No Discount on Jaguar Controllers

I know this was discussed a couple of months ago, but just to repeat and clarify for everyone, I just confirmed with Digi-Key that the discount FRC price of $73.33 for Jaguar controllers is no longer in effect, and that orders will appear at the standard $109 price.

This order screen for the discounted price is still active
http://ordering.digikey.com/Promotions/FirstRoboticsCompetition.aspx
and still states the $73.33 price, but when you place an order it will come up as $109. I talked with them on the phone, and they seemed a bit surprised that the promotion was still listed, and I seemed to be the first one who had inquired about it. I warned them that the link to the promotion has been widely shared and the $73.33 widely discussed in the FRC community, so they will likely be getting many more questions about it.

Evidently has something to do with Luminary being sold (to TI?) and that a discount had not been negotiated with the new supplier. She speculated that a discount might be established for the 2010 season, but didn’t know if it would. We were ordering them for some prototype work, but if you don’t really need your Jaguars early, I would suggest waiting to see if a discount is arranged at some later date. No prediction that it will.

Chime in if anyone has a different experience or any other information.

You might want to hold off purchasing anything until official plans are released for CAN and the new Jaguars. See http://forums.usfirst.org/showthread.php?t=12983 and http://forums.usfirst.org/showthread.php?t=13313

The previous thead on this is here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78097

We are assuming that since the rookie KOP includes 4 Jags and the veteran KOP only 2, they will be functionally identicle to last year. Perhaps the reason for the $109 price and the end of the $73 discount is because they will now be shipping the TI-label Black Jag. We’ll let you know what we recieve (only ordered one).

I have been through this with Digikey as well. Their first response was that I should note the discount in order notes. Alas when I did that a sales rep called me at 6:00AM to inform me that the promotional price had ended on July 21st.
Word about termination of the promotional pricing has not reached all of Digikey’s sales staff.

Also Digikey lists 4100 more Jaguars in stock than they listed last week. I suspect that any further decisions will be related to firmware. I am hopeful that the FRC pricing is coming back.

I wonder how replacement is going to work now? We had a Jaguar go wonky in an exhibition a week ago…would be nice to get another one.

Howdy!

As you probably know by now, we were acquired by Texas Instruments on May 15, 2009. Therefore, all the distribution arrangements we had with Digi-Key (and all our other distributors) have gone through a “recalibration” to conform to the long-standing TI arrangements with TI distributors. This means that we temporarily had to put the program on hold. That said, we plan to offer a promotional discount again to FRC teams, so stay tuned for details. For those that remember me from last season, you hopefully can count on me to provide the most up-to-date information on the forums.

Expected launch date for Black Jag is late December.

Scott

Thanks Scott…and certainly many of us DO remember you.
Your information, equipment and attitude should not go un-noticed.
Thanks for the update on the Black (actually green) Jag.

Thanks again for all you and Luminary has done for FIRST…
Now its refreshing to see TI step up too!!

If the company was bought out the discount getting removed wouldn’t surprise me. It’s likely that FIRST will have to renegotiate such things. Personally, considering the reliability (or lack thereof) of the Jags, I hope that the Veteran and Rookie get the same number of them.

We’ve had all 6 of our Jaguars (the 4 we started with and 2 replacements) blow out/stop working, we eventually got fed up with it and switched back to Victors which have never given us any problems (In my 5+ years in FIRST, I think we’ve only blown a Victor once, probably due to debris falling in it at that). ::ouch::

The Digi-Key sales rep told me today that my order for a Jag is backordered. Said their expected recieve date was 11/5/09 so they are late, but they expect them any day. Not sure how this jives with your information of 4100 in stock. It would seem the transition with ownership, design, and pricing of Jags is somewhat in flux right now. Hopefully the pipeline and pricing will all be straightened out soon. We needed this one now for prototyping, but will certainly hold off on any others.

How will the new jags differ from old jags? Is there going to be a way to update the firmware on old ones or is there a hardware change?

I have 14 unused jags that we bought last year and decided because of reliability issues to stick with victors. If your team needs any now let me know…

I love the jag’s, however the failure rate leaves me concerned for the 2010 season. Could some one from the company confirm that the hardware has changed to address this issue.

We have had zero Jag failures and none of the other 6 teams in the Mid-Willamette Valley have reported failure. Maybe it’s operator difficulty?

We had 2 Jag failures last year. One was during competition, right after we took a side hit the Jag didn’t work. The other just stopped working during build season while we were testing. Everything was wired, connected and working before they stopped working.

I"m pretty sure most failures are not operator error…and if they are, that is just further evidence that the part should have a more robust design.

The Black Jaguar currently undergoing beta testing has many hardware improvements over the 2009 version. We should begin to hear from the teams testing these components soon.

