Roborio cuts communication every couple of seconds?


We are having trouble getting a stable connection with the Rio through the driver station. Every couple of seconds, we lose connection for a split second. We know this because the speed controllers flash to the neutral, the router communication LED that typically flashes for connectivity goes solid, the mode light on the RoboRio goes off, the PCM changes to green status to yellow.

We also see a packet loss in the driver station charts. All of which last at most a fraction of a second. This is noticeable by our compressor starting and stopping frequently.

We have tried the following:

  • Different computer
  • Swapped out radio power cable to the KoP one
  • Changed the PCM
  • Double checked the VRM power leads
  • Power cycling

We have not officially experienced a brownout because we don’t see that the Rio went from green power light to amber light. Plus our logs do not show any brownouts.

We are running on the Rio firmware version 3.0 and image 2016rev19. The radio is from the KoP and has been imaged. We are in the process of reflashing it.

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome! Thanks!

Do you have any Autodesk products installed?

When you troubleshoot, you should incrementally remove possible problems from the system.

For instance - first step would be to unplug the radio and tether directly to the roborio. That will either confirm or rule out the radio.

Packet loss will cause the issues you are seeing. Trying bypassing the radio. If it turns out the radio IS the cause, I would log into the radio and manually force it to a channel at the opposite end of what it’s using right now.

Also, please confirm you have a the radio on the robot secured with a password. Other computers and phones randomly connecting to it can sometimes cause this issue as well.

I would like to say that it WAS AutoDesk. So let it be known that if you are having issues, just make sure you do not have AutoDesk installed or updating. Thanks!

Good to know you fixed the issue. We were having the same problem in the offseason. For anyone wondering, the periodic packet loss is caused by the Autodesk Update Service, and stopping it fixed the communication issues we were having. Cheers!

Our team has had a similar issue with robot communication during demos at sports games. Because there were so many Wifi networks in the arena, the interference caused our router to lose connection.

I would recommend getting a smartphone app to scan for Wifi networks, and pay attention the the channels that seem to be full on networks, and choose a channel for your router that isn’t seen in many other networks. It’s also a good idea to hide and password-protect the network to prevent unsuspecting free Wifi hunters from connecting to it.

We solved the problem ourselves by completely redesigning the control system to use a custom 5.8ghz non-wifi transport, but that’s a bit beyond the scope of this post.

Working as the Mentor for 4480 - The specific program that is causing the blockage (Since we removed the Autodesk programs from the laptop) is the Akamai Netsession program. This is a background downloader that Autodesk used. If you go into the netsession interface you can then disable background downloads (which we just did) and have now uninterrupted service with no packet loss.

If you are still running into the packet loss after removing autodesk, check for this program! It was the one causing our grief!