Dynamo Design Challenge

Nidec is very excited to be offering our Dynamo Brushless Motor and Controller for use within the FIRST Robotics Competition! We are very proud to be a member of the FIRST community and fully support the Vision and Mission of FIRST: “Coopertition is founded on the concept and philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.”

In the spirit of this philosophy, Nidec encourages teams to share their designs that utilize the Nidec Dynamo, which will help other teams become familiar with the new technology. The engineering team at Nidec will be personally reviewing these designs and awarding those that demonstrate solid engineering principles and creativity with a variety of prizes!

The first 10 teams to submit their designs will be awarded Nidec t-shirts for each member of their team. In addition, Nidec will offer a $250 prize for the best design, $100 for the second-place design, and $50 for the third-place design! We are very excited to see the variety of designs from each team!

To be considered for prizes, submissions should include at least 2 photos, or a 30 second video, that clearly depicts the Nidec Dynamo operating on a FRC robot, a detailed description of the mechanism, and why the dynamo was chosen for that function. Bonus points for CAD renderings! The contest will conclude on 2/9/18, and winners will be announced that day at 12pm CST. Winners will be announced and contacted via the forums, so please check this thread and your inboxes!

Good luck, and we are looking forward to seeing your designs!

Our robot isn’t finished yet, can we submit a CAD model of our design and simulations?

Since you were the first to post, we’ll go ahead and let this one count, as long as you follow up with the required pictures/video.

Include the detailed description of the mechanism and why you chose the Dynamo in your initial submission, then quote this post when you have the photos.

We’ll announce the 10 teams that were the first to post all the required items, as well as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners at noon CST on 2/9/18.

We haven’t had the time (or the motors) to make this, so all I have so far are CADs.

More thorough descriptions can be found here and here, but essentially, a pair of 8 Nidec BLDC dynamos gearboxes are set up on a drive frame.

As briefly mentioned above, the Nidec BLDC dynamo was chosen for its high efficiency, high heat dissipation, integrated encoders (no need for surgical tubing couplings), and low rotor inertia.

I definitely think 449 should win this. It’s a solid submission.

I also noticed that the motors are arranged in a pattern suggested by the optimum way to fit powercubes onto a plate in one layer!

We Just got our Dynamo in the Mail from FIRST Choice! We are excited to see what it can do for us! and will post how it is being used!

We are looking forward to seeing your designs!

If any questions come up, feel free to post them on the Nidec Dynamo FAQ Thread!

We’ve received quite a few requests to extend the deadline, since the vast majority of the teams will be working up until Stop Build Day (Feb. 20th, 11:59pm, Eastern Time).

The new deadline for submissions is exactly one week from Stop Build Day.
Please have all materials submitted by Feb. 27th, 11:59pm, Eastern Time.

Good luck everyone!

Just a reminder, tomorrow is the deadline for the design contest!

Do we just post our submission into this forum?


Our mechanism is designed to have a view of up to 360 degrees for our driver. It includes three parts: the Nidec Dynamo Brushless Motor, the Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000, and our custom 3D printed part to attach the two. Despite it being able to turn 360 degrees, it only needs to turn about 270 because there is no need to look at our own robot. It also allows for the camera to start within the frame perimeter, but to extend outside of the frame perimeter to save space. We chose the Nidec Dynamo Brushless Motor because it is efficient, and we don’t need to use gearboxes to make the camera move more slowly. We also used it because it doesn’t require an external motor control and because we don’t need to worry about brushes wearing out mid-competition.

https://imgur.com/gallery/CBA3Z <----Link to Pictures of mechanism and CAD

Here’s ours!

We have always looked for creative solutions to display our team image here at 2485. This year after seeing the new NIDEC motor we knew it was the right tool to help us in this goal. Being the first ever brushless motor in FIRST and being the biggest thing since wheels it allowed us to engineer a solution that is a whole new ball game.

