In Rule Update 14 as a fix for the watchdog issues folks have been posting about all over CD,FIRST made the 2019.2.0 NI Update Suite update, 2019_v14 RIO image, and WPILib 2019.3.2 mandatory for teams to use. Of course, the complication is this. This update was released after bag.
According to some of the WPILib folks, this is the first mandatory post-kickoff update (as in beyond the update required for the season) since 2011, so it kinda is a big deal. Teams won’t pass inspection without this, and as such, teams not having it installed can severely slow down inspection and make the lives of the Control Systems Advisors significantly harder. The first time teams may get to update is at their first regional or during their unbag time in the district model.
The team I’m with has been running a program to help others with the control system to get them moving and well for two seasons now, and we’ve found teams often don’t know about these types of issues, which leads me to my point:
Please help other teams get their control systems updated and tested as soon as you possibly can. Get them updated, back moving, and ready for inspection the first time. Have laptops with the RIO tool ready to go from the get-go and the Update Suite on thumb drives.
We can all help one another help ourselves, as by helping everyone pass sooner and get moving quicker, that’s the lower odds a partner doesn’t show up due to control systems issues. If you and your team intend to do such a thing, please post your team number and early event name below so you can coordinate with other teams at the event!
I don’t recall the exact details, but there was a late update in 2015. At week-1 in Duluth that year, we had the CSA’s plus 3 inspectors dedicated to updating teams Thursday morning. It was painful then, and I expect this to be even more painful. I ordered a 10-pack of flash drives to help us get through all the teams at our double events (123 teams total!), and one of our local CSA’s is going to get me an ISO I can put on them as well as a 1-page instruction sheet so anyone can perform the updates, regardless of their knowledge/experience with it.
Since Israel has competitions in the middle of the week instead of on the weekends, we often get firmware/image/library updates right before or even in the middle of competition. It’ never been a problem with us. The CSAs have a few flash drives with copies of all of the most updated software installers. Inspectors are understanding, and refer them to the CSAs if they need help. No one doesn’t pass inspection because of wrong versions, it just takes a little bit longer.
That being said, if teams want to go around at events with similar flash drives to help take the load off the CSAs, go for it. I’d recommend getting the CSAs’ approval before you do this; they may say they’d rather do all of the updates themselves to avoid the possibility of passing along wrong information or damaging another team’s computer/robot.
Been using it every year it’s been released, so huge thanks to @JamieSinn for putting the tool together.
The only changes I prefer to make myself is to include a copy of the LabView key in a text file, and to unzip everything. The time required to copy everything off the drive unzipped may be a bit longer, but then you don’t have to deal with the awful windows unzip utility (side note, all teams should install 7zip!). For this reason, I don’t like to use the ISO builder.