Lots of team are building big structures this year. With a Cortex and the VEXnet key buried in the metal, the signal may not be as strong as you like. This USB extension cable Panel Mount USB Cable - A Male to A Female : ID 908 : $3.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits allows you to move the USB VEXnet key up higher and away from metal. It’s 13" long so it gives you lots of mounting possibilities.
Yes, we did this last year and it’s really helpful. I’m not sure how useful the mounting screws are though, it’s probably easier and lighter just to zip tie to existing structure. Monoprice has cheap USB cables of all sorts: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=5431
The female adapter seems too big. This is what we used last year
@eagles1961hotb – its wider because it has mounting holes at each end. For some people the holes will help, others a zip tie will be more than enough.
Yeah we used zip ties to mount it.
Monoprice has good prices on USB extension cables too. Also recommend using long USB cables in place of Vexnet keys in intensive debugging sessions like when trying to tune PID. The drop off rate of data is much less. (transfer rate is higher)
I recommend this USB extender method highly. However, it seems the newer 2.0 Vexnet keys are not as susceptible as the older black Vexnet keys. We have had teams with lots of metal around their cortex do this and it seems to help.
Just make sure the key is not in a heavily banged into piece (the fence is the most you need to worry about this year I guess)