[FRC Blog] Technology Updates: Past, Present, Future, and Beyond - AprilTags and New Radio

I just want to focus on this for a quick second.
We have the opportunity here to create a radio for FRC that stands the test of time.
It 100% makes sense for experts in wireless/networking (which I’d say a fair few of those who posted are, look them up on linkedin if your curious) to share their opinions as free feedback to make sure we (FRC) get the best possible product for the long term.

A short view back to the past, we’ve had 5 radios since we introduced WiFi into the program in 2009, and none of them have been a good fit.
The WGA600N lasted two years, 2009 and 2010.
The DAP-1522 lasted two years, 2011 and 2012.
The DAP-1522B lasted 3 years, 2013-2015.
The Open Mesh pair has lasted the longest, with the OM5P-AN being legal from 2016-2024 and the OM5P-AC being legal from 2017-2024, however, FIRST tried to replace them as early as 2018.

All these “complaints” and “arguments” are colored with this history we’ve all had to live through. And are expressions of many’s passion to make this product, which I’m sure they see with great optimism and potential, as good as possible for the entire community.

I’m excited for what the future has in store for this program, let’s all work together to make sure its the best it can be by learning from each other instead of throwing insults.


TLDR: better to have one “complainy” thread now, than a decade of complainy threads.


We used buck boosts that were only rated down to 9V to power our switch and radio at 24V (yes I know its not allowed now) and never had an issue. So I don’t think you need things rated down to 6V input.

Regarding PoE in the field expecting different voltages, that’s why you use an industry standard for PoE. 802.3af is a widely accepted PoE standard, there are plenty of PoE hats for Raspberry Pi and many many other devices.

Allowing for other options doesn’t eliminate the simplicity for rookie teams. You can still provide the base level parts for rookies. Just like how FIRST provides a kit bot chassis, but teams are free to use something else if they choose. Teams can shoot themselves in the foot in plenty of ways. Having that as the reason for not allowing other parts is just a cop out answer. Better training of inspectors, and education of students is the real solution to your concerns. Everybody learns as a result, and the sport gets better.

Yes. You absolutely do. RoboRIO brownout protection does not go into effect until 6.3v. If your radio power is only rated for 9v minimum, your radio is going to be the first thing to drop.

There are some regulators on the market that are advertised as 12v minimum that have a dropout of well under that, but I wouldn’t trust anything to do that without testing it, extensively.

Let me ask you this: how is a standardized, required radio power path hurting you, or what is it restricting you from doing?


Just because you didn’t have an issue doesn’t mean that others won’t. Potentially you just got lucky, the rating on the buck/boost you used was very conservative, there was no dropout protection and the load was light so the output drooped voltage but didn’t completely drop out, or you simply didn’t drive the robot hard with not well charged or older batteries. We have hard data from robots where voltages drop below 6V for decently long durations and spike below that for short durations. Anecdotes from a single use case are problematic for all kinds of reasons.

A lot of volunteers try very hard to make sure that every robot connects and stays connected to the field during every match. Robots sitting dead on the field due to radio dropouts does not a good experience make. I’m just not seeing how the “freedom” to pick bad components that leave your robot dead on the field and makes for a lot more work on FTAs, CSAs, etc is a good tradeoff versus being required to use something that has been tested and proven to work? The potential downsides seem to be far larger than the potential benefits.


@kiettyyyy Would you be willing to give some guidance on what boot times might look like with the new radio? Granted they may change, but I think it would be useful to this discussion, especially if, as I think we all hope, that reboot time is very short.



My objective in taking time to document concerns is to help ensure that teams have a robust, reliable radio. In that same vein, test standards exist for a reason. They should not be seen as “just another thing we have to do to release the product” but rather as a process for identifying potential issues before teams spend money on hardware.


Got a link for this? Seems like an awesome solution to a number of issues, including radio placement and port wear.

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Love this news! Congrats to Kiet and team!

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They are called ethernet/RJ45 panel mounts. Note that the black and orange are john’s teams colors. You can find similar like this;


if you want the exact one (and idk about the website):


this particular one is from amazon, but I’m sure they are available from many sources.


Just adding another option- 1018 used these on their driver station and multiple robots. I like them better than the “pigtail” style connectors since you can use whatever length Ethernet cable you want without requiring another coupler. You can also find similar connectors for usb as well- search for “bulkhead connector”



Wait, how is there only 1 team in total using kotlin? I know it’s extremely uncommon, but we know another team within our district which also uses kotlin, bringing the number up to 2.

In light of the 2023 usage stats: I just want to give a huge shoutout to everyone who’s contributing to WPILib these days. The huge success of commands v2 and the new kinematics classes wouldn’t be possible without the wave of community contribution we’ve seen over the past couple years.

I can’t remember a time when the FRC software community was this healthy. I’m amped to see what people come up with for 2024.


To show up as using kotlin, you would have to manually report it; Otherwise, you’ll just show up as Java.


Not gonna lie, there really should be some sort of WPILib developers thank you lunch or dinner at Champs, at least for those who are regular contributors.


oh ok, makes sense.


The offseason radios have arrived! For those who are competing at one of the test events, a STEP file of the radio is available here: VH-109 Public 091823.STEP


Finally something with a nice shape.
I hated the old radio curves so much, very annoying to design around in odd spaces.