Should Falcon 500s be banned as a non COTS part

So unless you are a high resource team, you probably don’t have a lot of chance to get Falcon 500s for the upcoming 2023 season. None of the places we can use a PO will even accept backorders.
I am thinking we will need to go for NEOs just to be safe. That means the teams that already have falcons will have faster drive trains. It seems like a pretty big bump in the level playing field.
I know this is flame bait, and for that I apologize. I am looking for ways to make it fair for everybody. Because it would suck to have gone all in on Falcons if this were to happen.

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Sounds like we need to also ban PDH, since that enables swerve teams with the # of 40a slots and give them a competitive edge and it’s been OOS for awhile…

Short answer: No. It is what it is.


I thought this was going to be another Falcon quality thread about how much you had to disassemble and reassemble them so they weren’t COTS anymore.

Have you contacted any of the vendors about availability and if they’re expecting a new shipment before build season? It’s pretty common for suppliers to be OOS this time of year, like Daltz3 mentioned about the PDH, but I believe we can expect more PDHs later this fall. There’s still 3.5 months before the season starts.

Ban all the motors!


I think there should be a “Brushless CIM Limit” next season, but outright banning what was the most popular motor option with 3 month’s notice sounds like it’ll create more problems than it solves.


I get it. I really do. My team hasn’t so much as touched Falcons due to the supply chain issues.

First, Falcons are not that much more powerful than NEOs. The limiting factor is our batteries. I promise you, your robot will not be at a power disadvantage because of NEOs.

Second, if this were to happen, what happens to lower resource teams that happened to buy into falcons when they were cheaper and available?

This would hurt far more than it would help across the board.


Motor limits benefit the teams with the manufacturing capabilities to make more complicated power take off mechanisms. As much as I feel the unfairness of the system I am not sure there are good answers to the problem.

I know we were wanting to keep this years bot together to something to prototype on for next year but it looks like we won’t have the motors or swerve mods to do that. That problem is smallest violin bait compared to the difficulty of starting a new team during this chip supply crunch with additional restrictions of a lower budget team to boot. I definitely sympathize with Brian.


Clearly if we want to use motors with an integrated ESC we should switch to Venoms.


The Falcon and the NEO have nearly identical performance given the battery limitations. There’s no real fairness concern here, I don’t think.


From page 87 of this past season’s manual:

Items that are no longer commercially available but are functionally equivalent to the original condition as delivered from the VENDOR are considered COTS and may be used.

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This also seems like a rule that would be extremely frustrating at this point in the preseason. Our team has all the Neos purchased that we intend to use for the season. If there were new constraints, we would need to find a new encoder and motor solution which is going to reduce the overall supply, and given the shortage, this isn’t great for everyone overall. I’d hope something like that would have been announce well in advance to not discourage teams trying to plan ahead.


You don’t need a Falcon to be competitive. NEOs, NEO 550s, CIM, MiniCIM etc are all viable motors and you can be insanely competitive with all of them. I don’t know if there’s an application where someone used a NEO and I went “hm if they just used a Falcon it would be a difference maker” in terms of power.

Note: We did go all-Falcon in 2022. However I don’t think a Falcon vs a NEO made a difference in our competitiveness in either the positive or negative direction


For a while I thought that there should/could be ways to add restrictions on things to make the competitions “fair.” But mine eyes have seen the glory of how high resource teams really operate and I came to the realization that many of you were already arguing: restrictions don’t hurt the high resource teams, but do hurt low/mid resource teams more often than not.

I’m sure there is a case where a restriction/ban might make things more fair. But my instinct now is to dismiss any call for more restrictions or banning of anything.


The thing is, brushed CIM and miniCIM motors still exist, and every team has boxes full of motor controllers for them. Stock of these aren’t being limited. My hope is that this would encourage teams that have built up a stockpile to loan out their spare motors to other teams, more evenly distributing them across the board.

Or Nidecs! Assuming they don’t count as CIMs - they do have the shaft and bolt circle…

This is also a good point - I think I initially floated this idea in June, which would have been a much more reasonable time to announce a change like this. At the same time, I would expect this to be a temporary rule, so your motors would still be usable when it’s lifted.

I don’t really know how to say this, but someone’s getting screwed over no matter what. I’m not sure the teams getting screwed over next year should be the ones who weren’t able to buy a horde of NEOs and Falcons before stock dropped and prices skyrocketed.

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NEOs are fine, id say any highly competitive team would be able to make so with either, at 40As you are talking about 30W of power over a NEO (400 vs 370) and at 30A, 20A, 10As and below its even less at 9W, 1W, 2W respectively.

This is per VexPro’s website Falcon 500 - VEXpro - VEX Robotics

As for driving “faster” this can easily be adjusted by using a smaller gear reduction on the NEO to achieve the same output speed.


I don’t think high/low resource has much to do with it. There are massive supply chain disruptions that are affecting our entire world right now. High resource teams are just as affected by this as anyone else.

I’m not convinced this is true. Once you apply current limits, the Falcon 500 and NEO motors are pretty similar in terms of performance. The peak power of the Falcon of 783W shown on the VEX motor test page is at 130A. Once you apply a 40A limit to the motor, that power comes down to ~380W (as shown in the constant current test results on the lower part of that page). The NEO’s peak power of 500W is at 91A. At 40A, as shown in the constant current testing at the bottom of the page, this power becomes ~375W. So the difference is quite a bit smaller than the nameplate numbers would indicate. Since the peak power speed of the NEO is a bit lower than the Falcon, then for this current limited 40A test, the NEO actually producing more torque.

I agree that the NEO and Falcon motors provide a significant performance improvement over CIM or MiniCIM brushed motors on a motor for motor basis. But the difference between the NEO and Falcon motors is really quire small and both motors will provide very similar performance and “drivetrain speed”.


You guys are using current limits?



This can happen, but I don’t think it is as straightforward as you think. PTOs are a huge design tradeoff that eliminate a lot of good options (like most COTS swerves…), and a lot of mechanisms are using brushless motors now that don’t outright need to (things like intake rollers or turret rotation motors and the like) which would likely not be PTOed. It’s probably a net disadvantage to high resource teams.

Not saying there should be a motor limit, just that unlike a lot of restrictions, it’s not an outright gift to high resource teams. It takes a lot of work and design tradeoffs to circumvent a brushless motor limit with a PTO, particularly if all the old brushed motors remain unrestricted.


I would imagine some high resource teams were able to stock up a lot more on Falcons when they were available and currently have a lot more on hand.

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This is posted based on a lot of experience as a CSA:

If you want a level playing field make sure your: wires are secure, your motor wires are as short as reasonable, your connections made well, and your mechanical designs are sound.

I don’t really think your big competitive advantage is going to be what you can buy. Not based on 20+ years of FRC. You can fail to assemble a kit of goods and use it properly, just as well as you can fail to design the kit of goods someone else will fail to use properly.

If you can buy luck, please share with others :wink:.

I mean: go watch the movie “Real Steel”, lol.


I certainly appreciate all the Jaguar ESC I bought from FRC teams on eBay during the summer.

I wonder how many people realized it was often the same buyer gobbling them up and tinkering in my basement with them on non-FRC projects. Sure some were a bit worse for wear, but I never asked for returns because that way they keep their money to compete.

I built my robots before FIRST from junk and junk yards. FIRST has just given me a new source for parts.

I have to run along to my lathe powered by a used DC treadmill motor.