Competition Port

I hate to bring up this thread again, but teams need to make and bring with them to all competitions a competition port dongle to enable/disable the robot at power up in the pits. It is simple to wire up and use. The documentation is on the IFI website at
It will save someone on your team and inspectors in general, from getting run over when a team member bumps the joysticks when tethered in the pit. No excuses, the parts are available at any Radio Shack.

If you read the docs that Al suggested you’ll note that it also includes information on how to set the robot into autonomous mode. I suggest a momentary switch for the auto mode. That way you have to press and hold the button down for auto mode to run. If anything goes wrong (and it usually does with software :wink: ) then you let go of the button and the robot stops.

An alternative solution to solve the problem, build your OI with a kill switch programmed to disable all motor/pneumatic activity (our team has made it standard the past 3 years). Just another suggestion for team who do not want to build a switch to attach and remove.

I wholehearted agree with the momentary switch idea. It’s also referred to as a “dead-man’s switch”. We did this after one of our programmers was using a past autonomous switch with a toggle and accidently ran over his own foot. (Yes, it was me… and Yes, the robot was heavy…)

Usually I’m using the kill switch because I’ve screwed up something in the code badly enough that the robot is dangerous, I wouldn’t trust any input from the OI at that point, because the code can still override the motors at some later point, and I’ve seen it do it, for example

Mark McLeod: Is the robot killed?
Me: Nah, but there’s no more steps, it won’t move.
Mark McLeod: You’re still hobbling around from the last time you said that, use the dongle.

Plus there’s no easy way to enable autonomous “properly” with that, I don’t like hacking around internals that don’t need hacking.

That’s a good point. We’ve always had the kill switch on the OI, and then the autonomous enable switch has been a seperate dongle that we can pull out if autonomous goes wrong. I don’t want to have to deal with a 3 position dongle.