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Unread 05-07-2006, 01:01 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukevanoort
I really don't see any major problem with the current PWM connectors, a little clip thingy like those RobotMarketplace doohickys could solve the problem on the RC end, and those RobotMarketplace doohickys could be used on the Victors. A little more reliability in the RC and better power connectors would be nice. Some metal linings on the mount holes would also be nice so you can Loctite them without destroying the piece. (Would be nice on Victors too, actually) As for the breaker block, two more 40A slots would be nice, and maybe a digital display that says the total current the robots pulling at the time. It would be perfect if it included current sensing on all the 40A slots, but that would be far to big/heavy and pricey. Maybe putting LEDs next to the slots that are popping breakers, or having another way to check for popped breakers.
You suggestions for the breaker panel are a good idea. The one time we had a mesterious breaker problem, we didn't have time to connect a serial cable up to see which breaker had tripped. Current monitoring would be invaluable in managing our power wisely. It could defiantely be done within the current size. The price would probably have to be raised though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Shaul
Sorry, I must have been unclear. I don't have a problem with the backup battery itself; it is absolutely necessary for brownouts.

The issue is that the battery is required for the servo power, a simple diode OR internal to the RC would allow the servos to run off of the main supply without the backup battery (granted without brownout protection). This protects against a failure mechanism where the battery is too low or missing, without loosing the functions of the servos (and camera). So, instead of loosing brownout protection AND servo function, you only loose brownout protection.
It would also prevent unnessary drain on the backup. Now what would be really cool is if they integrated something like that circuit they released that would actually charge the backup from the main batt.
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Unread 05-07-2006, 02:39 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Current monitoring, limiting and protection is best done at the ESC. To do this the Victors would have to get smart and the PWM method of control would have to go. Then that brings up the subject of interfacing the ESC with some kind of buss. Then there is the problem of what buss, the clock rate of the buss, latency and the master slave-protocol. RS232, RS485, CAN what ever and the async nature would greatly change the way we program the RC no matter what form or processors are in it. No matter what form the OI/RC takes in the future I hope a graphical programming environment is included as an option to program the RC. Our team was a minimalistic effort this year. Mostly rookies and we used EASY-C. Programming was not a worry and in fact the robot code was mostly written and debugged between matches on Thurs. and Fri. The quick programming and prototyping of easy c allowed us to get things worked out and working well for Sat. Made it to the finals at PHIL. With MPLAB we would have been marginal.

One last comment. The radio modems are expensive. I'll mention it again. Zigbee modules offer the opportunity to integrate the RF and master proc in the RC and could be the whole OI and they offer allot of bang for the buck.
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Unread 05-07-2006, 03:37 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavan
that would be AWESOME. but it would not require as much engineering and insight to how each pin in the Pinout of the DOS joysticks does and all of that stuff and you dont need to dig through the root of the problem and look it up.. all you have to do is plug and play and I'm against it because I Think that the teams that did all the reasearch for the Ps2 controllers and stuff wasted their times trying to help their teammates..

Pavan
We are the ones that spent all the time working on the PS2 controller, and we WOULD LOVE it if IFI supported different conrollers. The PS2 controller box we made has it's moments, and isn't perfect all the time. Yes - we use it 100% of the time, and it's awesome to drive, but the software is a pain. It would save people alot of time to just plug in a controller to the OI and spend time putting in gyros and gear tooth sensors (which we ignored in order to get the PS2 controller working.) We just tried something new, and would be happy if IFI made it better. (And it could be alot better...)
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Unread 05-07-2006, 08:52 PM
Rickertsen2 Rickertsen2 is offline
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdeaver
Current monitoring, limiting and protection is best done at the ESC. To do this the Victors would have to get smart and the PWM method of control would have to go. Then that brings up the subject of interfacing the ESC with some kind of buss. Then there is the problem of what buss, the clock rate of the buss, latency and the master slave-protocol. RS232, RS485, CAN what ever and the async nature would greatly change
They could just add an additional analog current sense pin to keep interoperability with traditional RC equipment. Personally i think that a bus would be great. If we could daisy chain the speed controllers, the wiring would be much more organized. Just think of running a single cable over to your victors. The Victors already have a PIC. I think a multidrop buss like CAN, i2C, or RS485 would be great. I would love to see smart victors. It might cut reliability, as a compamise of any one cable could down everything downstream, but a good connector/cable combination should cut this down altogether.
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Last edited by Rickertsen2 : 05-07-2006 at 08:58 PM.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 03:40 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

IFI is working on a new controller. They admitted as much when I inquired on future availability for a team just starting up and needing something to work with before the build season in 2007. A new model may be available as early as late in the Fall.

