Anxieties over recent firmware/software upgrades

I’m not very knowledgeable about firmware types of things, so I’m looking for some way to clear my brain on what’s happening with the various recent firmware and software updates.

As I understand it, there are a handful of items that periodically require upgrades. These can be:

The Cortex.
The joystick controller.
The radio keys.

Then there are the programming packages, such as RobotC, that make upgrading the above items fairly easy.

I presume the best way to go about the recent upgrades is to, first, upgrade the RobotC, then use the upgraded RobotC to upgrade the Cortex and joystick controller.

But what about the radio keys? Are they up for promotion, too?

And what happens if I upgrade but our event organizer does not? Or what if my event organizer upgrades, but I do not? Are these upgrades required? or are they just nice things to have? :confused:

As for updating the VEXnet 2.0 “radio keys”, they can be updated via the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” found here.

Blah blah blah…

ROBOTC updated.

Blah blah blah…

VEX pushed a patch to fix a non-critical bug… (involving how the radios should automatically switch over to a reserved “competition” set of frequencies when plugged into a comp. switch, but sometimes don’t).

Blah blah blah…

Because VEX didn’t communicate with ROBOTC, ROBOTC had to turn around and quickly issue a new update to fix something that broke due to the update VEX pushed out (which seems to be literally adding a delay at some point for something).

James angry.

Just run the newest ROBOTC AND firmware update and all should be OK.

Is my understanding. James will correct shortly.

James is angry because this process:
A. Could have easily been avoided given even the slightest amount of coordination between VEX and vendors x, y, z
B. Will surely cause confusion as teams don’t realize they’re running mismatched versions / firmwares.

Fool me once: In gateway, applied latest update for cool new I2C IME’s.

Result: robot uncontrollably spins in circles. Wish I had a video. multiple teams had same issue. (team 2616 I think) I think it was this event:

Not getting fooled twice… You need time to properly test and run matches that don’t matter as much as the one play and get in event of the year.

Timing of these firmware updates is not good. The two critical times of the year need you to lock down your configuration, not changing the underlying software that is totally opaque to the end users.

Critical firmware updates should ideally be in May when things start over for the season. I know issues arise during the season that need to be fixed but greater transparency and test plans for replicating errors you intend to fix, scope of fix, etc goes a long way in deciding how and when to apply a patch.

I don’t think my original post indicated anger, I’m not angry, I’m just mildly annoyed.

I don’t like software updates and I like them even less when I don’t really know why I’m doing them. I don’t like the confusion they seem to cause in less technical VEX users, we see the questions over and over about why x doesn’t work with y that all need the same answer, “you have mis-matched software somewhere”.

I should have given Robomatters another few hours to update the blog etc. but I had just wasted a bunch of time installing 4.29 and now had to start over.

Anyway, I’m over it, this update seems worthwhile.

I think what threw Cody was the reference to my rant. When I wrote it I was angry.

It’s a problem since everyone is trying to lock into their World’s berth in the next week. And most of the roboteers that I dealt with were not VEX code update savvy. We used to do once a season update to get everyone on the same version of firmware / RobotC etc. to allow teams the ability to use another controller / laptop in case of disaster. Miss-matched firmware, RobotC internal VM’s etc create a mess. (FullMetalMentor has a good way to put it).

James are you saying go to the new firmware and RobotC 4.3 is “worthwhile” or just the new firmware?

Yea, sorry, I probably should’t have done that, no point in dragging up the past.

That comment was aimed at the new master firmware.

I assume the official line on this will be “please update to the latest software and firmware”.

My (totally uninformed) guess would be that V4.25 master firmware will be mandatory for worlds, I would support this position based on what my tests last night showed V4.25 review

My opinion for the short term is

If you are running master firmware 4.22 or 4.23 and have had no problems this season then stay with that until your season is over or you are on your way to worlds.

I have not tested ROBOTC V4.30 at all yet, it has minor changes from V4.29 so if you updated to V4.29 then there’s no harm in updating to V4.30. Now V4.30 would prefer the new master firmware, but you don’t have to use that based on the above, ROBOTC should still work.

Both V4.23 and V4.25 master firmware is compatible with the latest VEXnet 2.0 radio firmware, that didn’t change, we stay on V1.46 in both cases.


“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
“If you are going to worlds then update at a suitable point before then”.

One quick note I would like to add: ROBOTC will NOT update the VEXNet 2.0 Key firmware. You will need the separate VEXNet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility for that, which is provided by VEX and can be found here. (Thank you Daniel917 for noting this as well).

Thanks. I will take that as the voice of wisdom here. Our event organizer for States told me the update is not mandatory, so that, too, is a relief.

If I get anyone to Worlds, however, I will also take your advice and update them after States.

Thank you. :slight_smile: