FRC Blog - Got Potential?

Great news! The FIRST Robotics Competition team is growing and we are looking for an Electrical Engineering Technician to join us. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the design and prototyping of all the cool automation gear used to score the game each season, troubleshoot and fix equipment, and help keep 200+ road cases of event equipment organized.

Best of all, you’ll be working with a diverse group of people that enjoy what they do and have fun while they do it.

Check out all the details about the posting on our website.

Job location, Manchester, NH
Darn, makes for one heck of a commute from CA.


The community is slacking here… There is a game hint in here-- note that it did not say there wasn’t a game hint, so that must mean there is one.

I’ll go with the pic is the new driver station interface. All robot actions are decided by a direct brain interface ‘voting’ system using three drivers. If one driver becomes non-responsive, the forth is used a backup.

No brain, no action.

My advice to the incumbent of this position:

Well, if you are going that route…

Googling the picture gets you “Lawrence of Arabia waving” and that must mean…wait, what? How does that picture get “Lawrence of Arabia waving”?

It’s from “The Gamma People” made in 1956. The plot summary from wikipedia is - “A train passenger car carrying a reporter and his photographer mysteriously breaks away from its locomotive, accidentally ending up on a remote sidetrack in Gudavia, an isolated Ruritanian-style, one-village Eastern Bloc dictatorship. The newsmen discover a mad scientist using gamma rays to turn the country’s youth into either geniuses or subhumans, all at the bidding of an equally mad dictator.” (I think I would rather watch people walk around the desert for 4 hours.)

Clearly the deep space tie in has to be Mystery Science Theater 3000 based because that movie screams MST3K and it’s not space by itself. Amazingly they never did “The Gamma People” on MST3K. Although Gamma is really close to Gamera. They did a lot of Gamera movies.

So there is going to be a giant turtle in the center of the arena destroying things with Kenny running around saying the turtle is the friend of all children. I guess the technician has to come up with quips about the match this year. That doesn’t leave me any scoring ideas though…

Our support line is always open for questions… even from FIRST employees: [email protected].


The photo easily ties into the vr announcement.

Kind of a strange necro, but after spending a couple of days doing field reset (officially field sup, but in practice more of a field sup trainee as we had a long-experienced regional field sup present, and this was my first time working the field), I was reminded how much more robust the 2019 field was compared to the previous three years. The whole event, I am not aware of anyone needing more than gaffer tape, zip ties, dykes, scissors, fingers, a #3 phillips screwdriver, and a pocket knife (used to cut previously placed tape and on at least one occasion each as a deburring tool for damaged aluminum and HDPE), and of course hands and brains to fix the field, with one minor exception which required the FTA to comandeer a piece of 1/2" square aluminum tubing from the barf box to use as a spacer on an HP station. I heard a few hammer strokes on one occasion, but I think it was a team fixing their robot in queue, not a field repair.

Compared to STRONGHOLD [nearly everything broke at some point or another], STEAMworks [lifts and springs and climbers and more], and the PowerUp↗ scale, this year was bliss.

Here are the things we did have to deal with, apart from normal wear and tear of the carpet and edges/corners of plastic pieces, for future field engineers:

  • The polycarb pieces between the front and side faces of the airship came loose quite a few times. Replacing the zip ties proved rather more difficult than expected, possibly due to poor instructions; we simplified some of the zip tie placements as the event went on to the lowest hole and a wrap around the bottom of the piece.
  • If there was a procedure for aligning the sandstorm screens, it was missed by our setup crew. Until I re-aligned a few, it was difficult to get all three screens on each side in a position such that they were all clearly in front of the polycarb, but none of them blocked the top segments of the team numbers.
  • I also noticed that within the rocket nosecone, the polycarbonate around each of the junctions of a screw through churro had significant cracking. If this system is used again, a few washers could likely solve this problem.
  • On quite a few occasions, we had issues with the brushes in the Hatch Panel stations.
    • The most common issue was that they would slide up or down; this was regularly limited with bits of [mostly white] gaffer tape.
    • Occasionally, the metal channel which served as a “spline” for the brush would bend, making it more likely that the HATCH PANEL either would not roll down into the intended position (when the issue was on the two-brush side), or would fall out onto the floor (when the issue was on the one-brush side).
    • On at least one occasion, we found that “flipping” the brush, so that most of the bristles which were out-of-plane were pointing onto the field helped.
    • On at least one occasion, our FTA tried trimming the brush bristles. Our problem turned out to be a bent metal spline.

I put the Sawzall to good use at the last event I worked.

Care to elaborate on where and for what you used a Sawzall? At this point, I’m hoping that this thread will inform future field designers.

There are two bolts that hold the Delrin spacer block and brush on the loading station. A robot bent one of the bolts and broke the plastic brush holder. We had to cut the bolt off to replace it.

If you slightly bend the metal piece of the brush and stick it back in, it won’t fall out as easy.