IR Receiver Availability at Events

Team 341 is down to their last IR receiver and IFI is sold out. We have one on the machine which works and do not have a spare. Does anyone know if these are available at the FIRST spare parts table? We are going to Philly next week.
We hit the ball consistently in Hybrid mode and don’t want to lose this capability.

We are also searching for teams that either don’t use their IR Receiver or have extras to trade. So if you would like to trade for something useful or sell your receiver to us, we would be glad to make it worth your while. (just PM or Reply) Thank you for taking the time to read this message.

Al Ostrow
Team 341

Is it a programming issue? IFI has been reprogramming that at regionals. It recused ours.

It sounds like more of a physical concern than programming. As in, if the ball or another 'bot breaks it.

I think our programmer wants to keep using it to try things out, so I’m sorry to say we probably can’t give you one. But I don’t think anyone at Buckeye had a problem with broken boards. Our was sitting in a place where it should’ve gotten hit, and we were fine.

We did reprogram at Chesapeake. It is my understanding that the “magic smoke” was released from the board in the middle of a match. It was working properly before that for several matches.

Does anyone know if they have replacements at each event?

Update 10 included a list of replacement parts availabile at the competitions. The IR board was not included.

I can further confirm they do not offer replacements at the spare parts desk. 1281 needed one at Waterloo, and they were unavailable. The lady at the spare parts desk went through the whole spare-parts list (which includes color pictures), and the IR board was not in the list.

Connecticut Spare Parts did not carry spare IR boards either.

i would defiantly consider integrating Keven Watson’s IR code as a backup option. at Florida we did this while waiting for our ir board to get reprogrammed and it worked great.

There is nothing magic about the IR board provided in the KoP. You can order a similar device from:

If you have the capacity to program a PIC microcontroller and make your own circuit board you can also build a very simple IR receiver.

Unfortunately our custom built board is stuck on the robot, in a shipping crate, on its way home, and I don’t have a good photo of it so I can’t show you exactly what we built. But it is pretty simple and I can describe it (see attached images).

One image is the circuit board pattern that we printed out and transfered on to a printed circuit board using a direct transfer process. (

The other image shows what each trace does. With the header strips soldered in to the board, this should press down directly on to the Digital Inputs of the RC. It is powered by the +5 supply from the digital I/O pins of the RC. The board will be “upside down” in this position, with the solder traces facing upward, the PIC and headers facing down. There is room to mount two different IR receivers… we used the PNA4602m (available from Digikey) because we had a bunch around for our Mini-sumo robots, but the Vishay receivers on the IR board might work, too. I believe that both receivers provide a logical “0” output when they detect a 38khz modulated IR signal, and a “1” when they do NOT receive the signal. Rather than solder the IR receivers directly on to the board, we used a length of servo cable for each one so we could mount them to the outside of the robot.

This was a very simple, compact solution, with little chance of hooking the power up the wrong way around or having a wire come loose. The only catch is that it eats up some of your digital inputs, as when you press the headers down onto the digital inputs, the circuit board covers up the neighbouring RC inputs as well. In most cases, this is not a problem.

Software… right… software… we took the easy way out and programmed the PIC16f627a using PIC Basic Pro ( Rather than make it a learning receiver we hard coded in the signals that we wanted it to read. We set it up to use the SONY IR protocol (google SIRCS for more info) and so that Channel UP, Channel DOWN, Volume UP and Volume DOWN were our four commands.

We also solderd an LED on to the back of the circuit board from PORTA.2 to ground, I believe, to allow the PIC to signal when it was receiving a valid IR signal.

The exact software we used is at school… which doesn’t open until Wednesday. If you are planning to build this circuit and need something ASAP, please PM me and I’ll see if I can re-create the code at home. It is not difficult, PIC Basic Pro makes it easy.

Hope that helps…


1346 IR receiver 150dpi.bmp (8.32 KB)
1346 IR receiver.JPG

1346 IR receiver 150dpi.bmp (8.32 KB)
1346 IR receiver.JPG

I suggest integrating Kevin Watson’s IR code and ordering some of the receiver modules. Otherwise, the device linked to by dtengineering should be swappable with the current system without too much difficulty.


I “magic smoked” one (by plugging power into the outputs w/offset connector) and a reprogram later it was fine. The regulators blow and the programs go, but the rest of the board is surprisingly resilient. No matter how many time we break em (~5 times if I had to guess) they seem to come back, so they probably can be fixed with a new regulator or reprogram. Is your regulator suppling +5v?

Thanks so much for all of the responses so far.

This is what makes FIRST so great. Lots of people willing to help and lots of resourceful options.

You guys are awesome!

CougarTech made our own IR board because the one that came in the kit was “insuficant” for our needs.

Yeah I highly doubt that there will be any IR boards in Philly, I know 816 has only had one, and with our luck it will probably go in Philly. I think we are going to add an on/off switch as mentioned in one of the updates so that we can turn the board off when not needed which will hopefully extend the life of the board.