November 2018 V5 Kit Order Update

At VEX Robotics, we strive to harness bold creativity to create exceptional products. Our promise is to be customer-driven and take responsibility to correct our mistakes. Recently, we have fallen short of delivering on our values.

Effective immediately on November 13, 2018, new orders for V5 kits are indefinitely suspended. The continued shipment delays surrounding the V5 launch have inhibited our ability to provide the level of service expected from VEX. This pause in new orders will allow us to correct our mistakes, catch up with the current backorder, and properly prepare for the V5 era moving forward. This affects the following products:

• 276-4800 - V5 System Bundle
• 276-4810 - V5 Robot Brain
• 276-4831 - V5 Robot Radio
• 276-5842 - V5 Smart Motor 6:1 Cartridge
• 276-5841 - V5 Smart Motor 18:1 Cartridge
• 276-5840 - V5 Smart Motor 36:1 Cartridge
• 276-6500 - V5 Classroom Starter Kit
• 276-6600 - V5 Competition Starter Kit
• 276-6550 - V5 Classroom Super Kit
• 276-6650 - V5 Competition Super Kit
• 276-6700 - V5 Classroom Starter Bundle
• 276-6750 - V5 Classroom Super Bundle

This does not mean that we are shutting down V5. Production & shipping will continue full-bore during (and after) this hold, and orders that are already in process are still being shipped continuously. This hold does not apply to VEX IQ, VEXpro, or non-V5 VEX EDR accessories. To be notified when ordering for these products re-open, visit

The Trade-In program will remain open for submissions until its scheduled close date of December 15, 2018. Teams who have shipped their equipment prior to November 13, 2018 will be the one exception to the ordering hold, and can place their order by contacting with their discount code. For teams who have not yet sent in their equipment, and will be unable to order until the freeze is lifted, we understand that this gives you a difficult decision to make. However, we feel that this is a better alternative to completely closing the trade-in program early and not giving you the option to make that decision at all. Similarly, VEX U teams who have not yet placed or received their V5 order can contact with their team number to place their order and/or make sure it is shipped as soon as possible.

Put simply, the demand for V5 has far exceeded our most extreme expectations. It is currently straining the capacity of every stage of our order-to-delivery process. In spite of a nearly blind sense of optimism and tireless effort, as everyone involved genuinely, desperately wanted to get V5 in the hands of our customers, we did not succeed in establishing the infrastructure needed to support the most ambitious product rollout in our company’s history.

This is not an excuse, it is an admission and an explanation. The past several months have been a shifting timeline for most of our customers. Unfortunately, each time we gave an estimate to you on an order, the team here at VEX truly believed in the estimate that was given with the information available at the time. However, when setting these dates and expectations, we were not doing a good enough job planning for the unplanned. For the past several months, our estimates were constantly missed. We no longer want to give incorrect answers.

By pausing new orders, it will also give us a chance to improve the experience for the thousands of early adopters who have already received some of the first V5 kits. Key accessories, including Robot Batteries and Smart Motors, will still be available to purchase to support existing users.

We want to return to fulfilling the promises that VEX has made to our community. Not the promise to create a control system with a touchscreen on it, but the promise of a customer-motivated, service-focused, quality-centric STEM experience from order to delivery and beyond. We want to be the company that under promises and over delivers. We are grateful for the patience that the community has had throughout this product launch, and look forward to seeing how V5 is able to change the face of robotics classrooms and competitions for years to come.

(Edit: Revised on 11/15 to include guidance for VEX U teams)

Well honestly that’s disappointing. Will replacements for damaged components still be available?

I honestly have a hard time understanding how demand was underestimated to this degree. VEX must have some idea of the number of teams in existence and it would be logical to conclude that, since V5 gives a major competitive advantage, most of them will want V5.

And the trade-in period not being extended, while not affecting me personally, must be something very very frustrating to many teams. I feel like an extension to the end of the season is in order.

