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Unread 05-10-2012, 12:46 AM
steinerc steinerc is offline
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Beginner's Kit

We're starting a new FRC team and want to buy a kit to build a practice bot that will behave much like the competition version. Any suggestions?
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Unread 05-10-2012, 01:23 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Welcome! One of these bases should get you started. You can use a VEX cortex to control it now, or wait until you are a registered team and use your credit to purchase an additional cRIO.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 01:23 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

You can get your hands on a Kit of Parts chassis(C-Base or kitbot) fairly easily.

(1) Some teams opt not to use the kitbot, so those materials often go unused. You might be able to contact a local area veteran and see if they're willing to lend you the materials. Chances are pretty good you'll find someone willing to not only lend you materials, but also help out with the build/programming.

(2) If you're set on purchasing your own parts, then AndyMark.com usually sells your run of the mill FIRST products. You can find their various drive bases here.

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Unread 05-10-2012, 01:33 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttldomination View Post
(1) Some teams opt not to use the kitbot, so those materials often go unused. You might be able to contact a local area veteran and see if they're willing to lend you the materials. Chances are pretty good you'll find someone willing to not only lend you materials, but also help out with the build/programming.
+1 to this. A quick search shows teams 1510 and 2898 as being in your immediate area. Get in touch with them, and I'm sure they'd be glad to help.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 07:59 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by steinerc View Post
Any suggestions?
This. The Kitbot on Steroids, as provided by Simbotics 1114, is one of the best possible drivetrains to be created from the KOP. It comes with complete instructions, a Bill of Materials, and even a CAD model for you to add your own creations to.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 08:28 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Are you stepping up to include FRC as a competition in addtion to others: VRC, FTC, etc?

If you have a cortex and students familiar with its use by all means use that to jump start controls without buying a CRIO. The power distribution hardware will still be a necessary purchase but having spares is never a bad thing.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 09:15 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

We get this question a lot here at AM. I usually try to start out by explaining how to get in contact with surrounding teams to see if they have leftover parts. Past that I suggest this kit to start with since it is the most similar to this past year's kit of parts.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 09:27 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brant Bowen View Post
We get this question a lot here at AM. I usually try to start out by explaining how to get in contact with surrounding teams to see if they have leftover parts. Past that I suggest this kit to start with since it is the most similar to this past year's kit of parts.
I think Brant intended to link here. Note that the cRIO is not included.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 10:01 AM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Has anybody had luck with this? If it works, that seems like the cheapest option for bridging the gap between a practice bot and getting the first cRio with the rookie kit of parts.

When our team tried to control an offseason bot with an Arduino last year, we had issues getting Jaguars to work. Our programmers told me that the existing libraries weren't working for us.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 12:38 PM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

I started a new team this year and purchased the NI ROCK with CIMple box with C-Base Chassis, 6" FIRST wheels (am-0951) ( http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-0951.htm) and it was one of the smartest things that I did. It meant that the kickoff was not quite so overwhelming for the team. They were familiar with the parts and knew how they went together. It also meant that we had the programmers up and running with a prototype the first day because all we had to do was drop in the C-Rio which we wouldn't need until later in the build process. We also had spare parts available as we built the competition robot. Our poor little prototype bot was denuded as the season went on.

In addition to the kit, get parts that allow you to attach "stuff" to motors shafts or axles for prototyping. I am still kicking myself that I didn't have hubs like these http://www.andymark.com/Hubs-s/215.htm on hand to attach wheels to axles for our shooter prototype. I had forgotten how much we used them on my old team and we wasted time waiting for parts.

My other piece of advice is to put as much effort into the Rookie All Star award as you do the robot. Getting that award is much more "controllable" than winning with the robot. There isn't as much luck involved. If the robot breaks down or you get unfortunate alliances, then you are done for the season. However, if you have the team work hard on the All Star stuff early in the year(fall), you have developed a team that understands what FIRST is about and you have started them on the outreach mission that is the focus of FIRST. If you win Rookie All Star, you are qualified to go to the World Championships where the team can see what they are aspiring to. This also helps to make the team more sustainable because the blunt truth is that sponsors like winners. If you can establish that early, it will make fundraising easier the next year. And kids want to be on a winning team. If the rest of the school sees that you have won and gotten to go to World Championships, it will be easier to recruit members the next year.

And when I say there is luck involved in winning with the robot, I do not mean that it is only luck, but Murphy hits the best of us. An good robot lucky enough to be paired with good alliances all day will get picked over a robot that is just as good but had been unlucky enough to be in weak alliances. Most teams do not have a scouting system that is sophisticated enough to select the overlooked "diamond in the rough" and only look at the rankings. Even one of the Championship winners,Bomb Squad, was having problems all day and was ranked 27th. They were not showing as well as they had at their previous regionals. (We played them in KC and thought they were awesome). They were fortunate that SPAM was sophisticated enough to see past that,and that doesn't always happen at local regionals.

So I like to have as much effort put into the awards that are more "controllable." Either we put enough effort in, or we didn't. And I make sure that all the awards are respected as much as the finalist award. Winning with the robot is the cherry on top, but may be a rare occurrence.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 04:47 PM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Our team is in Seattle and if you can't find anyone more local to help or if you are short a few parts we will be happy to help you out.
Please contact us and let us know how we can be of service.

Good luck
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Unread 05-10-2012, 06:17 PM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

Quote:
Has anybody had luck with this? If it works, that seems like the cheapest option for bridging the gap between a practice bot and getting the first cRio with the rookie kit of parts.

When our team tried to control an offseason bot with an Arduino last year, we had issues getting Jaguars to work. Our programmers told me that the existing libraries weren't working for us.
My biased opinion is that A RobotOpen Shield is a nice low-cost solution to get a robot up and running or to keep one running after the FRC season is complete. It isn't without limitations, but the price is right for the flexibility and open-source capabilities.
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Unread 05-12-2012, 06:37 PM
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Re: Beginner's Kit

If your not already in touch with the other beaverton teams I know they would be more then happy to help you with anything you need.

hur's sum links:

http://bpsrobotics.org/


http://www.oregonfirst.org/teams/findateam/
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