Motors and cables from Ali & original LEGO bricks

LEGO compatible motors are quite difficult to make from basic parts. You need a suitable DC motor, a quadrature encoder, some gears and a housing.. it’s not impossible, but it’s much easier to buy something from Aliexpress… We ordered some “large servo motors” that claim to be EV3 compatible from Aliexpress (seller “A Toy A Dream Store”).
Under normal conditions (like a line following robot) they work fine. We took one piece apart to see what’s inside, it’s possible without braking it. The motor and PCB with the electronics look normal, but the gearing was a disappointment – the gears are thin and don’t look as sturdy as the ones from the original LEGO motor. At least the teeth get bigger towards the output shaft. We’ll see what they survive… If you know of a better source, please let us know.

The motor is fixed by multiple small screws of different lengths, be carefull…
Can be disassembled easily, reassembly took more time.
Aliexpress motor – PCB with electronics
A screenshot from the movie showing the original LEGO engine gears. They are wide and look robust…

We also needed LEGO cables. So we purchased 10 sets of “10pcs/lot EV3 Data Line Crystal Connector Cable Motor Building Blocks Model Parts Fit for MOC NXT EV3 Robot 45544 9898” from Aliexpress seller “QiqiaoHeart Store”. We received 100 cables that seem to work well, no difference can be seen from the original. The price is about 1 USD + VAT per piece, so maybe making your own cables would be a good option if you need more and you can also buy crimping pliers…

100x NXT, EV3 compatible cable

The last thing to get were some new cool looking colorful LEGO bricks to build an interesting robot. We ordered LEGO® Education 2000480 and LEGO® Education 2000481, in the picture you can see all the parts included in these two sets. Another option – LEGO® Education 45401 BricQ Motion Essential comes in a plastic storage box but is 5.5x more expensive than the two sets combined, so maybe next time.