vex newie autonomous help

I’m reposting this question here in the community in hopes that maybe someone can give me some advice . . . I have a bunch of very excited kids and don’t want to disappoint them !! Thanks!!

I’m a high school teacher completely new to the vex system and charged with giving kids some robot programming experience. I have a bunch of the PLTW sets, clawbots built sitting at the ready and robotC installed . . . I want to have kids program some clawbots to perform some automated tasks . . . IE navigate a line, pick up an object and bring it back to the start . . .The programming and logic is not the problem, we can write code, compile and download, troubleshoot etc. BUT If we write code in RObotC, and download it to a cortex, then disconnect the cortex from the USB AA cable, and set the clawbot on the ground, how do we get the clawbot to execute the code? I’m used to lego mindstorms where you could download, then hit a button on the RCX brick to initiate the program . . . I feel like there is some simple piece of how VEX operates that I’m missing . . .can anyone guide me thru?

Per the original thread:

And you could add a button to wait for you to actually be ready.

rest of code…

Another possibility is to use an LCD screen to choose what program to run if you want to download multiple programs. Not sure if you have those with your kits though…

So I may be misinterpreting this or I may be getting things confused with what you want to happen but this sounds like you want a competition switch. Are you trying to run autonomous code? If so, a competition switch could be your answer. It allows you to switch between driver mode and autonomous and allows you to start and stop them with the flick of a switch. Here is the link to them in the VEX store:

These work much like the ones on the computer but you do not have to be directly tethered for them to work. I use one of these to test all of my codes before I run them in competition and it works really well. All you do is run the cable from the switch to your controller and then turn on the cortex and your controller like you would do any other time. You can switch the left switch to go between driver and autonomous and can reset or stop programs with the right switch.

So again, I am not sure if that advice will help you because I am not exactly sure with your situation. However, a competition switch could be the answer.

EDIT: So I just reread the heading of this posting and see you are running autonomous. A competition switch could be your answer.

As a side note, to use a competition switch, you would need to have the required cables, VEXnets, Joysticks (to connect to the competition switch), and the competition switch itself. Our team uses it all the time and it is pretty convenient. However, one competition switch is limited to a maximum of 4 robots. Since you are a teacher, I’m not sure how convenient that would be for you (depending on how many students are in the class). Nonetheless, a competition switch is still a viable option.

Very true. I know one of the cables comes with the competition switch but I’m not positive that the things in the clawbot kit are what you need for a competition switch to work. If you send a picture of your controller and cortex, I can verify that a competition switch works.

However, I can also show you what they look like on the VEX site just in case. This is what should go on the robot for a competition switch (It also should have a VEXnet key but that just isn’t shown in the picture):

This is how you should be controlling your robot with the competition switch. You plug the competition switch into the top of this and can switch the switches between autonomous and driver control:

But I figured if you were trying to run autonomous programs, this might be nicer than having every single bot tethered to your computer. You can run four different robots on different programs with this. You just need to purchase more cables if you want to run multiple robots. One comes with the competition switch but you may want to buy three more.](