Vexplorer (Blue) Sensors

The Vexplorer (blue) that I recently built only came with only one sensor, its wireless video camera. Although it works fine with excellent video quality, the camera can only provide a limited field of view as Vexplorer travels my basement or backyard. This thread should include discussions and ideas on how to add sensors to the Vexplorer. These include the sensors from the Vex Starter Kit (red) and other types sold at electronics stores.

there`s already a thread on hacking the vexplorer controller, search it!

This thread is specifically for using sensors such as the Vex PING sensor, Sharp IR Rangers, Vex Optical Encoders, Vex Line Follower Kit, etc. on the Vexplorer Robot. Sensors are a very important segment of the Robotics field and Vexplorer has a need for more sensor options.

by Vex PING do you mean the vex ultrasonic or the PING Ultrasonic made by Parallax?

for a sharp ir, get a voltage comparator IC and put it on your ir sensor, then use a potentiometer for input voltage, this will basically give you a proximity sensor that’s adustable then attach it to a hacked vexplorer

I find replies like “there is already a thread on this … search it!” pretty unfriendly. It would be just as quick to point the person to that thread. We want to encourage folks to ask questions and so please don’t intimidate them by such replies.

As it happens the thread in question talks about replacing the controller and not hacking it. As far as I can tell the Explorer controller is simply a receiver. Looking inside it (I can post a photo if anyone is interested) there doesn’t appear to be a microcontroller in sight. I am busy replacing the Vex blue electronics by red electronics. It’s pretty easy. I’ll report further when I have finished.

Yes, you are correct, I am talking about using a Stamp BSX or BasicX or PIC or Atmel micro-controller as a Sensor Controller for the Vexplorer, which currently does not provide this functionality. Using the micro-controller’s analog and digital inputs to read various kinds of sensors, so that the Vexplorer can detect objects in its path.

From what i know, vex blue was made for those to use as a beginning-robotics option. Or for hobbiests who enjoy build / use items. The Vex Red on the other hand was made to be programed, with sensors and such.

The Vexplorer can also be used as a very advanced tele-operated robot platform, which can also be programmable using either the Vex Controller or other micro-controllers such as the Stamp BSX, Atom, BasicX, Atmel, PIC and Freescale MCUs. In fact I would not be surprised to find it used for SUMO Robot Contests, Maze Solving Contests and even autonomous navigation using PID Motor Control. New pick and place contests are possible using the Vexplorer’s arm and gripper.

hmm…true, but all in all the vexplorer was meant by VexLabs to be a small (in comparison to red) robotics platform

i would like on though…to hack!!

The Vexplorer (blue) can also be expanded using the Vex Starter Kit (red) and can be made programmable without modifying the original controller, which works perfectly as is. Vex sensors and those sold at electronics stores can also be added to the Vexplorer robot.
For instance a pressure transducer can be used to determine the strength of the robot’s gripper on an object. The Vex Sonar Ranger (PING) sensor can provide the operator with an indication of how far from various objects the Vexplorer or Vex based robot is.

I have just modified my Vexplorer to make it programmable. It’s pretty easy to upgrade the Vexplorer with Vex Red electronics. I used the Vex Red controller, four motors, and a servo. The result is a really great programmable testing platform - much better than the squarebot! It’s a shame that Vex doesn’t provide a lower cost upgrade path to a programmable Vexplorer. The Red controller is $150 before even adding the motors and the servo. It’s most probably cheaper just to get the Vex Red starter kit.

I agree that Vexplorer is designed for beginners and as it such it is very good. However, is it really just an RC-controlled platform and the cost is pretty high for this kind of capability. Fortunately, I was able to get a $60 Vexplorer on Amazon and so the combination of Vex Red and Blue was reasonable inexpensive.

BTW the Red and Blue naming is a little odd. Most of the Vex Blue parts are red and several of the Vex Red parts are blue!

ummm…which vex red procuts are blue?

Were you able to get it to run using the Vexplorer (blue) motors? What I had in mind was control of the Vexplorer DC Motors, using either the Vex Controller (red) or an alternative lower cost controller with dual h-bridge boards.

The battery charger, batteries and battery box. The comment was somewaht tongue in cheek!

I replaced the Vexplorer motors with Vex Red motors. However, I have now installed the Vexplorer “controller” and motors on a modified squarebot and intend to try controlling them with a Basic Stamp and Lego controllers. I’ll let you know how I get on.

yah sorry :smiley: i though you meant like a huge amount of the products

You may also be interested in taking a peek at my new Sensor Controller board that I am planning to install on the Vexplorer robot. It will provide telemetry from its on-board sensors back to a remote laptop controller using the analog inputs consisting of up to 16 channels of 12-Bit ADC and 16/32 digital I/O pins. The 30 MIPS Microchip dsPIC30F6014 Sensor Controller provides Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capabilities and is programmable using C30 C.

It currently reads Vex Sonar Rangers (PING), Sharp IR Rangers, XY and Z accelerometers, temperature sensors, flexible resistors, potentiometers (POTS), pressure transducers, etc. The schematic and parts lists are provided using the Schmartboard SMT system to make boards.