So, Today, my team had great success using the drive motors to life our arms.

And when I got home, I realized that LEGO IS OUT OF MOTOR CONTROLLERS!!!

And they won’t be available until late February. How does this happen? My team desperately needs one and our competition is on February 21st.


WE are in the same situation. I think we might have to back out of our competitions as a result. The students are frustrated and are trying to figure out a way to make their design work with one, maybe some kind of switcher after the controller? I know that it is getting late in the game and purchases should of been made in the fall. We know that this is our own fault.

But, come on, FTC supplied 4 motors, but not enough controllers?

You can run 4 motors from one controller. Two motors on each set of leads. It’s a bit tight, but it can be done. The only thing about doing this is you are limited to two functions to split between the 4 motors.


:D. Switching over to VEX would signal defeat.

  1. If you are using 4 DC motors, but all for drive, then I would suggest putting two motors in one output, it works really well. If you need more info, let me/us know.

  2. Also, if you are that desperate, try asking another team for a motor controller? Offer to pay for the controller, the included wires, and shipping. I’m sure in this community, there are teams who are more than willing to hand over something they’re done using. Just add a new thread and I’m sure SOMEONE can offer you one.

If FTC was easy, it wouldn’t be fun. Parts supply issues are a part of the real world. I work for a company that is sometimes plagued by parts supply issues and must find workarounds.

Part one – no problem. If any of these robotics competitions were easy, there wouldn’t be any competitors.

Part two – not so much. If you have discrete three functions to accomplish using 12-volt motors you need two controllers. It’s not like you have choices. Competitors are required to buy one particular part from one particular supplier, and when some or all of your competitors were able to buy as many as they wanted but you are told you can’t I believe it goes from a “challenge” to arbitrary punishment of random teams. In the real world, you would source an alternate part, but in this game, you compete at a disadvantage.

In three years of doing Vex, I have never had a part be out of stock, and they’ve never taken longer than 24 hours to ship something. That’s a tough standard, and Pitsco isn’t there yet. Feelings don’t enter into it. It is something that Lego needs to fix if they are serious about supporting high school robotics.

By the way, in no way do I believe that anyone at FIRST meant for this to happen. It’s like the Orbit balls in Lunacy or the Poof balls in Aim High, FIRST never expected supply of parts to be an issue. (Or even the wintertime scarcity of pool noodles the first year they became legal for bumpers in FRC. Who knew in the summer when the GDC was playing with ideas that in January pool noodles were hard to find?) FIRST wants to provide a great program for students, and I’m sure works to find commercial partners who can deliver the right goods on time. Over the years, sometimes it works perfectly and sometimes it takes some time to get the bugs out, but I don’t believe that FIRST predicted the field controller, Bluetooth, motor failure, and parts availability issues that have cropped up this year.