New Speed Controller Announced

Pictures are up…OMG that thing is HUGE

HUUUUUUGGGGEEEE Rochester HUUUUUGGGGE (anyone from upstate NY will get that reference)

If you flip them on there sides and then stack them horizontally, it might not be that bad.

They do sort of dwarf the victors.

Why is it that every single piece of the new control system seems to be twice the size (or more) of the old stuff? IFI’s stuff was more-or-less 10 years old - you’d think that the advance in technology would make things smaller, or at least the same size considering there’s more powerful stuff inside.

How much functionality are teams going to have to sacrifice to make room for all the extra space needed by the new stuff? I know several of the robots we have made in the past would simply not be possible now (2001 for example).

Another thought: with the increase in functionality offered in the new controllers I hope they’re getting a very serious and thorough testing. Adding that much complexity and software to something that’s as safety-critical as a speed controller definitely increases the risks of bugs. Having a bug in something that’s supposed to turn OFF the motor when the robot is disabled would be scary… I think a lot of people have taken for granted that with IFI, when you disable the robot with a disable switch it is OFF. Personally, I’m not going near a robot w/ the new control system unless it is physically powered-off until I gain enough confidence that it works the way it’s supposed to. As a software guy I know all too well that trusting software for my safety can be a dicey proposition.

Yeah, its almost Pizzone sized :smiley:

So are PWM’s optional now? LAN cables wouldn’t fall out as much. Thats a major plus IMO.

LAN cables weigh a lot more and take up more space (I sense…a theme).

Plus you’d still have the problem of coiling the extra cabling if you didn’t have a DIY RJ45 kit.

Dab o’ hot glue for the win.

For 2009, you have to use the PWM ports. The can bus (with the RJ-45 connectors) will not be available until “future years” which probably means 2010 because the CAN module that they have for the cRIO won’t be in the kit for 2009.

Wow, judging by the pics, that thing is bigger yet than I imagined. Besides, what’s with the round edges? We’re not going for looks here, and square things just stack much better.

Here is the video from the Demo NItro robot at NI week 2008 and jaguar components on the MentorSearch Channel.

I didn’t realize the Victor supported SPI. WoW! :rolleyes:

… cool video anyway. Thanks.

NI is spending a lot of money promoting the Jaguar if it’s not definite it will be included in the KOP :eek:

If you dig around the MentorSearch Channel you can find a few more interesting videos about the Jaguar and VXworks

Thisis a great video. Things I noticed:

  • It would be nice if the Brake/Coast feature was a switch and not a jumper. (People lose jumpers)
  • CAN looks very powerful. I love how you can daisy chain Jaguars together. This will keep wiring simple.
    *]The Jaguars run on 12V (from the literature). Can you assume they know the robots electrical system will be 12V in 2009 with some sort of 24V transformer for the cRio?

The advantage of making it a jumper is so that you can connect it to one of your digital output ports and control it on the fly. Sometimes teams will use brake mode in autonomous and coast in user control, if that is what the drivers prefer.

[li]CAN looks very powerful. I love how you can daisy chain Jaguars together. This will keep wiring simple.
[/li]

I agree, this will be very slick. Unfortunately it won’t be available the first year.

[li]The Jaguars run on 12V (from the literature). Can you assume they know the robots electrical system will be 12V in 2009 with some sort of 24V transformer for the cRio?[/ul][/li]
They are aware of all the features of the new control system, and since all the motors are going to be 12V (I guess I can’t say that with certainty, actually) it would make sense for the speed controllers to have 12V input.

I wonder if teams will be able to use the CAN network even if it isn’t supported. All you would need is to buy the CAN module for the rio and hook them up, unless they are hardware disabled this year. I wonder who the first team to do this will be. My money is on 111, or 330.

Here’s a good demo of the Jaguar. While it’s clear from this that we won’t use the CAN in 2009, no mention is given of the sensor support (Hall and encoders) mentioned in the press release.

I asked about this at NI Week yesterday and they said that the FPGA image will not support the CAN module, and since you aren’t legally allowed to change the image for 2009, so I guess you could do it, but it wouldn’t be worth the effort since you’d have to get rid of it for competition anyways.

I still can’t think of a good reason for disabling it. If we can’t use CAN then all these really end up being is really large Victors.

Also, since I am new to FRC, I am guessing it would be illegal to strip off the silly plastic case on these. Might help weight and size (as well as cooling!).

The only reason for disabling it is to reduce complexity since getting the new system is a huge change on its own. They wanted to finalize the FPGA image early to allow ample time for testing, and didn’t have time to include support for CAN.

So, yes, they are really large Victors, but there’s still four advantages that will apply for 2009 -

  1. lower cost than the victors
  2. better protection from metal shavings getting inside
  3. higher frequency output to eliminate the “whine” that all FIRST robots with Victors have, usually most noticable at low speed.
  4. built-in limit switch control to stop motor from going one direction or another

Yes it probably will be illegal to do that. I agree it would help weight and size because the PCB inside is at least 1/4", maybe 3/8" smaller than the plastic housing on all sides. That would add up to a lot of space savings. But it really isn’t worth the risk of getting metal shavings in because there’s no protection.

I do know they did extensive thermal testing to make sure the fan and ventilation was adequate and ran the controller well above its designed limits, and didn’t fry anything. It is designed to automatically shut off if it reaches 60A or above for more than 2 seconds. It takes a second or two to cool down, and then will turn back on.

Eh, even with that, my team will be using victors in place of these for 2009 (as far as it is allowed). I can already see the size and weight savings being beneficial.

That seems logical, assuming you already have a supply of Victors lying around. For the teams that don’t have a supply, it would be more difficult because the KOP will come with Jaguars, not Victors. They haven’t said how many, but I would guess 4 since that’s the usually number of motor controllers included. So that’s an extra $460 for 4 Victors.

I am going to wait for kickoff to make this decision to see if they are actually in the kit also how much they are each. With a ton of untested hardware this year it may be worth the extra money for victors just to know you have something that is bulletproof.

I think I must reiterate what Dave said, that FIRST hasn’t said anything about these yet. While I am sure that there is some relationship don’t get to excited or bent out of shape till you see them in your tote. Considering that they are hyping these things up without having the production cases on them yet doesn’t instill much confidence.