View Full Version : [FTC]: FMS in Atlanta. Good or Bad?

05-04-2009, 08:07 PM

I was wondering what the other teams in Atlanta thought of the way the FMS was run. Were there problems with the set up? Was the drive coach able to help the drivers? Were there any false starts? Was not allowing re-runs a good thing?

I know that Twisted Bots had problems in their last two matches with the FMS shutting down during the match. They have also had issues with the motor and servo controllers going into a 2 second run mode.


05-05-2009, 09:40 AM
We did not have any problems with running our laptop, however our partners in our last two matches had problems.

1st-Our alliance partner was using a school computer from their teacher. It took so long for the match to get started that the computer locked up as a security feature and the students did not have the pasword to unlock the computer. They couldn't run the FMS during the match and we got beat going up against 2 bots by ourselves.

2nd-Our alliance partner was running Lab-View at the same time they were running the FMS and it messed up their connection. Same result, lost another 2 vs. 1 match.

I think each team running their own FMS is a good setup. We never saw any false starts, but I think the above problems might not have happened if teams had been running their own FMS all season. Making the change right before World's left the door open for silly mistakes that could have easily been prevented with more practice and experience.

It was unfortunate that we lost our final two matches due to FMS problems with our alliance partners. We were 3 and 1 and ranked #14 befor the two losses. The studens handled it well and are all the more determined to do better next year. They are also comitted to doing a better job of supporting our alliance partners and other teams at the competition to avoid those types of mistakes.

05-05-2009, 10:31 AM
While it worked OK for us in Atlanta, there were a lot of struggles generally (one of our partner's failed during a round). I'd say that if we're stuck with this method of communicating to the bot, this seems like a simple enough method of accomplishing it. However, I'd really like to see either a different comm method entirely.

If we stick with this, how about adding a network piece? use one computer as a central "server" that starts and stops the pieces of each of the clients? That way the system could also keep track of the status of the connection, etc... Yes, it would probably be a PITA to write...

The coach didn't like being behind a table to start...

FTC2848 - Techno Guards
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Rick TYler
05-05-2009, 10:34 AM
How about replacing Bluetooth with Wi-Fi?

05-05-2009, 10:53 AM
We either need a different controller (although I do like the NXT) or we need an I2C bus based comm system for the remote controls. WiFi isn't in the controller, so would have to be external...

If we're going external, then it opens up a TON of options...

FTC2848 - Techno Guards

Abra Cadabra IV
05-05-2009, 05:41 PM
For one match, our laptop was out of battery so we opted to run our entire alliance on one laptop (as opposed to the field's FMS). Really, really, epically bad idea. Both robots lost connection right as autonomous started.

But apart from that, we didn't have many problems. I think that a lot of the problems that we did encounter are inherent in the control system and or field software, and it would be great to see them fixed before next season.

05-05-2009, 07:06 PM
I know our coach didn't like standing behind the table either, so maybe next year, if they decide to keep the team running their own FMS, they could add a "Robo Coach". This person's job would be to start the robot's autonomous and tele-op. That would free up the coach to rejoin the drivers.

05-05-2009, 11:05 PM
I am the coach for our team and I stood right behind our two drivers. I did not stand behind the table. (Was I supposed to?) I just hovered over the start button on the screen an had my finger on the laptop touchpad. When the ref's said "go" I pushed the button.

Of all the concerns we had with the FMS, standing behind the table was not one of them.