Saturday, October 28, 2017

Beta Testing!

Hi Team!

FIRST has made public the list of teams doing the Beta Program, and plotted them on a map.  We are one of only two teams west of Texas, in the LabVIEW Beta.  There are four other teams in California in the program, and all of them are doing C++.  Almost all of the beta teams are in the US.  The only team in Europe, Africa, or Asia, is in Israel, and they are using LabVIEW.  There is one team in Australia, and they are using C++. In the picture, LabVIEW is blue, C++ is red, and Java is yellow.

This link will take you to see the map, and you can click on the tabs to find a table listing of the teams.

We are now publicly listed as a Beta team, so go ahead and shout it out to the world! 

As it says in the FRC Blog (which can be found at this link):

Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller
The new brushless motor/controller combo that a small number of Beta teams will be testing is the Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller. This small 12V DC Brushless motor/controller will be legal for the 2018 FIRST POWER UP Season, and will be available in FIRST Choice with additional units being sold by AndyMark.
We feel that this low power, integrated motor/controller combo is a great way to introduce brushless technology to FRC and are excited to have Nidec working to bring it to teams this season. Nidec has been working with FIRST to provide a custom cable harness with the motor to make the connection between the controller and the roboRIO as simple for teams as possible. We can’t wait to see what teams will do with this new technology this season!
Note: Teams will need the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition software to control this motor correctly, so you will have to wait until Kickoff (and pay close attention to the documentation!) to start playing around with it. Until then, check out the datasheet here for more details about the electrical and mechanical specs.
Note 2: Are you unsure about brushless motors? No problem! Since its inception, FIRST Robotics Competition has allowed only brushed motors. However, brushless motors are widely used in many industries! For more information about the difference between the two, check out this link.
Which is really cool and exciting!  This is the first time a brushless motor has been used in FRC and we are hoping to be one of the Beta teams to test that technology.  While we are waiting to find out if we are, click the links and brush up (hahahahahah) on the technology, because this is a very real option for our 2018 robot and we want to be able to have informed discussions when discussing motor choices in design meetings.
Today is the Quarter Auction fundraiser for our Junior Robotics program. I hope to see some of you there!
-- Len

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No Off-Site This Week

Hi Team!

Sorry for the late notice, but we won’t be holding the Thursday offsite meeting this week.  Please spread the word to others, as not everyone is plugged in to their e-mail.

That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do.  I hope that you have been able to poke at 2018 FRC LabVIEW to get more familiar with it.  As I mentioned before, you can learn how to use it better by re-doing some of the programs from the programming challenges.

One of the problems we had with the beta software was missing VI’s for the Talons and the NavX.  CTRE has released a new version of their installer package (v. that should install the VI’s in the correct place.  There may still be issues due to renaming, but at least the VI’s should now be findable.  Kaui Labs has not released a version of their software through the beta program, so their VI’s will have to be installed from their publicly available package.

Other helpful links:

Sourctree for handling our git repository

All of our code repositories.  E-mail me if you are ready for commit privileges on the server.

And lastly, please remember that the team’s Quarter Auction fund raiser is this weekend.  Mrs. E. has some exciting news that she has to tell all of you about in person.

— Len