Downloading code with VEXnet Joystick Power Adapter

We recently purchased a VEXnetJoystick Power Adapter. It’s working great, and saving us from having to constantly recharge joystick batteries.

However, we’ve found that the Power Adapter plugs into the same port as the orange Programming Cable. Therefore, whenever we want to download new code to test on the robot, we need to unplug the Power Adapter and plug in the orange cable (which is connected to our joystick with the VexNet plugged in). But when we do that, we need to have batteries in the joystick.

Are we missing something here? Is there a way to user the Power Adapter, and still download code wirelessly (joystick to the robot)?

I doubt it makes a difference, but we are using RobotC.

Thanks in advance,


You pretty much summed up the current situation, both cannot be connected at the same time. There is no official way to do this, although with a little ingenuity it is technically possible. Most of the time I just power the joystick from the cortex with the USB A-A cable rather than using the VEXnet keys. There will be a new programming cable launched next year which I hear will be able to power the joystick from the computer’s USB port.

This may void the warranty, and be dangerous if used incorrectly, but we use a nine volt cell phone charger with appropriate resistors. If you cut off the charger end, and connect the two wires to the correct parts on the joystick, it works very nicely.

We are also wanting to use the joystick power adapter and Orange VEX Serial Download cable simultaneously. We disassembled the programming unit and took a look at the pins it was using that go to the (telephone?) cable, and determined that the download cable might share a pin with the power adapter.
One idea we had was to plug the power adapter and the download cable into one of those (Telephone? RJ45?) Y-splitters (dual female to single male) and plug it in to the joystick, so that we could download and run our joystick from the wall outlet at the same time. Has anyone tried this?

Not tried it, no reason to yet, however, take a look at this thread

and also some notes I made back in the summer, pinout for the 6 pin connector on the programming cable on the left.

VexProgCableSchematic.pdf (217 KB)

Just need to determine if the +5V is unregulated power from the battery or really 5V as shown. I will take a closer look over the holidays and post a suggestion. Disclaimer - don’t go blindly modifying the joystick or programming cable without understanding that a mistake may lead to damaging both.

Thanks for the confirmation.

Here’s a future product idea. It would be great if Vex could build a new joystick that could:

  1. Run off a wall outlet or rechargeable batteries,
  2. Allow downloading code while plugged in, and
  3. Worked as a battery charger while plugged in and not in use. (My electric razor works this way.)

That way, we would almost never have to change batteries in the joystick. Just let it charge in between runs.


It would be really nice if the field towers were able to provide power for the joysticks, during competition. Sustain the connection between the robot and controller, you know? :slight_smile: