2017 Control System Hardware

2017 Control System Hardware
2017 CONTROL SYSTEM
HARDWARE
Last Updated: 01-05-2017
2017 Control System Hardware
Table of Contents
General Hardware ................................................................................3
2017 FRC Control System Hardware Overview ........................................................4
Wiring the 2017 FRC Control System...................................................................... 23
Wiring CAN Jaguars................................................................................................... 44
Updating CAN Jaguar Firmware .............................................................................. 47
Wiring Pneumatics.................................................................................................... 51
Updating and Configuring Pneumatics Control Module and Power Distribution
Panel........................................................................................................................... 53
Status Light Quick Reference .................................................................................. 67
Robot Preemptive Troubleshooting ....................................................................... 83
RoboRIO .............................................................................................. 92
RoboRIO Webdashboard ......................................................................................... 93
RoboRIO FTP............................................................................................................ 101
RoboRIO User Accounts and SSH ......................................................................... 103
RoboRIO Brownout and Understanding Current Draw ..................................... 106
2017 Control System Hardware
General Hardware
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2017 FRC Control System Hardware Overview
The goal of this document is to provide a brief overview of the hardware components that
make up the 2016 FRC Control System. Each component will contain a brief description of the
component function, a brief listing of critical connections, and a link to more documentation if
available. Note that for complete wiring instructions/diagrams, please see the Wiring the 2017
Control System document.
National Instruments roboRIO
The NI-roboRIO is the main robot controller used for FRC. The roboRIO includes a dual-core ARM
Cortex™-A9 processor and FPGA which runs both trusted elements for control and safety as well
as team-generated code. Integrated controller I/O includes a variety of communication protocols
(Ethernet, USB, CAN, SPI, I2C, and serial) as well as PWM, servo, digital I/O, and analog I/O channels
used to connect to robot peripherals for sensing and control.The roboRIO should connect to the
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dedicated 12V port on the Power Distribution Panel for power. Wired communication is available
via USB or Ethernet. Detailed information on the roboRIO can be found in the roboRIO User
Manual.
Power Distribution Panel
The Power Distribution Panel (PDP) is designed to distribute power from a 12VDC battery to
various robot components through auto-resetting circuit breakers and a small number of special
function fused connections. The PDP provides 8 output pairs rated for 40A continuous current and
8 pairs rated for 30A continuous current. The PDP provides dedicated 12V connectors for the
roboRIO, as well as connectors for the Voltage Regulator Module and Pneumatics Control Module.
It also includes a CAN interface for logging current, temperature, and battery voltage. For more
detailed information, see the PDP User Manual.
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Pneumatics Control Module
The PCM is a device that contains all of the inputs and outputs required to operate 12V or 24V
pneumatic solenoids and the on board compressor. The PCM is enabled/disabled by the roboRIO
over the CAN interface. The PCM contains an input for the pressure sensor and will control the
compressor automatically when the robot is enabled and a solenoid has been created in the code.
The device also collects diagnostic information such as solenoid states, pressure switch state, and
compressor state. The module includes diagnostic LED’s for both CAN and the individual solenoid
channels. For more information see the PCM User Manual.
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Voltage Regulator Module
The VRM is an independent module that is powered by 12 volts. The device is wired to a dedicated
connector on the PDP. The module has multiple regulated 12V and 5V outputs. The purpose of the
VRM is to provide regulated power for the robot radio, custom circuits, and IP vision cameras.
Note: The two connector pairs associated with each label have a combined rating of what the label
indicates (e.g. 5V/500mA total for both pairs not for each pair). The 12V/2A limit is a peak rating,
the supply should not be loaded with more than 1.5A continuous current draw. For more
information, see the VRM User Manual.
Motor Controllers
There are a variety of different motor controllers which work with the FRC Control System and are
approved for use. These devices are used to provide variable voltage control of the brushed DC
motors used in FRC. They are listed here in alphabetical order.
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DMC-60 Motor Controller
The DMC-60 is a PWM motor controller from Digilent. The DMC-60 features integrated thermal
sensing and protection including current-foldback to prevent overheating and damage, and four
multi-color LED indicators frequency to indicate speed, direction, and status for easier debugging.
For more information, see the DMC-60 reference manual: https://reference.digilentinc.com/
dmc-60/reference-manual
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Jaguar Motor Controller
The Jaguar Motor Controller from VEX Robotics (formerly made by Luminary Micro and Texas
Instruments) is a variable speed motor controller for use in FRC. The Jaguar can be controlled
using either the PWM interface or over the CAN bus. The Black Jaguar can also be used to convert
from RS232 (from the BDC-Comm PC program) to the CAN bus. The Jaguar should be connected
using one of these control interfaces and powered from the Power Distribution Panel. For more
information, see the Jaguar Getting Started Guide, Jaguar Datasheet and Jaguar FAQ on this page.
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SD540B and SD540C Motor Controllers
The SD540 Motor Controller from Mindsensors is a variable speed motor controller for use in FRC.
The SD540B is controlled using the PWM interface. The SD540C is controllable over CAN. Limit
switches may be wired directly to the SD540 to limit motor travel in one or both directions.
Switches on the device are used to flip the direction of motor travel, configure the wiring polarity
of limit switches, set Brake or Coast mode, and put the device in calibration mode. For more
information see the Mindsensors FRC page: http://www.mindsensors.com/68-frc
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SPARK Motor Controller
The SPARK Motor Controller from REV Robotics is a variable speed motor controller for use in FRC.
The SPARK is controlled using the PWM interface. Limit switches may be wired directly to the
SPARK to limit motor travel in one or both directions. The RGB status LED displays the current
state of the device including whether the device is currently in Brake mode or Coast mode. For
more information, see the REV Robotics SPARK product page: http://www.revrobotics.com/
product/spark/
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Talon Motor Controller
The Talon Motor Controller from Cross the Road Electronics is a variable speed motor controller
for use in FRC. The Talon is controlled over the PWM interface. The Talon should be connected to a
PWM output of the roboRIO and powered from the Power Distribution Panel. For more
information see the Talon User Manual.
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Talon SRX
The Talon SRX motor controller is a CAN-enabled "smart motor controller" from Cross The Road
Electronics/VEX Robotics. The Talon SRX has an electrically isolated metal housing for heat
dissipation, making the use of a fan optional. The Talon SRX can be controlled over the CAN bus or
PWM interface. When using the CAN bus control, this device can take inputs from limit switches
and potentiometers, encoders, or similar sensors in order to perform advanced control such as
limiting or PID(F) closed loop control on the device. For more information see the Talon SRX User
Manual.
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Victor 888 Motor Controller / Victor 884 Motor Controller
The Victor 888 Motor Controller from VEX Robotics is a variable speed motor controller for use in
FRC. The Victor 888 replaces the Victor 884, which is also usable in FRC. The Victor is controlled
over the PWM interface. The Victor should be connected to a PWM output of the roboRIO and
powered from the Power Distribution Panel. For more information, see the Victor 884 User Manual
and Victor 888 User Manual.
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Victor SP
The Victor SP motor controller is a PWM motor controller from Cross The Road Electronics/VEX
Robotics. The Victor SP has an electrically isolated metal housing for heat dissipation, making the
use of the fan optional. The case is sealed to prevent debris from entering the controller. The
controller is approximately half the size of previous models. For more information, see the Victor
SP User Manual.
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Spike H-Bridge Relay
The Spike H-Bridge Relay from VEX Robotics is a device used for controlling power to motors or
other custom robot electronics. When connected to a motor, the Spike provides On/Off control in
both the forward and reverse directions. The Spike outputs are independently controlled so it can
also be used to provide power to up to 2 custom electronic circuits. The Spike H-Bridge Relay
should be connected to a relay output of the roboRIO and powered from the Power Distribution
Panel. For more information, see the Spike User's Guide.
Servo Power Module
The Servo Power Module from Rev Robotics is capable of expanding the power available to servos
beyond what the roboRIO integrated power supply is capable of. The Servo Power Module
provides up to 90W of 6V power across 6 channels. All control signals are passed through directly
from the roboRIO. For more information, see the Servo Power Module webpage.
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Axis M1013/M1011/206 Ethernet Camera
The Axis M1013, M1011 and Axis 206 Ethernet cameras are used for capturing images for vision
processing and/or sending video back to the Driver Station laptop. The camera should be wired to
a 5V power output on the Voltage Regulator Module and an open ethernet port on the robot radio.
For more information, see Configuring an Axis Camera and the Axis 206, Axis M1011, Axis M1013
pages.
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Microsoft Lifecam HD3000
The Microsoft Lifecam HD3000 is a USB webcam that can be plugged directly into the roboRIO. The
camera is capable of capturing up to 1280x720 video at 30 FPS. For more information about the
camera, see the Microsoft product page. For more information about using the camera with the
roboRIO, see the Vision Processing section if this documentation.
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OpenMesh OM5P-AN or OM5P-AC Radio
Either the OpenMesh OM5P-AN or OpenMesh OM5P-AC wireless radio is used as the robot radio
to provide wireless communication functionality to the robot. The device can be configured as an
Access Point for direct connection of a laptop for use at home. It can also be configured as a bridge
for use on the field. The robot radio should be powered by one of the 12V outputs on the VRM and
connected to the roboRIO controller over Ethernet. For more information, see Programming your
radio for home use and the Open Mesh OM5P-AN product page.
The OM5P-AN is no longer available for purchase. The OM5P-AC is slightly heavier, has more
cooling grates, and has a rough surface texture compared to the OM5P-AN.
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120A Circuit Breaker
The 120A Main Circuit Breaker serves two roles on the robot: the main robot power switch and a
protection device for downstream robot wiring and components. The 120A circuit breaker is wired
to the positive terminals of the robot battery and Power Distribution boards. For more
information, please see the Cooper Bussmann 18X Series Datasheet (PN: 185120F)
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Snap Action Circuit Breakers
The Snap Action circuit breakers, MX5-A40 and VB3 series, are used with the Power Distribution
Panel to limit current to branch circuits. The MX5-A40 40A MAXI style circuit breaker is used with
the larger channels on the Power Distribution Panel to power loads which draw current up to 40A
continuous. The VB3 series are used with the smaller channels on the PDP to power circuits
drawing current of 30A or less continuous. For more information, see the Datasheeets for the MX5
series and VB3 Series.
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Robot Battery
The power supply for an FRC robot is a single 12V 18Ah battery. The batteries used for FRC are
sealed lead acid batteries capable of meeting the high current demands of an FRC robot. For more
information, see the Datasheets for the MK ES17-12 and Enersys NP18-12. Note that other battery
part numbers may be legal, consult the 2015 FRC Manual for a complete list.
Image credits
Image of roboRIO courtesy of National Instruments. Image of DMC-60 courtesy of Digilent. Image
of SD540 courtesy of Mindsensors. Images of Jaguar Motor Controller, Talon SRX, Victor 888 Motor
Controller, Victor SP Motor Controller, and Spike H-Bridge Relay courtesy of VEX Robotics, Inc.
Lifecam, PDP, PCM, SPARK, and VRM photos courtesy of FIRST. All other photos courtesy of
AndyMark Inc.
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Wiring the 2017 FRC Control System
This document details the wiring of a basic electronics board for bench-top testing.
Some images shown in this section reflect the setup for a Robot Control System using VictorSP
motor controllers. Wiring diagram and layout should be similar for other motor controllers. Where
appropriate, a second set of images shows the wiring steps for using PWM controllers without
integrated wires.
Gather Materials
Locate the following control system components and tools
Note: If using motor controllers without integrated wires, there are not enough ring/fork terminals
in the kickoff kit to complete setup. You will need additional 12/14 AWG ring or fork terminals to
complete the setup. They can typically be found at your local hardware or electronics parts store.
• Kit Materials:
◦ Power Distribution Panel (PDP)
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◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
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roboRIO
Pneumatics Control Module (PCM)
Voltage Regulator Module (VRM)
OM5P-AC radio (with power cable and Ethernet cable)
Robot Signal Light (RSL)
4x Victor SP or other speed controllers
2x PWM y-cables
120A Circuit breaker
4x 40A Circuit breaker
6 AWG Red wire
10 AWG Red/Black wire
18 AWG Red/Black wire
22AWG yellow/green twisted CAN cable
2x Andersen SB50 battery connectors
6AWG Terminal lugs
12V Battery
Red/Black Electrical tape
Dual Lock material or fasteners
Zip ties
1/4" or 1/2" plywood
• Tools Required:
◦ Wago Tool or small flat-head screwdriver
◦ Very small flat head screwdriver (eyeglass repair size)
◦ Philips head screw driver
◦ 5mm Hex key (3/16" may work if metric is unavailable)
◦ 1/16" Hex key
◦ Wire cutters, strippers, and crimpers
◦ 7/16” box end wrench or nut driver
Create the Base for the Control System
For a benchtop test board, cut piece of 1/4” or 1/2" material (wood or plastic) approximately 24" x
16". For a Robot Quick Build control board see the supporting documentation for the proper size
board for the chosen chassis configuration.
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Layout the Core Control System Components
Layout the components on the board. One layout that should work is shown in the images above.
Note
Note: If creating the board for a robot chassis, per the QuickBuild instructions for the long
orientation
orientation,, you may wish to turn the battery 90 degrees clockwise compared to the image above
and spread the components on each side accordingly in order to accommodate building a box to
retain the battery without hitting the CIM motors.
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Fasten components
Using the Dual Lock or hardware, fasten all components to the board. Note that in many FRC
games robot-to-robot contact may be substantial and Dual Lock alone is unlikely to stand up as a
fastener for many electronic components. Teams may wish to use nut and bolt fasteners or (as
shown in the image above) cable ties, with or without Dual Lock to secure devices to the board.
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Attach Battery Connector to PDP
Requires: Battery Connector, 6AWG terminal lugs, 1/16" Allen, 5mm Allen, 7/16" Box end
1. Attach terminal lugs to battery connector.
2. Using a 1/16" Allen wrench, remove the two screws securing the PDP terminal cover.
3. Using a 5mm Allen wrench (3/16" will work if metric is not available), remove the
negative (-) bolt and washer from the PDP and fasten the negative terminal of the
battery connector.
4. Using a 7/16" box end wrench, remove the nut on the "Batt" side of the main breaker
and secure the positive terminal of the battery conenctor
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Wire Breaker to PDP
Requires: 6AWG red wire, 2x 6AWG terminal lugs, 5mm Allen, 7/16" box end
Secure one terminal lug to the end of the 6AWG red wire. Using the 7/16" box end, remove the nut
from the "AUX" side of the 120A main breaker and place the terminal over the stud. Loosely secure
the nut (you may wish to remove it shortly to cut, strip, and crimp the other end of the wire).
Measure out the length of wire required to reach the positive terminal of the PDP.
1. Cut, strip, and crimp the terminal to the 2nd end of the red 6AWG wire.
2. Using the 7/16" box end, secure the wire to the "AUX" side of the 120A main breaker.
3. Using the 5mm, secure the other end to the PDP positive terminal.
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Insulate PDP connections
Requires: 1/16" Allen, Electrical tape
1. Using electrical tape, insulate the two connections to the 120A breaker. Also insulate any
part of the PDP terminals which will be exposed when the cover is replaced. One
method for insulating the main breaker connections is to wrap the stud and nut first,
then use the tape wrapped around the terminal and wire to secure the tape.
2. Using the 1/16" Allen wrench, replace the PDP terminal cover
Wago connectors
The next step will involve using the Wago connectors on the PDP. To use the Wago connectors,
insert a small flat blade screwdriver into the rectangular hole at a shallow angle then angle the
screwdriver upwards as you continue to press in to actuate the lever, opening the terminal. Two
sizes of Wago connector are found on the PDP:
• Small Wago connector: Accepts 10AWG-24AWG, strip 11-12mm (~7/16")
• Large Wago connector: Accepts 6AWG-12AWG, strip 12-13mm(~1/2")
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To maximize pullout force and minimize connection resistance wires should not be tinned (and
ideally not twisted) before inserting into the Wago connector.
Motor Controller Power
Requires: Wire Stripper, Small Flat Screwdriver,
Requires (for non-wire-integrated controllers): 10 or 12 AWG wire, 10 or 12 AWG fork/ring
terminals, wire crimper
For each of the 4 Victor SP motor controllers:
1. Cut and strip the red and black power input wires wire, then insert into one of the 40A
(larger) Wago terminal pairs.
For other controllers:
1. Cut red and black wire to appropriate length to reach from one of the 40A (larger) Wago
terminal pairs to the input side of the speed controller (with a little extra for the length
that will be inserted into the terminals on each end)
2. Strip one end of each of the wires, then insert into the Wago terminals.
3. Strip the other end of each wire, and crimp on a ring or fork terminal
4. Attach the terminal to the speed controller input terminals (red to +, black to -)
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Weidmuller Connectors
The correct strip length is ~5/16" (8mm), not the 5/8" mentioned in the video.
A number of the CAN and power connectors in the system use a Weidmuller LSF series wire-toboard connector. There are a few things to keep in mind when using this connector for best
results:
• Wire should be 16AWG to 24AWG (consult rules to verify required gauge for power wiring)
• Wire ends should be stripped approximately 5/16"
• To insert or remove the wire, press down on the corresponding "button" to open the
terminal
After making the connection check to be sure that it is clean and secure:
• Verify that there are no "whiskers" outside the connector that may cause a short circuit
• Tug on the wire to verify that it is seated fully. If the wire comes out and is the correct gauge
it needs to be inserted further and/or stripped back further.
roboRIO Power
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Requires: 10A/20A mini fuses, Wire stripper, very small flat screwdriver, 18AWG Red and Black
1. Insert the 10A and 20A mini fuses in the PDP in the locations shown on the silk screen
(and in the image above)
2. Strip ~5/16" on both the red and black 18AWG wire and connect to the "Vbat Controller
PWR" terminals on the PDB
3. Measure the required length to reach the power input on the roboRIO. Take care to
leave enough length to route the wires around any other components such as the
battery and to allow for any strain relief or cable management.
4. Cut and strip the wire.
5. Using a very small flat screwdriver connect the wires to the power input connector of
the roboRIO (red to V, black to C). Also make sure that the power connector is screwed
down securely to the roboRIO.
Voltage Regulator Module Power
Requires: Wire stripper, small flat screwdriver (optional), 18AWG red and black wire
1. Strip ~5/16" on the end of the red and black 18AWG wire.
2. Connect the wire to one of the two terminal pairs labeled "Vbat VRM PCM PWR" on the
PDP.
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3. Measure the length required to reach the "12Vin" terminals on the VRM. Take care to
leave enough length to route the wires around any other components such as the
battery and to allow for any strain relief or cable management.
4. Cut and strip ~5/16" from the end of the wire.
5. Connect the wire to the VRM 12Vin terminals.
Pneumatics Control Module Power (Optional)
Requires: Wire stripper, small flat screwdriver (optional), 18AWG red and black wire
Note: The PCM is an optional component used for controlling pneumatics on the robot.
1. Strip ~5/16" on the end of the red and black 18AWG wire.
2. Connect the wire to one of the two terminal pairs labeled "Vbat VRM PCM PWR" on the
PDP.
3. Measure the length required to reach the "Vin" terminals on the VRM. Take care to leave
enough length to route the wires around any other components such as the battery and
to allow for any strain relief or cable management.
4. Cut and strip ~5/16" from the end of the wire.
5. Connect the wire to the VRM 12Vin terminals.
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Radio Power and Ethernet
Note: This is different than the 2015 radio!!!!!
Requires: Wire stripper, small flat screwdriver (optional), OM5P-AN power wiring, Ethernet cable
1. Strip ~5/16" off of each wire on the power cord.
2. Locate the wire with the white stripes on it (one wire has white stripes, the other has
writing) and attach it to either of the two red terminals on the "12V/2A" supply of the
VRM.
3. Connect the other wire (with writing on it) to the black terminal immediately to the right
of the red terminal used above.
4. Plug the barrel connector into the back of the OM5P-AN
5. Plug the Ethernet cable into either port on the back of the OM5P-AN and into the
roboRIO.
Note: If you wish to verify the polarity of the radio power connection using a DMM or Continuity
tester, the connector is center pin positive. This means that the wire connecting to the red terminal
should be connected to the center of the connector, the wire connecting to the black terminal
should be connected to the outside of the connector.
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RoboRIO to PCM CAN
Requires: Wire stripper, small flat screwdriver (optional), yellow/green twisted CAN cable
Note: The PCM is an optional component used for controlling pneumatics on the robot. If you are
not using the PCM, wire the CAN connection directly from the roboRIO (shown in this step) to the
PDP (show in the next step).
1. Strip ~5/16" off of each of the CAN wires.
2. Insert the wires into the appropriate CAN terminals on the roboRIO (Yellow->YEL, Green>GRN).
3. Measure the length required to reach the CAN terminals of the PCM (either of the two
available pairs). Cut and strip ~5/16" off this end of the wires.
4. Insert the wires into the appropriate color coded CAN terminals on the PCM. You may
use either of the Yellow/Green terminal pairs on the PCM, there is no defined in or out.
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PCM to PDP CAN
Requires: Wire stripper, small flat screwdriver (optional), yellow/green twisted CAN cable
Note: The PCM is an optional component used for controlling pneumatics on the robot. If you are
not using the PCM, wire the CAN connection directly from the roboRIO (shown in the above step)
to the PDP (show in this step).
1. Strip ~5/16" off of each of the CAN wires.
2. Insert the wires into the appropriate CAN terminals on the PCM.
3. Measure the length required to reach the CAN terminals of the PDP (either of the two
available pairs). Cut and strip ~5/16" off this end of the wires.
4. Insert the wires into the appropriate color coded CAN terminals on the PDP. You may
use either of the Yellow/Green terminal pairs on the PDP, there is no defined in or out.
Note: The PDP ships with the CAN bus terminating resistor jumper in the "ON" position. It is
recommended to leave the jumper in this position and place any additional CAN nodes between
the roboRIO and the PDP (leaving the PDP as the end of the bus). If you wish to place the PDP in
the middle of the bus (utilizing both pairs of PDP CAN terminals) move the jumper to the "OFF"
position and place your own 120 ohm terminating resistor at the end of your CAN bus chain.
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PWM Cables
Requires: (Optional) 2x PWM Y-cable
Option 1 (Direct connect):
1. Connect the PWM cables from each Victor SP directly to the roboRIO. The black wire
should be towards the outside of the roboRIO. It is recommended to connect the left
side to PWM 0 and 1 and the right side to PWM 2 and 3 for the most straightforward
programming experience, but any channel will work as long as you note which side goes
to which channel and adjust the code accordingly.
Option 2 (Y-cable):
1. Connect 1 PWM Y-cable to the PWM cables for the Victor SPs controlling one side of the
robot. The brown wire on the Y-cable should match the black wire on the PWM cable.
2. Connect the PWM Y-cables to the PWM ports on the roboRIO. The brown wire should be
towards the outside of the roboRIO. It is recommended to connect the left side to PWM
0 and the right side to PWM 1 for the most straightforward programming experience,
but any channel will work as long as you note which side goes to which channel and
adjust the code accordingly.
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Robot Signal Light
Requires: Wire stripper, 2 pin cable, Robot Signal Light, 18AWG red wire, very small flat screwdriver
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Cut one end off of the 2 pin cable and strip both wires
Insert the black wire into the center, "N" terminal and tighten the terminal.
Strip the 18AWG red wire and insert into the "La" terminal and tighten the terminal.
Cut and strip the other end of the 18AWG wire to insert into the "Lb" terminal
Insert the red wire from the two pin cable into the "Lb" terminal with the 18AWG red
wire and tighten the terminal.
6. Connect the two-pin connector to the RSL port on the roboRIO. The black wire should be
closest to the outside of the roboRIO.
You may wish to temporarily secure the RSL to the control board using zipties or Dual Lock (it is
recommended to move the RSL to a more visible location as the robot is being constructed)
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Circuit Breakers
Requires: 4x 40A circuit breakers
Insert 40-amp Circuit Breakers into the positions on the PDP corresponding with the Wago
connectors the Talons are connected to. Note that, for all breakers, the breaker corresponds with
the nearest positive (red) terminal (see graphic above). All negative terminals on the board are
directly connected internally.
If working on a Robot Quick Build, stop here and insert the board into the robot chassis before
continuing.
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Motor Power
Requires: Wire stripper, wire crimper, phillips head screwdriver, wire connecting hardware
For each CIM motor:
1. Strip the ends of the red and black wires from the CIM
For integrated wire controllers:
1. Strip the white and green wires from the Victor SP
2. Connect the motor wires to the Victor SP output wires (it is recommended to connect
the red wire to the white M+ output). The images above show examples using wirenuts
or quick disconnect terminals.
For non-integrated-wire controllers:
1. Crimp a ring/fork terminal on each of the motor wires.
2. Attach the wires to the output side of the motor controller (red to +, black to -)
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Warning: Wire nuts are not recommended for permanent FRC use as they are not intended for
vibration environments. They are shown only as an example of a possible temporary solution.
The Digikey, or TE Connectivity vouchers in the Virtual Kit can be used to purchase suitable quickdisconnecting or splice connectors or they can typically be found at your local hardware or
electronics parts store.
Battery Box
Requires: Plywood Scraps, plywood cutting tool (e.g. saw), 10x 2" wood screws, drill, 1/8" drill but,
Philips head driver bit or philips head screwdriver, velcro wrap
Construct a battery box. the design shown uses scraps of plywood left over from cutting out the
electronics board (4 pieces 4"x1.5" for the short sides of the battery stacked 2 high, 3 pieces
6"x1.5" for the front and back stacked 2 high in the back). Use the velcro wrap to make a pair of
straps which will overlap to secure the battery.
Note: The battery box shown here is an example, sufficient for driving the robot. Teams should
ensure that their battery will be securely held in their final design in the face of potentially violent
robot-to-robot collision.
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STOP
STOP!!
Before plugging in the battery, make sure all connections have been made with the proper
polarity. Ideally have someone that did not wire the robot check to make sure all connections are
correct.
• Start with the battery and verify that the red wire is connected to the positive terminal
• Check that the red wire passes through the main breaker and to the + terminal of the PDP
and that the black wire travels directly to the - terminal.
• For each motor controller, verify that the red wire goes from the red PDP terminal to the
Talon input labeled with the red + (not the white M+!!!!)
• For each device on the end of the PDP, verify that the red wire connects to the red terminal
on the PDP and the red terminal on the component.
• Verify that the wire with the white stripe on the radio power supply is connected to the red
terminal of the Radio supply on the VRM
It is also recommended to put the robot on blocks so the wheels are off the ground before
proceeding. This will prevent any unexpected movement from becoming dangerous.
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Manage Wires
Requires: Zip ties
Now may be a good time to add a few zip ties to manage some of the wires before proceeding.
This will help keep the robot wiring neat.
Connect Battery
Connect the battery to the robot side of the Andersen connector. Power on the robot by moving
the lever on the top of the 120A main breaker into the ridge on the top of the housing.
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Wiring CAN Jaguars
This article describes how to connect Jaguar speed controllers to the CAN bus of the 2015 FRC
Control System
2015 FRC Control System CAN wiring
The 2015 FRC Control System uses simple twisted pair wiring for the CAN connections with
Weidmuller wire-to-board connectors on the components allowing you to wire to them directly.
The wiring is labeled with CAN High (CANH) as Yellow and CAN Low (CANL) as Green.
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Jaguar CAN Wiring
The Jaguar uses an RJ-45 connector for the CAN connection. The center two pins of the connector
are used for the CAN wiring. If crimping to a 6P6C connector, pin 3 is CANH and pin 4 is CANL. If
using a 6P4C connector, pin 2 is CANH and pin 3 is CANL. If connecting to a standard telephone
cable with standard wire colors, Red will be CANH and Green will be CANL
Wiring Jaguars into 2015 FRC Control System
The recommended method of wiring the 2015 FRC Control System CAN Bus is to utilize the built-in
termination of the roboRIO on one end of the bus and the selectable termination (set to On) of the
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Power Distribution Panel on the other end of the bus. To do this with CAN Jaguars you will need to
create two adapter cables from the twisted pair wiring to the RJ-45 connector of the Jaguar. Use
the descriptions of the color schemes and pinouts above to connect CANH from your twisted pair
to CANH of the RJ45 and CANL to CANL. After the first Jaguar you can add additional Jaguars to the
bus using a straight-pinned (sometime called a reverse-cable because the tabs will face opposite
directions) 6P4C or 6P6C telephone cable as described in the Jaguar Getting Started Guide. After
the last Jaguar in the chain you will use another adapter cable to wire from the Jaguar to the PDP.
Alternate termination
If you do not wish to use the built-in termination on the PDP you may set the PDP termination to
Off. You will the need to terminate the end of the bus with your own 120 ohm termination resistor.
This can be crimped directly into the RJ connector and plugged into the last Jag on the bus or
(recommended) connected to stub wires which are crimped into the connector (the stub wires
crimp into the contacts more securely and provide better insulation than crimping the resistor
directly).
RS-232 Adapter
Though the 2015 Control System has a native CAN interface, an RS-232 to RJ-45 adapter is still
necessary for updating Jaguar firmware from a PC using BDC-Comm (more details on this process
in the next article). Details on making this adapter can be found in the Jaguar Getting Started
Guide.
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Updating CAN Jaguar Firmware
To use CAN Jaguars with the 2015 Control system, teams will have to update them to the latest
version of the firmware. The recommended method to do so is by using the serial interface and
the BDC-Comm software tool.
Cable and configuration
Using BDC-Comm requires a serial port (or USB->Serial adapter) on a Windows PC. You will also
need a DB-9 to RJ-11 adapter cable. Instructions for building this cable if necessary can be found
on page 24 and 25 of the Jaguar Getting Started Guide.
For updating firmware it is recommended to have the minimum number of devices on the bus. For
Black Jaguars this means that you should connect the DB-9 to RJ-11 cable directly to the left RJ-11
port (when looking at the Jaguar with the fan housing at the back) on the Jaguar being updated and
nothing should be connected to the right port. For Grey Jaguars, you will need to have one Black
Jaguar serve as the RS232 to CAN bridge; connect the DB-9 to RJ-11 cable to the left port of a Black
Jaguar and a RJ-11 to RJ-11 "reverse" cable between the right port of the Black Jaguar and either
port of the Grey Jaguar (for details on this cable, see the CAN cable section on Page 23 of the
Jaguar Getting Started Guide.)
Running BDC-Comm
Navigate to C:\Users\Public\Documents\FRC and double click on the BDC-Comm executable.
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Using BDC-Comm
1. Select the correct COM port to match the serial connection you are using. If you're
unsure, you can open Control-Panel->Device Manager and expand the "Ports
(COM&LPT)" listing to view descriptions of all of the ports. In the second image above,
you can see that COM1 is the regular serial port and COM4 is an internal port for some
Intel technology that's part of the computer.
2. Verify that this menu title reads "Status: Connected". If not, click on the menu and select
the Connect button
3. Click Enumerate
4. Verify that a Board ID shows up in this box. If you are updating a Grey Jag (so you have 2
Jags on the bus), select the Board ID for the Jag you want to update.
5. Select File->Update Firmware
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Selecting Firmware
1. Click the browse button
2. Select the correct firmware to upload (Jaguar for Grey Jaguars, black-jag for Black
Jaguars)
3. Click OK
4. Click Update
A progress bar should appear indicating the status of the update process. When the update
completes, the progress bar dialog will disappear and the Firmware Version field on the BDCComm page should update to reflect the new firmware.
Troubleshooting
The section lists troubleshooting steps for some common issues encountered when attempting to
update Jaguar firmware.
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Unable to Connect to Serial Port
If BDC-Comm is unable to connect to the serial port it may be because the port is already in use by
another program, cannot be accessed by the user running the program or it may indicate an issue
with the driver for the port or adapter.
1. Restart the computer, then re-open BDC-Comm and try again.
2. Close as many programs as possible, restart BDC-Comm and try again.
3. Re-open BDC-Comm by right clicking on it and selecting Run as Administrator and try
again.
4. Follow any vendor instructions to re-install the drivers for your USB to Serial converter
and try again.
Board ID does not appear
If the lights on the Jaguar are behaving normally but the device will not enumerate (Board ID does
not appear in the box), check that all cables are correctly made and properly secured. Check if you
can contact another Jaguar using the same cables and computer, if another Jaguar works properly
you need to verify that the spring contacts of the Jaguar CAN port are not bent or pressed in.
Carefully pulling these contacts outwards may result in better connection, causing the Jaguar to
function properly again.
Jaguar LED off
If the Jaguar is properly powered and the Jaguar LED does not light at all, there are two possible
causes:
1. The Jaguar has been damaged to the point it does not properly power on.
2. The Jaguar firmware has been erased or corrupted and the Jaguar is stuck in the
bootloader.
Jaguars in the second scenario can be revived by using the Recover Device menu option from
inside BDC-comm
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Wiring Pneumatics
Wiring pneumatics has been made very simple in the 2015 Control System. A single Pneumatics
Control Module is all that will be needed for many pneumatics applications, with additional PCMs
supporting more complex designs including more than 8 solenoid channels or a mix of 12V and
24V solenoids.
Wiring Overview
A single PCM will support many pneumatics applications, providing an output for the compressor,
input for the pressure switch and outputs for up to 8 solenoid channels (12V or 24V selectable).
The module is connected to the roboRIO over the CAN bus and powered via 12V from the PDP.
PCM Power and Control Wiring
The first PCM on your robot can be wired from the PDP VRM/PCM connectors on the end of the
PDP. The PCM is connected to the roboRIO via CAN and can be placed anywhere in the middle of
the CAN chain (or on the end with a custom terminator). For more details on wiring a single PCM
see Wiring the 2015 FRC Control System. Additional PCMs can be wired to a standard Wago
connector on the side of the PDP and protected with a 20A or smaller circuit breaker. Additional
PCMs should also be placed anywhere in the middle of the CAN chain.
The Compressor
The compressor can be wired directly to the Compressor Out connectors on the PCM. If additional
length is required, make sure to use 18 AWG wire or larger for the extension.
The Pressure Switch
The pressure switch should be connected directly to the pressure switch input terminals on the
PCM. There is no polarity on the input terminals or on the pressure switch itself, either terminal on
the PCM can be connected to either terminal on the switch. Ring or spade terminals are
recommended for the connection to the switch screws (note that the screws are slightly larger
than #6, but can be threaded through a ring terminal with a hole for a #6 screw such as the
terminals shown in the image).
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Solenoids
Each solenoid channel should be wired directly to a numbered pair of terminals on the PCM. A
single acting solenoid will use one numbered terminal pair. A double acting solenoid will use two
pairs (as shown in the image above). If your solenoid does not come with color coded wiring, check
the datasheet to make sure to wire with the proper polarity.
Solenoid Voltage Jumper
The PCM is capable of powering either 12V or 24V solenoids, but all solenoids connected to a
single PCM must be the same voltage. The PCM ships with the jumper in the 12V position as shown
in the image. To use 24V solenoids move the jumper from the left two pins (as shown in the image)
to the right two pins. The overlay on the PCM also indicates which position corresponds to which
voltage. You may need to use a tool such as a small screwdriver, small pair of pliers, or a pair of
tweezers to remove the jumper.
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Updating and Configuring Pneumatics Control
Module and Power Distribution Panel
This document describes the process of updating the firmware on the Cross the Road Electronics
CAN devices.
Note: Google Chrome is removing support for the Silverlight plugin. You will need to use a
different browser such as Internet Explorer to access the roboRIO webdashboard.
Note: The mDNS address for the roboRIO has changed for 2016. Please pay close attention to the
new address when attempting to access the roboRIO webdashboard.
Accessing CAN Node Settings
Open the WebDash by using a browser to navigate to the roboRIO's address (172.22.11.2 for USB,
or "roboRIO-####-FRC.local where #### is your team number, with no leading zeroes, for either
interface). You should see a page that looks like the image above, with the CAN devices listed out
below the CAN Interface.
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Note: The discovery order (e.g. "1st device found") is needed to separate devices of the same type
but has no actual significance. You may see the PDP or a Jaguar or Talon SRX discovered first on
your CAN network, even if the PCM is the first node in your CAN chain.
Troubleshooting
If you do not see any nodes below the CAN Interface entry try the following:
• Check the CAN cabling. If the LEDs on the PCM and PDP are red then they are not seeing
CAN. Note that just because the LEDs on the devices are green does not mean the CAN
cabling to the roboRIO are correct, they will turn green if the two other devices can see
each other on the CAN network.
• Try refreshing the page. The device polling is done once every five seconds and the
webpage itself doesn't always react to the Refresh button so if in doubt force a refresh by
using the browser's refresh button or closing and re-opening the page.
• Make sure the CAN Interface is expanded. Double clicking the CAN Interface entry (or
clicking the triangle to the left of the entry if present) will collapse the tree, repeating will
expand it.
• Try restarting the browser. Occasionally the Silverlight plugin may crash or lock up resulting
in the CAN devices silently not refreshing.
Settings
To access the Settings page of one of the CAN nodes, select the node by clicking on it's entry in the
list. The settings for that node will then be displayed in the right pane.
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Setting CAN IDs
Each device comes with the CAN ID set to a default value of 0. If using only a single device of that
type it is recommended to leave the ID at the default value to allow for the use of default Opens/
Constructors. If using multiples of a particular device type (I.E. 2 PCMs or 4 Talon SRXs) you will
need to change the node ID of all but one device. To change the node ID:
• Highlight/Select the Device ID and replace it with your desired ID.
• Press "Save". The "Save button will depress and the "Refresh" button will appear.
• The PDP, PCM and Talon SRX require no additional action to save the new ID. For CAN
Jaguars, a notice will appear instructing you to push the user button within 5 seconds. After
doing so, click Refresh and verify that the new Device ID has been set.
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ID Ranges
The valid ID ranges for each type of device are:
•
•
•
•
Pneumatics Control Module (PCM) ID - 0 to 62 (inclusive)
Power Distribution Panel (PDP) ID - 0 to 62 (inclusive)
Jaguar ID- 1 to 63 (inclusive)
Talon SRX ID- 0 to 62 (inclusive)
Since the ID ranges for different products don’t overlap there is no issue with two or more CAN
nodes of different types having the same Device ID (e.g. a PDP with ID=0, a PCM with ID=0, and a
Talon SRX with ID=0 on the same bus). Using multiple devices of the same type, such as multiple
PCMs or multiple Jaguars with the same node ID will result in a conflict. The web plugin supports a
strategy that will allow for recovery of this condition for all devices other than Jaguars, but the
devices are not properly usable from within a robot program while in this state. To recover Jaguars
which have been set to the same ID you will have to remove all but one of the devices from the
bus, then set the devices to non-conflicting IDs.
If you select an invalid ID you will get an immediate prompt like the one shown above.
Changing the PDP ID while using C++\Java WPILib is not recommended as there is no way to
change the desired node ID in the library. PCM node IDs may be set as desired and addressed
using the appropriate Open or Constructor of the Solenoid or Double Solenoid class.
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Updating CAN Node Firmware
This page can also be used to update the device firmware. To load new firmware you must be
logged in:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Click "Login" at the top right of the page.
Enter the User Name "admin"
Leave the Password field blank.
Click Ok.
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Updating Permissions
If you would like to skip the Login step in the future you can set up Permissions to allow firmware
updates:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Click the Lock Icon in the far left pane.
Click the Permissions tab.
Select Firmware Update from the list.
Click Add below the second large box.
Select "everyone"
Click Ok.
Click Save.
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Update Firmware
The firmware on a CAN Node is updated from the Setting's page for that node. To update the
firmware of a CAN Node, press the Update Firmware button.
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Select New Firmware
CTRE Devices use a file format call CRF (Cross The Road Firmware). Using the dialog, browse to the
correct location on your computer and select the new firmware file, then click Open. Firmware for
CTRE devices can be found in the C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\FRC folder.
Confirmation
On the dialog that appears, click Begin Update.
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Update Complete
If the update completes successfully, you should see a confirmation message near the top of the
page and the Firmware Revision should update to match the new file.
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Troubleshooting
Since ten seconds is plenty of time for power/CAN to be disconnected, an error code will be
reported if a reflash is interrupted or fails. Additionally the Software Status will report “Bootloader”
and Firmware Revision will be 255.255 (blank). If a CAN Device has no firmware, it’s bootloader will
take over and blink green/yellow on the device’s corresponding LED. It will also keep it’s device ID,
so the RIO can still be used to set device ID and reflash the application firmware (crf). This means
you can reflash again using the same web interface (there is no need for a recovery button).
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Self-Test
Pressing Self Test will display data captured from CAN Bus at time of press. This can include fault
states, sensor inputs, output states, measured battery voltage,etc…
At the bottom of the section, the build time is displayed for checking what firmware revision is
installed. The image above is an example of pressing “SelfTest” with PCM. Be sure to check if PCM
is ENABLED or DISABLED. If PCM is DISABLED then either the robot is disabled or team code is
talking to the wrong PCM device ID (or not talking to the PCM at all).
