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Unread 09-14-2018, 10:53 AM
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Question Is The Victor SPX Viable?

I have been thinking a lot about motor controllers lately, (believe me I am completely crazy) and I remembered talking to some teams during the competition season about the Victor SPX. Many teams remarked that the new Victor failed to fill any niche. All of these teams stated the Talon SRX was really the only choice when it came to CAN controllers. This was because the Talon was affordable for all the features it came with. Personally if my team is using PWM protocol, we usually use SPARK controllers as they extremely affordable and easy to use (wiring and programming). I fail to see what the Victor SPX offers to teams that they can't get with the Talon SRX. What has been your guys' experience or what are the opinions about the Victor SPX?
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Unread 09-14-2018, 10:57 AM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

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Originally Posted by Taggerun View Post
I have been thinking a lot about motor controllers lately, (believe me I am completely crazy) and I remembered talking to some teams during the competition season about the Victor SPX. Many teams remarked that the new Victor failed to fill any niche. All of these teams stated the Talon SRX was really the only choice when it came to CAN controllers. This was because the Talon was affordable for all the features it came with. Personally if my team is using PWM protocol, we usually use SPARK controllers as they extremely affordable and easy to use (wiring and programming). I fail to see what the Victor SPX offers to teams that they can't get with the Talon SRX. What has been your guys' experience or what are the opinions about the Victor SPX?
Thanks,
Taggerun
Pros:
It is cheaper than the Talon SRX.
It weighs a touch less than the Talon SRX.
It is CAN based, like the Talon SRX.
It can be used with CTRE's CAN based sensors.
It can be used as a follower for the Talon SRX.

Cons:
It does not have a direct sensor input.
It hasn't been in FIRST Choice yet so the CAWst is not $0.

If we have a reason to use them in the future then we will.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 10:57 AM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

I think the biggest benefit of the Victor SPX is the price, and the ability to use it as a slave with a Talon. As a team with a limited amount of hardware available (we reuse Talons every year), it's great to be able to use a cheaper motor controller for the slave motors in a multi-motor gearbox, without having to dedicate an entire SRX to it.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 10:59 AM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

I don't believe there is any functionality that the Victor SPX offers over the Talon SRX. The main difference is that the Victor is $40 less than the Talon. If you don't need the full functionality of a Talon but still need a CAN bus controller, a Victor can save you quite a lot of money.

I know my team (88) used them to control the follower motors on our drive. We use 8x 775 drive, so that saved us $240 with no loss in functionality.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 11:23 AM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

The Victor SPX is absolutely a useful product and one that we will continue to use in coming seasons. This past season we used 4 Talon SRX's and 9 Victor SPX's. It's a marginally lighter, and much more cost effective solution when you don't need the "Smart" Capabilities of the Talon. As such, our Drive used 1 Talon per side, and 2 Victors in Slave mode. Our elevator had 1 Talon, and 3 Victor slaves. Our intake used 2 Victors. We experienced no issues on either competition or practice robots and will continue with this scheme going forward.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 11:53 AM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

They've been our go-to for slave motors for a couple of years now. We mostly use Talon SRs for other functions which do not provide closed loop control because we already own them; every new controller we've bought the last two years is CAN, either the SRX or SPX.

Yes, the Victor SPX is viable.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 12:10 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeTwo View Post
They've been our go-to for slave motors for a couple of years now. We mostly use Talon SRs for other functions which do not provide closed loop control because we already own them; every new controller we've bought the last two years is CAN, either the SRX or SPX.

Yes, the Victor SPX is viable.
Do you have a time machine? The SPX just came out before the 2018 season...
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Unread 09-14-2018, 12:10 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Do you have a time machine? The SPX just came out before the 2018 season...
How do we get a time machine? Do you have a time machine sponsor?
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Unread 09-14-2018, 12:11 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marshall View Post
Pros:
It is cheaper than the Talon SRX.
It weighs a touch less than the Talon SRX.
It is CAN based, like the Talon SRX.
It can be used with CTRE's CAN based sensors.
It can be used as a follower for the Talon SRX.

