I have to jump in here-
during build season our team had horrible issues with static frying the ethernet ports on our driver stations. We had hooked up the cRIO on an old drive base and used it for programming while the competition robot was in the shop. We have ALWAYS had static charge accumulation on our chassis from our large rubber wheels running on carpet to the point where we would drag a grounding strip below most of our machines (with a sign that says “if you can read this we are screwed”)
What we found was that even if we grounded the driver station to the nth degree if we tethered the robot to the station to dump code it would wipe out the ethernet port. We did this twice in the build season and Andymark graciously did a quick resupply of components for us.
Our solution to programming once we determined the problem was to dump our code remotely and we simply had no more problems with the driver station.
That is until NJ…
Obviously you cannot program remotely in the pits at the event. Therefore we were required to tether the robot. Almost immediately driver station issues began and we solved them by adding a switch in the line between the driver station and the robot. Doing that prevents the driver station destruction but we already have blasted one of the ports in the 5 port switch.
During calibration of the camera on the field we also had a driver station power supply blow out for no apparent reason and only a trip to Radio Shack and $30 was able to fix it. (there aren’t resupplies in the pit area or on the Andymark page!)
Those at NJ may have noticed that our pit is fanatical about static charge now. We wear Static Guard like cologne. Nobody touches the robot or controls without a ground discharge procedure. But there are times when connection between the robot and the driver station is necessary and at those times we keep our fingers crossed and a new driver station ready.
But perhaps what is the most frustrating of all is the response we keep getting from FIRST - " OH we haven’t heard of any problems" . I’m sorry but I hear a roar of problems when I talk to teams and I am not making this all up.
All we want is a control system with the reliability we have had in the past. I like the cRIO unit well enough. It is the peripheral parts that seem to be “less than satisfactory”. And it would have been nice to have as greater degree of testing and ready support for this system before were received it in the AS WAS state it went out in.