Using an older microcontroller?

I have an older Vex kit that I dug up from the basement. The controller (“brain”?) looks like this:

image

I Installed VexCode and connected it to my laptop, but it didn’t appear to pick up the controller.

Do I need to use an older software on my laptop to connect with this controller? (If so, anyone know witch one?)

My computers all run Windows 10.

(Unofficial Community Response)
I do not believe VEXCode has support for the VEX Cortex. Instead try ROBOTC or PROS for CORTEX
RobotC: https://www.robotc.net/
PROS: https://pros.cs.purdue.edu/cortex/getting-started/windows.html

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Thanks. I’ll have a look. RobotC only lists Windows8 as the newest OS, but that’s at least newer than the EasyC application that came with the CD (instructions were for XP).

I’ll see if the drivers are compatible or if Windows’ compatibility mode will work for this.

Just wanted to check first that the newest alternative might be. I’m not surprised VexCode doesn’t support this product. Everything else in the kit is working fine - so I was hoping to salvage the microcontroller as well.

(Unofficial Response)
By the way RobotC and PROS are free so if one of them don’t fit your tastes you can try another. Last time I’ve tested them, they both work flawlessly on Windows 10 without any compatibility mode. Do not worry. As for downloading to the Cortex, I have no idea about the earlier Cortex hardware (the one in the picture) being compatible for the latest supported programming softwares upon downloading to the Cortex. I hope I have helped enough though to a point where it leads you to some direction while waiting for a response from Tech Support, but I do not have anymore knowledge on the matter in regards to older hardware with newer software.

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Appreciate it. It gives me something to tinker with. I was thinking of giving the kit away to my nephew as he’s taken to building and creating things. But I wanted to first check what worked and what didn’t.

I’m not having much luck with RobotC so far. I see you can set the target to VEX Cortex 2.0. But I’m not even sure what model mine is… Version 1 perhaps?

Might have to try an older version…

Wonder if I have to update any firmware as well… (Not even sure that’s possible any more?)

You’ll need the really old ROBOTC, the 4.0 one may not support these. @TaranMayer might be able to help, I think he programs some old PIC based VEX stuff.

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I’m not finding a name for the controller. The docs I have just says “Vex Micro Controller Module”.

And… it had a whining noise when its turned on and controlled via the remote control. Silent when I disconnect the remote control though… :thinking:

It’s a PIC v.5 VEX microcontroller.
https://www.robotc.net/
Scroll down the page - I think you need version 3.63

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This is a PIC Microcontroller (v0.5). @Foster would know where to find the correct version of robotC

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@calvc01 was on it, The version is marked for the 0.5 system.

You’re right, I didn’t see that.

That you all very much. I’ll try the 3.63 version tomorrow.

“0.5” - is in version number? It’s so old it’s “beta” version number?

Yes, it’s very old.

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I’ve downloaded v3.63. But I’m not sure how I can verify it’s working. Nothing comes up automatically when I plug in the PIC via the USB-serial cable.

Also, is there a way to fetch the program currently on the PIC?

And a way to check the firmware of the PIC?

The PIC system software has multiple parts.

There is two processors in the pic. The Master processor controls the access to the motor, transmitter, sensors, etc.

That program is has a suffix ending in .bin and it need to be loaded first

The second program controls the second processor and all of the use control functions. On the VEX site there is a pretty cool program that does this for you. That program ends in .hex. You should try to find and load it, it will give you the best instant driving checks.

So for basic functions you need the .bin and the ,hex program.

Lets move to RobotC. Robot C uses the .bin program since that talks to the motors/sensors/etc.

It has it’s own program for the user processor that it downloads. It also has a .hex ending. This special RobotC program talks to the RobotC program that you are writing and is how it gets downloaded and run.

I’d get the VEX software that works with the 0.5 hardware and download the basic .bin (master CPU) and .hex (user driver) control. I’d make sure that all of that works.

Then I’d get the RoborC stuf and download the ,bin file for that version, and the .hex file for the basic loader and then download a sample program.

All of this is one way downloads, there is no way to pull back the code that was downloaded.

Good luck!

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Good to know.

Before I start messing with this; is the logic for the remote control tied to the current program on the PIC? If so, anyone knows what the default program is? I’d like to make backups just in case.

The instructions for the “default” program is here

Plus all the stuff you need to know about motors, metal, gears, etc.

The robot C stuff is here:

https://www.robotc.net/ for the drivers and the specific PIC version is found here
https://www.robotc.net/files/download/vex/ROBOTCforVEXRobotics_363_PIC_ONLY.exe

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Great that all this information is still available! :grinning:

Thank you all again for your assistance! :+1::+1: