Programming old Innovation FIRST boards

A mentor on my team wanted to know if we could set up an old robot (2001) to run again. He told me that the hardware is still fully operational, but it needs code. I told him I would look into it, but can’t figure out the tools I would need. I had not heard of FIRST until long after we switched to the cRIOs and have very little idea where to start other than C++ so any information is appreciated. Some specific questions I have are:

Is this even remotely possible?

Does the board need to be imaged like the cRIO? If so, how would I go about doing that?

Would using the new C++ WPILib code not work on the board, or is it backwards-compatible? Will the Windriver software be supported?

It isn’t like this project is of any urgency, but I would be interested to see whether it’s possible and how it is done. Thanks for the feedback!

The WPILib is NOT supported. The pre 2009 documents and code can be found here: and here: Keep in mind, they are written in C, not C++.

This is not correct. IFI equipment from 2001 was programmed in PBASIC. The very bottom of the linked page at IFI has the tools you need to program the 2001 RC. You’ll need the PBASIC Stamp Editor to get started, and there’s lots of other good documentation there too.

Hey guys, thanks for the reply! I know how to program in C and am looking into the PBASIC. Any chance there is a way to make the 2001 robot controller work with C that anybody knows of, sort of like imaging the cRIO so you can use the updated WPILib? Or is this a hardware support issue? Sorry if my questions are obvious or poorly worded, after a couple hours of research, I’m still a little sketchy on the details. Thanks!

No way.
You can only use PBASIC with the 2001 IFI robot controller’s Basic Stamp microcontroller.
The language is hardware based.

I’m pretty sure this is a hardware support issue. In case you’re wondering, the microcontroller is a PIC 18 (either F8520 in 2004-2005 or F8722 in 2006-2008). I’m pretty foggy on details regarding the older (BASIC) controllers (this is before my team even existed, let alone my membership), but resources are available regarding that control system, and they appear to have everything you need with regard to learning about them/programming them. I do also know a thing or two about the new(er) model controllers (programmed in C).

If you need some resources on programming those © controllers, I have some links in this post that you should probably check out. You can also find lots of information about the control system (click on a certain part for more information) and the RC on IFI’s website. If you need the software to program the controllers, I have links for finding them in this post, and Kevin Watson (the guy who wrote the old FIRST libraries) has tons of resources from various years. Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to find the disc that came in the KOP a few years back that had all the software on it already.

Good luck!

Guys, please be careful. You’re responding with incorrect and/or misleading information and this is going to be confusing to the original poster.

No, it’s not a PIC. As Mark mentioned above, the user processor in the really old IFI equipment (pre-2004) is a BASIC Stamp, from Parallax, programmed in PBASIC. Also as Mark pointed out, this is a hardware thing - there’s no way to use C on those old controllers no matter what you do.

This is good info for RCs from 2004 and on. Just to clarify though, none of those links are useful for a 2001 RC (I know you qualified it by saying that it was for the C-based controllers, but I want to make sure that it is clear that this applies to 2004 RCs and later only). Kevin Watson’s stuff is great but it’s for the 2004 and later controllers; it will be no use for 2001-2003 controllers.

Sconrad, the best place for you to get everything you need is the previously-linked Innovation FIRST page. Go to the bottom and look at the resources under “FRC Documentation for 2001 - 2003”. It should have everything you need.

I understand that. I specified the years which had the PIC controllers, and they’re only 2004-2008 (read the parenthetical after what you quoted). I have no idea what’s inside the older BASIC controllers - way before my time. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding I may have caused with bad wording, but like I said, I’m far more knowledgeable about the control systems from 2004-08 than I am about the ones older that that.

Thanks for clarifying that - after rereading my post, I agree it was a little unclear about the distinctions.

This is the truth. Sorry I may have alluded otherwise.

Thanks for the info guys. I kinda figured it would be a hardware thing but I had to try. I found out they actually want that one and the 1999 robot up and operational again. But they are also talking about upgrading one or both to a more recent control system (We are getting one of the new cRIO IIs and we have a C-based IFI system from what I think is 2007). Oh well, I was kind of looking forward to messing around with PBASIC and C…

Just a sidenote, while a lot of the links referred to the C IFI system, I did find some links and info on the PBASIC controllers so I appreciate the post plnyyanks!