Some insight into 2009 game rules

I just downloaded Luminary Micro’s “getting started guide” for First teams, and found some info about the rules. Teams will not be allowed to use the CAN bus features of the Jaguars in 2009. So, even if you are a CAN bus genius and want to start right away, you won’t be allowed to do so this year. Luminary recommends covering the CAN bus connectors with electrical tape.

Just wanted to prevent a team from wasting resources implementing a solution that will be disallowed.

That means we can use tape?

The use of electrical tape for insulating purposes has, to the best of my knowledge, always been allowed.

and ONLY for that purpose!

It’s less so that it will be disallowed, but rather that the features won’t actually be enabled.

And for labeling purposes.

the only thing they don’t like is tape for the structure- it looks tacky and eventually falls off. We used it for numbering the front of our robot last year.

and for changing surface textures

And for taping programmers to chairs until autonomous works fine.

I was just pointing out what the guide said:

“FIRST® has specified the Jaguar (MDL-BDC) module for FRC 2009 and beyond. Therefore, Jaguar (MDL-BDC) contains some unused (and not permitted for use) features for FRC 2009, such as Controller Area Network, Analog Input, and Quadrature Encoder Input. How and when these additional features might be used in FRC 2010 and beyond will be disclosed at the sole discretion of FIRST®.”


“Q Since we are not permitted to use the CAN connectors for the 2009 competition season, what should we do with them?
A We recommend putting electrical tape over the top of the connectors to prevent debris from getting into the connector. Be careful not to cover the vent slots on the side of the Jaguar plastics when putting the tape in place. Two short 1” segments should be enough to cover the connectors while not obstructing the air flow venting, the status
LED, or the PWM connector."

It doesn’t say they are disabled, just unused and not permitted for use.

But only if the product is not called “tape” on the packaging.

That was true for 2007 but not true for 2008. In the 2008 rules it no longer mattered what labeling the product came with.

…and covering unused electrical pins qualified in 2008 as “electrical insulator”

2009 rules may vary however… stay tuned for just under 18 days…

When I included that recommendation in the getting started guide the intent was to protect the unused connectors from debris that would short the pins and potentially cause the unit to misbehave. Accordingly. I believe it is within the letter and spirit of the 2008 rules. If this year’s rules prohibit the use of electrical tape for insulating purposes, another recommendation will be made.

For the team I mentor, we’ll likely put a dummy RJ14 connector in both NET connectors on the Jaguar and cover with tape. The dummy RJ14s are to assure pin alignment, and the tape to insulate the connector from conductive debris. We’ll likely put a dummy header on the ANA and ENC interfaces too and cover with tape.

As far as I am aware, FIRST made it public that only the servo/PWM connector would be used on the Jaguars this year. Chris Jennings did a presentation at IRI that preceded the publication of the getting started guide.

If any team has thoughts of using an NI CAN module to get at the forthcoming features… I am not sure how you’ll be able to do this given that there isn’t any slot dedicated to this particular module because there isn’t any support in the cRIO FPGA, and I recall FIRST saying at the introduction of the new control system at last year’s Championships that the FPGA is not available for modification this year.

It is not tape. It’s a pressure sensitive adhesive coated polymer film. It can be marked with a handheld manual transcribing device. If that does not work, use a bigger handheld velocity enhanced manual impact device.

It must take marketing people hours to come up with these names so they can charge the government 100x what it cost us to buy it in a hardware store.

we used tape last year. We had a bit of an accident on a field and our panels like blew up. We taped them back together and they allowed it. I think you just cant use tape on some functional part of the robot…