Vex on sale at radio shack - 50% off!

Everything Vex related is now 50% off at radioshack and radioshack.com
You can get the starter kit for $150. It's quite a good deal.
Just a heads up for fellow robot enthusiasts :)
ttyl,
--buddy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 25 Mar 2006 21:01:06 -0600, Buddy Smith

Apparently the sale, which had been shown on www.radioshack.com as extending through 3 June, is now over.
So, you can now buy the kit and the associated components for twice what people were paying last week -- at least, until RS pulled all the items from the retail shelves and nobody could buy them because they weren't available.
So, the probability that I'll spring full price for it now is approximately zero, eh? Another marketing coup for Radio Shack.
--
Rich Webb Norfolk, VA

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think you need a promotional code to get the special prices online. For a *short* time the basic kit was listed on the site at the discounted price, but they "fixed" that.
I was shall we say, surprised, that the special pricing didn't apply automatically as you actually made the purchase through the shopping cart. I tested this and the sale price never kicked in, at least not by the final page where I was asked for payment details. What a great way to win over customers!
RadioShack is discontinuing the Vex line, so it's unlikely the prices will revert to the full price until all the merchandise is cleared out.
-- Gordon
Rich Webb wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon McComb wrote:

Gordon:
Is there an authoratative source that the Vex line is being discontinuted?
-Wayne
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yeah, me! <g>
Seriously...I have my own direct sources, but this message on DRPG is accurate, if maybe not authoritative.
http://list.dprg.org/archive/2006-March/029726.html
I wouldn't read anything into this regarding Vex itself, but rather a decision by a major retailer to refocus their product line. Or it could possibly mean they are clearing out the current line to make room for a new line, or even something else. All that would be speculation.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon McComb wrote:

FWIW, I went by the local Radio Shack in the mall and checked and they had most of the line in stock and reduced to half price. Only thing I noticed that they were sold out of was the caterpillar treads.

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Also, FWIW, at my local Radio Shack, there was Vex stuff but no sale in evidence.
Mitch
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The prices weren't marked at my store either, but I asked the clerk to check the price, and indeed it was half off.
Some stores don't have the prices displayed.
ttyl,
--buddy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You actually got them to bother checking?!? Last spring they had a half-off sale on most components. I went in, none were marked, I went over to the group of them standing around trying to figure out how to sell their next cell phone contract and asked. One looked at me, said if I could figure what parts were on sale and they rang up that way then he guessed they were on sale. And they went back to talking about how to sell phones.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I just recently found out about the VEX line and the 50% discount so I ordered a starter kit from the web. Checking stores I saw it was still full price and was too stupid to ask - I just assumed the labels were correct. So I assumed the stores were still selling what they had left at full price. But now I figured out the stores are all selling it at 50% as well. Their computers know it even though the clerks don't for the most part have a clue about what is going on. The web site will tell you which local stores have items, and it worked for me today to pick up the shaft encoders and the hardware kit so it looks like the inventory system actually works.
So far I'm having great fun with the VEX stuff but I've only had it for a few days.
I also got a Boe-Bot kit about a year ago. That was fun as well, but it's no comparison to the VEX since it's just a small development board on wheels with no R/C system. The VEX is a full erector set for building intelligent R/C bots.
The difference of course is that the Boe-Bot actually attempts to train you about the electronics and has the built in bread-board so you can design and build your own circuits and interface it to just about anything you want. It's really meant to be a microcontroller trainer for people that know, or want to know, how to design microcontroller based systems. The VEX system is designed to hide all the details of the electronics from you. It's really designed to work well at the high school level to get kids excited about engineering before they learn all the higher math and science. The standard documentation tells you almost nothing about the electronics - the pin-outs of the sensors and motors for example are not documented. The VEX however has lots of hardware to actually build an endless number of fun robots.
And if you happen to know the electronics, then figuring out what the VEX controller is doing is actually easy. The VEX seems to actually have two microprocessors in it.
The processor on the VEX seems to have around 1000 bytes of RAM compared to the 32 bytes or so of ram on the BS2 Stamp. This was the thing that made me decide to try out the VEX because I'm interested in playing with various learning algorithms in hardware and the 32 bytes of the STAMP just won't cut it but 1000 bytes should be enough to do some of the things I want to play with. Though ultimately, I will need to move up to something with real memory (MB of ram or more).
I got the programming kit today (had to order it on eBay since I couldn't find one locally and didn't want to pay the full price at the vexlabs site) and was sad to find out that even though it is based on a C compiler the IDE doesn't let you write your own C code. I assumed it did. It only does drag-n-drop icons to create flowcharts of your code. It's a nice simple system that seems to have lots of power for simple things, and it lets you insert single lines of arbitrary C code but doesn't let you write functions or insert data definitions etc. Once again, it's all designed for high school students.
Checking around though, it looks like everything you need to program the system in straight C is available for cheap - and the vexlabs guys even give out the code for the basic default program running the user processor so you can use it as a starting point for more advanced systems.
I'm sorry to see Radio Shack give up on the product. But I bet they sold almost nothing and that's why they are dropping it. I had seen it a few times over the past year in the local Radio Shack but it looked like an over priced erector set that was just too expensive to justify. Being a programmer, my interest is in how advanced the microcontroller was - but there was nothing on the box to give any hint about what it could do. I assumed it was set up for only very limited programming - like making it stop and back up when you hit a wall. But in fact, even with the simple programming kit you can create complex custom programs to control how the R/C unit controls the servos and mix autonomous and R/C control together in one program as much as you want. And, with the right development tools, you can write straight C code. I never would have guessed from the box that the system was that open. I might have bought it a year ago if I understood what it was. I wonder how many other people like myself didn't think of buying it because they didn't understand what it was? I actually think the $300 price is reasonable now that know what it is.
--
Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com http://NewsReader.Com /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Vex kits are large, rugged, and infinitely flexible. You can bolt other motors,sensors, etc on to them We have started an open source project to develop an open interface from the Vex controller to other "brains" to make these fully autonomous, and will be presenting results this week at JavaOne in a BOF Tue May 16. Here's the project: https://jvex-robotics.dev.java.net/ and a page of related info: http://www.jcx.systronix.com/vex/vex.html
The Vex basics are really sold, and since you can easily bolt almost anything to their framework, and it's strong enough to carry some real payload, it's a great system, esp at 50% off. We plan to carry on with a series of autonomous additions such as color vision with CMUcam2, 802.15.4 radios, interfac to SunSPOTs, etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oops, that should have been "..really 'solid'..." not 'sold'.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Curt Welch wrote:

