Novice trying to get decent start ...

I just ‘inherited’ a 1-credit lab class with a handful of students and a collection of Cortex (and possibly other) robots that were used a few years ago when the class was last offered. I am basically starting from zero knowledge.

Can anyone advise me re a smart way to approach this and steer the students on a useful path? (Maybe the smart move is just stay out of their way.)

The first unknown that has come up is whether we need some sort of ROBOTC language license. A few people at school have given me contradictory stories on that.

Again, I am totally new and will appreciate any suggestions and how to start out. Thanks — Steve

They’re Vex parts, make robots with them!

Then program the robots.

Then compete with the robots.

Step 1) – Get an inventory of what you have (PIC / Cortex) and controllers. That will give you a count on how many robots you can build.

Step 2) – Inventory on the metal, motors, wheels and gears. Rough numbers work here, 23 lbs of metal, 72 motors, 60 some wheels, three quart ziplocks of gears

From that we can figure the number of roboters you can support.

You will need one RobotC license per “brain” (Cortex) that you own. Most students will want a license too. Call RobotC, the prices after 10 packs become $30 per license.

Where are you located, there may be teams around you that can help out.

Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that is true. As I understand it, each RobotC license is assigned to a “seat” which I believe equates to having RobotC on a particular computer. Once you have that seat on a computer, you can use that computer (= that particular RobotC seat) to program as many Cortexes as you please.

If you want copies of RobotC on more computers, then you must buy more licenses. For example, I have one RobotC license (= 1 seat) on a laptop, and that laptop gets used to program 2 Cortexes for 2 totally different robots. I have other seats on other computers, some of which are owned by students, which are used to program other robots, too.

Regarding your question on whether or not you need a RobotC license:
You don’t need one; there are other programming options (some of which are free). Perhaps one of these is what the people you talked to were referring to. However, you will want *some * software to program your robots with, and RobotC is the most popular.

For starters, I would make sure that your Cortexes can use RobotC. Then get the newer white Vexnet keys and get rid of those old black Vexnet keys. I’m not sure if Vex is still running the trade-in program, but you might look into trading in the black keys for the newer white ones. After you get the new white keys, then buy at least one license of the latest version of RobotC and use the new RobotC to upgrade all of your firmware for your Cortexes and joysticks.

That is true. There are other options. My suggestion to get the latest version of RobotC is that I know it makes upgrading firmware super-easy. If I can use it, then anyone can. :slight_smile:

I made it simple. You have a cortex. You need a RobotC to program that robot. Yes, that license could program them all, but that becomes a logistics mess. He’s starting a new team. So plan on one license for each cortex is a good planning method. He may end up with 10 RobotC license for each team since each team member wants one.

Lets remember we are past the “I don’t have any money stage”. The $30 license fee is about

(in Foster world)
4 gallons of fuel that move me 4 miles
10% of a monthly cell bill
10% of my Comcast bill
28% of dinner out
100% of a set of movie tickets.

So I give up movies and use that money to by RobotC license.

I’m tired of roboters showing up in $200 shoes, an official NFL / NBA jersey ($130) jumping out of Mom’s E class Mercedes going "can’t afford the dues / robot C license.

Yes I know 1/2 your teams are n the middle of broke town and can’t afford stuff. Email me. We do stupid stuff like “match your bake sale or car wash profits”

OP should plan on getting a RobotC license for each Cortex.

Yes there is freeware to get the Cortex to work, but if you look at the OP, he’s not doing that.

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Just thinking out loud.

As a minimum, each robot needs one Cortex, one joystick controller, one battery, one backup battery (the 9 volt connector), probably three wheels, two motors… Am I forgetting anything?

That should give you some idea of how many bare-bones teams you can form.

If you are competing in anything official, you probably want to make sure that the parts you are letting your kids use are, indeed, Vex parts (and not something else that got tossed into the box). Have your kids identify parts that might be questionable. Some older Vex parts are no longer obtainable via Vex but are still legal to use, so you might want to post photos of them on the forum and ask.

…about 6 minutes worth of most robot mentor’s consulting fee time. :slight_smile:

We were going to pay a guy 50 dollars an hour to fix our WWI bandsaw, but then he said it would probably just be cheaper to buy a new one.

50 dollars an hour dang man somone fixed our just for a lunch. Well then again it wasn’t a WWI saw. :stuck_out_tongue:

Out of curiosity, why so much about RobotC and not PROS? Just curious, as I am new to all this as well.

Well, ROBOTC and EasyC are the languages from the official VEX software partners. PROS is a closed source runtime library and companion eclipse plugins created by students at Purdue University, it has been well supported on the forums but most school systems would rather use commercial software that comes with real tech support and lots of documentation. I authored an open source solution for the cortex that can be used with eclipse (PROS is just eclipse with a new splash screen and a couple of plugins to make life easier) but don’t provide an installer for the that or the toolchain (which is gcc for EasyC, PROS and ConVEX).

PROS and ConVEX are used by (my guess) less than 1% of teams.

RobotC also has an excellent debugger.

Also RobotC has this nifty button :wink: