In response to numerous requests from teams and mentors, FIRST and some of our partners are offering certain components of the 2007 Kit of Parts early. Please read on and follow the links for more information.
National Instruments, a dedicated and valued supporter of FIRST, is expanding last year’s LabVIEW and data acquisition pilot program to include all teams. All FRC event-registered teams are invited to apply. Selected teams will recieve the 8.20 full development system version of NI LabVIEW along with an NI 6009 USB data acquisition device (DAQ) before the 2007 Kickoff. Please click here for more information and to apply online: http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/5440](http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/5440)
intelitek is a committed supporter of FIRST and we’re happy to have EasyC available for download to teams again this year. Any event-registered team interested in familiarizing themselves with this helpful programming tool is invited to download EasyC for FRC now. There are several tutorials in the Getting Started section of easyC’s help file to familiarize teams with the software. In addition to the tutorials, intelitek has also developed a year-long robotics curriculum called Robotics Engineering Curriculum (REC). The REC curriculum, for a fee, teaches students the fundamentals of robotics. To find out more information please visit www.intelitek.com](http://www.intelitek.com/). Any easyC technical or licensing questions should be sent to [email protected]. (link available in original email)
FIRST is proud to announce that FirstFuelCells.com is hosting a fuel cell pilot program for all event-registered FRC teams! The pilot, called Green Machine, will expose selected teams to hydrogen fuel cell technology. Event-registered FRC teams are invited to apply to participate in the program. Qualifying teams will recieve a fuel cell with which they’re invited to experiment and consider various ways fuel cells can be applied inside and outside of FIRST applications. (Please note: flammable gasses, such as hydrogen, are not permitted in any of the event venues). For more information, please visit this website: http://www.firstfuelcells.com/competition_1.htm](http://www.firstfuelcells.com/competition_1.htm)
I see this as a crazy thing for teams currently going to be involved in the 2007 FRC season. (The regional dates for the FIRST Fuel-Cell Competition (FFC) is around the same time as the FRC regionals).
Maybe this can be more geared towards teams who choose/chose not to compete in FRC this year due to financial reasons or any other reasons but can still afford the $575 fee for the FFC.
Someone should pose this question to FIRST. I’m not seeing anything clearly stating if the Fuel Cell kit is meant to be adapted to the FRC robots, or is just a standalone competition.
That is most definitely one use for it, but we’re constantly developing and refining more uses as we go along. We’re trying to introduce a robot simulation package this year that allows you to use LabVIEW, a USB-DAQ, and the dashboard port to bench test robot controller code before your robot has been completed by your build team. The DAQ and Dashboard combo allows you to programmatically determine what the controller is doing - couple this with a model of your robot in LabVIEW and use the DAQ to simulate sensor data to the controller, and you can have a “virtual robot” that you can use to test your robot code with. Of course, the simulation package does not allow for high-rate simulations and calculations; we’re still working on that. However, relatively simple robot designs can be modeled and tested fairly easily with this new software.
I don’t have any super-secret inside knowledge about this year’s controllers, but I’m not expecting any radical changes this year…
The supplied fuel cells will not be able to supply anywhere near the power needed for a full-sized FRC robot. The little FC only allows around 1amp current draw, and depending on the number of cells, it can run 1 - 10 Volts.
As I look at the specs for a VEX motor (0-2A, 5.5-9V) I can only assume that the FC would be much better off being paired with a VEX kit. WPI demonstrated exactly that at Battlecry this summer, and used the same Parker FC and a metal hydride storage bottle to power a 2wd robot around the floor.
I think offering this mini-competition is a great advancement for the program, as well as FC technology itself. I can’t think of any other competitions that requires the use of FC’s to power a mechanism, car, or robot. I hope that a lot of teams jump on this opportunity.
The fact that FIRST H/Q has added a new “optional” level of education and learning to the whole FIRST experience is indeed a good thing to do.
Yes, it does appear that the company that is sponsoring this fuel cell competition is indeed Parker-Hannafin out of Cleveland, OH
No, they haven’t yet released the actual rules of this offline competition, but it’s pretty obvious that even their biggest 12-watt fuel cell won’t be able to run an actual FRC robot. However, what’s weird is that their own web site states that the contest will involve “installing and de-installing fuel cell system from competition robots”…hmm, makes me wonder.
The P/H fuel cell technology is based on hydrogen. Other fuel cell technologies are based on methanol (ala Sterno). So, it will be very interesting to see how the regional venues and/or the Georgia Dome and FIRST corporate handles all of the safety-related issues surrounding the Parker-Hannafin fuel cells. Hey team safety captains, here’s your chance to write-up some guidelines!
Maybe this technology is good enough to power a VEX robot via a power tether (not directly on-board the robot? LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES…waiting for rules to be released 11/3, but applications and money are due by 10/27
Oh wait, the web site also mentions “battery/fuel cell hybrid self charging cart”. Maybe it will involve putting the fuel cell on the FRC robot cart to automatically charge the regular 12V sealed batteries in that long tunnel between pits and field in Atlanta…cool!
I am most definately going to propose to the team to participate in the Intellitek promotion. That DAQ sounds like an extremely useful device- especially because this year the programming team and I will be perfecting a 6-axis positioning sensor.
As for the green machine thing… from what I know if hydrogen catches ablaze, its flames head straight up and dont really burn local parts do they? Oh yeah… its explosive… heh…
But the green machine also sounds really neat. We should participate cosidering that my dad knows the president of UTC Power… or at least he used to.
I’m 99% sure the USB DAQ doesn’t use a HID profile, so I doubt it would work.
Whats the point? The USB DAQ takes in analog and digital data, and converts it to USB slave. The link you provided converts USB slave to digital and analog data. Its just a really complicated way to get the same thing at both ends (if it would work).
The DAQ is used for reading in the analog and digital values on the PC, so you can test senors without using the robot controller (or whatever else you or FIRST/NI can come up with).
When we brought one of our FCEV’s to the New England regional last year (see my who am I?) as a display we had to purge the H2 tank with N2 before bringing it in. I would expect the venue owners to stick with this policy. They also prohibit gasoline within the venues so I would expect similar restrictions on methanol, ethanol…