393, legacy, cortex, or V4

When referring to the previous Vex hardware, what is your preferred term?

  • 393
  • legacy
  • V4
  • cortex

0 voters

Aren’t all of them the same?

it’s about which term you prefer.

oh yeah i’m just 0 iq sorry

it’s fine

393 would only refer to the motors, and there were 269 motors I think could be used with the system, so that one’s out. Legacy is correct, but it requires people to understand what you’re talking about specifically. V4 is just incorrect. (Long story, but I think Legacy/Cortex/393 was V0.5, and that wouldn’t be confusing at all.) That leaves Cortex. It’s simple, and mostly everyone understands that Cortex encompasses all of the systems beyond the brain. The only problem is that some people still (mistakingly) call the V5 brain a “Cortex.”


Admittedly, saying “brain” sounds weirder than saying “cortex” on a robotics website.


Its a cortex. Calling it a brain is stupid.

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I just can’t stand it when people call it V4

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The initial VEX system was consumer oriented and sold through Radio Shack. If you look at the parts numbering system NNN-YYYY you will see that Radio Shack SKU process.

in 2006 Vex 0.5 had PIC microprocessors in them. It was a very cool system. It used 72Mhz radios (think remote controlled planes or cars) and was very similar to what FRC used for their control system at the time, which IFI also made. It was more consumer oriented with the pins on the motor vs the pins on the controller. So it would be hard for a VEX roboteer to short out the control system by dropping a metal part on it. (Which was sort of the fail of the FRC / IFI control system. I did FRC in 2006 and I remember toasting a FRC controller with the help of a roboteer and an errant chunk of metal. )

The transmitter had two joysticks and four buttons on the back. It had a built in program that let you move around what the buttons did and how the sticks would work. There was quite a bit that you could do between changing transmitter settings and the “standard” VEX 0.5 programming. Most teams could get by on the default program.

Radio’s were crystal controlled, they had “channels” that you would use. If you wanted two transmitters you used two different crystals and put a second receiver on the robot. There was a much guarded set of “competition crystals” to keep roboteers in the pits from using the same channel as someone on the field.

There was an interim step when they brought out the VEXNet wireless. It was a “back pack” that attached to the battery cover of the transmitter and to the top of the 0.5 controller. The VEXNet key then went into the backpack.

The motors were smaller and there was a servo. They had 3 wires since they had the controller built into the motors.

About two years into 0.5 was the VEXplorer line. A low cost dumbed down transmitter (72Mhz) and reduced function controller. The metal was black powder coated, looked really sharp. There was a camera that would transmit to another receiver that plugged into a TV. We did a game one year called Moon Rover where you had to move the robot around “the moon” and get samples by just watching the monitor. One of the winners had their camera on a servo so they could pan around and see where they were on the moonscape.

I think the VEXplorer was the advent of the prebuilt claw. Gears were purple vs the standard green. The claw had the same purple plastic. Motors on the VEXplorer were two wire and were not compatible with the VEX 0.5 system.

Next evolution was the Cortex. Replacement of the PIC microprocessor with a Cortex core and inbuilt USB jacks for the VEXNet radios. (Cortex is a family name for the processors, not the “Cortex, part of the brain”). The initial motors were two wire 269 motor that were slightly more powerful than the 3 wire motors. Soon after the 393 motors came out with their huge power increase. By moving the HBridge controllers (29 controller) off the motor they could offer the higher current needed by the next series of games.

There were issues with the radios and they received an upgrade. Old radio’s are black, the new current ones are white.

Then V5 was released.

Most of us will say “PIC”, “Cortex”, “V5” for the linage.

I’m good with either controller or brain. My IQ roboteers and their parents get “brain”.

I have some of the PIC controllers that I still use for projects and for my square bot driving events. (A Square bot is the base that you see on the sample Clawbot).


I voted cortex but I also say V4 because it it the closest thing to V5

Weren’t there also 3-wire motors (not servos) somewhere near the beginning?

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Yes, the motor and servos are three wire. And I’m drawing a blank on what the motors were called (I really think they were motors and then when the 269 came out it was “three wire motor” Maybe @Drow can get @jvn to come here and fix my history up.