Cons:
It does not have a direct sensor input.
It hasn't been in FIRST Choice yet so the CAWst is not $0.
I would add one more con: "it is not the dirt-cheapest motor controller available". Whether that's valuable to a team will vary, but it is there.

That said, to OP's question: SPX is 100% viable and Marshall's assessment is right on target.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 12:17 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

The Victor SPX was never meant to be a Talon clone. The 'niche(s)' it fills are:
  • Give teams a low cost entry to CAN motor controller
  • Allow teams currently using PWM motor controllers to make the jump from PWM to CAN (and back) without taking on a significant financial risk
  • Give current Talon SRX users cheaper, smaller, lighter weight option for non-smart mechanisms like intakes

As Tyler and others have mentioned, the master/slave mode on the Victor SPX and Talon SRX allows teams to save additional money. Why use a 6x Talons at $90/ea on your drivetrain when only one is handling any kind of sensor input? Instead, you could use 2x Talons and 4x Victors and save $160.

Using Tyler's 2018 robot as an example, prior to the Victor SPX he would have spent $1080 on motor controllers to make his 2018 robot. However, thanks to the Victor SPX he only had to spend $720. That's a savings of $360! Plus we're not even talking about the 0.81 lbs he shaved off his robot weight.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 12:26 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Jack View Post
The Victor SPX was never meant to be a Talon clone. The 'niche(s)' it fills are:
  • Give teams a low cost entry to CAN motor controller
  • Allow teams currently using PWM motor controllers to make the jump from PWM to CAN (and back) without taking on a significant financial risk
  • Give current Talon SRX users cheaper, smaller, lighter weight option for non-smart mechanisms like intakes

As Tyler and others have mentioned, the master/slave mode on the Victor SPX and Talon SRX allows teams to save additional money. Why use a 6x Talons at $90/ea on your drivetrain when only one is handling any kind of sensor input? Instead, you could use 2x Talons and 4x Victors and save $160.

Using Tyler's 2018 robot as an example, prior to the Victor SPX he would have spent $1080 on motor controllers to make his 2018 robot. However, thanks to the Victor SPX he only had to spend $720. That's a savings of $360! Plus we're not even talking about the 0.81 lbs he shaved off his robot weight.
Unless you're looking at CAWST in which case the SPX is in fact an increase. I am assuming this will be corrected for 2019 because it's a bonkers FIRSTism.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 02:14 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

The SPX is viable, but only if you already have SRX controllers, IMO. Currently, the only "advantage" an SPX has over a SPARK by itself is that you get to use the shiny new CAN bus. As others have said, using it to follow an SRX is a way to save some money instead of using all SRX controllers.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 02:28 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

My only gripe with the Victor SPX is the apparent lack of current monitoring functionality. Though I understand this is likely a factor in the cost difference between the Victor and Talon, it's still a bit frustrating.

Beyond that, I like the weight benefits and ease of implementing into Master/Slave configurations with Talons. Being able to keep everything standardized to CAN without having to buy all Talons is nice, especially for motors that don't require sensor feedback.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 02:38 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

We ran 4 on our bot this year, all as slaves to Talons or on mechanisms that didn't need direct sensors (i.e. intake rollers) Costs savings is the obvious advantage.

We didn't run them on our drive only due to not being super certain about how well the plastic casing would hold up in a drive train application. However, I do not see any reason not to run them in the future.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 02:46 PM
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Re: Is The Victor SPX Viable?

We used them last year for all our motor applications that did not require encoder input. This is because we could wire and program them basically the same as the SRXs, but could save like $200-300 with no real loss of functionality. If we had used sparks or SRs, we would have had both CAN and PWM wiring and programming, using the SPX just let everything be the same.
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