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Sticky Faults
After enabling the robot and repressing “SelfTest” we see the PCM is enabled but an intermittent
short on the compressor output reveals itself in a sticky fault.
Sticky faults persist across power cycles. They also cause orange blinks on the device LED. The
PCM will orange blink to signal a sticky fault only when the robot is disabled. The PDP will orange
blink anytime it sees a sticky fault (since PDPs are not output devices they don’t care if robot is
enabled or not).
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Clearing Sticky Faults
To clear Sticky Faults, double click Self Test in a rapid fashion. If the faults don’t clear you may need
to triple click, or rapidly click until you see the "Faults cleared!" text appear.
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PDP Self-Test
Here’s an example for PDP. Notice here this PDP sees a temperature of 98.09C (don’t worry this
board does not have the temp sensor populated). With this firmware, no temp fault is recorded
because this hardware revision does not have the temp sensor populated.
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Status Light Quick Reference
Many of the components of the FRC Control System have indicator lights that can be used to
quickly diagnose problems with your robot. This guide shows each of the hardware components
and describes the meaning of the indicators. Photos and information from Innovation FIRST and
Cross the Road Electronics.
Robot Signal Light (RSL)
• Solid ON - Robot On and Disabled
• Blinking - Robot On and Enabled
• Off - Robot Off, roboRIO not powered or RSL not wired properly.
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RoboRIO
Power
• Green - Power is good
• Amber - Brownout protection tripped, outputs disabled
• Red - Power fault, check user rails for short circuit
Status
•
•
•
•
On while the controller is booting, then should turn off
2 blinks - Software error, reimage roboRIO
3 blinks - Safe Mode, restart roboRIO, reimage if not resolved
4 blinks - Software crashed twice without rebooting, reboot roboRIO, reimage if not
resolved
• Constant flash or stays solid on - Unrecoverable error
Radio
Not currently implemented
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Comm
•
•
•
•
Off - No Communication
Red Solid - Communication with DS, but no user code
Red Blinking - E-stop
Green Solid - Good communication with DS
Mode
•
•
•
•
Off - Outputs disabled (robot in Disabled, brown-out, etc.)
Amber/Orange - Autonomous Enabled
Green - Teleop Enabled
Red - Test Enabled
RSL
See above
OpenMesh Radio
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Power
• Blue - On or Powering Up
• Blue Blinking - Powering Up
Eth Link
• Blue - Link Up
• Blue Blinking - Link Up + Traffic Present
WiFi
•
•
•
•
Off - Bridge Mode Unlinked or Non-FRC Firmware
Red - AP Mode Unlinked
Yellow\Orange - AP Mode Linked
Green - Bridge Mode Linked
Power Distribution Panel
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Voltage Regulator Module
The status LEDs on the VRM indicate the state of the two power supplies. If the supply is
functioning properly the LED should be lit bright green. If the LED is not lit or is dim, the output
may be shorted or drawing too much current.
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Pneumatics Control Module
Solenoid Channel LEDs - These LEDs are lit red if the Solenoid channel is enabled and not lit if it is
disabled.
Comp - This is the Compressor LED. This LED is green when the compressor output is active
(compressor is currently on) and off when the compressor output is not active.
Status - The status LED indicates device status as indicated by the two tables above. For more
information on resolving PCM faults see the PCM User Manual. Note that the No CAN Comm fault
will not occur only if the device cannot see communicate with any other device, if the PCM and PDP
can communicate with each other, but not the roboRIO you will NOT see a No Can Comm fault.
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Digilent DMC-60
When the center LED is off the device is operating in coast mode. When the center LED is
illuminated the device is operating in brake mode. The Brake/Coast mode can be toggled by
pressing down on the center of the triangle and then releasing the button.
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Jaguar speed controllers
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Mindsensors SD 540
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REV Robotics Servo Power Module
6V Power LED off, dim or flickering with power applied = Over-current shutdown
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REV Robotics SPARK
Talon speed controllers
The LED is used to indicate the direction and percentage of throttle and state of calibration. The
LED may be one of three colors; red, orange or green. A solid green LED indicates positive output
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voltage equal to the input voltage of the Talon. A solid Red LED indicates an output voltage that is
equal to the input voltage multiplied by -1(input voltage = 12 volts, output equals -12 volts). The
LED will blink it’s corresponding color for any throttle less than 100% (red indicates negative
polarity, green indicates positive). The rate at which the led blinks is proportional to the percent
throttle. The faster the LED blinks the closer the output is to 100% in either polarity.
The LED will blink orange any time the Talon is in the disabled state. This will happen if the PWM
input signal is lost, or in FRC, when the robot is disabled. If the Talon is in the enabled state and the
throttle is within the 4% dead band, the LED will remain solid orange.
Flashing Red/Green indicate ready for calibration. Several green flashes indicates successful
calibration, and red several times indicates unsuccessful calibration.
Victor speed controllers
LED Indicator Status:
Green - full forward
Orange - neutral / brake
Red - full reverse
Flashing orange - no PWM signal
Flashing red/green - calibration mode
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Flashing green - successful calibration
Flashing red - unsuccessful calibration
Victor-SP speed controllers
Brake/Coast/Cal Button/LED - Red if the controller is in brake mode, off if the controller is in coast
mode
Status
The Status LEDs are used to indicate the direction and percentage of throttle and state of
calibration. The LEDs may be one of three colors; red, orange or green. Solid green LEDs indicate
positive output voltage equal to the input voltage of the Victor-SP. Solid Red LEDs indicate an
output voltage that is equal to the input voltage multiplied by -1(input voltage = 12 volts, output
equals -12 volts). The LEDs will blink in the corresponding color for any throttle less than 100% (red
indicates negative polarity, green indicates positive). The rate at which the LEDs blink is
proportional to the percent throttle. The faster the LEDs blink the closer the output is to 100% in
either polarity.
The LEDs will blink orange any time the Victor-SP is in the disabled state. This will happen if the
PWM input signal is lost, or in FRC, when the robot is disabled. If the Victor-SP is in the enabled
state and the throttle is within the 4% dead band, the LED will remain solid orange.
Flashing Red/Green indicate ready for calibration. Several green flashes indicates successful
calibration, and red several times indicates unsuccessful calibration.
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Talon-SRX speed controllers
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Spike relay configured as a motor, light, or solenoid switch
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Spike relay configured as for one or two solenoids
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Robot Preemptive Troubleshooting
In FIRST Robotics Competion, robots take a lot of stress while driving around the field. It is
important to make sure that connections are tight, parts are bolted securely in place and that
everthing is mounted so that a robot bouncing around the field does not break.
Check battery connections
The tape the should be covering the battery connection in these examples has been removed to
illustrate what is going on. On your robots, the connections should be covered.
Wiggle battery harness connector. Often these are loose because the screws loosen, or sometimes
the crimp is not completely closed. You will only catch the really bad ones though because often
the electrical tape stiffens the connection to a point where it feels stiff. Using a voltmeter or
Battery Beak will help with this.
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Apply considerable force onto the battery cable at 90 degrees to try to move the direction of the
cable leaving the battery, if successful the connection was not tight enough to begin with and it
should be redone.
Secure the battery to robot connection
In almost every event we see at least one robot where a not properly secured battery connector
(the large Anderson) comes apart and disconnects power from the robot. This has happened in
championship matches on the Einstein and everywhere else. Its an easy to ensure that this doesn't
happen to you by securing the two connectors by wrapping a tie wrap around the connection. 10
or 12 tie wraps for the piece of mind during an event is not a high price to pay to guarantee that
you will not have the problem of this robot from an actual event after a bumpy ride over a
defense.
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120 Amp circuit breaker
Apply a twisting force onto the cable to rotate the harness. If you are successful then the screw is
not tight enough. Split washers might help here, but in the mean time, these require checking
every few matches.
Because the metal is just molded into the case, every once in awhile you will break off the bolt, ask
any veteran team and they’ll tell you they go through a number of these every few seasons. After
tightening the nut, retest by once again trying to twist the cable.
