We’ve got 4 of these old programming kits, and for the last three years I’ve been wondering what the button does. We randomly press it when we’re bored, but I’ve never seen it do anything. Does anyone know?
Oh, and why is the cable like this? Why does it go through VGA, instead of just USB? This thing just never made sense, and I can’t find any documentation.
Since the button immediately puts it in flash mode, it also immediately resets the PIC (not sure about cortex), effectively resetting all motors to 0 (also all sensor data is reset, if I remember correctly).
The cable is still the only way to program the PIC, and is the only way to program wirelessly via the joystick for the cortex (ROBOTC only). As far as seeing updated versions of the cable, doubtful as its uses are limited and not financially important.
The programming cable (the old one) has a small micro controller in it. The cortex can be made to go into download mode, or put into competition enabled/disabled state or autonomous/driver control modes when this micro controller sends a series of pulses on one of the connections to the joystick. See this post.
Huh, I didn’t know it could act as a pseudo competition switch. How do you simulate the electrical impulses that you mentioned by pushing the button, though? Now that we have one I guess there’s no need for the information, but it would be nice not to need to find the thing to switch to Autonomous mode.