VEXnet Upgrade

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Tutorials → VEXnet Upgrade Installation


VEXnet Upgrade
VEXnet is an 802.11 WiFi replacement for the crystal-based communication system between the VEX Microcontroller and Radio Control Transmitter. The VEXnet Upgrade enables users to convert existing Microcontrollers and Transmitters to the VEXnet communication system.

Additional VEXnet features include:

  • Easy to connect (No IP addresses, MAC addresses, passwords, or special security modes)
  • Multiple layers of security built-in and always on
  • No wireless access point needed; each VEXnet pair makes its own private network
  • Hundreds of robots can operate at once; every VEXnet robot has a hidden unique ID
  • Optional tether for wired communication
  • Two user selectable channels and one private channel for competitions
  • Optional 9V battery backup to maintain wireless link during a main 7.2V power loss
  • LED scheme displays the status of the Robot, VEXnet link, and Game (Competition Mode)




Part I. Installing the VEXnet Upgrade on the Microcontroller

1. Begin by removing any of the 75MHz crystal receivers from your Microcontroller.

DSCF6791 opt.jpeg


2. Attach the VEXnet Upgrade to the top of the Microcontroller.


2a. Gather the following parts before moving on:

  • 1 Microcontroller
  • 1 VEXnet Microcontroller Upgrade
  • 8 3/4" 8-32 Screws
  • 4 1/2" Standoffs
  • 1 7.2V Battery


DSCF6801 opt.jpeg


2b. Use four of the screws to attach the 1/2" standoffs to the VEXnet upgrade.
DSCF6804 opt.jpeg


2c. Align the back of the VEXnet Upgrade with the back of the Microcontroller.
DSCF6815 opt.jpeg


2d. Use the four remaining screws to attach the VEXnet Upgrade to the Microcontroller.

Note: When securing the VEXnet Upgrade and Microcontroller assembly to your robot, the bottom four screws can be removed, inserted through a section of the robot chassis, and then reconnected to the bottom of the assembly.
DSCF6819 opt.jpeg


3. Power the Microcontroller and VEXnet upgrade with the 7.2V battery.

3a. Connect the battery to the VEXnet Upgrade.
DSCF6825 opt.jpeg


3b. Connect the battery wire coming from the VEXnet Upgrade to the Microcontroller. The ON/OFF switch on the Microcontroller controls the power to the Microcontroller and the VEXnet Upgrade.
DSCF6830 opt.jpeg


4. Connect the yellow VEXnet cable to the SERIAL port on the Microcontroller.
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5. Connect a VEXnet USB adapter to the VEXnet Microcontroller Upgrade.

5a. Attach the Velcro loop piece (fuzzy) to the USB adapter and the hook piece (bristly) to the Microcontroller so they will align once the USB adapter is inserted into the VEXnet Upgrade. This will ensure that the adapter will not get disconnected while the robot is running.

Note: It does not matter which VEXnet USB adapter you use.
DSCF6845 opt.jpeg


5b. If you are connecting a VEXnet Microcontroller Upgrade that was packaged with the Transmitter Upgrade, insert the USB adapter now. If not, or if you are unsure, you can wait to insert the USB adapter until you manually pair the Transmitter and Microcontroller Upgrades (Part III of this document)..
DSCF6846 opt.jpg


6. (Optional) Connect the 9V backup battery to the VEXnet Upgrade. The backup battery maintains VEXnet communication in the event of a main power loss and is mandatory during official VEX competitions, but optional in classroom use. Connect the backup battery to the front of the VEXnet Upgrade. (The battery is not included with kit.)
DSCF6849 opt.jpeg