What is the VEX + Arduino, mobile robotics platform?
The tutorials in this section are designed to teach you, the reader, how to use your VEX robot platform, together with the Arduino microcontroller, to perform tasks. A variety of sample tasks for the robot are laid out on the following pages that will take you through designing, wiring, and programming the robot to accomplish a diverse range of goals, from simply lighting up an LED, to navigating a walled maze using the touch and/or sonar sensors. Along the way, you will learn about many key concepts in programing and electrical engineering, such as loops, functions, resistance, PWM, and much more.
It is advised that you start with the page "What is an LED?" and go through the sections "Using LEDs" and "Robot Motion" first, as later lessons rely on the programming, wiring, and setup instructions taught on the early pages. Other sections may be completed in any order.
What is the VEX Mobile Robot Base?
The VEX base used in this tutorial is a simple differential drive base with 2 motor modules (either 3-wire motors, or 2-wire motors with VEX Motor Controller 29 for each one) for drive, a 6xAA battery pack with Arduino power plug, a breadboard, and an Arduino UNO microcontroller. The robot is a modified version of the VEX Swervebot. Instructions for the Swervebot can be found here.
The Swervebot has been modified to accept a 6xAA VEX battery pack. Note that the motors have been moved forward one hole to allow space for the battery pack, and the bearings have been moved to the outside.
The Breadboard and Arduino are mounted in the Cortex's previous position, as seen in the pictures.
All of the sensors, along with the LCD tower, have been removed for the base model. We will replace them as we use them. The sensors will be introduced one at a time.
The only non-VEX components used are:
- A breadboard
- An Arduino (UNO, Duemilanove, Mega, or Mega 2560)
- An Arduino compatible power plug with adapter for the VEX battery pack
- Various electrical components such as jumper cables, wires, resistors, and LEDs.
That's it! The rest is just VEX hardware and sensors. You will not need a VEX microcontroller since the Arduino will be taking its place.