Programming Hardware Kit vs Connecting with USB A-A Cable

Dear All,

When programming my robot I was just confused why we would use the Programming hardware kit instead of just directly linking the computer (with the program loaded onto it) to the microcontroller? Is it because we’d have to do it with the joystick and microcontroller separately and the programming hardware kit hits two birds with one stone? If this is so, I never got the programming hardware kit with my classroom and competition vex edr kit…

Since i do not specifically have the Programming Module can I just take the long route of using the the USB A-A Cable to program the controller and microcontroller separately via computer?

The adapter and second plug of that kit goes into the controller instead of directly to the cortex. The cortex is programmed using the Vex net connection between the controllers and robot. It is more convenient when adjusting parameters slightly to get something right (like auto code) since the connection is kept between the controllers and the robot and you tend to make a change, check it, make another change, etc. If you have to plug the computer into the cortex each time, you interrupt the connection to the controllers each time. You can also switch between auto and driver control using the computer this way instead of needing a competition switch. Honestly it is really handy to have.

Also, depending on how you’re coding, you may need to use it. RobotC may not require it, but others do.

The programming hardware kit is awesome!

In RobotC it allows wireless downloading, as well as monitoring and resetting sensor values, datalogging, and more! All without leaving the comfort of the couch (or whatever your team’s seating options are). It’s great for re-running things and making small changes, such as when tuning a PID. Tracking sensor values with your computer tethered to your robot is not my idea of fun.

Here’s an article I wrote about the programming hardware kit:

And here’s an article about datalogging specifically:

One of the big reasons to use it is that you can debug the code while the robot is on the field. You can view and change variable values, and see whether particular lines of code are being reached. You can also get data back from the system into the debugger live.

So you don’t have to use the programming hardware kit at all, but it is very convenient to do so.

This part of question suggests some misconception. You only program the Cortex (brain, microcontroller), there is no user program running on the Joystick (Controller).

The RobotC debugger can be great but we find it drops out (has to reconnect) very frequently.

edit: sorry for the necro, thought it was Front page but I was browsing the tech support channel