Day 1 (1/06/2018) Kickoff

Kickoff Overview

The game was released today! Everyone watched the game reveal. Then, the team all read the game manual . EVERYONE SHOULD READ THE GAME MANUAL (especially chapters 2, 3 and 4) so that you know what is going on and what the rules are. After everyone read the manual, the team got into groups and talked about what we should do and how we should do it. A group of people taped down the entire field so we could see what all the spaces are and how big everything is. After that, we had a strategy meeting and a drivetrain meeting.

Strategy Meeting

A strategy meeting was held this evening to go over what aspects of the challenge we should focus on overcoming and what our robot should be able to do. We ranked possible tasks from highest to lowest. The team decided that the most important thing to do is to create an active intake in order to move the power cubes to the scale, switch, and vault. We then decided that having an autonomous that can successfully place a power block onto our alliances’ side of the switch to obtain the rank point would be second, followed by having a climbing mechanism, a scale auto, and a two-block auto.

Drivetrain Meeting

In the drivetrain meeting, team members discussed the different available drivetrain options. The team decided on a six-wheel drop center tank drive. The team chose to use 6” vex traction wheels in order to have clearance to get over the center bump. The team then moved onto choosing a 1-speed or 2-speed gearbox, ultimately deciding that a 2 speed would be easy to install, fast, and provide sufficient pushing power. After accounting for weight, the chosen gearbox had a low speed of about 7 ft/sec and a high speed of about 14 ft/sec. The team also discussed the feasibility of putting a sprocket in the gearbox to have the chain within the robot. This part was out of stock, so the team discussed what it would take to modify a gearbox to be able to do this.   

New 2018 Software Changes

The new 2018 FRC season has brought many new software changes. The most notable among these are the new changes to the CTRE libraries and the creation of Shuffleboard, an objectively better yet backwards-compatible upgrade to SmartDashboard. A complete list of changes can be found here.

CTRE Changes

The 2018 FRC season has resulted in an overhaul of the CTRE libraries. According to Omar Zrien on Chief Delphi, this overhaul of the CTRE libraries was necessary as “after three seasons of development the CANTalon driver had become a hodgepodge of software.” This overhaul involves the removal of CAN device functionality from the roboRIO webdash, the replacement of the CANTalon class with the WPI_TalonSRX class, and an overhaul of the TalonSRX API. The process of porting over our automatic shifting system and encoder settings will pose a daunting task for our programming team.


Shuffleboard is a new replacement for old SmartDashboard. Whether in design or functionality, it vastly surpasses SmartDashboard. Additionally, there was a new update to NetworkTables, the “backend” for both SmartDashboard and ShuffleBoard. Many major annoyances, such as phantom keys — where logged data persisted after robot (or driver station!) restart — have been fixed. This includes overlapping keys, where two keys obscured each other on the dashboard.