Control at the competition

Careful, there’s a programmer in the strategist section! No, don’t worry, there’s a reason we’re programmers:rolleyes: …

Anyway, I am just very paranoid about how we actually control the robot at the competition. :slight_smile:

How do we communicate with the robot - through RF like in practice, or do they hook us up to a port which somehow “magically” talks to our robot?

How is autonomous mode controlled? Do the people at the competition control that, and if so, how?

I want to make sure my code will match what FIRST expects for the parts that they control. Please be very specific, and don’t worry about spilling over into other areas besides programming.


The robot controller has a built in code that gives officials absolute control over robot disable, robot enable, autonomous run, and autonomous stop. You do not have to worry about making the robot compatible with the regional game field interface. The connection is the competition port.

In the pits, and for practice, the robot must always be controlled via tether cable. This means that your robot will need a very long tether cable if you are take the robot for a walk.

Teams may enable and disable their robot away from the playing field for testing by using a competition port adapter, which can be either homemade or purchased from AndyMark.

At no time should you test or run the robot by radio if you are not competing on the field, to avoid any potential interference issues between robots.

And of course, don’t forget a programming cable (a shorter cable will do fine).

If you’re controlling the robot with the radio and simulating autonomous mode with a dongle, you’re simulating the actual competition environment as closely as you can. In competition, you hook your OI to the arena control system through the competition port. This handles RF communication for you as well as setting the disable and autonomous mode bits in your controller. In the pits you are only allowed to run on tether. You will not need your OI radio at the competition and are in fact probably better off leaving it and your OI AC Adapter at home so you don’t lose them.

The only possible difference is that your robot will start up disabled but not in autonomous. Then when the match starts it goes to enabled and autonomous mode. So you might want to try simulating this with your dongle.

Is the dongle the only way to simlulate autonomous mode? If this information is readily available, where can I get the desicn/schematic for the dongle?


IFI has a schematic here:

Thanks, that’s exactly what I am looking for. I have no doubt that it will work, but does it actually simulate what the connection is like on the competition port at the actual competition? Just curious, and again, being VERY paranoid:p .


Just to add to Gabe’s post, if the regional(s) you’re attending has a practice field, and you want to use it, you will need a very long tether there, as well.