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So this definitely affects the growth of new teams in regions.

I really want to know how the level of demand was anticipated this poorly.

I guess no one is getting V5 for christmas this year…

Our freshman team was really counting on getting V5 before December 1st for their first tournament… darn they are going to be a bit upset. Thanks for letting us know, because now they’ll have to have a bit of change in plans.

If you already ordered them they are still shipping the backorders, they just won’t allow more orders to be placed to allow them to focus on finishing shipping

I wouldn’t take this news too hard. When everything gets sorted out things will only improve. VEX either has parts to make additional V5s or they don’t. So if 7 weeks from now the lead-time for ordering a V5 is 1 week, then nothing has effectively changed vs. an 8 week delivery time. Even if it’s a 2 week delivery in 7 weeks, that could still be less frustrating in peoples’ minds.

They said support for current V5 users is one reason for the decision. Getting replacement parts is one of those things.

I wonder how many new teams are being created at this point in the season… I don’t know. The ones I know of are already created with V5s ordered. I would guess this affects some, but when it all gets ironed out those new teams will have more confidence in VEX delivery times.

As far as how many V5 orders they expected, I believe they took their largest single season order quantity and multiplied by 2. So if they run out of 2 years of V5 in 6 months that means there was a LOT of pent up demand for V5.

Will we be able to send in bad brains for replacement?

Due to the V5, as well as skills being eliminated for direct Worlds qualification (And Bo3) both in the same year, I expect this season to be a bit of a fiasco. I really hope Vex can bounce back, and correct their mistakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a drop in team registration next year, but I hope it will all be fixed at some point. Best of luck, Vex!

The whole rollout has been a fiasco, but what’s done is done. I just hope that some day some textbook for a business class uses this as an example of what not to do with a product release. And, yes, it’s frustrating to still have $4500 worth of parts still outstanding.

I will echo the call that the right thing to do with regards to the trade-in is to extend the trade-in to May 15th 2019; let teams get through states and world’s without having to completely rebuild and reprogram their robots in the middle of the season. If I had had a crystal ball last June, I would have kept all of our Cortex stuff even if it had meant missing out on the trade-in.

I agree. Add to that only teams that make the finals qualifying for states… Also, VCS is…not good.

While this is definitely useful in reducing new stress, much of the community would like some type of waitlist or confirmation calendar: “All bundle orders placed before ___/___/2018 have been fulfilled.”

Unless the rate of new orders increased after the end of August, teams with outstanding orders will at least have some idea how far away their order date is from the currently-fulfilled date. If this is too complicated due to different types of bundles/orders having different priorities, or fluctuating rates of orders or new product, I understand. However, understand that I, and others, need to make travel arrangements for competitions which we may not be able to compete in due to unavailable product, and the better our understanding of the wait time, the better we can know if we will be able to attend.

So if 8 week shipping is still expected for the backorders, and you resolve those before you open it back up, and you really need to get a healthy and sizable stock available to make the order to delivery process work… I don’t think we’ll be able to order these again until February at the earliest. I honestly think it may be after states for a lot of places.

well, I am glad I didn’t procrastinate last week when prepping and sending out our second round of trade ins…

I think their idea here was getting rid of the 8 week waiting period. When they resume orders, it will be for in-stock product, from my understanding

Yeah… VCS is a problem for now, and there’s no word on when the supposed October Update for it is supposed to be released.

Over time and (likely) over budget, 2 of the big killers in product development.

I’ll be using this as a teaching moment for sure with my teams and at work when talking about time estimates and consequences.

Then I’m even more convinced those things aren’t gonna be back for sale until mid February at the earliest.

underpromise and overdeliver.

@Adam Freeman we’ve ordered many of our parts, including cartridges through the third party seller of RobotMesh before today. Will we still be able to receive these items soon, or have these shipments been suspended indefinitely as well?

@Adam Freeman will we be able to buy V5 components at the World Championship?