Changes to budget constraints for 2019 season

We’re in a similar boat. Turns out Jetsons are expensive when FIRST doesn’t include them in FIRST Choice.

Yay for a BOM though.


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This occurred to me this morning. I have a hard time believing that FIRSTs intent with these rules was to prevent the use of items like the Jetson.

I think we can all agree that the previous rules needed fixed but I think the new rules do more to stifle innovation then they do to close the gap between the different tiers (funding) of teams.


Real easy for me to jigger last year’s CAW because I did the “real cost” and noted why something was exempt… Last year, 3946’s CAW cost was $1838.91, the “true” cost was $5012.30, and the CAW cost using 2019 rules as I’m currently reading them is $3323.91. Essentially half of the CAW exemptions went away.

Edit: I like the changes, but absolutely concur that this would have been much better to announce in the summer or fall before teams did their ordering, and certainly before round 1 of FIRST Choice. The biggest single item that went away on the 2018 CAW was the KoP chassis which the team purchased over the summer, then opted out of the KoP chassis, and got the $450 AM Voucher exemption as well as the $599 KoP Chassis exemption.

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Based on R12 Part B:

B. items from the current year’s KOP, up to the KOP quantity (including the rookie KOP items). Identical replacements may be used to meet this criterion.

What is in the rookie kit of parts? By my reading veteran teams zero those items as well, which does ease some of the burden as it includes the expensive items in the control system.


Look at the “Gray Tote Checklist” PDF linked from

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100% agree with @kylelanman here. Swerve is expensive and very CAWstly (gears, belts, pulleys, sprockets). We’ve been able to slide in under the CAW limits in prior years. I can guarantee we couldn’t have made the cut in 2018 with 2019 rules.

I end up getting to nearly $4000 on a theoretical 2019 robot if I try to include pneumatics and sensors and some extra gears and motors and sprockets and structure for manipulators. I’m probably forgetting something important.

The cost is about $1000 higher than it would be under last year’s rules because of Festo Solenoids and Talon SRX counting against us.

Also, I wish I had realized the change to the PDV rules before I spent a big chunk of the AndyMark PDV on stuff that isn’t going on the robot. This would make a lot more sense as a $450 deduction to the total. We’ll certainly spend money on robot stuff from AndyMark, but I spent the PDV first since it’s use it or lose it. WHOOPS.

We may end up needing to play games with this like buying some Victor SPX controllers to replace some Talon SRX’s that we already own to reduce the cost. That amounts to nonsense.


I can definitely understand the criticism on the AM PDV and FIRSTChoice. Surprise rule change making the PDV essentially useless is painful. It’s pretty arguable that that’s pretty unfair and ridiculous even if you’re already aware of the rule change, since it’s not like anyone actually knows what they’re putting on their robot before the reveal, aside from the basics.

The PDV issue could be solved by a rule change to let teams apply a PDV amount to any parts that were sourced from that manufacturer. Which is more sensible anyways, because we’re already on the honor system that you actually bought some CIMs from AM with your PDV. Not sure what equivalent you could come up with for FC.

The other solution is to toss this whole fiction that the PDV and FC are meaningfully part of the KoP. Bump the limit another $xxx, and declare the only exemptions are items listed in kickoff kit, in/excluding the drive base kit.


This is the answer that makes the most sense. Why make it a lottery if I get the item from FC that I wanted, if I get to zero it on the BOM?

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Team update #1 boosts the total allowed to $5500, to compensate for the confusion of the rules change.

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It still doesn’t fix the lottery-based budget issue with FIRST Choice.

Even if it did, the rule change set on the whole is a pretty cumbersome solution in desperate search of a problem. I really fail to understand how magically generating random levels of inequity changes the sport for the better.

I’m eagerly awaiting a nuclear take supporting this change to the rules.


Why don’t they just make all items on FC that year to be free, that works have the same effect as past years with the KoP except it’s the same for everyone. Could even encourage teams to use FC parts over others on their bots.

Or maybe make a discounted cost for them that’s posted on the FC website

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