Does any veteran teams have a used Crio they don’t need? We want to keep our 2011 robot 100% intact and want to build some off-season bots to test different types of drivetrains. Would any team be willing to sell their used Crio to us? It would be a huge help. Thanks

Most Veterans use their spare cRIO for their practice bots and other prototype chassis.

If you have money I would recommend buying another from NI for $750. If you don’t have the money on hand, make it a goal and fundraise for it.

We are very happy that we purchased a spare cRIO.


if you are not going to be doing anything too crazy and arduino will work as well, it is similar to the crio but much less powerful, the regular one is like 30 bucks, and a arduino mega (2x as powerful as standard is like 70)

Does an arduino work the same way as a NI cRIO? Can you please explain the differences?
We are a team of six members so it’s hard to fund raise $750 for a cRIO

An arduino does work the same way but the cRIO is meant for industrial. They both are meant to get information from sensors and control things like motors or servos. The cRIO is meant for industrial level robots like in a factory if I am correct. The arduino is more meant for small projects that you could do at home. An arduino itself is a programmable circuit board that you could use for robots. A guy made a robot using an Arduino that controls 3 servos to keep a ball from rolling off a platform Its a pretty cool thing.

See arduino’s main site for more information

So we could us a arduino in replace of a cRIO and build a full size test bot that would be able to control 4 independent CIM motors, camera, pneumatics and use a standard 12v dc FIRST battery you think?

The arduino’s processing power cannot compare enough to the cRIO for a robot on that level, but it is indeed possible to use it for a FRC robot, but it would be very limited compared to using the cRIO.

Here is a thread discussing the topic.

If you’re a Victor / PWM team, you can use a Vex microcontroller instead of a cRIO. Since the programming and control is different, this would mainly make sense if you’re building mechanical prototypes.

So if it were used on a very basic robot, for example; a robot with only two-three motors and a sensor it would work?

Yeah, I’ve seen it work for robots with many motors and sensors before. I’ve personally never done it, but it looks simple enough.

The thing to keep in mind is that if you’re making a prototype for the intent of testing new software, you should use an additional cRIO so that your programmers are practicing on the same hardware they will be using in build season. However, if your prototypes are mainly to practice mechanical design and just have some basic software to make them work, the Vex microcontroller works great.

Just a quick note: our team uses Java, and we have some trained space monkeys (underclassmen) to program in Java for the next 3 years. We have no experience in LabVIEW at all, and probably don’t plan on using LabVIEW until we absolutely have to.

Can the Arduino or the VEX Microcontroller even process Java?


I’ve looked on andymark and did not find a cRio. Does anyone know where I go to find the $750 cRio? National Instrument cost is $1,599.


The control system that was used in FRC prior to the CompactRio was reasonably comparable to an Arduino, as it too was an 8-bit microcontroller. You can do a lot with that. If you just want to prototype a mechanical system, really any microcontroller can handle it processing-wise as long as it has inputs and outputs that can be made to work with your speed controllers, etc. If you want to prototype control systems, that is a bit more complicated depending on what you want to do.

If all you are looking to do is relay values from joysticks to the motors with the smallest investment is probably an arduino. All you need is the board and a long USB cabel to tether to it from a computer with joystick connected. <> is a good starting point for setting this up (victors and jags take servo pwm signals).

The arduino uses its own script language, but it’s pretty simple to lean and the ide is free with plentiful documentation.

The problem with using an arduino is that you don’t have a controller. Most teams want to be able to easily drive there robot around.

The vex cortex is a very nice system for only $400. You get the cortex controller and the joystick.

To plug a PWM speed controller (Victors/Jaguars) into it you just need a male to male 3 pin header. (The ports on the cortex are female where the ports on the cRIO sidecar are male)

We retro fit our old robots with the cortex to save on buying multiple cRIOs and having to set up multiple driver stations.

To program the cortex you need to buy a copy of EasyC or RobotC (I recommend RobotC). You can get a 30 day free trial each of them. So you can’t use Java but for the most part moving from C to Java is a pretty easy switch, most concepts and functions will transfer very easily.