Programming Kit Capabilities

From an email-
I have the Vex Robot Starter Kit I got a few years ago. I have renewed my interest in robotics and want to start making my own designs, as well as programming them. I have experience in C++, so C should not be a problem. I was wondering how advanced the computer chip is in the robot? Basically, will I be able to store any variables; and if so how many? And can it do any math? One example is if I make a tank style robot; can I use division to set the power to the motors based on how far forward/back Channel 3 is, and how far left/right Channel 4 is. This would effectively allow the tank style robot to be driven with one stick instead of two; allowing me to use the second stick for more features. I do not expect a response with the information on how to do it, just if it can be done. I want to know before I spend $100 on the programming kit.

I encourage you to use our Vex Forum. The Vex community is always willing to help out and you may get different suggestions from different people. I am posting your question there.

Please see the section “Vex Robotics Design System - Vex Micro Controller Specifications” on our web site for detail on the microprocessor. Yes you can store variables but how many would depend on the size of each variable. Available memory for the micro-processor is also on the same web page. For more detail on the Micro-processor, see Microchips web page. Yes you can do math, division included. You should be able to read the values of the different input channels and then do math to create the PWM output you want.**

Is it possible to do any calculus? or is that all in the C programing?

If you know how to do the math/arithmetic to convert calculus equations into numeric results (or how to copy the instructions from somewhere else), you can write EasyC programs that implement those calculus equations (The guts of computing machines do it with CPUs that do little more than add and subtract. The burden is on you to convert the equations into C instructions).

However, in EasyC today (or in ANSI Standard C for that matter), there are no built-in operators or functions for carrying out processes like integration or differentiation.


There is a great book for doing Calculus in C called “Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing” by William H. Press, Brian P. Flannery, Saul A. Teukolsky, and William T. It provides listings of integration and differentiation algorithms and even includes solutions to differential equations.

Also note that the PIC Microprocessor in the Vex is not optimized for Floating Point math. So large amounts of Calculations will slow down your overall program.

If you can Pre Calculate data, or use Fixed Point numbers, you will see great improvements in the overall speed of your Vex.