Versatile gearboxes for pre-season stocking up?

Any reviews on Vexpro’s Versaplanetary? I’m looking to stock up on some equipment pre-kickoff to try and be ready (ordering through our school can be a bit slow and tedious) and I’d like to have a few decently versatile gearboxes that can get different ratios and mesh with different motors decently. The versaplanetary looks PERFECT for this. Any reviews / warnings against? It does look a bit big (only getting bigger as you add kits obviously), but it really looks handy. That said, I’m still fairly new to FRC hardware (coming from FTC, where a gearbox was “throw one little gear on the motor and one big gear on the axle”.)

Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Awesome product. A bit pricey, but overall, you can’t go wrong.

Agreed. I’ve also had much better luck with side mounting than face mounting, though the V2 seems to have a couple design changes to improve that.

The VP is awesome. Extremely versatile. It allows you to relatively quickly adjust gear ratio and motor(s). So if you guesstimate 50:1 but later decide that faster/slower/more power is needed then you can modify. We use them all over.

Make sure you take your time with assembly and use grease!

All of our non-drivetrain mechanisms have been powered by versaplanetary gearboxes so far. We are getting better at custom gearboxes, but any motor that isn’t a CIM usually gets attached to a versa planetary before going into whatever it is powering. We have many in stock.

We’ve had pretty good luck with face mounting. Having a system for storing the stages separately (little plastic bags or something) saves you from spending an hour counting gear teeth. We usually go conservative with our reductions, haven’t really used them in very high speed applications.

That’s a lot of pretty solid endorsements! I was hoping to hear something like that! :slight_smile:

I also love the versatility of the VP, and we have used a few (in offseasons) to good effect, but I haven’t been able to get the booster club to cut loose enough funding to have a useful variety. As a less expensive way to get versatility during prototyping, we do stock a variety of sprockets, and use chain reduction (in combination with a few stock gear ratios) to do our prototyping and pre-testing, then order specific gearboxes or gearmotors to fill our needs. The VP encoder stage makes this an even more versatile part of your development toolbox.

Follow the literature provided by Vex (namely the User Guide and Load Ratings Guide) and the VersaPlanetary will meet most of your manipulator gearing needs.

Thousands of teams have used them with great success. Just make sure you follow the “Loads Ratings Guide” and you’ll be on your way.
If you have any other FRC teams nearby, they may have used them before.

The VP is a high quality gearbox. The little collets to fit different motor shafts are a big plus. So is the add-on encoder. Personally I would like to see all of our gear box suppliers incorporate an encoder on the input stage.

If you need a gearbox that fits the FRC motors, but is more robust (higher torque and shaft loads) than the Vex, look at Banebots products. They are heavier, similar pricing, and also very high quality. They also stack like the Vex, so you can purchase a couple different gear ratios with different motor input plates, and then stack to make the gear ratio you need. The Banebots work particularly well with a CIM motor.

I’ve pretty much used VersaPlanetary gearboxes exclusively for robot mechanisms since they came out a few years back. Nothing to complain about, and the only failures we’ve had with them have been due to our own mistakes (not putting ratios in the correct order, not properly assembling, etc.).

That said, I would not advise using them for drivetrain motors (except in very special circumstances), there are far better options available for that purpose.