How do teams climb with the climber in the box so fast?

So here’s a video of one of our climbs, this one being from our state comp (3459 btw) and you’ll notice our climb is super slow, now we did have to swap the gearbox to a slower one because if we used a faster gearbox it would burn out the motor. So my question is how did other teams use the climber in a box faster (like this team without burning out the motor? The motor that was used was a neo and the type of gearbox was a banebox gearbox.


Simply put: gear faster.

More specifically: What ratio are you using? How many motors are you using?

1 Like

48:1 is the one we swapped to I believe, and only one neo motor per box

This is your problem. My team is running 12:1 (which is still pretty conservative), and our testing showed a single NEO in a 9:1 MaxPlanetary gearbox could lift 150lbs easily.

What size pulley/drum/spool are you using? That will also make a big difference. Smaller is better.

Here’s the calculation for our climb using the KLib Design calc:

You can see that with 2 NEOs geared 12:1, a 0.5" spool (wrapped directly on the hex shaft) can lift 150lbs while only drawing ~18A total.

Here’s a picture of our setup:


I don’t think our climb was insanely fast or anything, but we would typically do a 15-20 second climb with the Climber In a box (single stage), which we said was “good enough”.

We used 2 climber in a boxes with on each side, each equipped with a Neo 550 and a 36:1. I think we would have been better off with a full size Neo in hindsight, but the Neo 550 did the job. So a reasonable fast climb with a Climber in a Box is doable.

Things you can do to improve speed on a climber:
-Increase available power - 2 Neos is Plenty
-Optimize gear ratio - 48:1 is way too low. Andymark recommends 16:1 (even if you only had 1 climber). If you set a current limits on the Spark max, you can reduce the likelyhood of a burned out motor

-Reduce friction - I think this one may be your issue with burning out motors. There is a bearing slide, and a smooth slide on the climber in a box. The bearing side can reduce the friction more than the smooth slide will. Because of how you climb, and how you built the climber in a box, you are putting way ore load on the Smooth surface than you are the bearing, so you are probably getting a lot of excess friction. If you turn that 90 degrees, you will probably find that your climber takes less force to overcome the friction. This will speed up your climber as-is, and putting on a more optimal ratio will make it even more ideal

Hope this helps.

Yeah, we figured this out a while ago, the picture you shared was from our first competition before we changed it to be on the right side.

Do you have any current photos of your climber?

Using a faster gearbox is an easy way to make your climb faster. And turning up the motor speed if it wasn’t already at 100%. We used Banebots 16:1 gearboxes with Neos at 100% power with a 60 amp limit. We used these motors throughout the whole season and practice time (probably 100 climbs on them).

We also coated the arms in a generous amount of WD-40 before each match. Here’s our best climb before switching to pneumatics for actuating the arms. It’s 15 seconds from tarmac to traversal. We tried to be in the hangar zone at 25 seconds during competition.

This is a good point. We just used lithium grease though, for less maintenance.

1 Like

Stay with the lithium grease, or get a dry lube spray.

WD-40 isn’t really a lubricant, it’s more of a rust preventor/unsticker of things.


The “WD” stands for “water displacement”, after all.

1 Like

White lithium would have been wayyy better. I suggested getting some, but the WD-40 never got taken off the robot cart—so it kept getting used. It did do a great job of cleaning the arms though.

1 Like

Until it gets dirty and the aromatics evaporate, when it becomes a sticker of things. Thanks for the reminder to degrease and clean my mother’s sliding glass back door.

1 Like

We used this silicone spray on our CiaB tubes every few matches as they picked up some debris and slight dents in the tubes from match play. They would move just fine, but the tubes wouldn’t always come out at the exact same speeds or time, and this was important for us as we kept pushing the margin on climb speed this year.

We used one NEO per side at 12:1 on the standard Climber winch spools. Pre-INCMP we were testing 9:1s to great success, but found it was too fast for our static hook geometry (and the robot would simply toss itself of the bar). For the offseason, we have a new hook design that will let us go back to the 9:1s. Our goal is to be around 6 seconds from first bar contact to traversed, like we had tested at home earlier this year.



As others have stated, efficiency and an ideal gear ratio are two key factors in determining the lift speed. Working through the physics or using a mechanical calculator, such as JVN’s can help you determine a ratio that will help improve the speed. Improving the efficiency of the system by reducing frictional losses will also help significantly. Another factor impacting the total climb time is the mode of the climb. The two videos you linked employ very different climbing modes.

Another thing to note is that the robot in the second video you linked did not use the standard climber in a box solutions. Those telescoping arms used an 15mm wide belt using a continuous 2 stage belt routing. I’m not saying that a climber in a box solution couldn’t work with this climbing mode, but there are significant differences in the way these arms extend and retract.


In our testing with two NEO’s, the limit is about a 7:1 ratio with a 1.125” diameter spool. Though we were just climbing the middle bar with no traversal - if we were traversing, I would go a little more conservative so it wouldn’t be as dependent on battery voltage (during practice we did stall a few inches off the ground sometimes - still a legal mid-bar climb, and it was after much more than 2.5 minutes on the battery!).

Also remember when traversing - speed = swing. You may find that you can go too fast, resulting in a swing that is too much to handle!

1 Like