Check joysticks and I/O module before each match

I’ve seen a few reports of joystick and cypress I/O module problems.

While statistically, the chances of a problem are very low, it’s really easy to check that your joysticks / I/O module are working before a match (takes 10 seconds) and can save your match.

Change to the diagnostics tab on the driver station software. Verify that there is a green light next to each joystick that is connected, and to the I/O module (if connected). Press a button on each joystick and verify that the green light changes to blue on the appropriate joystick. If you have the I/O module, press a button and make sure that the I/O light changes to blue.

If the joysticks aren’t in the right order, go to the setup tab and drag them to the correct order. If the joysticks don’t light up, press F1 to re-enumerate them, or unplug your USB hub and plug it back in. If the I/O module isn’t detected or isn’t working, unplug it and plug it back in.

Problems can be worse if your classmate has very low battery (make sure it’s plugged in in the pits), or if you have a lot of USB devices that are overloading the power requirements. The Cypress board should be plugged in to the classmate directly, since it uses a lot of power. I’ve also seen one case each of a bad hub or a bad joystick.

We’ve also had some minor joystick issues, mainly with people yanking on the cables / wrapping the cable around the controller way too tightly. Now one of them reads 0.5 at the idle position. We had to swap the driver/operator controllers, since it was happening on the driver side and the operator controls don’t use the joystick.

We had the same thing happen to us. We started checking our joysticks every match. Luckily we won the match in autonomous, so nothing too bad happened other than our scouting data looked bad for us.

Additionally, we had an issue last year where one of the USB ports on the Classmate was damaged enough that jiggling the joystick cables caused intermittent connections. Note that the Driver Station automatically disables your robot if it detects that joysticks are removed while you are enabled!

We found last year that Cypress comm issues are often caused by the Cypress driver on the laptop end - Apparently it can sometimes hang when coming out of standby, and there is absolutely no way to restart it (with the locked-down driver account we had last year), without restarting the computer. Since the Cypress board was vital to our robot, we would start up the Classmate two to three matches ahead of time, just in case we had to reboot. It drained the Classmate battery, and was terrible, so we were often rushing to keep the laptop charged because of the lack of power on the field.

I haven’t heard of any fixes to this issue, although the new rule allowing any laptop would make it seemingly easier to reload the Cypress driver without rebooting.

Related note: Don’t boot the laptop unless all of the joysticks are centered. At Kettering, in Qf1-2, we got stuck on the rack because our joysticks weren’t centered, resulting in a near inability to drive.

Is there a way to rename joysticks? For example we use 2 identical joysticks for drive. I have a feeling that there might be a way through the Windows joystick properties menu but I have no joystick to play with at the moment.

We also had issues with joystick/cypress board connectivity at Waterford. It was rather simple to unplug/replug them in and restart, but it cost us 2 matches at Waterford. Checking the green light on the I/O tab and a blue light for the joysticks in the diagnostics tab when a button is pressed has become part of our pre-match routine.

Good advice. Our Classmate didn’t show the Cypress board during our last ditch effort in quarterfinals at Peachtree so we lost the ability to deploy our minibot.
We knew about the issue before the match started, but didn’t have time to reboot the computer.

Checking on the Cypress board definitely belongs on the pre-match checklist. Might not hurt to check settings such as pulled high/low… we had an issue with that setting switching back to the default which caused our minibot to deploy into our arm mid-match.

Our drivers had to quickly swap joysticks in one match. the driver started with one side of the robot and the arm, the other driver had the other side of the robot. They checked everything thoroughly from then on.

Nope. The name you see is the name the device reports for itself. The best you can do is press a joystick button and verify that the correct one turns blue on the Driver Station.

Ditto that for us at Pittsburgh. Tried everything except rebooting the Classmate - natch. We’ve used the same setup for three years now so I’m surprised we didn’t make that mistake sooner.

During the Lake Superior regional, on one of the last qualification matches, a similar incident happened to us. I’m not sure if it was do to that stupid stop button causing an overload earlier on the USB ports (it seems like those lights draw wayyyy too much power).

No matter what I tried doing with our Joystick and controller, be it unplugging them or whatnot, the computer we were using absolutely refused to recognize that they were plugged in, and the driver station thus didn’t see them either. I had to reboot the whole thing after the match to get it working again. Needless to say, we sat there watching our team get creamed.