How do you drive your robot?

I was curious how other teams drove their robot? My team uses two joysticks and four two way switches mounted in a box. We’ve discussed trying to use ps2 controllers or a steering wheel, but only ever used joystcks. I want how wnat kind of controller you use and how does your team have it programmed?

2-stick open loop.

Three robots have come out of 1293. Bob, Ockham, and Chomp have all been driven by two joysticks, one for drive and one for the mechanism, open-loop.

All 6 of our robots are contrtolled by two joysticks. it drives like a tank.

All of our robots ahve been driven by Joysticks to my knowledge, Cough Will change next year :stuck_out_tongue: /cough and we have had open and closed loops to drive. (Controlled by a switch)…


When will FIRST go back to those wonderful black flightstick joysticks. Those are the old ones from the prevous years the only had to buttons, making it very simple, and easy to grasp. The thing about those joysticks was that the return springs were stronger than 2005 and 2006 KOP controllers. For 604 this was a problem because if it was ever bumped, or set on a non-level surface, then the joystick would make the robot move when you least expected it. The new joysticks are WAY to touchy.

They’ve been out of production for years. There simply aren’t enough new ones to give out, and the manufacturer has exhausted their stock.

You could contact CH Products to see if they still have any stock of the gameport versions of their higher-end joysticks (which have additional buttons, and a different upper grip). But those are probably out of production as well, so quantities will be limited.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of one-stick systems. Their downside is that certain common maneouvres (especially turning through a smooth arc) require that you place the joystick in non-obvious positions.

Video game controllers - Logitech Dual Stick with USB cable removed and replaced with joystick cable hardwired to pots and switches

Team 231 has, for the last several years, used a single joystick. We definitely prefer the older, black joysticks. Depending on the robot, we sometimes use the joystick trigger and/or top button for functions, and compliment these with control panel switches, levers, buttons or custom interfaces (last year we fabricated a two joint control, simulating our arm, that worked intuitively and perfectly) for whatever other functions we need.

This year found us using the joystick only for steering. Our ball pickup was controlled by a 3-position toggle: balls in, off and balls out for scoring to the corner. Another 2-position toggle powered our spinning wheel ball shooter. We used the brake function of the speed controllers and momentary push buttons for brake steering (one each for left and right, great at high speed) that we mounted on either side of a momentary push button used for shooting (the trigger). Another 2-position toggle overrode the targeting sensor shoot function (which we unfortunately had to use… arena and ambient lighting usually defeated our targeting sensor).

Although the control panel was designed so that the driver could operate all functions, we found that having the co-driver operate the override, shooter (driver pushed the trigger) and balls in/off/out functions worked best.

We originally had joysticks until one of our drive team members by accidentally tripped over the control set up while we were queued and only 30 seconds from taking the robot out onto the field. Luckily, one of our other drive team members was quick on his feet and improvised. We drove that match (and the rest of our matches till we lost in the QFs) with pens.

Our drive is tank drive just as in previous years, and is driven by two Flightstick’s. We made sure to keep all of the old ones that we had left over after they switched the kit ones, so we’re stocked for future years.

Also, for this year we bought a project box and put in four switches, two pots, a rocker switch, and an easy button. It’s posted on CD-Media. Last year we just used two joysticks for our arm, as we have usually done in previous years.

Very very carefully… lol

The drivers use joysticks, I want to say 1 each. Our joysticks however, are personalized in typical 1504 fashion… (see below)



We used the same ole’ black flight sticks we have used for last several years. We almost ended up using a USB Xbox360 controller, but we never quite got around to finishing it, and our drivers already had more practice on the flight sticks.

we used the KOP joysticks this year, but our drivetrain operator got annoyed by their lack of centering springs relative to their bulky size. He ripped most of the stick off, leaving only little black nubs.

Up until this year we’d used the old black kit sticks. This year we took the handle off the kit sticks from this year and replaced it with a turned piece of wood on both of them. Most of our drivers use tank steering, although a few have preferred single stick in the past.

The operator just uses some basic RadioShack buttons and switches we wire up to some plywood.

We used off-the-shelf PS2 controllers with a custom designed interface circuit. We won the Delphi Driving Tomorrow’s Technology award at Wisconsin for this design.

Link to the White Paper.
Playstation 2 Adapter

Lets see, we drive open loop like we stole it using two joysticks mostly. Our 2005 robot actually had PID, but it was not very good, and one of our drivers just turned it off and left it like that. This year’s robot has some new code which allows switching between one and two stick control and will soon have an exponential control system, hopefully by the next meeting. (knock on wood, the meeting’s Wednesday)

Two joysticks: One for driving and the other for all the other stuff the robot does, I believe (pretty sure that it’s not tank drive).

Team 706 has used tank drive for every robot I know of. It is just what our drivers are used to. This year we actually made a decent control box for our shooter/conveyor mechanisms, but it was more of a hassle than just using another joystick. Depending on what we want to do after APs are over, we might make the PS2 controllers. Doesn’t sound difficult.

CH makes a whole line of industrial joy sticks and the ones I’ve used before were on a crane control. I really liked the feel. Little expensive and they need to be mounted in some kind of housing. Several of our team members have mentioned that they like PS2 controllers and may give them a try. I personally like to drive with thumbs on the joystick.