FRC Blogged - Motor Controllers
You may have noticed that traditional retailers of the Jaguar motor controller have either stopped selling Jaguar or have limited inventory. This blog post is to explain why and what you can expect going forward.
First, what I think you are most interested in knowing: the Jaguar will continue to be an available and legal motor controller for the 2013 FRC season. Please understand that full, detailed rules will not be disclosed until Kickoff, and supersede all other documentation – like blog posts. However, you can be assured that Jags will be legal.
Now, some background. The Jaguar motor controller was developed and designed by FRC mentors who worked for a company in Texas called Luminary Micro. Jaguar was offered as an alternate motor controller with different features for FRC and adopted in to the FRC control system and the FRC Kit of Parts. Shortly after the release of Jaguar, Texas Instruments purchased Luminary Micro and integrated Jaguar in to the Texas Instruments product line.
Texas Instruments recently offered to license Jaguar to FIRST for free, and FIRST accepted. This means that the Jaguar design, software, firmware – everything - is free for FIRST to use in and modify for FRC. Although the Jaguar design is open source already, this allows FIRST access to certain proprietary components such as source code, etc.
Because FIRST doesn’t have the resources to maintain and service a full product line in-house, we released a Request for Quote earlier this year soliciting a partner who could continue Jaguar as a product for FRC. Several excellent companies responded with compelling proposals. Ultimately FIRST partnered with Innovation First (IFI) for Jaguar production and distribution.
Since then, Texas Instruments has worked with IFI to transfer documentation, fixtures, knowledge, code, etc. to IFI so that they can effectively adopt Jaguar.
Going forward, IFI will be manufacturing, selling, supporting, and donating Jaguars to the 2013 Kits of Parts. There are two notable changes in the Jaguar motor controller for the 2013 FRC season. First, the PCB will be conformal coated. Second, the firmware will be modified to remove the current limit protection (this is for black Jaguars only and will not apply to the grey Jaguars). Details about the product itself will be posted on the IFI website here: http://www.vexrobotics.com/products/vexpro/217-3367.html
Regarding the 2013 Kit of Parts, IFI is generously donating 2 Victors and 1 Jaguar to each Rookie Kickoff Kit plus a motor controller Product Donation Voucher (PDV) for two motor controllers to all 2013 FRC teams. Ultimately, the PDV allows teams to choose between getting 2 Victors, 2 Jaguars, or one of each, based on the team’s motor controller preference, for the cost of shipping.
While Texas Instruments no longer supplies Jaguars, they will make every attempt to honor the warranty provided through the specific supply channel upon the completion of a product review using their quality tracking process.
FIRST is excited about this new opportunity for more customization of kit items. We are very grateful for the support and generosity from both Texas Instruments and IFI to make this new initiative successful. Thank you to these two important suppliers - this commitment to FIRST illustrates that they truly support our mission.
I’ll blog again soon.