pic: 2009 Distribution Block

While in the pits, I snapped some shots of the new power distribution block. It’s pretty snazzy, I must admit.

ok so as I understand it the small, apparently unused white box thing mid left is the new and improved version of the clunky large thing on top? to clarify, will we still have to fit that giant thing on top on our robot?

I think this distro block system so much better than the current

Power distribution + 20A fuse block + 40A fuse block

And, I like the way the wires connect in, less crimps/terminals the better

No. the long white breakout board at the top of the picture is just the 1st generation prototype of the FPGA/ Digital Sidecar and will not be in the 2009 KOP. The smaller board on the left is the 2nd generation Digital Sidecar and is similar to what will be in the KOP. Teams will probably be allowed to use two Digital Sidecars on their 'bots. The only reason why we used the larger board on this robot was that the smaller board didn’t have a working firmware image when the 'bot was crated up for ATL.
The large PDB in the center of the picture will be included in the KOP, but as pufame said, it simplifies the power electronics system hugely.

My thoughts on it are this:

I like it, but I don’t want my connections rattling loose. Also, 8 40A terminals… could FIRST be planning to let us use more big powerful motors? Otherwise, we have no need for >4 40A circuits.

If you think your connections are going to rattle loose, you have another think coming.

Well, we were by no means the only team that had the current PDB continually throw wires on us, though for 2008 we came up with a way to make it literally impossible for the wires to come out of it.

The connections on the new PD are nothing like the ones on the rockwell block - they are not set screw terminals but rather Wago terminal blocks. They are hard to describe - but essentially you stick a screwdriver in and lift to make a place for the wire to go, and then it springs into locked position when you remove the screwdriver. I don’t know the exact spec but after playing with them I would imagine you can pull with 50+ lbs of force on a 12ga wire and not have it come out.

It’s been a possibility in the past; consider 2006 or 2007, where we had four small CIMs, two large CIMs, and two Fisher-Price motors.

EricVanWyk has said in another thread on this subject that he pulled a robot sideways by a wire in the block. Good news for all teams that had problems with the Rockwell block, I think.

Indeed Eric, I mistakenly thought these were screw type terminals. That makes me happier. No particular offense to Rockwell as some of their products are excellent, but those blocks were simply not designed for use on something that moves.

I agree. This is a much better system than the distribution block + 2 fuse panels. It may or may not make your space more efficient. I’m not sure yet.

this is one of the features that i am most looking foreward to in the new control system, this is circa 2005 when IFI created something very similar to this. I think it had 6 40A sports and something like 20 slots for 20-30A, it was amazing and i was sad when they took it away. I HATE the Din block that we have now, i could never seem to get the wires to stay in there, and in 2007 actaully shorted the block and melted it. Now that FISRT does not have to please MAXI with that seperate 40A panel, this will really help to centralize everything on you robot, once again EVERYTHING can come into the same place, good work first!

(upper portion of the picture)


Again, just because I can do it doesn’t mean that you should do it. :wink: Its like throwing the cRIOs - Will they survive? Yes. Should you do it? No.

There is plenty next years RC and electronics can do that I think will probably be limited by rules at FIRST. Sure we have access to ridiculous amount of input/outputs and 8 40amp fuses but it is likely the rules will limit us the next few years. It is obvious they wanted to design a system they could scale up to.

There are few things that will make me happier than the removal of the current block from the KOP. I’ve had a wire come out and kill my robot or part of it at least three or four times (including one match at this year’s Championships) since that part was introduced. All I have to say is, good bye, and good riddance!

I’m also a big fan of having a consolidated block for all power distribution. The old IFI block from 2005 was one of my favorite KOP additions, and I was very sad to see it replaced with (IMO) inferior components in recent years. Good to see that FIRST is developing a much more robust power block for 2009.

There goes an idea for an icebreaker game. Tossing the cRio around and saying your name and favorite movie will have to get replaced with something else.