Introducing: The Falcon 500, Powered by Talon FX

This looks really good, especially for a drivetrain application!

One question: In some of the pictures I can see what looks like a port cover of some kind:

Is this a standard CTRE encoder port / will we be able to connect external encoders to this?


Man, at first I was excited.

Then I start to look back at all those half broken DVD/VCR players…


So while I’m super stoked for this (and maybe I’m wrong, I dunno), I just thought about the fact that the load which will be imparted on the drive gears ,for example in a drivetrain gearbox, will be huge - and a lot of teams have already had problems with gear stripping (I know that it was pretty common during 2016 with some gearboxes, for example), so wouldn’t this make the problem even worst?


The integrated controller with the motor is not giving me the feel goods. if anything happens to either motor or controller here you have to drop $140 for a whole new one… current set up on motors and controllers i don’t have to drop anywhere near that if one or the other breaks…

I think these are a great idea for my drive, but anything that leaves my robots frame perimeter i’m not putting these anywhere near that…


Hey! This might help:

I had this concern too, but what kind of failure are you considering (other than physical damage from being dropped/hit)? These have reverse polarity protection, and other than that, I can’t think of much accidental damage that could cause a failure. If there’s some other manufacturing defect, I assume VEX/CTRE would replace the motor for free.


Shaft failure, but the shaft is replaceable.

There’s the potential to burn out the motor but not the controller, which would be a higher cost here. Teams have smoked motors before (mostly of the 500 and 700 series variety), and just replaced the motor, leaving the controller in place. We don’t really have any feel for how sensitive these will be to overheating…


cant become poor if youre already poor

No doubts us and many other teams will be looking in envy as other teams utilize the new motor.


I’ve got this.


So I really want to be corrected, but it seems like

  1. If you smoke the motor, the whole thing is dead, and replacing it does not to be as easy as they make it sound in the video depending on how many connection points you add (which then goes against the whole ‘reducing failure points’ thing

  2. CAN wires now have to be SUPER long compared to before, they have to now route all over your robot and not just stay on your embedded board. This is not just annoying, but it puts mission critical wires more into harms way

  3. The wires between the PDP and the ‘motor controller’ have to be super long as well.

I want to be excited, but these seem like some frustrating issues due to that embedded motor controller


As usual I’d like to see these tested for a full season (read: us get crushed by the early adopters). Maybe we’ll go brushless next year.


This is a cool motor that fills a specific need. 8T splined gears should open up a lot of possibilities. Would have worked super well on our elevator this year.

This is a motor with the highest stall current ever seen in FRC. I’m sure the powers that be have done due diligence, but in addition to the hype I’d like to see some kind of information related to how the controller / built in software handles / limits the stall current, and for how long. Given due diligence, this information should be readily available, yes? It just seems like the risk of fire is higher than ever on single-motor mechanisms since it’s so much current concentrated in a tiny amount of space.


This can be mitigated in many cases by confining use to the drive train. If your electrical board is in the bottom of the robot, it just makes sense. Obviously, taking wires up through an arm or elevator to get to a manipulator is something else entirely.

Either the wires are long between the PDP and controller, or the controller and the motor. Either way, you’re dropping power along those wires… I don’t see this making a significant difference in how much you drop along the wire run.


Smoking the motor causing a total failure is the biggest issue I’ve seen so far in this thread. However, replacing it doesn’t have to be any easier/harder than any other motor controller/motor, it just depends on how you wire it. For example, if you have connectors for power and CAN right at the end of the motor, you should be able to do a drop in replacement the same way you do for any other motor.

Maybe most teams don’t do this, but I think a lot of teams (including us) often put motor controllers near the mechanisms when there’s a sensor there (our elevator, and any mechanism that used a NEO). This isn’t any different than using a NEO + Spark with how short the NEO wires were.

Does this really matter? You can put a connector between the motor and the PDP so you don’t ever have to touch the WAGOs after you initially install the wiring.

On the whole, this seems like a great motor for drivetrains now, and after some more testing on heat dissipation (next year for us, probably) a great motor for other mechanisms as well.


Consider the breaker trip times with this concern as well… The breaker is going to trip a lot faster at higher currents. That mitigates the fire risk quite a bit, but does nothing to prevent burnout of components from surging current.

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So, realistically, you have to look at what this motor will do with a 40 or 50 Amp current limit. Drastic change to the torque capability.

Over time, heat will build up in the motor controller itself and potentially take longer to cool than a breaker would.

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Better stock up on these, they’ll fly out if stock

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I haven’t watched the video, only read over the webpage. So apologies if any of this was answered in the video (or I missed it).

  1. How long are the leads? Are they still integrated into the motor/ESC similar to CIM motors, Victor SP, Victor SPX, and TalonSRX?

  2. Will VEX also be releasing a line of spline bore pinion gears? Any information regarding pricing and availability dates for these?

  3. What dyno testing has been done with these motors? Are there plans to release graphs similar to those provided for brushed DC motors by VEX?

  4. Have teams beta tested these in off-season competitions?

  5. What is the mating method of the replaceable output shaft?

Some of my instant reactions:

  • Replaceable shafts are awesome, and a step forwards towards reduced maintenance and recycling costs
  • Non-replaceable integrated motor controllers are the exact opposite of my previous bullet, and to a much larger magnitude
  • Spline output shafts are a cool technical improvement, but if the shaft is replaceable, why not have an 8mm keyed option as well?
  • I like encoders mounted after my reduction, when and where possible. Potentially removing my ability to plug those encoders directly into the Motion Magic system seems like a step in the wrong direction when it comes to precision controls.
  • The upside of these, is obviously, tremendous. The brushless future is coming as quickly as possible.
  • The efficiency hype is what we’re all going to be talking about in 2-3 years if FIRST continues to have uncapped motor restrictions and plenty of BLDC options.

These might be a bit of a tough sell for teams like mine. We put a lot of hours on our robots. Our drivetrain motors especially seem to get put through their paces. Currently we use fresh motors for the competition robot each year. Due to it all being integrated, we’d effectively be adding the cost of a motor controller and encoder for each fresh motor every year. That starts to become a very unattractive option.