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Vex Controller

The Vex Controller module provides control of the Innovation First Intelitek Vex Controller from your PC. You *must* have downloaded the online mode using the intelitek easyC for Vex controller or the iLoader.exe. Ensure that the online mode is working correctly by using the intelitek On-Line Window found under the Build & Download -> On-Line Window menu option.

Note that more than one version of the online mode is currently available. If you recently purchased the Vex Starter kit then you most likely have ver2.0, otherwise use ver0.5. There is no difference between the two versions from the PC control perpective.

Interface

Instructions

1. Communications - Select the appropriate Easy C version and the correct COM Port. The Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm port is selected by default which assumes you have the USB to Serial connection. If this is not installed chose the correct COM port.

2. Motors - After specifying the version and COM port you should be able to move your servos/motors by dragging the sliders to the right or left or by specifying a number within the current value text box in the Motor configuration area. If the servos do not move check your version and COM port settings. You should see the yellow light in the Vex controller flash when any serial communication is present. If you do not see this light flashing when moving the scroll bar around check your connection with the intelitek application. If you do see a flashing light with no movement check which channel you plugged the servo/motor into.

5. Variable - Select an appropriate variable that contains or will contain the position value that will be sent to the servo. This is used to automatically change the servo values based on your VBScript (using the SetVariable function) or Extension based program. See Variable Control for more information on how to programatically move the robot.

6. Min/Max Limits - You can use the min/max limits to ensure that even if the variables specify large or low values (due to programming errors) that the board does not actually attempt to move the servos above or below the specified limits. This can be used as an additional precaution in case your servos cannot physically move beyond certain limits.

7. Analog Inputs - There are four analog inputs that can be connected to the Vex controller. Be sure to enable the analog inputs before testing by checking the checkbox next to the "Analog Inputs" group text. Once enabled you should see the current values next to the variable dropdowns. Select or type in a variable that should contain the current analog input value. This variable is then accessible from other RoboRealm modules or API commands.

8. Digial Inputs - There are 6 digital inputs that can be connected to the Vex controller. Unlike analog inputs whose values have a range, digital inputs are either on or off. These are often used for switches to detect a certain state such as touching or not touching an object.

Be sure to enable the digital inputs before testing by checking the checkbox next to the "Digital Inputs" group text. Once enabled you should see the current values next to the variable dropdowns. Select or type in a variable that should contain the current analog input value. This variable is then accessible from other RoboRealm modules or API commands.

9. Digial Outputs - There are 6 digital outputs that can be connected to the Vex controller. These can be used to switch devices on or off, such as an led. Be sure to enable the digital outputs before testing by checking the checkbox next to the "Digital Outputs" group text. Once enabled you should see the current value of the selected variable next to the variable dropdowns. The selected variable should contain the value that will be sent to the Vex Controller to switch the output on or off.

10. Interrupts - Similar to the digital inputs, interrupts detect an on / off situation that can be used to interrupt normal processing in order to deal with a priority situation. Once enabled, the current interrupt values will appear next to the variable dropdowns. Specify variables that will contain the current interrupt value to be used in other RoboRealm modules or acessed via the API.

10. Press STOP if you need to quickly disable all the servos and return them to the middle or neutral (128) position.

Notes

The newer VexPro controllers permit you to add additional software to stream video from the controller to RoboRealm. Paul Bouchier from the Dallas Personal Robotics Group has created exactly that software. this can be checked out of SVN repository of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group at: rrTest and rrClient (no longer available online!). rrTest runs the RoboRealm API test from the VexPro and rrClient sends images from a VexPro-connected webcam to RoboRealm and pulls back variables. Paul has used this solution in combination with a Roomba robot. More information about the competition that system was built for can be found at RoboRama2012a.


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