Here is the link to the Microluminary page listing stock, This also reflects the Digikey stock numbers. Unfortunately
no one checked my time table prior to scheduling production. And just as unfortunately this is all coming out of my pocket. (Rookie team = ^<$0)

I agree with Bob Steel’s comment and would add that Micro Luminary has done a great job in getting FRC teams a improve motor controller at a improved price.
A really neat addition would be to involve teams that have experienced failures in the process of determining what caused the failures and testing improved versions on the platform where the failure occurred.

Scott,

We’re happy to hear that you’re still on the team! We look forward to working with Lum…Texas Instruments!

We also had a Jag failure after a hard side hit, going into the second match of quarterfinals. Caused a domino effect of problems and we lost the round. We are reluctant to buy an old version at a high price now, but we need it for low speed control on our current project. We will welcome any revisions that improve the robustness of these units.

Hello again,

I absolutely love the passion on Chief Delphi. As most the mentors know, as long as passion is directed, patient, controlled, and utilized for the betterment of the whole, that passion will make you very successful in whatever it is you are passionate about.

Just in case you missed my posts last season, we did not ignore the fact that teams were reporting failures on Chief Delphi - hence, my repeated (almost annoying) failure updates and requests for teams to send us failed units (on our dime), shipping next day replacements, following up personally with teams that were reporting a failure on Chief Delphi but did not turn in units for FA, and sending out a Luminary Micro engineer to most every regional event (and championships) to personally check on teams, gather experience, and perform on-the-spot RMAs - most of the time, regardless of how the unit failed. I, like a lot of people, was expecting the failure rate to be horrid based on the posts I was seeing on Chief Delphi. When all was said and done, we published a report the week before Championships in order to convey our findings. (here is that thread again for your reference - with Jaguar FA report). Summary/Conclusion:

  • 131 of the 136 returned units are legitimate failures.
  • The total validated failure rate for MDL-BDC is 1.4% of all units sold.
  • The most common issue reported was a loss of control in the forward direction (representing over 40% of all specific failure reports).
  • Failure analysis of all units concluded that over 70% of units returned for examination exhibited a failure of the U6 and/or U7 gate driver, sometimes in addition to other components.
  • The probable cause of the gate driver(s) failure can be attributed to a variety of factors, including inadvertent misuse (such as temporarily mis-wiring the MDL-BDC Jaguar unit or accidental swarf causing a short) and potential ESD vulnerability of the MDL-BDC design.

Some notables not included in the report was our own personal visual check on which teams were using Jaguars on their robot. Over 80% of teams across all regional and championship events were using either ALL Jaguars or were using a hybrid of Victor/Jaguar. This is important because it lessens the argument that our numbers were extremely skewed because “most teams didn’t use their Jags”. (not true, actually)

At Championships (even after submitting the report), we set up both in the pits and on the mezzanine to gather more data and more failed Jags to see if failures were consistent with what we were seeing. I brought over 100 replacement Jaguars in case there was a chance that our data was bad. (I really DO want you to be successful and I want to position you for the best chance at success - which are facts that one can sometimes lose when one experiences a failure). We did replace some more units, but several teams admitted that units being returned were due to their own fault. No problem - this was championships, so if I am at Champs and you experience a Jag failure - I am going to make sure you are equipped to compete.

All told - post champs, our failure rate was much less than 2% - which includes several misused Jaguars that we replaced onsite at Regional and Chmpionship events.

So, if right about now you are thinking that I am defending rather than learning, you’d be wrong. :cool: As an engineer myself (yeah, imagine that - an engineer and a collegiate linebacker… and unless you are incredibly talented to make lots of money in sports, trust Dean - I am much happier/successful as a engineer than an aging, injured pro athlete - I digress)… as an engineer myself, we have taken all of our learnings and applied them to Black Jaguar. We’ve bumped suspect components (and replaced with TI Analog!), we’ve redesigned to improve ESD, we’ve changed CMs, we’ve added some new features that might be incorporated in FRC :yikes:, and we’ve finally taken your advice that you didn’t like our Pantone corporate grey color - and rebranded/shot with TI Black and Red (like I had a choice…). To specifically address that sw question I saw, we even added a way to use Black Jag to update firmware on Black and Grey Jags. So, even though I am personally glad that the failure rate seemed higher than it really was, the entire “Luminary Micro” team made a commitment to FIRST to improve the design - based on all the great feedback, returned units, and design recommendations that we received from the FRC network of engineers.

Looking forward to another successful FRC season, and I’ll be about to keep you informed.

Regards,
Scott

Scott,

First, thank you.

Second, just to put some perspective on these numbers, what is the industry standard for part failure? I know manufacturing can sometimes expect up to 25% of a part to be out of tolerance but I don’t have much experience in production of electronics so I have no clue here.

Now, my disclaimer. 397 did not use Jaguars this year so I can’t comment on their reliability.

Once again, thank you for supporting your product, I hope you are enjoying your induction into FIRST. You will never get out again :slight_smile: