Wiring the 2017 Sensors


We are a rookie team, and have been trying to configure the sensors available from FIRST Choice, namely the Photoelectric and Ultrasonic Proximity Sensors, both by Rockwell Automation. We have not seen any documentation for connecting these to the RoboRIO, as they are new for the season. Although FIRST released the 2017 hardware overview/wiring overview today, there is no mention in either of wiring sensors.

We are guessing to use attach them to PWM cables, but the sensors’ cables have 4 leads (2 power, 2 data), yet the PWM cables have 3, and the RoboRIO only allows for 3-pinned connections?

We are guessing FIRST will update this before kickoff, but have any teams successfully managed to do this? If so, how?


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You need only use one of the data lines on the optical sensors. And one of the 4 lines to/from the ultrasonic sensor is an optional “teach” signal which you can wire to a second channel on the roboRio or leave disconnected.

The product pages on andymark.com have links to the datasheets. PM me if you need more specific information.


I doubt FIRST will release any documentation. They usually don’t for specific sensors, even if included in the KoP (for example, encoders). For the ultrasonic sensor, you only need to use three out of the four wires. The wiring diagram can be found here: http://www.ab.com/en/epub/catalogs/12772/6543185/8239564/11581598/Wiring-Diagrams.html

The Brown wire connects to your positive voltage, the Blue to your negative. You might be able to get away with plugging it into the +5v of the RIO, but you’ll probably want to get the +12v off of the VRM for it to be stable. Then the black wire is your analog signal wire to be used in the analog input on the RIO. Oddly enough, I can’t find a data sheet or instruction sheet anywhere, But the white cable is your remote teach cable. I would try and put things at different distances while pressing this button to try and see it. You results may vary.

The Photoelectric sensor is very similar. You can find the relevant information here: http://www.ab.com/en/epub/catalogs/12772/6543185/6543187/11502203/11502205/print.html

Brown is your Positive voltage, Blue is your negative, and black is your analog output (going to the RIO’s analog input). The white seems to be relatively necessary as it serves the same purpose as the push button on the sensor itself. All you’ll need to do for both of these is chop of the end of a female PWM cable, leaving some space, solder in your wires according to the wiring diagrams above, and then heat shrink it all or wrap it in electrical tape. It’s certainly not the prettiest way of doing it, but most teams don’t have the time to crimp their own PWM cables.

Hope this helps!

Could you link what you’re referring to? I was looking on the FIRST website and couldn’t find anything.

I believe this is what they’re referring to:

Probably just that the 2017 control system screensteps is out.
e.g., https://wpilib.screenstepslive.com/s/4485/m/13503/l/599673-wiring-the-2017-frc-control-system


FYI, you may want to take a quick read of this old thread when the roboRIO came out. There are some part numbers in there for working photoeyes. Not all photoeyes will work without an external pullup resistor. Review the thread for more info.

You are looking for a 10-30vdc NPN photoeye, seeing you said AB, this part number was tested to work. 42CA-P2MNB-A2

We typically purchase the units with an integral cable, we also end up with a terminal strip by the roborio DIO side, to feed 12v power to the sensors from the VRM, and the signal wire, (typically white or black) the the signal socket of the female pwm connector to get plugged into the roborio.

Make sure to pay attention to this note on the data sheet

Analog Voltage Models are 15…30V DC