Motor Controller Options for 2015

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 08:50


Please see the note below from FRC Kit of Parts Manager, Kate Pilotte, regarding motor controllers for 2015. 

Hi all,

The Motor Controller landscape for the 2015 FRC season is going to be changing, and we’d like to share a few details in advance of Kickoff to give you a heads up. We normally only provide advance information on the upcoming season when necessary, but we think these details fall into that category.

Victor, Talon, and Jaguar Motor Controllers will be legal for the 2015 season and compatible with the new control system. A selection of these controllers will be available in the 2015 Kickoff Kits and/or through FIRST Choice.

The manufacturers of these motor controllers are, however, discontinuing them, and our understanding is the only ones available for purchase are those already in distribution. 

Cross the Road Electronics and Innovation First International (IFI) have been working together on new motor controllers. They’ve published a joint press release about this collaboration and are sharing more information about the new products here.

We are sending new motor controllers to the Beta Teams for evaluation for legality in the 2015 season. While these two new controllers will not be in teams’ 2015 Kickoff Kits, we want to use the beta program to collect feedback on the new motor controllers that will enable us to decide if the new motor controllers will be listed as legal motor controllers for the 2015 FRC season. Based on initial testing results, we don’t believe there will be an issue with approving them for use in 2015, but teams should know the final decision has not yet been made.

The first controller is the Victor SP, a PWM motor controller. The second controller, the Talon SRX, is a CAN enabled motor controller with additional communication protocols and PID control. It is in development now, and will be shared with beta teams upon completion. Technical information for both devices is posted here.

Beta test tasks will be updated as needed to accommodate testing and evaluation of these devices. Meanwhile, questions about these devices can be posted to FIRST’s 2015 FRC Beta Test Forum, or emailed to CTRE or VEX.

Comments

I was very excited about the new size of the roboRio and Power Distribution Panel. These new motor controllers are icing on the cake!

As R/C hobby motors and their associated 3-phase controller have come down in cost, come up in robustness and functionality, and become more user-friendly, has there been any though about allowing these types of motors in US FRC?

I'm especially excited about proper torque control, lower torque ripple, and better stall behavior - all difficult-to-impossible to achieve with brushed motors.

It's great to see the availability of a legal, sealed, CAN-enabled controller. It's very much a step in the correct direction.

You should look into the controllers offered by Solutions-Cubed. They have some versatile products with many modes of communication and control.

OK SO WHAT DO WE BUY IF WE NEED ALL NEW ONES...THANKS...

Hi Bryan,

As mentioned, there will be legacy motor controllers in each Kickoff Kit and available in FIRST Choice. There are also still Talon SRs available from AndyMark. If you prefer to purchase the new models, instead of or in addition to those that are part of the 2015 Kit of Parts, you’ll have to wait until they’re available from the suppliers, which will be before Kickoff 2015. We expect to have determined and stated if the new models will be legal for use in 2015 before 2015 Kickoff.

Thank you,

Kate

What are the criteria that would disqualify the new controllers? If one or both are deemed illegal can the remaining supplier(s) keep up with the demand of 3000 FRC teams?

Hi Jesse,

Any motor controllers would not be considered legal if, through our testing, we discover that they pose an unreasonable safety risk or have severe quality issues. If one or neither of the new controllers are added to the list of legal motor controllers for the 2015 FRC season, we'll distribute existing controllers in FIRST inventory via a controlled distribution method as needed.

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