Alternative to NI's FRC driver station?

Since it’s open-source, it looks like you could get around that by commenting out the block starting on line 30 in and building it yourself:
Do not do this, at the moment E-stop is broken on Windows.

But based on the fact that it’s intentional and appears to have been done at the request of you, a WPILib developer, I assume there’s a very good reason for it.

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Wait how do I install it on its own? I used the NI installer and it installed labview and I can’t uninstall labview without uninstalling the driverstation.

Why is it disabled on windows?

This is my battery usage from earlier today after using it for about 2 hours.

and somehow, IDLE, driverstation is using more CPU than chrome
This is without even being connected to a robot.

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I don’t know exactly how Windows computes “battery usage”, but considering all the stuff the driver station has to do in the background (polling for USB HID, trying to find a robot with IPv4, IPv6, zeroconf…), I don’t think you could write a program that does all the same stuff with significantly less CPU usage. Also, Chrome is using few cycles when idle, which is what you want with a browser. On my computer, the Chrome CPU usage spikes up to 12% for a few seconds when I just open a new blank tab. FWIW, my install of Win10 thinks that the driver station’s power usage is “low”, but I don’t know how that’s calculated either.

Please don’t do that. For safety reasons. Global keyboard shortcuts for Estop and disable will not work, making this workaround very unsafe.

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Theres actually not a whole ton of difference between not being connected to a robot and being connected to a robot. Its all just done over UDP, and because of how the DS protocol works it is just sending the normal packets at the normal rate, and then using if a reply was received to detect if a robot is connected or not. At the same time, it keeps attempting a TCP connection to what should be the FMS, to know if there is an FMS connected. So the difference between connected and disconnected isn’t much. And as said above me, theres actually a lot of work being done to make everything work and be responsive on the field. Holding a 20ms timer requires turning up the windows timer resolution, which will increase battery usage. A web page doesn’t actually have to do anything when idle, unlike when the DS is idle, where it still has to do work.

As for installation, you don’t need the full labview install to install the DS. The FRC Game Tools package includes the runtime and everything needed to install the full DS. Now if you have installed full LabVIEW, is probably not super easy to remove it, rather then just removing it all, and then just installing the game tools by itself.


This is actually due to developer not wanting their application to be even have the chance of mistakeingly being used in a competition setting. There is also safety features that straight up don’t work on Windows (spacebar e-stop).

Please don’t work around it. Use the NI driver station and just deal with it or get a better machine… Or change OSes if you care that much.


Why leave the DriverStation up for 2 hours? I just close it whenever done with it (you will have less problems too!).

This covers it, see Windows global keybinds by TheTripleV · Pull Request #13 · Redrield/Conductor · GitHub for more details


Well, I was working on robot code for 2 hours

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Given that cross-platform DS has been coming up a lot lately, any chance it will get official attention?

Judging by what I’ve seen, I’d say it has received official attention. But nobody official wants to pour paid time and effort into it.

I think that’s a fair position for NI. After all, they have other priorities too, and what would everyone actually gain from such effort?

I see a benefit for low resource teams inheriting old hardware. WIndows is expensive. When I was working with 5499 we would have totally used Linux if we could. Instead we ended up acquiring Windows through less-than-official means.


How else do you expect me to fulfill my dreams of controlling robots with Fruit?

Hate to break it to you, but the Makey Makey is already a thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team has already used it :stuck_out_tongue:

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You mean to tell me this could have been a reality for the longest time now!?!?!?

I would highly recommended to have an official drive station that is completely free of anything unrelated to DS. You can buy a used i5 (intel g4 or later) class Windows machine with a $30 SSD upgrade and 8G of RAM for under 200. Battery not having a good life shouldn’t matter since you have a power plug at competition. I would always keep Windows up to date on this machine (check the Wed before competition for any updates. you do not want a reboot waiting after an update since often times, the network stack gets all weird until you perform the reboot).

We have a standard machine that I keeps out of reach of any student and we have a backup DS which is typically the lead student developer’s machine. [All of our laptops are leftover donated from a sponsor that are all about 10+ years old. A little maintenance now and then and some new SSDs usually will keep them running a few more years - other than batteries which again, not a critical part for us].


I just went scrolling back through our team’s Slack, and found this thread again: Can you have a banana on your operator console?


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