By Anonymous on Thu 30 of June, 2005 11:08 BST

Radio Shack manufactured this new VEX Robotics kit. When I first read about it from the Popular Science magazine, it was stated as a much better than LEGO MINDSTORMS. So, I got online and read the specification. Well, it is really NOT better than mindstorms, especially in educational value department. Wonder if there is anyone out in this galaxy has had experience with the Vex and provide me a bit more insight.

Thanks in advance!


By orion on Thu 30 of June, 2005 11:22 BST

Hi Elizabeth,
There have been recent discussions regarding this on Lugnet, specifically comparing it with the RCX. - I note that you have been posting on this.

It is not better in terms of educational material, but in terms of usefulness once you have experience, it is much better. It has more IO ports, and also opens up possibilities of real serial communication.

I cant say I am not a huge fan of the Erector/Meccano when compared with Lego is has its uses as a Construction Toy and the two can actually be interfaced.

All in all though, the kit comes with Servos and rotational motors (which appear to be modified servos) which are a great deal more useful than the Lego motors. Unless you are an evangelical Lego user (which I am definitely not), there is no greta problem in using these together. With a good servo - you alleviate the need (in some cases) for a rotation sensor.

So if you are buying for Educational Value, choose the RIS or Dacta, if you are buying for raw power in terms of processing, interfacing, remote control and flexibility - buy the VEX. Myself. I am intending to purchase the VEX, and use both in my workshops.

As far as I am concerned - you can never have enough variety in MicroControllers. I am yet to find one that fits all my needs in the different bots and challenges we get.


By artdutra04 on Sun 09 of Oct., 2005 22:58 BST

Hello everyone.

I have built several sophisticated Vex robots so far, in addition to many LEGO Mindstorms robots. At this point, I will agree 100% with Popular Science in saying that Vex is better than Mindstorms. I own several Mindstorms kits, plus one Vex kit. I have been involved with a half dozen Lego Mindstorms competitions and three Vex competitions. Ever since I bought my Vex kit, I have never touched my Mindstorms kits.

With Vex, you can run up to eight motors or servos, as compared to just three with the RCX. You have 16 analog/digital input/output ports to use. Vex currently has six sensors (Ultrasonic, Shaft Encoders, Line Following, Light Sensor, Limit Switch, Bumper Switch), although any digital or analog sensor can be used. I have used custom IR short and long range sensors and potentiameters on my Vex robots.

The eight motor ports generate PWM signals, so any PWM device can be plugged into these. This includes regualar servos or speed controllers.

After being involved with the Educational FIRST Robotics competition, which involved LEGO Mindstorms, Vex Robotics, and full-size robots, I can say that LEGO Mindstorms are best suited students aged 9-14. The Vex Robotics kit, with a much greater sophistication, blows away the Mindstorms kits for students aged 14+. The Vex kits are way better at teaching programming, engineering, mechanical design, and robot competitions than the LEGO Mindstorms kits.

Here are some pictures of my current VEX robot, which scores 'tetras' and is a complete 1:3 scale replica of the Team 228 FIRST Robotics Competition robot.

Here is a close up of the single stage elevator gearbox and the arm gearbox. The arm will lift close to 3 lbs. Everything here is made out of only Vex parts.

Here is a closeup of the drive train on my Vex robot. As before, everything here is Vex only parts. Including the omni-wheels.

Last, but not least, is my favorite robot of all time. This is called the Beer Bot and was built by John V Neun and Chris Carnevale. The robot finds a bottle of beer, pops tha cap off, and pours it into a cup, and then deposits the cup down on the table. More cool Vex robots can be found at

DannyStaple: Edited to thumbnails. Click images for larger versions.

By orion on Tue 21 of Mar., 2006 10:23 GMT

Is VEX coming to an end?

It appears that Radio Shack are now selling off all their old stocks, and are discontinuing the VEX line, at least according to sources on the DPRG.

I am not sure why they have decided to do this, but if you want ot purchase VEX kit - now is the time to buy it at discount if you want it.

Is it possible that they are completing this line to prepare for a next generation to rival the Lego NXT?

By orion on Tue 21 of Mar., 2006 15:15 GMT

Okay - a question to those who are in the know - where in the Uk could I acquire a VEX Robotics kit, better still at the low prices they have on the RadioShack home page.

Radio Shack dont actually appear to ship outside the US.

By ArtBot on Sat 15 of Apr., 2006 06:13 BST

I'm in the U.S. I just picked up two Vex starter kits. My local radioshack had them listed for $99.00each! also stocked up on the sensors and tread accessories. They only had two starter sets but will be searching for the sonar kits this weekend. A friend bought another after checking out the java-vex website, they gave it very high remarks and it seems like there is a lot you can do with the controller. They only had two but will be searching for the sonar kits this weekend. I would be willing to pick up another and ship it if you're still looking. Not sure what shipping would be but 1/3 the retail the price can't be beat!


By orion on Sat 15 of Apr., 2006 23:37 BST

Chris, I like that idea a lot. If you could quote me using the web contact forms (ie off the public section) with a quote, and email details or something, then we can sort it out from there. If it works out at about the right price, I would be prepared to pay for postage to you, and then to the Uk, as well as adding in a little for the service. Please get in touch using Twitter.


By orion on Fri 14 of July, 2006 07:46 BST

Hi there, I have just noticed that the Vex line (starter kit and accessories) does not seem to have any worm gears, or differentials. Has anyone managed to find or get advanced drive mechanisms working with VEX?

An example would be the adder subtractor drive.


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