Allowable Electronic Parts


Forgive me if this is already answered somewhere, but I am new (as a Mentor) to FRC (I’ve been coaching FLL for the past 6 years).

What is the exact rule on allowable custom electronic parts? I.e. Can we put in an additional CPU to process the Images from the CMU camera? (I am thinking of getting the team to hack a NSLUG or a OpenWRT Linksys box).

What is the specific rule regarding additional CPUs?

If that is not allowed, are we allowed FPGA’s?

I understand that we cannot modify the circuitry from the main CPU to the motors, so this would be just for additional sensor processing.

Paul C. Tan. P.Eng.

Check Section 8.3.6 Custom Circuit Rules in Section 8 of the manual.

As long as your custom circuit does not break any of the other rules. It would be allowed.

Yes additional CPUs are acceptable and used all the time for sensor input and control as long as they port data to the RC for direct control of the robot. There is specific rules relating to custom circuits in the rule book. If you are using one of the listed devices in your post, they must be accounted for in the cost and bill of materials list and are subject to the max cost of single item.

Thanks, Everyone for the great info. I’m still getting my head around all the FRC rules, so this certainly helped!

Paul C. Tan., P.Eng.

Would a VEX controller be legal?

Strictly for preprocessing sensors, of course. We’re thinking of using VEX ultrasonic sensors, and we think they would have real-time issues on the RC.

My team implemented 3 VEX ultrasonic sensors on our 2006 robot with no “real-time” issues.



I’d like to know if a VEX controller is a legal ‘escape path’ if we do have issues with input processing.

It should be as long as you don’t connect it to any Victors, Spikes, or servos directly and comply with all of the electrical rules pertaining to custom circuits. It fits nicely under the $200/part price limit.

I really couldn’t find anything about a different price limit for COTS electronic parts. Looks like this year everything is good as long as it’s under $400/part.
Am I just blind? :wink:

If teams don’t want to use Vex, the $249 EDU Mini Controller is a fine addition to this year’s robot!