It sounds like Radio Shack is regretting carrying the stuff if they are trying to liquidate! Maybe I should get a bucket...
DLC
--
-------------------------------------------------
Dennis Clark TTT Enterprises
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Curt Welch wrote:

I think that the big problem with it was that it was too flexible to be marketed effectively with the budget that Radio Shack allocated. At one level it's Meccano that died and went to heaven. At another it's a superb core for all sorts of radio controlled mechanisms. And at another it's a a basis for serious robotic experimentation or microcontroller development. But focus on any of those and you'll lose customers who either want the other features or are scared off by something that seems more complex than they want to deal with.
--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

    --Sigh; heaven forbid that the store that started out with d-i-y kits as their main line should offer even one thing that might teach the customer how to do it themselves, eh? Glad I stuck with my Boebot! :-)
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Concave, convex, con
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : carne: all is Zen..
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
steamer wrote:

I don't recall Radio Shack every having any significant presence in the "d-i-y kit" market. Perhaps you are confusing Radio Shack and Heathkit?
--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
J. Clarke wrote:

Radio Shack, like Heathkit, started selling kits and parts via mail order. They also specialized in selling surplus radio gear left over from World War II, and they provided how-to instructions on modifying them for different types of operation. Recall that in the 40s, through 60s, it was far less expensive to buy a radio kit than one ready-made. Of course, the market for kits dwindled by the 1970s with the advent of cheap overseas production.
In the early 70s, adio Shack's parent bought out Allied (since sold to Avnet), which also offered kits and parts. This is also when Forrest Mims began writing books for Radio Shack on building electronic gizmos out of Radio Shack parts. He wrote dozens of how-to books for them.
So yes, thpough Heathkit was "king of the kit," Radio Shack had a more than significant presence in the DIY market, kit or otherwise.
-- Gordon (Author of some five books for Radio Shack)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 25 Mar 2006 21:01:06 -0600, Buddy Smith

In addition, Radio Shack stores that are closing have 20 percent off on everything. Both discounts apply. I got a Vex kit a week ago at a store that was closing. :-)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.