Why you should even listen to me about Vex IQ robotics
Before we start I would just like to mention why you should even care what I have to say. I have been going to Vex IQ competitions in Utah for one and a half years. In my last season I was both the driver and engineer for our robot. And we got 3rd place overall ranking in the state of Utah. And got fourth place in the state championship. If you are just looking for interesting technology and not Vex IQ robots click here.
Good starting strategy
There is more than one way to build a robot out of the Vex IQ pieces. A good way to start is with the standard drivetrain found in the instruction manual in the starter kit. You then take a look at this years challenge for Vex. By looking at what the final goal is you can plan what sort of tool to use. You may need to modify a design in order to reach high or far enough to score points. Also feel free to modify this design all year long because you want to make sure you get the most effective configuration possible. You should try to start out with a basic design that is sturdy so you can get some practice building these tools. Then move on to the lighter and more delicate, but more effective models.
The power and speed of a motor can be modified. by attaching a small gear to the motor which connects to a larger gear you gain torque and the motor becomes slower but stronger and able to lift more weight than it could before. the smaller the first gear and the bigger the large gear the more torque you get. If you want your robot to have more speed then you attach a large gear to the motor and have the smaller size of gear connected to that. This will make the motor be a lot faster but not as strong as before. These gear ratios will help achieve a more effective robot. This is important because you will only have one minute, 60 seconds to score points. These gear ratios are one of the only ways I know of to get more power or speed out of a motor.
Controller and brain configuration
If you need to pair a new controller to a brain you take the blue tether cord to control it manually. Or if you want to pair it wirelessly you first turn on the brain while they are tethered. Then you go into settings and press sync or whatever word is most similar :). Then after it is synced and connected you unplug the two and it should be paired if not click here. If you want a very strong drivetrain you can attach two motors to one joystick. You do this by plugging two motors into the top right and bottom right ports or vice versa for the left joystick. You can also go into settings to change the controls so that one joystick controls the drivetrain instead of two .
If you plug in all your motors for the drivetrain and find that it is driving backwards, all you have to do is switch the far left and right plug wires. If you are driving and find that it is slow or stuttering try replacing the battery. Sometimes you find that your robot is slowly losing traction or a motor isn’t responding, check and see if the axel is still in or if there is dust on the tires. You also can check the wire connection to the motor and brain. If the robot is slowly turning to one side when the controller is still. The problem is with the controller not the brain. When this happened to me I just nudge the controller joystick in the opposite way to unstick it.
You should use in your structure the smallest plate you can use effectively. This will help you since there is a height and width and length limit. If the structure is collapsing then consider adding crossbeams to stabilize it. Also if a part of the design is unstable but there are no peg holes to mount it to, you can use rubber bands. You also can buy the motor mounts from Vex IQ to have a more stable design.
I hope my tips have been helpful!