I don’t see any parts for connecting smart cables together. Is there such a part to extend connections? Or are the kids expected to use only off-the-shelf parts or the crimping tool kit, all of which “ships in 6 weeks”?
I’m fairly certain its the latter. I’m not sure of alot of commercially available solutions either, while they exist, they’d be extremely niche because vex uses less than standard cables. They would have limited applications outside of vex, and any that you would find would most likely combust, due to the higher current being put through the wires than other wires generally allow for.
Edit: bolded applicable statements, and fixed voltage to current. (words are hard)
That’s a bit of an extreme outlook on the matter.
First of all, they do exist, known as “couplers”, and are far from niche. If you work with networking equipment regularly, you will inevitably have some on hand.
While it might be a challenge to find one for the exact standard VEX follows (4P4C if I remember correctly), which is quite standard by the way, couplers exist with more conductors than needed and probably a usable conductor alignment too (you can use RJ45 couplers to couple RJ11 connections, for example).
Also, power over ethernet is a tried and true standard that puts up to 48 V through standard ethernet cabling, well over the 12-13 V you get with V5. Voltage is not the problem.
The problem is current, which is why off-the-shelf cabling is not allowed with V5. The VEX cabling is supposed to be higher-gauge to both minimize energy loss and reduce heat in the cabling.
Truthfully, though, considering the VEX connectors (for the ends of cables) themselves are, as far as I understand, 100% standard and commercially-available, I doubt you’d have a problem with a decent-quality off-the-shelf coupler.
TL;DR: Not competition-legal, but couplers are readily available for testing and whatever.
The conductors in commercial couplers have a much higher current carrying ability (“ampacity”) than do the wires. It would be reasonable to use them for prototyping.
Good to know. I wasn’t sure about this.
Sometimes their rating looks low, but the conductors in a coupler are beefy. They are sometimes show with a downrated amp capacity, partly because the connections between an old, abused coupler and cable-end can be quite variable. But mostly they’re downrated because there aren’t usually any applications where their actual current-carrying capacity would make any difference.
As there is no VEX equivalent coupler - I would not pass it at inspection. To get a waiver - you will need to submit an official Q&A on this.
I got my crimping tool and connectors in regular shipping time. It feels like the only thing V5 that ships normally.
They’re not special at all for VEX. Just rebranded off-the-shelf products.