Off Season T-Shirt Robot Communication Question

Hey Everyone
My name is Colby and it is my first year as a programmer! My team is working on building an offseason T-Shirt cannon (We understand that PVC isn’t rated for pressure) We want to be able to walk around the school field and track but still control the robot. We understand that the best way would be with a laptop and joystick but we do not want to do that because then we will have to carry around a computer!! We would like to use something like an RC car/ airplane remote as the controller, but we need to connect it either directly to the Rio or to the computer and then the robot. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this it would be greatly appreciated!!!
We are using an extra Rhino Track chassis left over from stronghold as not to compromise our inventory during build season
Thanks in advance,
Colby Kusinitz

One option that keeps with your current control system would be to make a drive station that can be harnessed to the driver. A great source for this is your school’s marching band. Every few years most bands go through and get new harnesses or have to replace one or two, usually because of the mount for the drum itself. You can pretty easily modify this for a driver station. We did this a few years ago, and it turned out like this:

Another way to go about this would be to use a Cheap and Dirty control system from AndyMark where the speed controllers for the drivetrain and any other motorized subsystems are wired directly into the radio receiver.

I’m not sure how one could go about wiring the compressor/solenoid valve I assume you’re using to fire the cannon without using some janky solution.

Might look at the CTRE Hero board, and the wireless game controller option.

I have found that sometimes these projects are sometimes better built without out FRC parts, as they typically have a better chance staying whole through the FRC build season.

If you aren’t looking for a lot of different things to control, you can use AndyMark’s Quick and Dirtycontrol system. Essentially it gives you joystick control over six independent PWM signals, which can be motor controllers or servos. If you’re doing skid steer drive, you can use a Y cable and still have four servos left. They even have a couple of mixers if you decide to go mecanum or kiwi.

Edit: sniped by

You could rig a servo to activate a quarter turn valve, or to close a switch, or feed the PWM to a DIO on an arduino or such.

It could be controlled by an xbox or similar game controller and a netbook (Classmate) sized laptop (closed but not asleep) carried in a backpack.
I agree with Scott on safeguarding the robot from having FRC parts “borrowed” during the heat of build season.

I have looked into the cheap and dirty robot control system but I don’t fully understand how it works…does it get wired into the RIO or just to the motors them selves?

We are using our extra Rhino Track chassis left over from stronghold!!

The AM control system is a simple RC car-like setup that bypasses any RIO and signals the motor controllers directly.
Since you are using an exiting drive train most of that AM set would be unnecessary, e.g., power distribution and motor controllers.
The basic transmitter/receiver set runs around $50 or $60.

No RIO required. The robot side unit has a radio and a microcontroller that generates 6 PWM signals, each of which reflects the state of one of the 6 joysticks on the handheld. As far as I can tell (I’ve never used it myself), it’s that simple. Just plug the left and right motor controllers into the PWM outputs corresponding to up and down on the two joystick controllers on the handheld, apply power, and you’re driving tank mode.