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Compare the 1st and 2nd generations of VEX

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STEM education has evolved since the introduction of VEX IQ in 2013, and the robot construction system needed to evolve as well. The VEX engineers have made hundreds of minor improvements to the VEX IQ system, however, it is still the IQ system you know today, and it is all forwards and backwards compatible. We worked closely with STEM educators and mentors, and we’ve taken their feedback into account in this redesign as well. Advancements in silicon chipsets and battery technologies have also allowed for the integration of new features and capabilities in our robotics platform. A few of these include:

  • Code with Python, Blocks and C++

  • Educators can easily bring the excitement of VEX competitions into the classroom

  • Classroom clutter is greatly reduced with organized parts storage

  • Student’s robot build experience is enhanced with many new and useful parts

  • Firmware updates are simpler and easier to manage

  • Battery runtime was increased significantly before the robots slow down

  • Compare the VEX IQ Electronics generations

Classroom-Specific FAQs

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Yes. The 2nd generation kit has a new collection of parts. This was done to support new STEM Labs and STEM Games with new robot builds. New parts were added that allow for more build options. Some parts were replaced with improved versions. Part quantities have also been adjusted.

See the IQ Education Kit of Parts and the IQ Competition Kit of Parts
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The original plan was to release the 2nd generation of IQ next year after the end of the 2021-2022 competition season. However, global semiconductor shortages made the 1st generation system no longer possible to build in any reasonable timeframe. Our only option was to release the 2nd generation system now, as we can get the semiconductor parts for it.
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No. There will not be a trade-in program for IQ 2nd generation.
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The VEX IQ Education Kits and Bundles (2nd generation) are recommended for all new classrooms. Existing classrooms can mix 1st and 2nd generation kits.
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Yes. All of the 2nd generation electronics are compatible with the original 1st generation electronics and vice-versa. This was done to ensure classrooms with mixed 1st and 2nd generation equipment would not have any compatibility issues. Brains, Controllers, Sensors, Motors, and Batteries can be mixed in any combination between 1st and 2nd generation of IQ. The only difference in the generations is that the 2nd generation battery has a new charger. The 2nd generation battery will not charge with the 1st generation charger, and accidentally inserting the 2nd generation battery into a 1st generation charger will not cause any damage either.
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A new generation of STEM Labs will be available by Fall 2021; however, the development team is working to provide guidance for using all IQ STEM Labs with either the IQ 1st generation or IQ 2nd generation hardware.

General FAQs

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  • Everything works with everything (except chargers)
  • IQ Robot Brains (1st and 2nd) work with both IQ Robot Batteries (1st and 2nd)
  • IQ Robot Brains (1st and 2nd) work with both IQ Controllers (1st and 2nd)
  • IQ Robot Brains (1st and 2nd) work with all IQ Sensors and the Smart Motor.
  • The 1st and 2nd generation batteries use different chargers. The 1st generation Battery Chargers will not harm or charge the 2nd generation batteries. The 2nd generation charger connects via USB-C.
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Yes. You can now use VEXcode for Python, along with Blocks and C++.
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No. ROBOTC could not be upgraded to the newer technology in IQ Robot Brain (2nd Generation). Users will need to use VEXcode. Learn more about VEXcode.
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No. VEXcode for Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS performs all firmware updates. Additionally, the IQ Robot Brain (2nd generation) does automatic firmware updates to all connected devices at any time, without the need to reconnect to a computer. Simply update the Robot Brain and all other components will automatically be updated, even if they are connected at a later time. The IQ VEXos Utility will continue to be available for the IQ Robot Brain (1st generation).
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The gyro in the 2nd generation is now located inside the Robot Brain. It now has a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer. The original Gyro only has a 1-axis gyroscope. Also, the gyro in the 2nd generation Robot Brain drifts significantly less while providing better heading accuracy over time.
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The new Distance Sensors use a safe Class 1 laser, providing accurate distance measurements. Users will find the new Distance Sensor much more repeatable due to its very narrow measurement beam.
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The new Optical Sensor has better performance in low light conditions and can now detect gestures.

Competition-Specific FAQs

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Yes and No. The processor, RAM, and flash have been improved considerably allowing programs to run faster. However, the communication speed to all the motors and sensors has not increased. For most applications, no competitive advantage exists.
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Yes. Both 1st and 2nd generation VEX IQ parts are permitted in the VEX IQ Challenge.
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No. 1st and 2nd generation kits use the same motors.
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Yes and No.
  • 2nd generation batteries uses Lithium-ion cells
  • 2nd generation batteries will operate five times longer without experiencing any performance loss.
  • 1st generation batteries suffer from voltage drop over time
  • 1st generation batteries can experience performance loss near the end of the match.