Controlling Vex using WiFi

I read an interesting article in Robot magazine where someone used a radio control tank and created a way to be able to control it with a WiFi router. Would there be some way of configuring the Vex robotics unit to work with a WiFi tranceiver of some kind?

I’ve seen Bluetooth-Serial adapters out there. Perhaps a combination of one of them and the programming kit serial adapter would let you control a VEX bot with Bluetooth. Bluetooth has a shorter range than WiFi, but it also uses less power.

well I was more thinking about using a full 12v batters with a small voltage regulator to make it more like what the controller likes to see. I would rather not go the Bluetooth route as it is a bit less secure and a bit more prone to interference. Plus, I couldn’t really operate the robot from one room of the house while the robot is in another.

Bluetooth range is definitely a drawback. However, WiFi is much more complex while Bluetooth was designed to be a simple replacement for USB, serial, etc. A serial-bluetooth setup might be easy to setup and require no custom hardware or code.

For WiFi, you would need a microcontroller capable of running a TCP/IP network stack which I really doubt the VEX controller can handle.

Some home networking equipment such as Linksys’s popular WRT54G wireless router and their NSLU2 network storage device are small and can be hacked to run custom Linux code. If you can wire them up to the VEX controller and battery, you can write some code to run on them to listen to commands over the network then relay them to the VEX controller.

Here is a Somewhat related site I found:
(Got IT!!)

This might work:

Thanks for the info. I’ll keep those sites in mind. I was trying to go the WiFi route, for one because I am taking a CISCO networking class in school, and two, I could send my robot out on different household expeditions where bluetooth wouldn’t suffice.

if u did go bluetooth how would drive the bot?

Try looking into one of these…

has TTL interface and all ready to go, cheap too.

ok so if u have that acting like a wireless serial port how would drive the bot. do u have a special code that will set up so if u hit a botton it will move the bot rather than telling it to go foward that download and so on.

You should know this…I took a battery tester and connected it to the attenna (the red one) and the tester went wack so why don’t we use spybots with the transmitter attenna connected to a red slot on a 9v plug.
don’t use batteries because they don’t have a powered wire going all the way to the power plant. It works with wireless video camera bots so you can sit and play around!!!
also if you can string a wire all around a room there will be a GIANT Signal!!!
I tested the effects of this and it went up to 300 feet!!!

Now for the video cam…string another wire around your room and attatch it to the attenna port on the receiver. oh yeah and also wire the cam wire around the robot too!!!

<Warning:do not attatch the robot transmitter wire to the cam receiver wire or your robot will go beserk!!!>

oh yeah and I connected it to my cable and it went a lot farther!!!
Sure ch. 24 on the t.v. was smudged but I don’t really care!!!

what about useing this its cheeper and maby better range

Well, I myself have been thinking of this… to me its going to require a bit of programming knowledge and some clever hardware fixing.

It is my understanding that using the DDI or whatever its called. The Debug mode, that lets the PC issue commands via serial… as such it should be completly possible to write a simple driver for it. When said driver is completed then it would be a matter of writting a program to issue commands to the driver, based off of TCP/IP packets… then Wifi would work just fine.

This is all just off the top of my head, I plan to mess with the DDI stuff to figure out exactly how it works. After that, it will be a simple issue of creating a table of commands, then making a driver for it…

Probaly through bluetooth serial, then just installing that driver and hardware onto a portable CPU system(SUch as the Nokia 770)

I like the Data Hunter unit a lot: low cost, pre-configured with TTL

Where was this when I bought chips from Links and built my own IFI radio clones?

As for the control side of things, you can either jiffy something up to work from a PC (elegant, but then you are stuck with a PC/Pocket PC) or you can use a second, similar device and embed it with a really simple microprocessor to build a dedicated control unit.

Or, potentiall, some combination of the two.

~ Christopher

the only problem about wifi is that it only goes so far!!!

Well, for real range,

Consider one of the cellular units from Sparkfun. I did use one once on a different robot (not with the VEX). I do not remember exactly what we did, but I seem to recall us getting better than 9600 baud full-duplex serial data, it is definitely possible with a little work.

~ Christopher