Broken Ethernet connection on Classmate

At some point we broke the ethernet female plug on our Classmate. The connectivity works well, just that a male ethernet plug is not solidly held into it. Any movement of the Classmate during use and the connection is lost, meaning we also lose connection to the robot.

Are there any specific rules preventing us from epoxying a pigtail connection into the ethernet port? Is there a warranty for the Classmate? Has this been an issue for other teams?

The thing that kills me is we had the exact same thing happen to last years blue box DS, which was a known issue with that model.

  • Tom

The plug in our classmate seems to be loose as well. We just used 2 rubber bands to hold the plug into the port.

Take 2 rubber bands and fit them around just the base of the classmate. Then when you plug an ethernet cable into the port use those rubberbands and put them over the plastic clip of the ethernet cable to hold it in place. Cross over the rubber bands a little to make sure they do not slip off the plug.

I’m not sure how you could have broken an ethernet jack like that. Most of the time, such problems are due to the plug, not the socket.

Is there a warranty for the Classmate?

From the http://www.usfirst.org/frccontrolsystem web page:

Hardware
CTL for Classmate hardware help - Submit a ticket online. Please remember to include the Serial # or Asset Tag # of your Classmate PC, your contact info, and a shipping address if a repair is needed. We also recommend that you add "[email protected]" to a white-list if you have a spam blocker installed.

We also broke the clip which holds the eithernet cable into our Classmate within 4 hours of recieving it. It seems like it was made out of a really cheap plastic which was strained when an ethernet cable with the rubber covering ( something like - http://apcmag.com/images/apc/news/denon-ethernet-cable.jpg) was forced in. We put a male-female connecter which was permantly attached to the classmate.

The rule you want is:

<R84> During competition MATCHES, the ARENA Ethernet cable must connect directly to the Ethernet port on the Classmate PC (making a direct connection via a “pigtail” cable is permitted). Only the Classmate PC may connect to the competition cable – no direct connection of team-provided portable computers, PDAs, or alternate devices is permitted.

(emphasis mine)

So according to the rules, using such a pigtail connector is allowed. As you’ll hopefully be using the classmate for many years of competition, i would be cautious about making any bond too permanent - the rules may change in future years without warning, making the pigtail connector no longer legal, and you don’t want to deal with a massive headache if that happens.

We had a similar issue occur last Saturday at the DC regional. We took 2 zip ties and it seemed to work, but we also were fortunate to recieve a loaner classmate that we used for the remainder of the Competition.

Our problem was that there was a little plastic tab that was supposed to hold the Ethernet cable in the jack, but it mysteriously disappeared. I’m worried that this will be like last year, and a whole lot of Classmates will stop working…