What to do with old CIMs

Hello all,

My team uses my garage as “long term storage” because our school closet it rather small.

I’m cleaning out my garage and we have a lot of old CIMs. I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. What do other people do to get rid of old CIMs out of their garages?


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Besides using them on prototypes, they make for decent ballast if you secure them properly.


There’s a lot of copper in there. I took ours to Atlas Metal Recycling, along with our scrap aluminum and old frames. You might have a similar company near your team.


See if Playing with Fusion will buy them for conversion to Venoms.


I always find value in holding onto a few. Whether for prototyping or a demo robot, there is joy in being able to throw a durable motor at the job you just don’t care about at all. Or maybe put a fan on it if you want a little more longevity.

Past that though, I agree they’re no longer relevant for FRC and should be valued at “what can we get on eBay” or scrap.


Contact your local Program Delivery Partner and arrange to donate them and any old brushed motor controllers to some rookie and “perpetual rookie” teams in your area.


Give them to any current student, mentor, or alumnus who likes building crazy drivetrains like this one.
I have several projects on the backburner (mostly on the backburner cuz time restrictions and I don’t have welding facilities easily available) that would benefit immensely especially on my wallet to get a cheap or free CIM.
(The main reason I’m not actively CIM shopping is that I have mainly 48v batteries not 12v batteries but that’s a different story)


Ask around if someone wants them. Then sell to a scraper, but keep a few just in case. I know that some other teams in the Fim area will take them or look into local Ri3D teams. I know Purdue’s Ri3D is asking some teams if they can donate some stuff to help start off Purdue’s Ri3D first year.

We liked to keep cims because we can connect them to batteries directly for testing unless brushless motors. It’s kinda nice to have a couple for quick and dirty prototypes.


TLDR: There are a multitude of things that CIMs and MiniCIMs are perfectly well suited for that can provide fun learning opportunities for students.

Sounds like it is time for a motor heavy off-season project!
Make a motor powered catapult that can throw tshirts or ball pit balls or whatever you want to use as giveaways.
Make a defense bot (with bumpers of course) to use for driver practice.
Make a pit that unfolds itself. My former team’s pit (343) telescopes upward and when they get to an event they plug in a battery and flip a switch to drive the top of the pit up on threaded rods (should be lead screws but like many things the “prototype” became the final form). It was a fun project in the offseason and a really cool result for continued use.
Work with a local organization for people with disabilities to create or repair low cost mobility devices.

Other ideas that I have heard but never seen:
Robot cart with powered lift for those times you need to work on the bottom of the robot
Motorized cart(s) to transport robot/pit materials, this has many safety concerns/considerations, whole other discussion (of which I’m pretty sure there is at least one existing thread)
Find a local super low budget team and donate those motors to them. CIMs may not be competitive at high levels of FRC anymore but if they get kids building robots then they are totally worth using.

Make the 2007 118 swerve drive


I would tend to disagree. It is significantly cheaper and easier to get a simple PWM controller and a CIM, or even oldstock CIM, and run a relatively low-speed, low torque mechanism, compared to buying a Spark MAX and NEO[550] (or, God forbid, a Falcon) for upwards of $150 or even $200.

For some of these applications, a MiniCIM or BAG might make more sense, but either way these brushed motors aren’t irrelevant. I mean, take a look at the 775–it’s still widely used today because of how fast it rotates.


For any team with a sufficient quantity of of brushless motors, CIM motors are not relevant. For any mechanism, a CIM requires 2.8lbs while a NEO[550] or falcon will get you more power output, a built-in encoder, and be significantly more power efficient than CIM motors. The battery and weight tend to be major limiting factor on FRC robots.

Being an alumni of the team in question, we have enough brushless motors for more than one robot and have an excess, like 20+ CIMs we need to get rid of and are wasting our very limited closet space. CIM motors were not relevant to us since 2019 and won’t likely be a part of their future robots.

The high RPM what makes 775 motors so annoying to work with and why people do NOT use them. No mechanism needs to rotate at 18000 RPM, and even shooters don’t particularity need to go above 9k rpm, resulting in 775 motors are usually used with multi-stage gearboxes. Brushless motors can get similar power output and RPM with a single stage belt reduction which is lighter.

Okay, no longer relevant for truly competitive FRC. Sure, you can throw a Victor SPX at the job for $50. And you’ll be slinging around 2.8 pounds around per motor. On a 4-motor drivetrain, the weight delta from CIM to NEO (.94 pounds) is darn close to seven and a half pounds. That is not a small number!

Hot take, BAG motors are even less relevant than the CIM in 2023-era FRC. One, wimpy on power compared to modern alternatives. Two, you have to work hard to use it outside of the VersaPlanetary gearbox ecosystem that has itself been leapfrogged.

775 motors, whether 775pro or RedLine, at least have power where you can justify them for a high-speed mechanism if you know what you’re doing. But they’re also a bit of a glass cannon by comparison, forcing teams to take additional precautions in hardware or software (or both) to prolong their life. By comparison, I can nerf a NEO 550 to safe conditions with one line of code.

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Counterpoint: they’re relatively bulletproof, especially compared to the fairly fragile NEO550.

I don’t get where this “fragile NEO550” label comes from. 1293 is hardly a technical marvel, and the only NEO 550 I can remember breaking was where a kid assembled it with too-long screws against directions. That includes the first stage of a ball shooter in 2021, shot-blocking arms and an intake in 2022, and a cube pooper and traditional dual roller intake in 2023.

It’s doable.

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If anyone in the NY area is getting rid of older CIMs or mini CIMs, I’ll definetly be willing to take them off your hands. Old motor controllers like the original SPARKS as well! Lol

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It’s easy to fry them while stalling. Even with highly conservative current limits you can easily release the smoke that the NEO550s run on. Thus, for applications where you need a decent amount of power, they will not work either for the application or ever again.

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I’ve seen a whole bunch of failures, only some of which could have been prevented by current limiting or more-careful design. I still really like the motor, but my experience is that you need to handle them pretty carefully and design mindfully around their shortcomings.

The BAG motor “just works” for a whole lot of things. It fills the space the window motor used to fill, except without the ridiculous spline mount.


speaking anecdotally, the vast majority of situations where you’d use a neo550 (intake wheels, indexing wheels, grippers, etc.) require little torque and are hard to stall, nearly eliminating the risk of burning out a neo550

and in any other situation, the 20 dollar increase for a NEO is worth it