Using the latest in 3D fusion deposition modeling technology to create our signage we were able to pair this with the NIDEC. Because the NIDEC has no brushes and is electronically commuted we can have revolutionary control during low RPM duty cycle. Allowing for perfect slow revolutions without the cogging effect seen by typical brushed motors. And due to the higher efficiency, we are now no longer need to be concerned with battery life, and without heating issues we no longer wait for the motor to cool off. As a bonus the lack of brushes mean we never will need to replace them nor worry about brush dust getting on our robot.

Thanks NIDEC!

Realized it was hard to see what motor was being used in the video so here’s the behind the scenes:

Lots of jokes on this thread, but in all seriousness I think you have a decent product nidec. The issue is the market. FRC isn’t really a good application for a motor of this size and power output, basically no one uses anything in this power range anymore, it also doesn’t interface well with most other COTS parts.

I’d be stoked for a motor like this in FTC, where the robots and power requirements are smaller, but I’m not sure how feasible that really is.

That being said, I see on your product page a few motors that would be amazing in frc applications, and I look forward to any other efforts you guys make to bringing brushless motors to FRC.

I completely agree. I would love to have some more powerful brushless motors in FRC, and I think this motor is a step in the right direction, but this is not the best size motor for widespread usage in FRC.

I stopped and looked today to see if working a Nidec into our wrist system was logical, and sadly it did not match half of the existing brushed motor options. Hopefully a more powerful motor option will be introduced in the future.

Hi Nidec and FIRST Community,

My team worked on using the NIDEC Dynamo as a pivot motor for our intake this season. The pivot is driven off of the NIDEC Dynamo, running a 16:1 Dynamo Sport gearbox. The shaft drives a 18T 25 chain sprocket, connected directly to a 2nd sprocket running on a shaft connected to our intake plate. This allows us to easily pivot our intake to expel the cube at an angle.

We chose it for 2 reasons, firstly, the Dynamo has extremely low power usage, even at peak loads. For a wrist motor that is constantly running to keep position, it was the obvious choice. A 16 to 1 gear ratio left it with plenty of torque, even at such low power. This allowed us to draw more current to our other subsystems.

The second reason was the integrated encoder. Closed loop positioning was a must for the pivot. The easiest way to get this solution was through the Dynamo.

My team did not get one of the Dynamos through FIRST Choice, and due to limited budget constraints we could not afford the Dynamo and Dynamo sport gearbox. We currently have this system running on a BAG Motor and Potentiometer, the Dynamo would be a great improvement and placing in this contest will hopefully allow use to get a chance to use it.

We just wanted to share this concept to hopefully spread the word about the interesting applications of the Dynamo, and show that it does indeed have practical use in FRC. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!

I know we don’t officially qualify for this contest because this is not on an FRC robot, but we would really appreciate if you considered the entry, so hopefully next time we can have a Dynamo at our disposal!


Mechanical Lead
FRC 157

Thanks for your constructive ideas! We are definitely paying attention and taking notes!

We are working on some improvements for next season, and value all the input the community provides. It is good to hear that people are actually researching Nidec and understand we make more than just the Dynamo. We would love to introduce more powerful BLDC motors to FIRST!

There have been quite a few forum members messaging us about their designs.
We have made the decision to extend this contest to 11:59pm (CST) on March 15th.

We are confident there are additional innovative designs, and want to include as many teams as possible. We understand everyone is busy, and the build process, logistical tasks (traveling to events, shipping, etc.), in addition to school, takes a lot of effort. Everyone deserves a fair chance at this, so we would like to give every FIRST team a fair shot at winning (and a chance to show their innovative designs!).

Great way to identify how the Dynamo is an improvement over your current configuration!

Really liked how you determined it was best to use a Dynamo (with low power consumption, even at peak) for an application that constantly runs to keep the mechanism at a set position. This is a great example!

You’re correct that this doesn’t count as an official entry, but PM me and we’ll see what we can do about getting you a Dynamo!