Get your software ready for competition

According to Driver Station Best Practices, you should be installing Windows updates on your driver laptop (and spare driver laptop) a week before competition. For anyone competing in Week 1, this is something you should be doing this week. There’s a lot of other good advice at that link.

Make sure everything is updated to the latest version:

It’s a good idea to do all this before you set off for competition and also make sure someone at the competition knows how to do it in case there’s a critical update. Good luck!


Also if you have a VPN with a killswitch, turn it off. Our team has had some issues with that in the past. Similarly, use an Ethernet to usb dongle to avoid damage to your driver station’s Ethernet port.

More coding related but make sure you have at least basic comments in your code. it can expedite things a lot especially when under time crunch when something isnt working as intended and someone from another team is trying to help you.

you would think its somewhat obvious but getting some students to comment is like pulling teeth sometimes.


This, :100:%. CSAs will undoubtedly need to glance at your code at some point during the event (in my volunteer career, I think I’ve averaged something like 70-80% of teams at each event needing some kind of help feom a CSA). As much as some of us may be wizards with this kind of stuff, if we’ve never seen your code before and there’s no comments to provide mild direction, it’ll still take us a couple minutes to get our bearings


Also highly recommend a clean windows install without any extra apps

Disable windows updates for the next 2 months as well.


If you run a custom dashboard it’s probably best to drop down a few versions to something more stable even if you lose some features.

Also using older laptops double check and label which ports have issues having a controller go down due to a damaged usb port in a match is never good.

Yes. I recommend USB dongles, even if your laptop has an Ethernet socket. Good ones also come with additional USB-A sockets.

On a more general note, remember that you will not be able to use Wifi on your laptop to connect to your robot at competition.

  • You can tether using Ethernet, if you have left an open socket on the robot (or if you connect directly to the roboRIO). You may wish to invest in a long Ethernet cable to use on the practice field.
  • You can tether directly to the roboRIO using a USB-B cable. (You often get one of these for free when you buy a printer.)

Also, updating software/firmware always comes with a small risk. That’s why we recommend doing it a week in advance, so you have time to detect and mitigate any problems.


An ethernet port saver is a good idea too. I have seen teams with “worn” ethernet ports that had trouble with the cable at some drive stations.

I second the recommendation for an Ethernet port saver (pigtail). Any cable/adapter/port will eventually fail with enough wear, but a pigtail is passive and so typically has fewer other points of failure. For instance, you won’t need drivers for it that some USB-Ethernet adapters require.

A USB-Ethernet adapter is certainly useful to have around, though, especially if your ethernet port dies. But if you have a reliable ethernet port, you may as well use it.

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I’m more of a fan of applying updates immediately prior to the competition and then delaying for 7 days. Avoids forgetting to extend the update block.


Also get rid of all couts in your code. They slow things down a lot more than you’d think


Replace “magic numbers” with named constants and store them somewhere sensible.


even better, replace them with a DataLogManager so you can diagnose easily after a match!

Check this using “Wpilib: Open Project Information” on the “W” menu.

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WPILIB 4.2 is out and includes some performance improvements.

DriverStation 23.1 is out soon and is strongly encouraged. It fixes a bug whereby joysticks are not read properly when the DriverStation is loaded. (In the meantime, drivers encountering joystick problems should know to click “Rescan” on the USB Devices tab.)

The same game tools update includes roboRIO image 3.2, but that doesn’t do much for non-LabView teams.

LabView teams should be watching this thread.

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It’s supposed to be released soon, but I don’t think it has been released yet - FRC Game Tools Download - NI still only has “2023” available to download (vs. 2022, which also had “2022 f1”).

In other words, teams should probably wait for a version other than “2023” to show up before downloading to get the update.

Thanks. I guess I was misinformed. I was told it came out today.

My understanding is that it was supposed to be today, but there’s some issue with getting it posted. “Soon” is the only correct answer here unfortunately.

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The Game Tools update is now available! (It’s still labeled 2023 but the release date has changed to 2/28/23)