VEX Microcontrollers Through History

This post is to try to clarify what is meant by the different versions of VEX and why V5 is called V5. Back at the Worlds 2017 new product non-reveal by Paul Copioli, I believe I remember him explaining it was called V5 because it was the 5th control system released by VEX. Those control systems, as far as I can tell (please correct me if I am wrong), are:

  1. PIC Microcontroller

  2. VEX ARM Cortex

  3. VEXpro ARM9

  4. VEX IQ Robot Brain

  5. V5 Robot Brain

I understand there was an even earlier one, but that one was before VEX was a brand name: VEX EDR cortex age

So to be accurate, the Cortex based system is not V4 vs the new V5, Version 4 of the VEX control systems would be the VEX IQ Robot Brain.

This of course doesn’t even go into the different versions of these products or the different communication and controller systems over the years. If any old-timers or historians have some more interesting bits, or corrections to my list, I would find it interesting.

I had thought a list similar to this had been posted in the past, but I couldn’t find it in my searching.


We’ve been needing someone to compile this information for a long time, thanks


Here is a couple of related topics with some pictures of the old hardware:

Also, Wayback Machine cached copy of the VEXLabs forum:

The earliest pictures of the VEX robots that you can still find online:

And, just for kicks, smallest VEX robot from that collection:


I also remember their was a version between VEX ARM Cortex and the PIC that was flat on top. This caused tons of issues with the first generation VEX Net Keys.

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The cortex had 2 revisions, the flat top version and the raised one.

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VEX has had essentially five main families of robot control systems, listed here by their main Brain:

Edit (2019-08-19): added the fourth generation Consumer / Retail control system.
Edit (2020-12-21): added the VEX GO control system


Nice @Art_Dutra_IV Art, thanks!

  1. Can you add in the VEXnet stuff (the backpack for PIC) and the 1.0 and 2.0 upgrades? They were petty major changes.

  2. Is there specs about the brain in the Off-road truck?

I’m excited, since I’ve had fingers on and used all but the Isaac PBasics, lots of cool hardware.


Going by the new Brains being the primary seed for each new generation of control system, the VEXnet Upgrade Bundle (aka the VEXnet backpacks) was more like a V3.5. It was a limited production run to extend the useful life of the existing PIC Microcontrollers.

The upgrade from the original flat to the current Cortex was a running production change. If we wanted to assign them version numbers, it would be closer to a V4.0 and V4.1 respectively.

We’ll have more information about that control system (and 2019 retail kits) soon, as the 2018 HVR Brains will soon be replaced with newer 2019 versions that are a lot more future-proof.

This change over to the fourth-generation retail/consumer control system will roll out first in new 2019 kits like Bite Force, and will later on be a running change for the existing Offroad Truck, Balancing Boxing Bots, and Gatling Rapid Fire kits.


Bite Force is my favorite battle bot!!!

On the other hand you are killing me “VEXIQ is not battle bots, so we will not be crashing into each other” “Umm, Mr Foster then why do they sell three different battle bots?” :frowning: