Worst strategic use of AM PDV and FC

With your team’s limited resources, did you choose to buy things your team needs, with no regards to maximizing your CAW? Well, per R12, you’ve made a major strategic blunder, and because of your decision to try to be an excellent steward of sponsor dollars, you may be left behind competitively.

This thread is for you, to ensure your story is recorded and so that others may learn.

Did you spend your FIRST Choice points on loctite and multimeters? That was dumb. Tell us about it!

Did you spend your AndyMark PDV on battery chargers and game pieces? You’ve made a silly mistake! Report it here.


FC pre 2019 rules: “hey if you are looking for something to spend your credits on the multimeter is super useful and a really great deal”
FC with the new rules: “ONLY BUY ROBOT PARTS”


1st Round we got:
PDP for practice robot
VRM for practice robot
PCM for practice robot

Kit Bot Chassis to be used for offseason project.



Yeah. Us too. Spare PDP, VRM, PCM. Teflon tape.

I had put a hatch panel on my list for FC round two, but may change that now and go add a compressor (even though we have several), or some pneumatic cylinders (even though we have dozens).

Also used part of my voucher to get extra cargo balls and some sprockets that we might not use this year. I did get some pneumatic parts (via FC and the voucher) that will help with the CAW.

And what really cheeses me, is that I don’t have any choice but to use the voucher for shipping costs if I’m using it on the order. I’ve already spent about 20% of the total voucher funds used (a little over half the total), on shipping costs. Thank goodness I selected small stuff!

The rookie tote still has a compressor, so you should be fine on that front.

So let me understand this, the issue with CAW is now you can only deduct it if you actually got it from FC, not just if it was available from FC? If so, that’s dumb. I have to make FC choices now, based on what I need. To estimate the total cost of the robot now is pretty unrealistic. I could see it being close. So my choices in using FC credits now, may put me over the accounting limit later?

Is anyone actually going to audit a CAW against what you actually received from FC? Is there an avenue for inspectors to do this even if they wanted to?

Bring receipts and printouts of your packing lists, better safe than sorry…

R12 blue box says something about

Teams should also be prepared to show that a particular
item was received from FIRST Choice or a voucher in the current season if necessary.

Change is difficult, especially when we aren’t told in advance about it. But it also gives a small taste of “real life”.

Make the best of it.

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This is only a “strategic blunder” if you actually hit the $5500 CAW limit. The vast majority of teams will not even come close.

edit; Unpopular opinions are not off topic. Don’t abuse the moderation system.


We got core electrical components in round 1. We’ll use round 2 for what physically makes sense for our team.

The BOM is an accounting exercise. Bold guess: FIRST will not prevent teams from playing at previous baseline levels due to an accounting exercise. Maybe next year once we’ve adjusted to having a “more real” BOM.

I expect many more rules updates (including possible budget increases) on this topic before the end of the season, and would not change what I do with the PDV and FC based on the current CAWst draft rules.

FC on pdp, VRM, PCM, and some 775pro pinions just to have future stock.

Voucher on a RoboRIO.

Should have got speed controllers and motors.


Similar to others - VRM, PCM, PDP, some pneumatics stuff. Round 2 is mostly more pneumatics components.

Did not get a voucher because we actually use the kitbot.

Pretty sure FIRST made their opinion clear in this year’s rules, the real question is how your LRI feels about it, and what sort of direction they will receive about auditing the BOM. You are right it is an accounting exercise; wonder if we will eventually have a LRA (Lead Robot Auditor), or random robot audits just like with the IRS.

To enforce these rules would be hugely time consuming, in truth it should probably be treated like the bag rules; have a team representative sign it, and then believe them. Making teams bring receipts, prove market value on items, and all the other overhead does not meld well with the process of trying to ensure that a robot is safe and follows the other game rules. Unfortunately for now this is one of the game rules, and therefore part of the robot inspection process we need to be ready for at competition.

necroing this thread to say:

We’ve published a slide presentation based on our team’s experiences with the 2019 updates to the FRC cost accounting rules, our poor strategic use of FIRST Choice and the AndyMark PDV, and how we shrunk our BOM CAWst to just barely squeak under the $5500 limit.

The presentation is called Dropping the BOM: How Triple Helix built our most ambitious robot ever — under the most adverse cost accounting conditions we’ve experienced and it is available here:



It’s definitely time to bring this subject up, with the virtual KOP coming online this Thursday.

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You’ve truly earned the title of Enron with that level of accounting. Can we just make the BOM rules 3 simple things: account for everything, no exceptions, and some larger dollar amount (for example 8k)? Not everyone has your lawyer skills and that type of stuff belongs in an accounting competition, not a robotics competition.

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I need help understanding something on you BOM: You have quantity used and unit price. Can you explain your accounting for line 14 “bumper rail”? did you use 3.1 ft of tube and then cut it up into 4 pieces and each piece of $2.05?

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Assuming FIRST does nothing to fix this situation, thank you for pointing out the absurd number of holes in the current rules. Also thank you for releasing your BOM-- I didn’t take a look at it during the season, but I think we’ll lightly adapt yours as a template and use that this year. Anything to make it less painful…


No… ‘BOM quantity’ is generally the minimum purchasable quantity that will completely cover the quantity used. The unit price is truly the price of the item, just put into the same units (in this case $/FT) as the rest of the line.

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not trying to be dense here but could you explain it to me? did you use 3.1’ of a 4’ piece to make one bumper rail or was it cut into multiple pieces?

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