PDA for VEX™ Robotics Kits

Several efforts have produced robots with PDA brains (PPRK, PDA Robotics, others?). This project allows a Palm® handheld to be the brains of your VEX Robotics Kit robots. To make this happen you must have:
  1. the programming kit or equivalent to enable communications between the devices
  2. the Palm® accessory travel kit hotsync cable (Wierd Stuff has them cheap)
  3. a Null Modem to interface the programming kit to the hotsync cable
  4. an interpreter that can read the serial interface and enact commands on the controller
  5. the Palm OS Development Suite (PODS) installed on your PC. Palm requires you to register as a developer in order to get the download. It's free and they don't spam you so go ahead and do that. Their installation instructions were pretty good in general.
  6. the pilot-xfer program (optional)
  7. a program on the handheld to control the controller via the serial interface
  8. a controller program to incorporate into the handheld control program

Getting PODS can be a little tricky. Goto https://www.developerpavilion.com/palmos/page.asp?page_id=175 to register. Once registered you should end up at https://www.developerpavilion.com/palmos/page.asp?page_id=152 (if not then go there manually.) Click on "Palm OS Developer Tools". On the resulting page you'll want to download the .exe version of PODS and install it.

Download the Controller Interpreter to your PC and then to your VEX controller.

Download The Project to your PC and then launch PODS and use the Eclipse project import utility to make your VexDist project. Follow the instructions in the README to incorporate your robot's program into your copy of VexDist. Compile the program and sync it to your handheld.

Connect the programming kit to the controller, the null modem to the programming kit, the hotsync cable to the null modem, and the handheld to the hotsync cable. This enables communications between the devices (usually :-)

If you need a robot design that incorporates a PDA, check out the PDABot on the Robots page.

Turn on the controller and the handheld. Run the vexdist program on the handheld. Select your own program from within vexdist. Tap on the "Run" button and watch your robot do tricks!

You didn't believe it would be that simple did you?
Please send me feedback on these instructions so I can improve them over time.