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Power Distribution Panel (PDP)
Make sure that split washers were placed under the PDP screws, but it is not easy to visually
confirm, and sometimes you can’t. You can check by removing the case. Also if you squeeze the
red and black wires together, sometimes you can catch the really lose connections.
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Tug test everything
The Weidmuller contacts for power, compressor output, roboRIO power connector
connector, and radio
power are important to verify by tugging on the connections as shown. Make sure that none of
the connections pull out.
Look for possible or impending shorts with Weidmuller connections that are close to each other,
and have too-long wire-lead lengths (wires that are stripped extra long).
Spade connectors can also fail due to improper crimps, so tug-test those as well.
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Blade fuses
If you can remove the blade fuses by hand then they are not in completely. Make sure that they
are completely seated in the PDP so that they don't pop out during robot operation.
RoboRIO swarf
Swarf is: fine chips or filings of stone, metal, or other material produced by a machining operation.
Often modifications must be made to a robot while the control system parts are in place. The
circuit board for the roboRIO is conformally coated, but that doesn't absolutely guarantee that
metal chips won't short out traces or components inside the case. In this case, you must exercise
care in making sure that none of the chips end up in the roboRIO or any of the other components.
In particular, the exposed 3 pin headers are a place where chips can enter the case. A quick sweep
through each of the four sides with a flashlight is usually sufficient to find the really bad areas of
infiltration.
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Radio barrel jack
Make sure the correct barrel jack is used, not one that is too small and falls out for no reason. This
isn’t common, but ask an FTA and every once in awhile a team will use some random barrel jack
that is not sized correctly, and it falls out in a match on first contact.
Ethernet cable
If the RIO to radio ethernet cable is missing the clip that locks the connector in, get another cable.
This is a common problem that will happen several times in every competition. Make sure that
your cables are secure. The clip often breaks off, especially when pulling it through a tight path, it
snags on something then breaks.
Cable slack
Cables must be tightened down, particularly the radio power and ethernet cable. The radio power
cables don’t have a lot of friction force and will fall out (even if it is the correct barrel) if the weight
of the cable-slack is allowed to swing freely.
Ethernet cable is also pretty heavy, if it’s allowed to swing freely, the plastic clip may not be enough
to hold the ethernet pin connectors in circuit.
Reproducing problems in the pit
Beyond the normal shaking and rattling of all cables while the robot is power and tethered, you
might try picking up one side of the robot off the ground and drop it, and see if you lose
connection. The driving on the field, especially when trying to breach defenses will often be very
violent. It's better to see it fail in the pit rather than in a critical match.
When doing this test it’s important to be ethernet tethered and not USB tethered, otherwise you
are not testing all of the critical paths.
Check firmware and versions
Robot inspectors do this, but you should do it as well, it helps robot inspectors out and they
appreciate it. And it guarantees that you are running with the most recent, bug fixed code. You
wouldn't want to lose a match because of an out of date piece of control system software on your
robot.
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Driver station checks
We often see problems with the Drivers Station. You should:
• ALWAYS bring the laptop power cable to the field, it doesn’t matter how good the battery is,
you are allowed to plug in at the field.
• Check the power and sleep settings, turn off sleep and hybernate, screen savers, etc.
• Turn off power management for USB devices (dev manager)
• Turn off power management for ethernet ports (dev manager)
• Turn off windows defender
• Turn off firewall
• Close all apps except for DS/Dashboard when out on the field.
• Verify that there is nothing unnecessary running in the application tray in the start menu
(bottom right side)
Handy tools
There never seems to be enough light inside robots, at least not enough to scrutinize the critical
connection points, so consider using a handheld LED flashlight to inspect the connections on your
robot. They're available from home depot or any hardware/automotive store.
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Wago tool is nice to for redoing weidmuller connections with stranded wires. Often I’ll do one to
show the team, and then have them do the rest using the WAGO tool to press down the whiteplunger while they insert the stranded wire. The angle of the WAGO tool makes this particularly
helpful.
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RoboRIO
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RoboRIO Webdashboard
The roboRIO web dashboard is a webpage built into the roboRIO that can be used for checking
status and updating settings of the roboRIO.
Note: Google Chrome is removing support for the Silverlight plugin. You will need to use a
different browser such as Internet Explorer to access the roboRIO webdashboard.
Note: The mDNS address of the roboRIO has changed for 2016. Please pay close attention to the
address when accessing the roboRIO webdashboard.
Opening the WebDash
To open the myRIO web dashboard, open a web browser and enter the address of the roboRIO
into the address bar (172.22.11.2 for USB, or "roboRIO-####-FRC.local where #### is your team
number, with no leading zeroes, for either interface). See this document for more details about
mDNS and roboRIO networking: RoboRIO Networking
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Home Tab
The home tab of the web dashboard has 5 main sections:
1. Navigation Bar - This section allows you to navigate to different sections of the web
dashboard. The different pages accessible through this navigation bar are discussed
below.
2. Device listing - This section lists out the roboRIO devices. The primary use of this section
is for selecting and configuring CAN devices as shown on this page: Updating and
Configuring Pneumatics Control Module and Power Distribution Panel
3. System Settings - This section contains information about the System Settings. The
Hostname field should not be modified manually use the roboRIO Imaging tool to set
the Hostname based on your team number. This section contains information such as
the device IP, firmware version and image version.
4. Startup Settings - This section contains Startup settings for the roboRIO. These are
described in the sub-step below
5. System Resources - This section provides a snapshot of system resources such as
memory and CPU load.
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Startup Settings
• Force Safe Mode - Forces the controller into Safe Mode. This can be used with
troubleshooting imaging issues, but it is recommended to use the Reset button on the
roboRIO to put the device into Safe Mode instead (with power already applied, hold the rest
button for 5 seconds). Default is unchecked.
• Enable Console Out - This enables the on-board RS232 port to be used as a Console output.
It is recommended to leave this enabled unless you are using this port to talk to a serial
device (note that this port uses RS232 levels and and should not be connected to many
microcontrollers which use TTL levels). Default is checked.
• Disable RT Startup App - Checking this box disables code from running at startup. This may
be used for troubleshooting if you find the roboRIO is unresponsive to new program
download. Default is unchecked
• Disable FPGA Startup App - This box should not be checked.
• Enable Secure Shell Server (sshd) - It is recommended to leave this box checked. This
setting enables SSH which is a way to remotely access a console on the roboRIO.
Unchecking this box will prevent C++ and Java teams from loading code onto the roboRIO
using the Eclipse plugins.
• LabVIEW Project Access - It is recommended to leave this box checked. This setting allows
LabVIEW projects to access the roboRIO.
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Remote File Browser
Using the Remote File Browser requires setting a password for the admin account, which is not
recommended (it will break C++ and Java program download/execution). Use FTP instead.
Network Configuration
This page shows the configuration of the roboRIO's network adapters. It is not recommended to
change any settings on this page. For more information on roboRIO networking see this article:
RoboRIO Networking
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Software Management
This tab shows the NI software installed on the roboRIO. It is not recommended to make any
changes on this page.
Time Configuration
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The roboRIO has no battery backup so time configuration is lost each time the device boots. It is
not recommended to make any changes on this page.
Web Services Managaement
This section shows the Web Services running on the roboRIO. It is not recommended to make any
changes on this page.
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Web Server Configuration
This page shows the configuration of the roboRIO webserver. It is not recommended to make any
changes on this page.
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Installed Configuration Tools
This page shows the configuration tools installed and enabled on the roboRIO. It is not
recommended to make any changes on this page.
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RoboRIO FTP
The roboRIO has both SFTP and anonymous FTP enabled. This article describes how to use each to
access the roboRIO file system.
SFTP
SFTP is the recommended way to access the roboRIO file system. Because you will be using the
same account that your program will run under, files copied over should always have permissions
compatible with your code.
Software
There are a number of freely available programs for SFTP. This article will discuss using FileZilla.
You can either download and install FileZilla before proceeding or extrapolate the directions below
to your SFTP client of choice.
Connecting to the roboRIO
To connect to your roboRIO:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Enter the mDNS name (roboRIO-TEAM.local) in the "Host" box
Enter "lvuser" in the Username box (this is the account your program runs under)
Leave the Password box blank
Enter "22" in the port box (the SFTP default port)
Click Quickconnect
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Browsing the roboRIO filesystem
After connecting to the roboRIO, Filezilla will open to the \home\lvuser directory. The right pane is
the remote system (the roboRIO), the left pane is the local system (your computer). The top section
of each pane shows you the hierarchy to the current directory you are browsing, the bottom pane
shows contents of the directory. To transfer files, simply click and drag from one side to the other.
To create directories on the roboRIO, right click and select "Create Directory".
FTP
The roboRIO also has anonymous FTP enabled. It is recommended to use SFTP as described
above, but depending on what you need FTP may work in a pinch with no additional software
required. To FTP to the roboRIO, open a Windows Explorer window (on Windows 7, you can click
Start->My Computer). In the address bar, type ftp://roboRIO-TEAM.local and press enter. You can
now browse the roboRIO file system just like you would browse files on your computer.
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RoboRIO User Accounts and SSH
Note: This document contains advanced topics not required for typical FRC programming
The roboRIO image contains a number of accounts, this article will highlight the two used for
FRC and provide some detail about their purpose. It will also describe how to connect to the
roboRIO over SSH.
RoboRIO User Accounts
The roboRIO image contains a number of user accounts, but there are two of primary interest for
FRC.
Admin
The "admin" account has root access to the system and can be used to manipulate OS files or
settings. Teams should take caution when using this account as it allows for the modification of
settings and files that may corrupt the operating system of the roboRIO. The credentials for this
account are:
Username: admin
Password:
Note: The password is intentionally blank.
Lvuser
The "lvuser" account is the account used to run user code for all three languages. The credentials
for this account should not be changed. Teams may wish to use this account (via ssh or sftp) when
working with the roboRIO to ensure that any files or settings changes are being made on the same
account as their code will run under.
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SSH
SSH (Secure SHell) is a protocol used for secure data communication. When broadly referred to
regarding a Linux system (such as the one running on the roboRIO) it generally refers to accessing
the command line console using the SSH protocol. This can be used to execute commands on the
remote system. A free client which can be used for SSH is PuTTY:
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
Open Putty
Open Putty (clicking OK at any security prompt). Then set the following settings:
1. Host Name: roboRIO-TEAM.local (where TEAM is your team number)
2. Connection Type: SSH
Other settings can be left at defaults. Click Open to open the connection. If you see a prompt
about SSH keys, click OK.
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Log in
When you see the prompt, enter the desired username (see above for description) then press
enter. At the password prompt press enter (password for both accounts is blank).
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RoboRIO Brownout and Understanding Current
Draw
In order to help maintain battery voltage to preserve itself and other control system components
such as the radio during high current draw events, the roboRIO contains a staged brownout
protection scheme. This article describes this scheme, provides information about proactively
planning for system current draw, and describes how to use the new functionality of the PDP as
well as the DS Log File Viewer to understand brownout events if they do happen on your robot.
roboRIO Brownout Protection
The roboRIO uses a staged brownout protection scheme to attempt to preserve the input voltage
to itself and other control system components in order to prevent device resets in the event of
large current draws pulling the battery voltage dangerously low.
Stage 1 - Output Disable
Voltage Trigger - 6.8V
When the voltage drops below 6.8V, the controller will enter the brownout protection state. The
following indicators will show that this condition has occurred:
•
•
•
•
•
Power LED on the roboRIO will turn Amber
Background of the voltage display on the Driver Station will turn red
Mode display on the Driver Station will change to Voltage Brownout
The CAN\Power tab of the DS will increment the 12V fault counter by 1.
The DS will record a brownout event in the DS log.
The controller will take the following steps to attempt to preserve the battery voltage:
• PWM outputs will be disabled. For PWM outputs which have set their neutral value (all
speed controllers in WPILib) a single neutral pulse will be sent before the output is disabled.
• 6V User Rail disabled (this is the rail that powers servos on the PWM header bank)
• GPIO configured as outputs go to High-Z
• Relay Outputs are disabled (driven low)
• CAN-based motor controllers are sent an explicit disable command
The controller will remain in this state until the voltage rises to greater than 7.5V or drops below
the trigger for the next stage of the brownout
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Stage 2 - User Voltage Rail Disable
Voltage Trigger - 6.3V
When the voltage drops below 6.3V, the User Voltage Rails are disabled. This includes the 5V pins
(or 3.3V is the jumper has been set) in the DIO connector bank, the 5V pins in the Analog bank, the
3.3V pins in the SPI and I2C bank and the 5V and 3.3V pins in the MXP bank.
The controller will remain in this state until the voltage rises above 6.3V (return to Stage 2) or
drops below the trigger for the next stage of the brownout
Stage 3 - Device Blackout
Voltage Trigger - 4.5V
Below 4.5V the device may blackout. The exact voltage may be lower than this and depends on the
load on the device.
The controller will remain in this state until the voltage rises above 4.65V when the device will
begin the normal boot sequence.
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Avoiding Brownout - Proactive Current Draw planning
The key to avoiding a brownout condition is to proactively plan for the current draw of your robot.
The best way to do this is to create some form of power budget. This can be a complex document
that attempts to quantify both estimated current draw and time in an effort to most completely
understand power usage and therefore battery state at the end of a match, or it can be a simple
inventory of current usage. To do this:
1. Establish the max "sustained" current draw (with sustained being loosely defined here
as not momentary). This is probably the most difficult part of creating the power budget.
The exact current draw a battery can sustain while maintaining a voltage of 7+ volts is
dependent on a variety of factors such as battery health and state of charge. As shown
in the NP18-12 data sheet, the terminal voltage chart gets very steep as state of charge
decreases, especially as current draw increases. This datasheet shows that at 3CA
continuous load (54A) a brand new battery can be continuously run for over 6 minutes
while maintaining a terminal voltage of over 7V. As shown in the image above (used
with permission from Team 234's Drive System Testing document), even with a fresh
battery, drawing 240A for more than a second or two is likely to cause an issue. This
gives us some bounds on setting our sustained current draw. For the purposes of this
exercise, we'll set our limit at 180A.
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2. List out the different functions of your robot such as drivetrain, manipulator, main game
mechanism, etc.
3. Start assigning your available current to these functions. You will likely find that you run
out pretty quickly. Many teams gear their drivetrain to have enough torque to slip their
wheels at 40-50A of current draw per motor. If we have 4 motors on the drivetrain, that
eats up most, or even exceeds, our power budget! This means that we may need to put
together a few scenarios and understand what functions can (and need to be) be used
at the same time. In many cases, this will mean that you really need to limit the current
draw of the other functions if/while your robot is maxing out the drivetrain (such as
trying to push something). Benchmarking the "driving" current requirements of a
drivetrain for some of these alternative scenarios is a little more complex, as it depends
on many factors such as number of motors, robot weight, gearing, and efficiency.
Current numbers for other functions can be done by calculating the power required to
complete the function and estimating efficiency (if the mechanism has not been
designed) or by determining the torque load on the motor and using the torque-current
curve to determine the current draw of the motos.
4. If you have determined mutually exclusive functions in your analysis, consider enforcing
the exclusion in software. You may also use the current monitoring of the PDP (covered
in more detail below) in your robot program to provide output limits or exclusions
dynamically (such as don't run a mechanism motor when the drivetrain current is over X
or only let the motor run up to half output when the drivetrain current is over Y).
Measuring Current Draw using the PDP
The FRC Driver Station works in conjunction with the roboRIO and PDP to extract logged data from
the PDP and log it on your DS PC. A viewer for this data is still under development.
In the meantime, teams can use their robot code and manual logging, a LabVIEW front panel or
the SmartDashboard to visualize current draw on their robot as mechanisms are developed. In
LabVIEW, you can read the current on a PDP channel using the PDP Channel Current VI found on
the Power pallete. For C++ and Java teams, use the PowerDistributionPanel class as described in
the Power Distribution Panel article. Plotting this information over time (easiest with a LV Front
Panel or with the SmartDashboard by using a Graph indicator can provide information to compare
against and update your power budget or can locate mechanisms which do not seem to be
performing as expected (due to incorrect load calculation, incorrect efficiency assumptions, or
mechanism issues such as binding).
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Identifying Brownouts
The easiest way to identify a brownout is by clicking on the CAN\Power tab of the DS and checking
the 12V fault count. Alternately, you can review the Driver Station Log after the fact using the
Driver Station Log Viewer. The log will identify brownouts with a bright orange line, such as in the
image above (note that these brownouts were induced with a benchtop supply and may not reflect
the duration and behavior of brownouts on a typical FRC robot).
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