Encoder Issues and Controller Question

Hello everyone,

I have two questions that I’d like to ask, one with encoders, and the other about using an Arduino based custom controller to drive the bot (not cRIO, but like gamepad or joystick controller)

Our programming team has encountered some interesting issues this year with encoders. It seems as though we can get the raw 0s and 1s from a live readout in Netbeans, but we can’t get it to count or give us a rate. We are not using CAN, and I tried all I could think of. We are just using one signal to get the rate/distance, we aren’t interested that much into direction. Could this be a problem? I can give more details on how its been set up.

Next, my Arduino controller question. Is it possible, or even legal, to make an Arduino controller to have a few buttons that do different things? I don’t think we’d use this at all in competition , but it would be a cool experiment that we could do, and also show how custom controllers can be made. And is it possible to make a custom controller that the driver station can recognize, and further more even take commands from?


The encoder class requires both encoder signals to be connected. The counter class does not.

What’s wrong with Arduino controllers in the driver station? People can use laptops to control the robot and not Arduino? Makes no sense.

Last year, we got an innovative control system award for a “voodoo arm” that uses non-FIRST-supplied encoders. Unless they changed the rules…

As far as I know, the only restrictions on anything like Arduino controllers would be if they’re actually directly controlling anything on the robot.

Arduino doesn’t have a practical LCD screen, which is required for feedback.

Some people are interpreting this as using only an Arduino; the rules say you can run (basically) any hardware you want, but it has to run the supplied Driver Station software, so you still need a Windows PC (or perhaps another OS running Wine, I haven’t tried).

However, it is possible, just not legal. IIRC, there is an app for the iPhone/iPod to do this.

Now, I’m fairly certain that using an Arduino as a peripheral to a laptop is legal. However, I’d also advise that you check out the Cypress board that everyone uses; it’s a pretty cool little board, similar to an Arduino. You can get the code for it from the WPILib project on FIRST Forge.