Is V5 worth it?

I thought there should be a thread for this. We have heard a lot of talk about v5 sets breaking, especially motors, along with the motor limit of six (we are using pneumatics). We (our school) is not sure whether we should switch to v5, even though we’ve ordered a few sets already. I just want to hear pther’s thoughts on this.

In my opinion V5 provides a significant competitive advantage. Although V5 motors may not be perfect I also had a lot of issues with the old cortex system and 393 motors as well so I would suggest you switch to V5.

If you have functional Cortex systems and the reliable funding to purchase V5 before it becomes mandatory without the trade in program, i probably wouldn’t. We had 5 cortex systems, but three of them were from the very first year they were released, and the other two only a year or two newer. All were on their last legs. We had to either trade up to V5, or order obsolete hardware which will soon be phased out. We did not have much of a choice.

If we had, i do not think we would have gotten more than a single unit to test.

From all the things that have been brought up here - brain issues, joystick issues, battery issues, smart port issues, motor failures… I’m glad we didn’t have the funds to buy V5 this year.

Although it would be nice to have a kit and begin to build and learn with it without the stress of getting ready for competition… it seems like there is a fair amount of risk. I’d hate to have a V5 failure during the heat of a battle.

I am not really sure what “on their last legs” means. In the 8 year I have used cortexs the only broken parts I have seen.

  1. Worn out battery connector, fixed in later years and VEX will give you new connectors if you ask
  2. Blowing motor ports 1 and 10, can totally be lived with and with a power expander you forget it even happened.

There’s some issues where if port 1 and 10 go, it can cause cascading failures for other ports.

we had some straight up let out the magic smoke.

one particular brain would intermittently shut off and rest, which cause serious issues with encoder values then being reset.

they were just old.

That’s odd. Which other ports went out? 1 and 10 are connected to a separate processor from the other ports so I don’t see how they could cause cascading issues.

That last one sounds like a loose battery connector.

To me, it is not a question of if you should switch. It is a question of when. After all, there will be a point down the line (my guess is two years or the the '20-'21 season) where the Cortex system will no longer be allowed. The disadvantages of switching now is the dealing with the teething problems of a new system as well as if your trade in stuff is all you have, then you are without anything until you finally receive your V5 order. On the other hand, you do get the new system at a discount. Switching later might mean that you avoid many of the early issues, however you will have to pay twice as much and possibly at a competitive disadvantage to the teams who have V5.
Since you have already ordered a few sets of V5, then I guess you need to test it and make a decision about using it right away or sticking with the technology that you know. Which does have it own sets of limitations and issues.

To answer the question in the title of this thread, the answer is “yes.”



Yes, definitely worth it.

Additional pros & cons:

  • Motors are much more powerful
  • Using out of the box is significantly quicker and easier (we were able to use the controller for driving and use the brain touch screen for running motors individually within a very short time - probably under 5 minutes altogether)
  • Vex is phasing out Cortex, so within 1-2 years to do Vex you’ll have to use it whether you like it or not


  • Motors are limited to 8 vs 12 with Cortex (they are definitely more powerful, but sometimes you just need a motor to do something tiny and don’t need all that power - depends on your design as to which is best for you)
  • New release issues are rampant (battery issues are hopefully resolved with the firmware update, but I haven’t read anything about solutions to the periodic motor issues or our recent brain issue) and it will probably take a few months / year to get most of those ironed out
  • Can’t use RobotC either! Grrr

RobotC is extremely non-standard in the way it does things. It teaches a lot of bad programming practices in the interest of simplification. In my opinion, RobotC (for VRC at least) needed to die.

VCS at least uses a relatively standard C++ compiler, as far as I understand, which means you are learning and using real C++11 instead of a spin-off of C.

Besides, the major overhaul RobotC would have needed to work acceptably with V5 would have made it a very different product than the RobotC people are used to.

You should definitely switch. Between only needing one battery, motors running at 100% power at low battery, built in PID, and significantly more power output, it’s hard to imagine any competitive teams by late season will still be using 393s.

I second this. RobotC is more of a spin off and it isn’t really helpful if you want to go into coding with C++. RobotC is nice for beginners, but it won’t help later on. The V5 motors are a good way for middle schoolers and high schoolers to learn about coding in a fun way, and if they like it, they can take coding classes later on.

In my experience v5 is ten times more reliable than v4. At our school, we have a huge pile of 393 motors that don’t work, half of our motor controllers are faulty, and several brains have burnt out ports. In contrast, with the v5 we’ve burnt out one beta motor, and that was only because our mentor decided to run a drivetrain at 1000 rpm with only two v5 motors. And none of that is even mentioning the difference in the quality of the vex net.

My primary concern with V5 is getting into a system I don’t know about right before states and worlds. I would suggest possibly building a second robot if you have the funding to build a second robot. That way if you still don’t have enough transition time you would be able to have another robot that’s fully functional and reliable.
Another note is that I consider V5 to be worth it, especially for newer teams.

v5 sounds worth it but I am not sure if vcs it worth the transition from robot c. our program has 20+ dead motors and have had 2 brains die in about a year

Your students will learn MUCH more valuable programming skills using VCS than they ever would using RobotC. They will actually be coding in C++ rather than a dumbed down version that has very little in common with any real programming language that they will encounter out in the “real world”.