Spark Controller, Programming Help!

We have some of the Spark Motor Controller (the new batch from Rev) and have run into problems getting the robot to go.

Currently, the lights are solid blue when the robot is enabled. When the joystick is moved, the lights are either solid green (when pushed in one direction) or flashing red (when pushed in the opposite direction). And no motor movement.

We’ve checked the wiring - it’s done according to the instructions.

Thoughts?

We have had similar issues… make sure you are running firmware 1.5.2. After you apply the firmware I would make sure to power down and then back up. Also, set the Amp limits while you are there… we use 20A for 550s and 40A for NEOs.

These are sparks, not spark maxes. Can the firmware be updated on these?

Ah sorry. No clue.

Please send some photos of your wiring. Do you have the ability to measure the output voltage of the SPARK when it is either Green or Red?

I might could figure out how to measure voltage…

It’s hard to tell without being able to see the complete wiring path from the SPARK to the motors, but I suspect there is a bad crimp somewhere.

I only recommend this because I’ve seen it before on my own team: make sure that the wires were stripped before the yellow ring terminals were crimped on.

Would that make motors on both sides not respond? Neither side moves at all.

The fact that you’re seeing Solid Green means the SPARK is getting a valid “forward” signal and it should be giving 100% output to the motor. This rules out issues upstream of the SPARK. Off the top of my head, the following issues could show the same “motor not spinning” symptom:

  • Bad electrical connections to the motors.
  • Damaged motors.
  • Mechanical issues that are preventing the motors from spinning.
    • Look at the driver station logs and see if either of these channels are drawing current when Solid Green.
  • Low battery voltage.
    • Low enough to power the roboRIO and SPARKs but not high enough to spin the motor.
  • A severe internal issue with the motor controller.
    • If operating correctly, you should see close to the same voltage as your battery when you measure the voltage across the motor screw terminals when it is showing Solid Green.

Found the problem and it is indeed mechanical. We used some new wire connectors this year and apparently they aren’t in there correctly. It’s easy to overlook things that are obviously correct…

Thank you for your assistance - we’ve spent a couple of very frustrating days isolating this problem and your input helped!

No problem! Glad you figured it out.

Competitions are just around the corner, good luck!