easyC or MPLAB Programming Kit

Am I better off with the EasyC Kit or with the Prototype Programming Kit?

We recommend EasyC if you are new to “C” or programming. EasyC is a graphical/flowchart way to learn programming and is designed to help the novice user gain rapid results. You build your code by making a flow chart. A seperate window will show you the C code created from your flow chart. You may order the EasyC Programming Kit (http://www.vexlabs.com/vex-robotics-programming-kit.shtml) on our website via online ordering. If you know “C” you may find EasyC limiting and you may prefer to use Microchips MPLAB IDE to develop your code. Microchips MPLAB IDE is included in our Prototype Programming Kit.

The MPLAB Programming Kit ($99) includes Programming Module, 2 interfacing cables: a RJ14 6-pin cable and a DB9 serial cable, the Microchip MPLAB IDE, the Microchip C18 Compiler for Vex use, and the Innovation First IFI Loader. The MPLAB IDE allows you to open your workspace and edit the files, the Compiler allows you to create a new .hex file, and the IFI Loader allows you to download these .hex files to the Vex Controller. If interested in the MPLAB version, please call 903-453-0802. For more info see our Downloads page http://www.vexlabs.com/vex-robotics-downloads.shtml

Although I have both the original EasyC and EasyC V2.0, I can see that I will probably have a need for a more standard language. Rather than buying the Prototype Programming Kit you supply, can I use the MPLAB IDE and MPLAB C18 compiler with the orange Programming Kit cable? Any tricks or secrets I’d need to know?

You will always need the Programming Module (the orange unit with the button on top) and the Orange Phone type cable. Use these to connect to the Vex Controller. If your PC has a serial port you do not need the Orange USB to Serial Converter. You can just use a DB9 Serial Cable from your PC to the Programming Module. If you already have a version of MPLAB IDE and a C18 Compiler, that may work for you. Microchip developed the software package for us so I can not guarantee that any version will work with the Vex Controller.