Is Rookie KoP battery charger legal in FRC competitions?

The game manual says that “Any battery charger used to charge a ROBOT battery must have the corresponding Anderson SB connector installed.”.

Does this mean that the charger that came with Rookie KoP is not allowed to be used in the pit areas? It has the alligator clips to connect to the battery terminals.

Correct it isn’t legal until you install the Anderson connectors on to it. You can either buy the crimps or splice on one of the cable assemblies that came in the KOP.

you can buy more battery cables from anymark to put on the charger, if you used all of the ones in the kop.

Another fine example of HQ setting rookies up for success.

The one in the KOP is not only illegal at competitions, it’s dangerous in general, it’s way too easy to short your battery with it. Definitely worth either changing out the plug, or getting a new charger, my team uses the rookie one for testing motors because the alligator clips are perfect for that kind of thing.

(Also side note but the Rookie KOP laptop is unable to run matches at competition on, it maxes out the CPU instantly :ahh: )

Thank you all for the helpful suggestions. I am glad I went through one more round of game manual reading before our first tournament this weekend. I just assumed that whatever came with the KoP is legal. I think FIRST should include a legal-to-use battery and charger in the rookie KoP.

Luckily we ordered extra batteries and connectors, so we can use a connector for the charger.

Thanks for the warning! we were planning to use the KoP laptop. The laptop seemed to be adequate during our practice, what additional load will it get in the actual competition?

Though we have an additional Windows Laptop, we were planning to use the KoP laptop in the competition because Smart Dashboard and Camera view worked more reliably on the KoP laptop.

I’m a fan of the KOP laptops.

I’ve found them to have plenty of power for a dedicated Driver Station, with the added benefit that they don’t have all the junk that clogs up or blocks communications on a typical personal or school laptop.
They are underpowered just enough that people aren’t tempted to use them for web browsing, game playing, or other non-Driver Station uses.

They can be overwhelmed by attempting to do intensive image processing or other CPU draining chores on them.

The other advantage is that if something goes wrong with it, you can get a loaner from Spare Parts, or use the field KOP laptop as a temporary replacement in a match.

If you can get the charger integrated with the Anderson connector prior to the competition, that’s great. If not, bring the charger and connector – there will be plenty of people around who will be happy to help you build it. It takes about 10 minutes to do properly.

If you’ve only got one charger, you can also borrow another one or two from another team at the competition to use to keep your batteries topped off. Keep the batteries on the charger when you’re not at the field.

You should have gotten a battery that’s legal to use in the KOP – did that not happen?

I’m with Mark on the rookie laptop (this years, not one from 2008). It works fine if you’re doing driving and a basic dashboard with no vision processing. They’re used routinely at competitions to sub in for team’s bad laptops. Other tips and tricks regarding the driver station laptop are available here.

+1 for the KOP laptop.

We used it for 2 regional competitions this year with no problems.

+1

FYI: Un-officially I have been told by FTA that they will not support laptops other than KoP netbook.

Thank you. I know I can always count on help from other teams in FIRST!

While on the topic of chargers, we actually got a charger for free (via Amazon Business) that looks very similar to the one sold by AndyMark. Here is the link:
https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Recreation-Triple-Output-Charger/dp/B001RN4AXC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1521591806&sr=8-2&keywords=dual+pro+battery+charger+3+bank&dpID=51KpSwHSEDL&preST=SY300_QL70&dpSrc=srch

Can this be turned into AndyMark am-2026 (http://www.andymark.com/Battery-Charger-3-Bank-6-Amp-p/am-2026.htm) by simply cutting off the ring connectors and putting on the SB-50A connectors? The 6-gauge-crimp contacts that come with the SB-50A look too big for these wires.
We haven’t used the free charger so far partly because we didn’t need it (KoP charger was enough till now) and partly because I didn’t figure out the right way to use it for FRC purpose.

You should have gotten a battery that’s legal to use in the KOP – did that not happen?

Yes we actually received 2 batteries with the KOP.

I’m with Mark on the rookie laptop (this years, not one from 2008). It works fine if you’re doing driving and a basic dashboard with no vision processing. They’re used routinely at competitions to sub in for team’s bad laptops. Other tips and tricks regarding the driver station laptop are available here.

Thanks for the info and link. The guide is very helpful! We are not doing any vision processing; the driver station simply displays the camera frames.

What?

The only thing worse than no information is misinformation.

yeah… the FTAs will attempt to support anything you show up with… but the closer you are to standard the easier it makes it.

The interesting thing about the driver station laptop is that there is no standard. The inspection checklist says nothing about the laptop. The only mention of the driver station laptop is a blue box in R97:

Teams are permitted to use a portable computing device of their choice (laptop computer, tablet, etc.) to host the DRIVER Station software while participating in competition MATCHES.

That’s not to say that there aren’t preferences for driver station laptops, they’re just not prescribed by FIRST.

The reason you see the KOP laptop being swapped in at an event is because it’s included in the spare parts cart, not because it’s the “standard.”

If you want to split hairs, they do–some assembly required. Teams received three Anderson battery cables this year, two batteries (if a rookie, else one), and rookies got the battery charger. Add in the electrical tape in the black tote that everyone received, and that’s basically a couple snipped and stripped wires away from being done.

One Anderson cable short, if you’re a rookie.

1 per battery (2)
1 for the ROBOT (1)
1 for the charger (oops… time to spend some FIRST Choice credits on a battery cable!)

Had a rookie run into that issue at inspection; LRI simply volunteered his team’s chargers to help the team out until they could get their charger made legal the next day (the pit was closing).

I saw this issue as an inspector at an event this past weekend. I simply told the team they needed to use a charger with the Anderson plugs for safety reasons. They understood and we found an alternate charger from a veteran team (spare parts also had a few).

I then asked if they would like to have their charger modified to be legal and they were all for it. I tracked down some veteran teams that had the Anderson powerpoles and crimpers and they were in compliance in a few min.

Our teams KOP laptop just froze up every time the FMS took over, might have been the code? Our code guys said they had been experiencing heavy lag all season on it, and multiple orange hats at competition told us we should swap it out. In any event, have a plan B just in case :slight_smile:

It would be one thing if there were instructions provided in the KOP that said what to do with the charger and the cables. Stick a battery cable in a ziplock with the electrical tape and some instructions that say to clip the charger clips to the cable and wrap the connection in electrical tape.

Not that hard. But again, the rookies are left on their own to figure it out.