Zebraswitch 2.0 - The Zebracorns upgraded Ethernet switch paper

In this paper, we cover our upgraded process for Ethernet switching on our robots. We cover the general rules we try to live by when it comes to the radio and adjacent components, the legal ways to connect and power the radio, and the assembly of the switch and the power regulator.

https://team900.org/blog/2023-ZebraSwitch-2.0/

Direct PDF link: ZebraSwitch 2.0.pdf - Google Drive

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Whoo!

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Very proud of the work on this and getting this paper updated and released!!!

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The original Zebraswitch is(was) awesome! It has really made our robots far better than they were before. If this works even better it will be an amazing asset to all FRC teams.

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What is 900’s preferred size/type of ethernet cable? What is the optimal ratio between “being robust” and “being thin/easy to route & manage”?
And I assume we should get CAT6? Or is there a better type (that makes sense in FRC applications)?

Has 900 ever tried out the brainboxes line of network switches? One reason we gravitated to them was the wide range of acceptable power supply voltages, just curious if you all ever tried them. Would be nice if they did Gigabit.

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Go wild: https://www.monoprice.com/category/networking/networking-patch-cables/cat6-ethernet-cables

I will say that, from a personal experience standpoint, and being the Principal Solution Delivery Architect for the worlds oldest open source network monitoring software… I’m not a big fan of the various flat Ethernet cable variants or the super slim ones… BUT space in FRC robots and weight in FRC robots means that needs must sometimes.

It’s less about the specific cable and more about the boot/connector.

We did at one point. We had issues with the power connector at that time and it sits unloved somewhere in an corner of our lab, I think … it’s also not gigabit and we’ve got something that works and costs less now.

Would you trust this cable/its connector? IDK much about what to be looking for in these, aside from the fact that we’d like something thinner than the standard size.

For on-robot use, I’ve never personally found a cable sketchy enough to fail. We used a super duper thin https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076PV41W3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1 to route to the Rio for 2 seasons and it never failed.

But nearly 100% of the ethernet cables used as a DS → Robot tether I’ve used have failed.

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Yeah, that looks good.

on this topic, if things go correctly, 2851 was considering getting 1-2 professional stage-use Elite Core CS45 Converta-Shell cables. thicker jacket, more flexible insulation, durable housing, and backwards compatible. Maybe this is a non-existent problem, but we highly value the peace of mind it can provide, knowing you have a cable and port that just works. If we go through with the purchases and light testing, I might make a post. all in the air as of now though.

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I would probably pair that with a pigtail/adapter on the robot side with a hard mount to avoid plugging it directly into the switch.

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Would you go Ethercon or converta shell? I can’t tell what the difference is supposed to be

Yep, that’s exactly the plan. probably will be this mating connector

sorry, I was talking about Elite Core’s CS45 Converta-Shell but referring to it as Neutrik’s EtherCON. We would be getting a converta-shell cable, which allows you to remove the durable shell to have a standard port, in situations where you would want to use it with something not normally compatible

Just getting around to reading the updated paper now since we’re back in the season. Thanks for all the hard work put into this. We’ll definitely make sure our switch setup is :zebra: certified :wink:

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Just an FYI for folks as I had a team reach out about it. It seems as though the 8 port switch in the paper is now being sold with a 5V power supply. As a reminder, always check the power supply listed before applying it.

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