Motor Controller Reliability Help

My team generally uses 4 CIMs to power the drive train. We are trying to decide the most reliable motor controllers for this for the current season. Currently debating between Talon SR, Talon SRX and Victor SPX. Usually used only Sparks and the old Victor 888s but have had some durability issues there. Any thoughts would be great! Thanks in advance!

Personally I prefer the Talon SRX. Its relativley simple from a hardware stand point and it only has two colors for its signal lights which is nice compared to the Spark Max. I rarely have problems with the talons, if anything the CAN chain is the main failure point.

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The only ones I have seen damaged have been the fan cooled ones like the Victor 888 and Jaguar since metal shavings can enter and short them out.

All of the motor controllers will get damaged if the output is shorted. It is possible to short the output on ones with screw terminals like the Spark and the Talon and Talon SR if the crimp lugs have stray strands sticking out from the lug.

Hi thanks for your question. This really comes down to what you and your team want to get out of your motor controllers and drive train. Our team personally has used Talon SRXs in the past due to their excellent reliability and PID control capabilities for autonomous programs.

Victor SPXs are missing some features of Talon SRXs, but from what I’ve heard are equally reliable. The main downside to Victor SPXs is that they don’t have a SRX mag encoder port which may cause problems for your programmers if that is a capability you’re looking for.

If you want my recommendation, go with Talon SRXs. We have used them for years and are tried and true. Not to mention they are extremely compact and easy to mount.

ITT: People ignoring or oblivious that the Victor SPX can be a follower for the Talon SRX, saving expense when the additional control capabilities are not required.

(Get two SRX, two SPX, and with the money you just saved buy a couple magnetic encoders too.)

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Anything CAN is going to be more reliable than anything PWM (provided you don’t try to use an SD540C or DMC60 or something wacky like that).

Your best bet is, as plenty of people have pointed out, to buy two Talon SRXs and pair them with the two Victor SPXs that came in your KoP. Use one Talon as the main controller for one CIM on each side of the drivetrain (assuming that you’re using two CIMs per gearbox) and have one of the Victors follow it on the other CIM in that gearbox. That way you get all the extra features of the Talon but can use your two free Victor controllers. You can run the SRX mag encoders from CTRE into the Talon’s ports for added control. The Talons and mag encoders are made to work as a pair and are extremely good.

Thanks for the ideas! When it comes to coding, I have seen at least in labview when opening the drive motors it seems to only look for one type of controller. Will this programming be affected if 2 are Talon and two are victor?

If you are going to use motion control with encoders, use the CAN TalonSRX. If not, use a VictorSPX with the CIM motors. My team has always used CAN TalonSRX’s with the CIMs since I have been on the team but switched to NEOs and SparkMax’s if you are interested in that.

Why do you say that CAN is more reliable then PWM?

A fault in the CAN wiring can take out the whole CAN bus. A fault with PWM only takes out that motor controller.
It’s also possible to overload the CAN bus with too much traffic which isn’t possible with PWM.

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I personally prefer Talon SRX since so far during my 3 years of FRC electrical systems they haven’t failed. In terms of durability I like their metal construction, which gives them a nice durable feel while adding on to its heat distribution. The CAN interface is also nice as well, although it can get a little messy once you start having more CAN devices.

Honestly, I can’t tell you. We’ve used Java exclusively and I have no experience with how this works in Labview.

It will be affected a little. You just need to swap out the talon subvi for the victor one when it is initialized in begin.vi. It shouldn’t change much besides that.

If you never implemented external encoders with the old drive train and don’t think you have the programming skillset to take advantage of them or other motor controller features use the Victor SPX controllers. They are tiny, they are solid construction with all wires built in, and they are cheap. Plus you should have 4 of them already - 2 from last year and 2 from this year in the Kit of Parts. Enough for your drivetrain this season!

ChiefDelphi will bias towards the Talon SRX because of its advanced feature set but you won’t see benefits from them if you don’t have students with the interest and time to learn how to use the software and programming for them. If you do think they will take advantage of it buy a pair and let them slave a pair Victor SPX units from them for the drivetrain as others mentioned.