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 educational Spike Prime set also uses components that use the same Powered Up connector, although it has its own Scratch-based coding environment. The new 51515 Mindstorms Robot Inventor set also uses compatible hardware.

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 and other Technic sets 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 these sets also belong to the Powered Up family (sometimes called Power Functions 2 or PF2), so they share the same port and protocol like the Powered Up, Boost, Spike Prime or 51515 Mindstorms 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 non-Technic sets (e.g. trains, App-controlled Batmobile etc.), 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)
    • it has speed / power control and relative position reporting, that means it can report the current position compared to the relative zero which is by default the position where it was turned on
  • 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, this motor has only power control
  • 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), this motor has only power control
  • 88013 Technic Large Motor
    • It has a new form factor, it has an absolute encoder meaning there’s a hardware zero position that the motor can use for various functions, e.g. for acting like a servo motor
  • 88014 Technic XL motor
    • It has a new form factor, it has an absolute encoder meaning there’s a hardware zero position that the motor can use for various functions, e.g. for acting like a servo motor
  • 88012 Technic hub
    • This hub appeared in 42099 & 42109, 42100 has two of them, it has 4 ports and it is powered by 6 AA batteries. It has a built-in gyroscope.
  • 45602 Technic Large Angular Motor
    • Available in the Spike Prime set, this motor has an absolute encoder
  • 45603 Technic Medium Angular Motor
    • Available in the Spike Prime set (and will be available in the 51515 Mindstorms Robot inventor set in a different color), this motor has an absolute encoder
  • 45606 Technic Force Sensor
    • It measures pressures of up to 10 Newtons (~1kg), also works as a touch sensor with pressed/released/bumped detection
  • 45604 Technic Distance Sensor
    • Sound wave sensor features 1-200cm range with +/- 1cm accuracy 
    • It also has a built-in 6 pin connector for 3rd/DIY peripherals
  • 45605 Color Sensor
    • Detects colors, measures intensity of reflected white light and ambient light
  • 45601 Technic Large Hub for Spike Prime
    • 6 input/output ports
    • 5×5 LED light matrix display
    • speaker
    • 6-axis gyroscope
    • rechargeable battery
    • microUSB port

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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25 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.

  9. hello ,the new POWERED UP (Version 3.1.1) said:

    We are introducing LEGO Power Functions 1 support! Yes, you are now able to use your old Power Functions hardware with the LEGO Powered Up app.

    Could you try this, please? It is a bit techy,

  10. Would the 88010 Remote Control connect to the new technic hub? Have you tried?

    • It does not connect to the hub directly as it does not have default behaviors without the app. You can use it with the Technic hub through the Powered Up app.

      • Thank you for clarifying this. I would have another question, would the 88009 Hub work with the new technic motors? Controlled by the 88010 Remote Control?

        (Currently we have one 88009 Hub and pair of simple wedo motors. I am considering buying second hub and pair of motors so that our sons don’t fight about them:). And I prefer they could control it themselves using the 88010 and don’t require the mobile app… The technic motors are clearly a better value for future… so the missing piece is the simple controller.)

        Thank you very much for sharing all those information here. Its sad LEGO has so lame support and lack of official specs or compatibility table.

        • It’s a good question, I just quickly tested it for you and I can confirm that they are working. You won’t have speed control as they run at max power and probably won’t be able to use it for steering with the L motor, but for a simple tracked vehicle like 42065 or 42095 it should be working.

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