[FTC]: DC Motor Controllers

I’ve been checking the FTC store for spare DC motor controllers for weeks and weeks and they’re still back ordered. Our team is fortunate to have enough to compete with, but local teams keep asking us if we have any spares to lend them (we unfortunately don’t). I feel really bad for teams that can’t buy the motor controllers they need to field a robot with 4/6/8 motors due to this extended back-order in the middle of the season. It’s super unfair to them.

Has anybody given up and converted to Matrix Robotics motors/controllers/batteries?

I think the DC motor controller situation is a huge problem for FTC and Tetrix.

  1. The team price went from $57 to $90 this year. Ouch.
  2. These controllers are flaky. I don’t know if our team is just abusing them too much, but we get weird power issues, and sometimes the controllers just die. It hurts when a $90 component dies.

I would like to see FIRST look very seriously into other options so teams don’t have to rely on HiTechnic for DC motor controllers. Maybe Matrix is the answer, but I am not enthusiastic about forfeiting the hundreds of dollars we’ve spent on Tetrix motors and batteries so we can spend hundreds more on Matrix motors and batteries. Maybe they can convince Cross the Road Electronics to create a legal motor controller that works with Lego/Tetrix. Their FRC Talon controllers are outstanding.

P.S. I would also like to see the Samantha module produced in sufficient quantities to allow teams to get a spare at a reasonable price.

On our FTC team we’ve been waiting for motor controllers since early december. With no luck we are hoping their are spare at our competition this weekend. If not we will be playing defence by sitting in front of the of pendulum with two servo arms that extend out to make a wall. (is that legal?). The worst thing is we built and tested our mechanism with the two motor controllers we do have and we are estimating a score in the 200’s. But now we are forced to wait it out. Maybe their will be a decrease in price and they will back in stock soon. But only time will tell. Good luck to all teams

I would just like to point out that early in the season FIRST stopped letting teams purchase an additional/extra Samantha Module in early october. The reason they did this was due ammount of new teams this year. The jump from past years was larger.

Important Samantha Module Update

Dear Teams,

Since the beginning, FTC has experienced huge, year-over-year team growth. This year is no exception. You have been an integral part in helping us achieve 40% growth over last season. Thank you!

With this growth comes new and exciting challenges. Currently our challenge is to ensure that every newly-registered team can get a Samantha Module. To accomplish this, we need your support and understanding.

Beginning today, veteran FTC teams won’t be able to purchase new Samantha Modules for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. This will ensure we have enough modules to support all new Rookie teams and the needs of our tournament organizers.

“But what if my Samantha Module is broken?”

That’s a great question! If you think your Samantha Module is broken, please send us an e-mail at ftcteams@usfirst.org and we’ll help troubleshoot any issues you might be having. If we determine the module is broken, we’ll ask you to send it to us at FIRST and we’ll authorize your Team to buy an additional module.

Thank you for your help and understanding as we go through this period of tremendous growth!

Go Teams!

~The FTC Staff

Right. The reason I mentioned Samantha was because, like the DC motor controllers, it’s a necessary component that is currently unavailable to buy.

Our team has either one or two used (I can’t remember how many we wanted to save) TETRIX Motor Controllers available that we would be willing to sell. Send me a PM or pop an email our way at wiredftc@gmail.com if you still need one!