This of course does not mean the FIRST must use the new controller, only that there will be a model from IFI.

My speculation is that if they were doing radical changes, it would not be announced until Kickoff if it impacts the competition.

In case IFI is reading this forum for ideas to ensure ensure acceptance of their new design my top picks are:
1) Smaller footprint for the RC
2) More secure connectors than those on PWM cables
3) USB support on the OI
4) Support for Saitek or similarly adjustable (left or right handed) controllers
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Unread 05-17-2006, 04:39 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Shaul
We had that happen this year as well.
My team in the previous years and we continued this this year, we put strong velcro on the back of the backup battery and we dont have to worry about it all season.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 05:12 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob07
My team in the previous years and we continued this this year, we put strong velcro on the back of the backup battery and we dont have to worry about it all season.
At NATs, we were told we couldnt use velcro and had to remove it in favor of zip ties.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 05:27 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
PS - That dang waterproof Victor is proving more challenging than I originally thought, hopefully it'll be ready for 2008.
You heard it boys, no water game 2007! Whooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So we don't have to have another discussion...right?
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Unread 05-17-2006, 06:18 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
Ummm.... Nope.

The core IFI-system will be unchanged in 2007.
The only changes being made are to the radio-link. (We did testing of an early version of this system last year at IRI.)

Sorry folks, no holographic, bluetooth, ergonomic interfaces for 2007.

JV

PS - That dang waterproof Victor is proving more challenging than I originally thought, hopefully it'll be ready for 2008.
Curses! I was already honing my 3DSMax skils to design our holographic robot interface....

Seriously, though. I was bored and browsing the 32-bit PIC on Microchip's site and I was drooling over some of the features. More specifically, the compare output pins. 5 or 8 pins where you need just one timer and very little setup for the compare modules to happily spend thier time generating an endlessly repeating PWM pulsetrain. Just dump a new value into a compare register and the pulse width changes, no interrupts or function calls needed. Plus, you know, native 32-bit math.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:36 AM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob07
My team in the previous years and we continued this this year, we put strong velcro on the back of the backup battery and we dont have to worry about it all season.
We had velcro AND zip ties... its not like we didn't try! Thats partially why it was so disturbing and frustrating.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:36 AM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by KTorak
At NATs, we were told we couldnt use velcro and had to remove it in favor of zip ties.

That inspector needs their hard drive wiped and the common sense upgraded from version dingbat 1.0. This is a perfectly acceptable practice, and it has been done and approved for many years.

The only place on a robot that you can't use Velcro is for a traction device.

...sigh


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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:38 AM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
PS - That dang waterproof Victor is proving more challenging than I originally thought, hopefully it'll be ready for 2008.
John... you're the man. I know you can handle it. Think of it as "water cooled."
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Unread 05-18-2006, 12:39 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
The only changes being made are to the radio-link.
Hmm... this upgrade could potentially mean more radio channels than the 40 available now.

Maybe this is a sign that there will be more robots on the field at once, or more fields at the Championship, or both...??
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Unread 05-18-2006, 01:08 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Fairbank
Hmm... this upgrade could potentially mean more radio channels than the 40 available now.

Maybe this is a sign that there will be more robots on the field at once, or more fields at the Championship, or both...??
Or maybe just a more reliable radio system... I know my team and several others had problems with the radios at Great Lakes Regional this year, and there were also similar issues in 2005. Regardless of any other changes, I'm sure the new system will be more robust and reliable
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Unread 05-18-2006, 01:55 PM
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Re: IFI Control System (OI/RC) - The Future???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Waegelin
Or maybe just a more reliable radio system... I know my team and several others had problems with the radios at Great Lakes Regional this year, and there were also similar issues in 2005. Regardless of any other changes, I'm sure the new system will be more robust and reliable
No pressure on IFI eh Jeff?

I don't think we're going to see any major changes, however I would definitely like to see a few rollbacks. Maybe back to the original non-glitchtastic PIC with a memory module hanging off it?

Definitely want screw head power connectors again. I like the standardized PWM connectors too much to trade compatibility for comfort. Hot glue works fine for that.

I know I'm going against the grain here, but does anyone else feel like we need to make less changes, not more?
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