Beta Hardware Pictures

Hi all,
I Just received the hardware beta test materials today. I did the ceremonial take pictures while unboxing thing, and have produced this I decided to use flickr since I’m pretty sure there is an attachment limit on FIRST forums. I haven’t tested any of this yes but I will post results when I do.

Oliver – Team 3780

(This is a copy of what is posted on FIRST forums here)

What is that new part with the two 20A fuses? Almost seems like some sort of motor control or relay box.

I suspect those are going to be replacements for the spikes. They look to be alot smaller and alot lighter, in addition to being double. Those are going to be nice. It also looks like each side is double as well, so each side should control 2 outputs
if you look at the paper on one of the pictures it say new CRIO, new model of the Jaguars and i think the last one say new Relay module. if you can get a better picture would you.

The new module is indeed a relay module, with similar functionality to a Spike.

Is this meant to be another kick at IFI/VEX? Meaning, are there features on these modules that we didn’t have with Spikes? I’m always very nervous when FIRST looks to break away from tried and tested IFI products.

The functionality is exactly the same (you can be OFF, FWD, REV, or BOTH). But now you get two relays in roughly the same footprint as one Spike. When our package arrives, I will weigh both the new cRIO and new relay module and post the results.

I won’t speculate as to what this means as far as what will be legal for next season. Those decisions are made at a “higher pay grade” than beta test teams.

I will say that if there is going to be a change in what legacy hardware will be legal for 2012, I would hope that FIRST would have the wherewithall and courtesy to let teams know far, far in advance.

And if they don’t we are all in the same boat. We’ll adapt and deal with the challange. No need nashing teeth over the little stuff…

At a glance, I see three additional features. First, there are two complete Spike-equivalent relay pairs in each module. While we’ve never quite run out of 20 amp power distribution circuits, this would have helped us stay comfortable. Second, there is a distinct power indicator light, which is a welcome addition for making sure the electrical wiring is okay. Third, and most interesting to me, there is a specific power return connection along with the two relay-controlled outputs. That last one makes it much more convenient to wire pneumatic solenoids or custom light circuits or other things that can be run from one half of a Spike.

Using screw terminals instead of fast-on style connections is a difference that I expect some people would consider a feature as well.

One would think, or hope - at least, that Spikes will be legal for at least another year or three while the new relay module is being phased in, similar to how Victors are still legal (knock on wood) three seasons after the introduction of the Jaguar.

Also, is it just me, or does the new relay look like it’s going to be a bit pricey?

Agreed. We rarely use more than a single half of a spike on a comp robot. We also have like 20 spikes on hand, making them illegal would be an awful decision.

With this in mind, I wonder if FIRST would consider making it legal to connect a solenoid to the other half of the relay driving the compressor (currently illegal under R39D & R42 last year). A compressor and 3 solenoids would be sufficient for many team’s pneumatic needs. They could use one of these new relays and save weight on the digital out (solenoid) cRIO module. We will see in a year or so…

Hi all,
Sorry for the long response time, I thought that I had subscribed for email notification, so didn’t bother checking this.

I will post a new picture of the Relay tomorrow, it is known as the “David”, I am told that it essentially contains two spikes. They will not be used in 2012.

The screw terminals are interesting, they are convenient, however teams at River Rage had the screws vibrate loose. As I said these won’t be used for 2012 so they may switch to something like what we have on the PD.

Interestingly, the Jaguar has a new built in ramping feature that can be activated even with PWM, hopefully this will keep the Jaguars from shutting down due to over-current faults.


Can someone bust out a VOM and check the power supply to Crio chassis continuity on the new mini please?

The operating instructions for the cRIO 9075/6 (which the FRC cRIO II is based on has an interesting section that doesn’t exist for the old cRIO.

Connecting the Chassis to Earth Ground
You must connect the panhead screw at the end of the chassis to ground
using a shielded cable.

Interesting, I wonder if the power diagram for 2012 will tell teams to ground that screw. Joe, do you want to ask about it on first forge?

  • Oliver

That ground is required to pass CE emissions testing. It is not allowed on the robot (as far as I know). Official rules will be available in January.

That would be standard practice in a noisy industrial environment even though it might produce a ground loop to electrical grounds. However, I have several questions as to the status of power to case connections. I am guessing there has been no change but inquiring minds want to know.

This just in…
I have heard from one of my sources that the power connection to case is the same for the 4 slot as for the 8 slot Crio. I will predict that there will be no change in electrical rules. Both Crio types must be insulated from the robot frame.

Interesting stuff, and while we are on the note of different connections, although small it would be interesting to incorporate the DSC into boards mounted directly onto the cRIO modules.
It gets annoyin sometimes when trying to build a super small robot for tests to deal with the extra required space (same goes for such a large PD Board). actually my team uses only 1 part of the DSC and that is 7 PWM connectors.

Then for the intro to the Jaguars, they dont rly fit on small areas as well as the victors, I definately would either like the contuation of Victors or a new compact design.

Cool to see!

While it may seem that the PD is large, it’s size is in part due to the spacing of the WAGO terminals at each edge, the size and spacing of the breakers and the required width of the circuit board traces needed to supply a low loss (resistance) path for all current flowing through the PD.

true, I didnt think of any of that, I just thought about the “old school” control system and liked how the PWMs are on the controller and the power board is nice and compact.
Although I missed the hay day of those boards and have only actually used them so my team can have 2 bots running at once