[FTC]: Batteries

Hi just wondering what connectors everyone uses for their batteries.
Anderson v. Tamiya (white Connector).

We use all Anderson Power Pole.

Anderson all the way.

Powerpoles are awesome. I strongly recommend you pick up some PP45s (the ones on Andymark) but also some PP15s, which you can get from Powerwerx. You can use these tiny little buggers on CAN wire, which is super super helpful.

Ditto
Powerpoles
favorite reseller Powerwerx
buy the sets with red and black housings already connected if possible.

APS

The Tamiya connectors are a simple and easy to use option. They have good retention and the polarity is helpful when plugging in, charging etc. But are prone to failure/unreliable

If you aren’t using a lot of custom robot components it is probably easiest to use the stock Tamiya connectors just be sure to use cable retention to prevent stress also put a cable tie around the connector assembly when competing with them to reduce the risk of a disconnection/power loss.

If you are wanting to use something more reliable/less prone to failure I would suggest looking at either APP30’s( 15A isn’t legal as it is rated to less current than the robots 20A fuse) or one of the Anderson SBS type connectors which is essentially an Anderson PowerPole contact in a single piece case the battery from being plugged in incorrectly( essentially a small version of the FRC SB50 battery connector). You can get little 35A rated ones which still have plenty of retention force.
http://www.andersonpower.com/_global-assets/downloads/pdf/ds-sbs.pdf

http://www.alliedelec.com/anderson-power-products-b02265g2/70712182/

My team (3507 Robotheosis) used to use the Tamiya until after this season. During state for us the clip on the CPDM broke so every match we had to duct tape the battery to the CPDM side.

I forced my team to switch now to power poles and they are a whole lot better. Better connection and they will never seperate during a collision. It’s worth the $50 or so in supplies to switch. Just make sure you install everything correctly so you don’t mis-wire the robot.

  • Nathan
    Captain
    3507 Robotheosis

The issue isn’t necessarily the two connectors coming apart, the contacts can actually become worn/damaged. I think the Tamiya is one of the big contributing factors to the high incidence of dead robots that are seen in FTC.

It is really good that FIRST had a APP station at pit admin( at Houston) including diagram, tools and APP’s to allow teams to change over at the event. However it is still sad that such an inadequate and unreliable connector comes stock with the electrical system and most of the legal batteries( the REV slim battery is the exception).

For teams with limited budget who would like to make the switch XT30/60 could be a good option as they don’t require a crimping tool to use. I believe the nice new REV board comes equipped with a XT30.

PowerPoles or XT30 all day every day. As a CSA and FTA, I cannot recommend Tamiya at all. If you don’t have the money to buy a crimper and materials, ask around and find an FRC or FTC team that does.

While the Tamiya connectors are truly terrible, by far the largest contributor to dead robots in FTC is the Modern Robotics control modules, and the quality of the wires that ship with them. This year at MN events and St. Louis Championship we ordered and kept replacement USB cables because so many teams have problems related to poor cable and poor cable management. USB cables simply are not designed to take the abuse that students will give them. Many teams mount their phones in such a way that the wire at the connection has to make a bend that is vastly out of spec.

I would also say that low batteries and phones are generally a bigger issue than the Tamiya connector, but I would still never be able to recommend them.

Yep, although it makes the robot disconnect, from what I have seen one of the positives of a battery disconnection over a module disconnection is that the robot can be restarted from the DS. In comparison with a USB cable/module failure which the DS displays “OpMode stuck in loop” and your robot is dead for the rest of the match.

This “OpMode loop” failure decided which alliance won the Jemison Division at Houston and I believe the same “OpMode loop” failure caused the disconnection on Einstein. Just like with climbing in FRC, not being able to control your robot at the end of the match either leads to the loss of 40 points via capping or the loss of a beacon or two(big points).

And the unfortunate part of OpMode stuck in loop is that sometimes it’s completely fixable and avoidable, and other times it’s due to problems that can be truly devilish to track down and resolve, if you even can. The 2.62 SDK helps for some problems, but I have a hard time telling a team to use an alpha version of the software at Championships, and more often than not it didn’t really help the problem. Here’s hoping the REV modules help resolve some of these issues.