Drive station tips for mecanum drive

My team recently received 4 mecanum wheels from a sponsor and I was wondering what the best joystick setup is. In case it is necessary we have 2 T16000m controllers we used for tank drive previously.

Honestly what feels best to the driver.

I would probably start out with tank drive on the joysticks (left controls left side, right controls right side) and on right joystick, holding down the trigger (pointer finger) would activate strafing, left right on joystick. I dunno. I never a joystick before.

Thinking about it now, it seems harder to omni with those controls. Maybe one joystick for translation and the other for rotation?


We’ve always used this setup. The Logitech joysticks we use do have the ability to twist, but we’ve found it far too easy to accidentally twist when you are driving at an angle.

It takes a few minutes for new drivers to understand how it works, but after that the learning curve is fairly flat.

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I have a good experience with driving with 2 logitech Attack joysticks, one for driving straight and stafing and the other one for turning.

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I liked the T16000 with field-centric drive and X/Y/twist mapped to left-right/near-far/turning.


We use a similar joystick and map the front/rear and left/right controls as we would with a tank drive, then map the left/right strafes to the left/right twist. You can do some remarkably good maneuvering with that setup. We’ve never had a problem with the drivers turning when they mean to strafe or vice versa.

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my preferred setup is not having mecanum wheels on the drivetrain


One thing we tried to setup last year, but got sidetracked on was having predetermined set-points come from a numpad.

You need to orient on ~45° to the rocket? Hit 1, 3, 7, or 9 depending which panel wall on which rocket you need.

Whatever works best for the driver. I personally prefer to have translate on the left stick and rotate as side-side on the right stick. Forward/rotate on one stick and translate on the other is also popular.

A benefit to left joystick forward and strafe, right joystick rotation is that if you switch back to a arcade drive, you just have to “drop” the strafe component, which is easier for drivers switching from mecanum to 6wd.
Some drivers have an issue with this schema going from 6wd to mecanum, because they end up driving it like a 6wd. Best way to counter this would be to “take away” rotation from them for awhile, and practice only with forwards/strafe.

Wouldn’t a swerve just be better then

Not if you don’t have the cash or material.

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Our team used a single joystick with with forwards, backwards and strafing with the stick as well as rotation on the twist axis successfully in 2018.

Swerve is expensive, heavy, and a lot of manufacturing time to create. It’s not worth it to all teams.

+1, if the driver likes something odd, let them use it.

Whatever the driver likes the best, but we’ve always done it with the left stick controlling moving and strafing and the right stick controlling turning. This allows for a lot of different tricks and maneuvers to be done easily, and is pretty intuitive.

I disagree with this sentiment.

I’ve worked with a lot of different drivers over the years (on my team and others), and their first instinct with a controls layout is not usually the best. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes an hour or more, but eventually we find a controls layout that’s superior to what the driver was initially comfortable with.

Sometimes this requires significant relearning on the driver’s part, but we always see a nice improvement in their obstacle course time afterwards.

It is mainly whatever feels best to driver, like everyone else is saying, although being a driver of mecanum drive my past year, I would recommend trying forward and backwards on the left stick and turning on the right stick and translation on the right stick to go side to side.

I would also recommend trying out field centric drive, it takes some work and you need special electronics, but it worked very well for my team this past year on lining up to the cargo ship.

The robot motions available with a swerve drive are the same as with mecanum, omni, or any other holonomic drive, so the control configuration options are also the same.