pic: SPARK

The Average Joes ordered four SPARKs for testing in our off-season project robot. They performed well today in our first tests, replacing Talons and Victor 888s that we have used before. The drive train is a 4" AM mecanum set up, seen here.

What are the advantages of this as opposed to a talon or victor?

Mainly just that they are $45 as opposed to $60 or $90. And they have more flashy lights.

I’ll take 20

My team likes the flashy lights. Especially the range of colors, which indicate whether the controller is set for BRAKE or COAST mode.

Test data made available by CTRE indicates a bit less maximum motor voltage available with the SPARK, when compared to Talons or Victors. I am not sure whether that is due to differences in on-state resistance of the FETs (Rds_on), or modulation depth, or something else.

We plan to test SPARKs at the Whirlpool motor lab soon, by the method(s) Ether developed a while ago. Will post what we find.

edit: @JPBlacksmiths (below) – we have not seen performance differences when testing SPARKs in our test drive train (see OP). Will have to wait for bench test results before commenting on component level differences.

Is there any performance differences?

We just bought 4 sparks. Now we have 4 sparks and 4 victor sps for the season. Motor controllers check.

I’ll add that they’re cheaper, have a PWM cable retention (though I need to see it work in person to have faith in it) AND they still have an easy to use limit switch input. Limit switches are a very easy way for teams to improve their robot functionality/robustness in my opinion. It looks like the SPARK has a slight advantage over the talon in its ease of use for the limit switch sensor input since it appears you could plug a PWM cable. Many teams have PWM cables laying around and could rig it up to a limit switch. The talons require a little bit more forethought to use the limit switch, either in the adapter specifically made for it or in having a 2x5.05" header which aren’t used much in FRC elsewhere.

Based what I saw from the CTRE testing, I plan on using victors for drivetrain, talon SRX’s for any manipulators that require encoder feedback or are pushing motor capabilities, and SPARKs for anything else (things such as intake wheels). Looking forward to 3620s test results to see if I want to stick with that plan or not

Furthermore, they’re available on Amazon Prime…

2468 retrofitted our 2014 robot with Sparks; a quick and simple swap for the Talon SR. These were powering the CIMs of the drive (dual CIM VEX ball shifters). No notable problems with the students driving it “hard” and no noticeable change in driver response.


I did notice a behavioral quirk of our students… when we have a new robot and we don’t want them to over stress things too much they typically do… and when you have new-to-us motor controllers that you do want them to abuse, they don’t. Weird. :smiley:

Nice ! no shipping costs
I hope more of the Robotics parts become available on Amazon

From Small Parts to Amazon… we’ve come full circle.

Motor controller breaks on practice day? Don’t worry you can overnight a new one.

Does anyone know if these will be made available to international teams? Specifically Canada? I went on amazon and their only offering shipping to the states at the moment.

We are working on options for International teams right now, and will have something to announce very soon. If you want you can email us at contact [at] REVrobotics [dot] com and we will send you information when it is available.



Does it overheat more than previous motor controllers?


We are considering ordering these. Our team programs in C++. Is there anything different needed programming wise to use this type of motor controller as opposed to a talon.

Talon SR? No. Talon SRX? Yes.

Also same to program (basically) as Victor 888, Victor SP, or PWM Jaguar.

Which version? (Talon, Talon SR, Talon SRX)