Frequently Asked Questions of the V5 Workcell

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V5 Workcell

This article is to address frequently asked questions of the V5 Workcell, and offer troubleshooting techniques. View the video to walk you through these techniques. You can also find the techniques outlined throughout this article. 

This video is from VEX Professional Development Plus. Learn more about PD+ or access a free 3-day trial.

Why is my V5 Workcell not moving accurately or shaking?


Ensure you are using the correct V5 Workcell Components in the correct build configuration.

Ensure you are using the 11W Smart Motor, NOT the 5.5W smaller motor. This error will cause the arm to shake.


If your Workcell is not accurate or shaking, ensure your Mastering Values are up to date.

  • Old values will cause the arm to not be as accurate.
  • If a joint is failing, view the section ‘Are my potentiometers functioning correctly?’.


If your values are within range, your Workcell may not be accurate/may shake because you need to lubricate your turntable.

An unlubricated turntable causes Joint 1 to have to account for extra resistance.


Ensure the screws on your Workcell are not overtightened.

  • Overtightened screws located on any components necessary to arm movement adds extra resistance.
  • If the four screws securing the turntable to the standoffs are too tight, there also may be more resistance.


Ensure rubber bands are located at the three points, and are covered in the following steps of the Lab 1 Build Instructions:

  • Step 30
  • Step 47
  • Step 70

View this article for rubber band installation tips.


If you are still experiencing problems after trying these troubleshooting techniques, please contact VEX Support.

Are my potentiometers functioning correctly?


The V5 Workcell uses potentiometers to know the position of the joints at all times.

If a potentiometer fails, this would cause the arm to not know its current physical location and may cause damage to the Workcell or the arm itself.

Before moving on, ensure all 3-wire cables are securely fastened to each other, where they are supposed to be. Operation of the arm may cause these wires to become unfastened with each other, resulting in a failure during the mastering process.

You can also view the Devices screen from the V5 Brain to check the 3-wire connections.



If a joint failed during the Mastering Process, and to determine if your potentiometers are functioning correctly:

  • Run the “Arm Install” Blocks example. Note Acceptable passing ranges for each joint are:
    • Joint 1: 1600 - 2000
    • Joint 2: 1900 - 2400
    • Joint 3: 1700 - 2100
    • Joint 4: 200 - 650
  • Select “TARGET” if any potentiometers are not in range.
    • Once in range, select “HOLD” and carry on with the Arm Install.
  • If any potentiometer rotates endlessly, never stopping in range, repeat the first two bullets.
  • If any potentiometer still rotates endlessly, please contact VEX Support.

Why am I seeing no difference between Linear move and Joint move?


Run through the solutions at the beginning of this article to ensure your Workcell is:

  • Built correctly
  • Mastered
  • Lubricated
  • Not overtightened
  • And contains rubber bands


If you are running Lab 4, and seeing no difference between Linear move and Joint move, try increasing your “y” coordinate values.

By increasing the “y” coordinates from (-2 to 2) (top image on the left), to (-6 to 6) (bottom image on the left), the difference can be seen more easily.


There is an easy trick to see which Block arm movement code your Workcell is performing. Watch the three red Claw Gear Cranks, they will remain stationary during Joint move, and will become active during Linear move.

Remember, this is due to the tool tip path determined and coded by you.

How do I install the rubber bands?


The rubber bands on your V5 Workcell can be compared to the muscle in your arm. It offers support in lifting heavy objects, as well as it guides the arm safely through movements.


Installing the rubber bands can be confusing, but can be completed easily using this article.

For additional support or further questions, view VEX Professional Development Plus (PD+).

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

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