So, how important exactly is this? Cause we obviously missed the part about the new Radio hook-up method and setup the robot with no converter and actually used it like that for the entire season. Even at the competition because the Inspectors didn’t realize it (too busy worrying about holes that were dull but they liked to call sharp).
So what issues might stem from running the robot for so long like this?
It’s quite important.
If you do not use the protected power supply offered by the special WiFi power connection on the end of the Power Distribution Panel, then you risk a power dip.
During a deep enough power dip, all power to the standard red/black wago connections is purposely completely cut in order to insure power is protected to the cRIO & WiFi, through those special protection power connections. Each of those devices take a lot of time to recover from any power outage.
A power dip on the WiFi bridge takes a full minute to recover from.
Your robot sits dead on the field that whole time.
Do you need it for your robot to work? Not really.
Do you need it for your robot to work reliably? Very much yes.
As Mark indicated, the various electronics are designed to shut down in a specific order to attempt to keep the most imporant stuff awake through nasty droops. The radio and cRIO are top priority in this queue, but if you had it plugged into the 12->5V converter on the PD, your radio would have been one of the first devices on your robot to shut down when your power dipped.
If you had plugged it straight into the 12->12 converter, you run the risk of slowly baking your radio. Part-to-part variation means that some of the radios can handle this happily for months, while others fry much sooner.
Davis the inspectors were required to check this as it is called out on the inspection checklist under the electrical section.
____ Robot Radio – the wireless adapter must be powered via the KOP +5 volt power convertor which must be powered by the
dedicated +12 volt connector on the PD. Radio must be mounted so that it’s LEDs are visible<R38.B & R53>
Inspectors were trained to watch for this to help you play entire matches and not put your alliance partners at a disadvantage. As Mark and Eric have pointed out, it is required for reliable operation. Several teams found out the hard way when their radios burned up. While possible for one inspector to miss this, it is unlikely that every inspector who looked inside your robot could have bypassed this step in the inspection process. It is too critical to operation of the robots. I am fairly confidant it will be part of this year’s rules and inspection checklist. Please read all the rules!
I watch for the 5v LED going out on the Power Distribution Panel to confirm when a battery is really low, or is causing the regular power outputs to be cut off.