PC Interfacing

I am a newbie to Vex stuff (but am an experienced C++ software engineer)… I would like to use a PC to real-time control the Vex robot via the Vex transmitter. Initially, I just want the standard motor controls provided on Vex transmitter buttons, but issued by the PC. I am assuming that PC serial or USB port can be connected to Vex transmitter’s RJ14 serial port (how?)…

**No, you can not connect a Serial or USB port to the Vex Transmitter. **

Ideally, there would be a PC GUI program virtually simulating the look and buttons of the Vex transmitter that could be used with PC mouse - however, I suspect that doesn’t exist (unless I coded it!).

**You are correct. **

Failing that, I would be fine with using Vex tools to real-time issue commands that correspond to pressing buttons on the Vex transmitter - I think I read something about Vex tool IFI and DDT(?) being able to do this?

**You are correct. The DDT allows you to talk to the micro processor ports directly. The aliases.c file maps the port pins to the Output/Input pins on the Vex Controller. **

Failing that, could I code a program to issue such commands? (samples?)

Yes, see the DDT file for examples.

Failing all that, I guess I’d then to try all the above but with connecting directly to the Vex robot’s Controller (small laptop on Vex robot or wirelessly bridging Vex Controller serial port to PC serial port).

**The Vex does have a TTL Serial Port (TX / RX) which can talk to a PC with the proper voltage conversion and coding. **

It seems to me that with one of the above solutions and the tank-treaded Vex robot coupled with standard PC-to-PC remote control and mounting a standard wireless camera onto the Vex robot, that I could then remotely from anywhere on the Internet, make the Vex robot move around my house and use the wireless camera to follow and watch my cats!
This is what I want to initially achieve without getting into any of the other robotics stuff, and not (yet) caring about any autonomous-ness.

What you are planning seems very possible, good luck.

I would like to use the Vex serial port to control Vex motors and servos from a PC or other MCU. How can I do this? what pins do I use? Is there a PIC18 C application that does something similar?

We have developed a tool call the DDT, Dynamic Debug Tool. The DDT is part of our IFI Loader. We have DDT files that you can use as an example to develop/write your own interface located in our Starter Code in the Downloads Section. This Tool talks to the Vex Controller the same way as when you are downloading new code to the Vex Controller. We can not support your efforts in writing code to communicate with the a PC.