3.1: VEX Cortex Microcontroller


The VEX Cortex Microcontroller coordinates the flow of all information and power on the robot. All other electronic system components (motors, sensors, etc.) interface with the Cortex Microcontroller. It has built in bi-directional communication for wireless driving, debugging and downloading using the state of the art VEXnet 802.11 wireless link. The Microcontroller is the brain of every VEX robot. A robot is a very complex system of parts that must work together in order to achieve a desired goal. Electronic control provided by a programmable controller like the VEX Cortex Microcontroller allows the robot to coordinate the operation of the different components and achieve its goals. 

The Cortex Microcontroller features a STMicroelectronics ARM Cortex-M3 user processor. This processor is the unit responsible for translating the programming/instructions, processing the commands and executing the proper responses. In addition to the processor, the Cortex Microcontroller features an array of ports to allow users to interface their various sensors and motors. These ports include:

  • 10 Motor Ports
    • 8 standard 3-wire  Motor or Servo ports
    • 2 2-wire Motor ports
  • 1 I2C (pronounced “I Squared C”) Smart Sensor Port for the use of advanced sensors such as the Integrated Encoder Module
  • 2 UART Fast Serial Ports for use of the VEX LCD Display
  • 8 high-resolution Analog Inputs and 12 fast Digital I/O that can be used as interrupts for sensors
  • Battery ports for the VEX 7.2V Robot Battery and 9V Backup Battery