In need of Falcon 500s!

Hello all, hope your summer is going well! My name is Nicolas, and I’m the head captain for FRC 5438 in Jersey City. We’re currently overhauling a lot of things about our team, reorganizing, etc., and one of our main objectives is to make the switch to Falcons, for swerve and other things. I know that many people have asked this before, but we were wondering - are there any teams out there that have any extra Falcons that they are willing to sell? We will take as many as you have (we need 14), and will obviously pay for whatever the shipping costs are (preferably in the US). Thanks, and let me know if you have any other questions! We greatly appreciate it :pray:

As I am sure others will say (some in much more exhaustive detail, no doubt), buying into the Falcon 500 platform now doesn’t make much sense for a few factors:

  1. Lack of stock. Falcons have been in stock for less than an hour out of the last ~14 months
  2. Hardware issues. Both the V2 and V3 have had hardware issues, with the V2’s being fixable and only some of the V3’s being fixable, as the V3 suffers from design-based issues that make it unfixable. Those issues are documented in this thread. Most top teams that bought V3s didn’t run them this year due to those issues causing unreliability.
  3. The company that makes them (VEX), is a pretty awful company as far as business practices, workplace environment, and corporate leadership go, as outlined in this thread

I would personally recommend REV’s NEO BLDC and SPARK MAX motor controller, as they are actually purchaseable and aren’t shipped with massive design flaws, not to mention they cost far less than a Falcon 500.

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Thank you for your response, I greatly appreciate it! We are aware of all of this above, but if possible, would still like to try to get some. To respond to point #1, that is the exact reason we’re looking for someone to resell them here haha, VEX is a pain to buy from (if not available at all, we’d just use Neos). For #2, we are also aware of this, and would hopefully get V2s, because although not ideal, it is fixable. We have historically had many issues with Spark Max and Neo connections that have cost us dearly at competition, so after consulting with a mentor who’s old team did the same thing we’re looking to do, we hope we can limit those issues. As for the 3rd point, we are also totally aware of this, which is why we wouldn’t want to buy firsthand from them, but rather simply buy something that was already sold, as to not give further profit to a messed up company. Again, if anyone has any available that they’re willing to sell, we’d greatly appreciate it, but if not, then we totally understand. Thanks so much!

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Have to agree Zatack on this one, NEOs may not have quite as much power, and some people prefer the Falcon packaging of the integrated controller (although I tend to prefer the smaller motor), but as far as I’m concerned you can’t get past the superior reliability and availability of the NEOs. Even if you are able find Falcons now, what about the middle of season?

As far as the connection issues, everyone has their own preferred connector for power so that will be fine for motor power too (we use MT60s very happily), so I’m guessing that you are concerned about the CAN or encoder wires. I don’t like the JST PH connector REV chose, but there fine if you learn to use them properly, Pot connectors with hot glue and heatshrink, and get the crimps and crimpers to replace the connectors when needed. With the CAN wires, REV adds jumpers to their wires to avoid losing the CAN network when a wire gets unpluged. This is a great feature, but the JST PH crimps are nut designed to have 2 wires put in them and the connector become less reliable, so we make our own wires making sure our wire guage is in the specified rage for the crimp, and soldering jumpers on to the wires back slightly from the crimps. Following these best practices, NEOs are some of the most reliable motors you could hope for.

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Training for the students and mentors and reinforcing processes and best practices for the connectors, strain relief, etc, can mitigate almost all issues with the NEO/SparkMax. Yeah at current draws 40A+ you do lose some efficiency vs the falcon, but its not enough of an impact to make/break you robot/designs.

Our team (1706) has used NEO motors exclusively for 2022 and 2023 and it has never really “held us back”. Sure if we could get falcon’s (and had the extra budget) we would probably use them (drivetrain/climber is where you’ll see the most gains) but we’ve found we are still performing very competitively. 2024 for us is looking to be an all NEO robot as well unless we see some new tech come out soon.

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If you really want to be at the bleeding edge of drive train performance (which is where the difference between Neos and Falcons likely matters the most) this is my theory:

Neo < Falcon < 2x Falcon = 2x Neo

With 2 Falcons you would hit the current limits so hard I really doubt there is a meaningful difference between Neos and Falcons.

Again, this is just a theory.

Edit: also note that trouble shooting falcons can be a lot harder since the motor and controller are integrated. At Windsor this year 4946 was out of commission all of elims because, IIRC, there were CAN issues between the motor and controller on one of the falcons.

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@R.C Do you have any elaboration on your “:thinking:” reaction? I’m just curious what you meant.

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:thinking:, possibly

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You’re one of many teams looking for v2 on the secondary market. There were a few available in April-May.

If you have a friend in China who can order V3’s into a Chinese address and then forward them to you, that’s probably your best bet. Expect to pay 25% special customs duty on a $230 motor (depending on exchange rate), landing you in the neighborhood of $300 each.

And they’re v3, so designs need to support the new, single-bearing output shaft… you can’t use “FRC standard” cantilevered motor pinion designs, and can’t swap to a 8mm key shaft without manufacturing your own splines.

At $300 I can get double the number of NEO and sparkmax, enabling double the number of active chassis and double the amount of auto and driver practice. And I don’t need to teach my designers a more careful design language with added shaft bearings everywhere. I do need to teach my team how to take care of the data cables appropriately, can’t just slap canbus everywhere and call it good anymore.

Really hoping a new motor hits the market soon, at the high performance end both product solutions have severe compromises right now.

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You guys are using current limits?

afa5b93497f2e88b919ffb1ca05bbb2928a2248d

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When i did the math a while back (so hopefully remembering correctly) I think it was actually

1x NEO < 2x NEO <= 1x Falcon < 2x Falcon.

This was assuming you use the same 60A for each.

so I guess more like

60A NEO < 2x30A NEO <= 60A Falcon < 2x30A Falcon… this is just from efficiency gains though so its usually a minor improvement, and I didn’t factor in weight increase from doubling motors so there is some effect there as well

Just replying because I 100% feel this

It reminded me of the time (2019) where the team (1323) used mincims instead neos. Fun times!

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just bring back SuperCims

you’re not?

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Why do you put 2 Neos and 2 Falcons as equals but not when using one?

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Not on the drive system at least.

My theory is that when you have two motors they are current bottle-necked and so the performance difference between Falcons and Neos is negligible.

Why not?

Have you measured your wheel slip current?

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? :man_shrugging:

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