Train Motor and 88005 LED Light (only one motor and one light, does not work with 2 motors / 2 lights)
      • does not work with the 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor, 88008 Medium Linear Motor and 88007 Color & Distance Sensor
      • it connects to the 88006 Boost hub and controls one train motor and one light connected to the 2 external outputs (C & D)
    • Programming environment
      • controls the 88011 Train Motor, 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor, 88008 Medium Linear Motor, 88005 LED Light, can use the 88007 Color & Distance Sensor
      • It can also connect to the Boost hub and control the internal motors and connected peripherals
      • it can connect to 4 different hubs simultaneously
      • it can use the WeDo 2.0 sensors (tilt and distance) connected to both hubs (Boost and PU)
      • It can use the 88010 Remote Control as an input device
      • It has a simple 2 slider + 3 button customizable interface and a joystick / turbo button + 3 button interface.
         
  • Control with the the 88010 Remote Control
    • It connects to the 88009 Hub and can control the two outputs, can be used e.g. with the Batmobile and the trains but also other custom creations.
    • Different motors have different control options – for the train motor the up/down buttons increments through 10 speed settings, for the medium motors it offers a “bang-bang” style control, they only have zero or full power state.
    • Can connect to the Boost hub and control either the two internal motors or motors connected to the C & D ports
  • Control+ app with the Technic 4 port hub
    • The Control+ app only offers an interface to control the sets 42099, 42100 and 42109. There’s no possibility to customize it, the Powered Up app will have this ability.

3rd party applications compatible with Powered Up

  • BrickController 2
    • iOS version
    • Android version
    • This application is designed to use a gamepad connected to the mobile device and control the following units: Power Functions infrared, Powered Up, BuWizz, SBrick. Video demonstration available here.
    • The app can fully control the current range of motors with the AAA and the AA hub as well, including proper servo support with calibration and custom zero position.
  • The Brick automation project
    • Windows 10 version
    • This application is designed for train control and other automation projects. It is compatible with Powered Up, Boost, SBrick, BuWizz, WeDo 2.0 and EV3.
  • BuWizz app
    • The BuWizz app can connect to the Technic (AA) hub. It offers classic motor speed control, does not have yet the ability to control the L and XL motors as a return to center servo.

Detailed review videos

(chronological order)

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17 Comments:

  1. Thankyou for the informative article. I do have a question though.

    Above, when describing what app can power what motor, you mention that the:
    “Train sub-app… does not work with the 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor”

    Yet at the 2min 32sec mark of this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3_XeuI3ueQ&feature=youtu.be&t=222

    you seem to show just that. It’s even speed controlled! 🙂

    Is there something i’m missing? I’m only just learning PUP, and thought that besides coding a quick program, there was no way to have the motor speed controlled via the Train app? Well, it doesn’t work on my app anyway. :/

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • That video was made in January, after the latest app/firmware update the Train app does not control the M motor anymore. I try to keep the list up to date following the latest changes, my older videos might not reflect the same behaviour.

  2. Hello and thanks a lot for all the helpful information on PoweredUp and its non-LEGO ecosystem here and elsewhere on your page! (I am just learning about all this.) I will be visiting here more regularly.
    Surprising (and bit of a shock, really) to read that the newest and most capable hub in the Technic sets can only be controlled by LEGO’s Control+ app. I thought these elements were all supposed to be compatible?
    What I am trying to do is to use the 4-port hub for MODs and MOCs, ideally with a programming possibility (e.g. interface with Scratch). If that is not possible, it is a strong argument against the 42100 Liebherr R9800 – unfortunately.
    Unless I rely on the creativity of fellow AFOLs who have repeatedly come up with solutions to extend LEGO outside of its sandbox.
    Looking forward to any further development and information on this!

    • The Powered Up ecosystem is still evolving, and the software part still has some core components missing. The Powered Up app will have the possibility for custom control, I expect a Boost-style visual programming interface, an upgrade to the current free programming area with support for the Technic hub and the new motors.
      Another (non-programmable) option is the BrickController2 app which already supports the Technic hub.

  3. 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor
    Is it in the wedo 2.0 ?
    Can the PU app work with the core of wedo?

  4. a new Q:
    THE lego 75253 starwars boost app
    work with 88009 hub?

  5. Can the 75253-starwars-boost-app work with the 88009 Hub?

  6. Hi there, can the 88011 Train Motor be powered and controlled by the LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 Smarthub?

  7. Does the 88010 work with the control+ sets like the 42109 Rally Car?

    • I tried and could not get it to work. Disappointed that my son has to use my (expensive) cell phone. Could you confirm? Maybe I’m not doing it right.

  8. Which version of BlueTooth is necessary to communicate with the hub?
    Because I’m looking for a cheap Android phone and a USB/BlueTooth dongle to plug on a Raspberry Pi or an EV3 brick.

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