Enclosure for [most] electrical components

Long winded introduction: Our team was in its rookie year in 2017; since we didn’t have any prior FRC experience we went to a frame building workshop on launch day.
We build the AM14U3 chassis and we placed the electrical components on a piece of plywood fitted in the bottom of the frame.
The solution worked and allowed us have a functional robot and compete, but we would like to move up to a solution placing the components in an enclosure. Aside from being more organized, compact and protected, enclosing the electrical subsystem allows us to possibly alter its location on the robot, when those late minute design changes materialize.

Question: Do you have any suggestions about off the shelf enclosures that might be good candidates for this application (that is in terms of size, material, weight etc), or suggestions for building one -materials, transparent lid or not etc.
Any related wisdom you want to share is welcome.


You pose a very interesting idea. I have not however seen any team do this. Most teams try to leave easy access to the electrical components. (Although to some mechanical designers, electrical is a big afterthought.) It is also important for the FTA/A to see the LEDs on the boards when attempting to troubleshoot field connection problems.

For our team, all power and signal wires are cut to length and routed in the safest and shortest path possible. Moving our control board would be a serious undertaking.

So in short, leave the electronics accessible. If you want to cover them use a piece of plexi that is secured with velcro.

You are better off using other parts of your robot or simple polycarbonate sheets for protection of the electronics and focusing your energies in other areas that will make more difference to your ability to play the game well.

The enclosure can work if you know exactly what you will need through the whole competition season. Organization is more the result of the mindset of the people designing and building the robot than the enclosure itself. I have had to work on industrial electronics in enclosures that were extremely poorly organized.

FRC robots are more like prototypes than mass produced products so having your electronics panel easy to access and easy to expand is of greater value than having it in an enclosure.

If you need to totally relocate your electronics, it will still be easier if they are just on a panel since there will likely be less depth, making it easier to find an appropriate space. In such a situation, you are also likely to have the break the electronics up into multiple smaller panels to work around the structure you have.

I agree with above, fully enclosing your electronics would be a huge undertaking. But if you want to step up from plywood, I recommend looking at AndyMark’s perforated 1/8" polycarbonate sheets. They make good electronics mounting panels and look nicer than plywood.