Our robotics team has just made it into the world championship. We desperately need V5 (#Seriouslyyoucansendourv5NOW , #shipsin8MONTHS) and we think we can get it. One of our other problems that we have is that we have heard that one of the ways to minimize V5 port breakages is to use magnetic data sync cables. We have three questions and they are
- Do magnetic data sync cables help?
- How do we get magnetic data sync cables for V5?
- And is it legal to use these?
- They should
- There are several brands available from a variety of sellers. (Amazon, etc.)
However, since wireless downloading is now available, why not just do that?
I have searched on Amazon but I haven’t been able to find V5 ones
Once we switched to wireless downloading we thought we would no longer need the magnetic connectors. Turns out the controller port is just as bad quality as the brain port and felt like it started to wear out quickly. I would recommend using magnetic cables for a connection to the controller as well if you are using wireless downloads.
You don’t need V5 specific ones, the port on the brain is a standard micro-usb port.
All of the teams at my school use some generic magnetic table from amazon and it’s work decently, you might have to fidget with it a little to get it to sit right but other than that it’s great. ( You could sand down the edges to eliminate this as it doesn’t get a perfect connection because of the battery wire but I’ve been too lazy too and it works fine.)
Any magnetic cable will do, they don’t have to be VEX or V5 specific. (Even if they did judges wouldn’t have any way of knowing unless you downloaded in their face at competition. Any cable is legal).
Interesting, I hadn’t considered that. I typically leave the controller plugged in for the entire programming session, so its port probably doesn’t get as much wear as the brain’s did but I’ll probably buy one of these cables anyway now.
alternatively, you can get a short micro-USB to USB extension cable. We leave them on the brain and zip tied to the frame (strain relief), the use the old orange USB cable to go from robot to laptop… works well.
We’ve had good luck with these cables:
Smart&Cool GenX Nylon Braided 3… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GSNHF9Q?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
They work great. Before wireless downloading, the students are able to speed up the number of cycles for updating the robot.
They’ve protected the USB ports from damage. I wish the V5 programming port would have been an USB-C connection instead of micro-USB .
But isn’t wireless download wayy slower than direct wired connection?
Wireless download (at least for me using Robot Mesh Studio) was like 10 times slower than wired. It takes over a minute to download my ~60 kB program.
Instead of magnetic cables, you can save some money (and possible frustration—I see that a lot of magnetic cables on Amazon get bad reviews) by using a short micro-USB cable and attaching the USB type-A male end somewhere on your robot:
I just connect using a USB extension cable.
Though, it does seem like a good idea to get a magnetic cable for the controllers since the pictured solution would probably be too unwieldy to use on a controller.
We tried both, the short Micro USB and the Magnetic cables. The students had a substantially better experience with the magnetic cables.
The one warning that I can give is to not dremel steel around the magnetic cables, the tiny steel particles will get stuck inside them and prevent connections over time.
Better yet, get something like this:
That way, in addition to saving the port on the Brain, you can make it significantly more convenient to connect to it for programming.
Theoretically, this would not be legal to leave on a V5 brain for competition, as R<7>h as written applies only to the cortex and vexnet keys. Even leaving the little magnetic connector in the brain wouldn’t be legal either. But as an inspector at local and state events, I’ve never disallowed this. Possibly World’s inspection might be different.
Actually, this was ruled legal. Here’s the Q&A: https://www.robotevents.com/VRC/2018-2019/QA/161
Good to know. Hopefully the game manual is updated next year.
I don’t think they need to update the manual, the small magnetic connector is effectively a really short USB extension cable.
A USB extension could also be argued as a nonfunctional decoration since it serves no functional purpose during competition, so double legal?
Clever teams will figure out they can have their USB cable dragging along the tiles to…