The VEX 123 Robot is an interactive, programmable robot that brings STEM, Computer Science, and Computational Thinking to life for young students. This article will give you an overview of getting started with your 123 Robot.

Charging the 123 Robot


To charge the 123 Robot, connect a USB-C cable into the charging port on the 123 Robot. Connect the other end of the cable into a power source.

While your 123 Robot is charging, the indicator light on the Start button at the center of the 123 Robot labeled “VEX” will flash red.

When the 123 Robot is fully charged, the indicator light will flash green.

Waking the 123 Robot

Turn on the 123 Robot by pushing the wheels along a surface to “wake” the 123 Robot. The indicator light will begin pulsing, and you will hear the startup sound to indicate the 123 Robot is turned on and ready for coding.

Coding the 123 Robot


Once the 123 Robot is “awake,” you can begin to code a project using one of the three VEX 123 coding methods.

Turning off the 123 Robot

To turn off the 123 Robot, press and hold the ‘Start’ button for 3 seconds. The indicator light will first show yellow, and you will hear a click sound. Then, the indicator light will turn off, and you will hear the turning off sound.


The 123 Robot will also turn off when it is plugged in to charge, or if 123 Robot is inactive for approximately 5 minutes. When this happens, you will hear the turning off sound. To turn the 123 Robot back on, push to wake it again. You can set the length of the inactivity time out in the VEX Classroom App.

If your 123 Robot is connected to a Coder, turning off the 123 Robot will also turn off your Coder.

Checking the battery level of the 123 Robot

You can check the battery level using the indicator light on the 123 Robot, the VEX Classroom App, or VEXcode 123.

The indicator light will pulse red to indicate that the 123 Robot has a low battery.

When the 123 Robot is connected to charge, the indicator light will flash red when it has a low charge, and will flash green when it has a full charge.

You can view the battery level of any 123 Robot within range of your device, by looking at the battery icon in the VEX Classroom App.

The battery level of a connected 123 Robot can be checked inside of VEXcode 123 by selecting the Robot button in the Toolbar.

Using the 123 Field


The 123 Field is designed for use with the 123 Robot, and offers a consistent and even surface for testing projects. The 123 Field consists of field tiles and field walls, which can be snapped together and arranged to create spaces for testing that best fit your classroom needs. With the Field tiles together, add the walls to the outer edge, to create a barrier to keep the 123 Robot from running off the field.


VEX recommends a ratio of two robots per 2x2 Field, to allow students ample space for testing their projects.

The 123 Field can also be taken apart, and individual tiles can be used by students to have a consistent surface on which to use the 123 Robot.

One Square = One Robot Length

The 123 Field contains a series of squares. Each square on the Field is one robot length, which corresponds to 1 “step” of the 123 Robot’s drive movements. Pressing the Move button, using a ‘Drive 1 Coder card,’ or using the [Drive for] 1 step block in VEXcode 123 will all make the 123 Robot drive forward 1 step, or one square on the 123 Tile, as shown here.

Lining up the arrows and notches


To ensure that the 123 Robot travels in a straight line, line up the white arrow at the front of the 123 Robot with the notch on the tile, when placing the 123 Robot on the tile to start a project.

The VEX 123 Art Ring


The Art Ring is an attachment designed to enable you to add creative elements to your 123 Robot, which helps personalize your 123 Robot. It has holes and slots where you can add craft items like pipe cleaners, paper, or feathers to turn your 123 Robot into various characters for your coding activities.


Add your elements to the Art Ring, then snap it onto the top of the 123 Robot. When using the Art Ring with the 123 Robot, ensure that it is snapped onto the 123 Robot with the white arrows aligned with one another.

For more information on using the Art Ring, see the Using the 123 Art Ring VEX Library Article.

For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

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