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  • New Battery?

    Hello All,

    Another thing that just sparked my interest are the batteries that are used for FTC robots in the 2015-2016 season. I wouldn't put it past First to give them an upgrade to Anderson PowerPole connectors as well as they have been encouraging teams to switch over their batteries to that this year. Plus, all of the new DC motor and servo controllers will be using them. My team already switched over their batteries to Anderson PowerPole Connectors this year and it would be disappointing if we had to switch back to the slightly unreliable Tamiya Connectors. I am in favor of using Anderson PowerPoles but this would require teams to upgrade all of their power switches, chargers and batteries which is pretty expensive counting in the actual product and the crimper tool needed to install all of them.

    Can we get a clarification on this? Will the new power modules use which type of connector and if they are changed, will they be sold separately on the new kit page?


    Page 10: http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default...ring_Guide.pdf

  • #2
    From what I can see in the videos, the new power module has 6 sets of powerpoles, a power switch, and a 7(?) port USB hub. As for the power switch, maybe the built in switch in the power module will replace the separate switch?

    Thankfully, I can't imagine that FTC would go back to Tamiya connectors. The crimp tool is a bit pricey, but I could see several teams sharing a tool until there is budget available.

    Good Luck!

    Originally posted by brb8910 View Post
    Hello All,

    Another thing that just sparked my interest are the batteries that are used for FTC robots in the 2015-2016 season. I wouldn't put it past First to give them an upgrade to Anderson PowerPole connectors as well as they have been encouraging teams to switch over their batteries to that this year. Plus, all of the new DC motor and servo controllers will be using them. My team already switched over their batteries to Anderson PowerPole Connectors this year and it would be disappointing if we had to switch back to the slightly unreliable Tamiya Connectors. I am in favor of using Anderson PowerPoles but this would require teams to upgrade all of their power switches, chargers and batteries which is pretty expensive counting in the actual product and the crimper tool needed to install all of them.

    Can we get a clarification on this? Will the new power modules use which type of connector and if they are changed, will they be sold separately on the new kit page?


    Page 10: http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default...ring_Guide.pdf
    Jim Bates
    Atlantic County NJ 4-H Robotics
    FLL Teams 71 & 13365
    FTC Team 9765

    Comment


    • #3
      Hopefully a company such as totally awesome AndyMark will produce some pre-made Anderson PP cables of varying lengths and perhaps even make them an option for NeveRest motors so new teams can escape the need to even worry about crimping them. Personally I think a quality rising clamp screw terminal is all that's required and PP's are serious overkill but hey anything is better than the old screw terminals. Crimps done correctly are great however if they're wrong it's going to be worse than screw terminals imo. Wire falls out of screw terminal - fixed with a screw driver. Wire falls out of bad crimp - fixed with new crimp & crimp tool.

      On another note can we please have a better power switch? Perhaps just a rating specification so teams can source something decent? What we have now isn't even rated to break more than 10A and with the battery fused at 20A plus some pretty high motor stall currents there could be a failure to break situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        New Battery?

        Originally posted by FTC5110 View Post
        Hopefully a company such as totally awesome AndyMark will produce some pre-made Anderson PP cables of varying lengths and perhaps even make them an option for NeveRest motors so new teams can escape the need to even worry about crimping them. Personally I think a quality rising clamp screw terminal is all that's required and PP's are serious overkill but hey anything is better than the old screw terminals. Crimps done correctly are great however if they're wrong it's going to be worse than screw terminals imo. Wire falls out of screw terminal - fixed with a screw driver. Wire falls out of bad crimp - fixed with new crimp & crimp tool.

        On another note can we please have a better power switch? Perhaps just a rating specification so teams can source something decent? What we have now isn't even rated to break more than 10A and with the battery fused at 20A plus some pretty high motor stall currents there could be a failure to break situation.

        That would be quite helpful if they sold them pre crimped, plus they could make a boatload of money off of us teams. As for a power switch, it might be your lucky day. According to Tom Eng in another post, all power modules will have a power switch built into them. It would make the most sense logistically to use that as a main power shutoff.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by brb8910 View Post
          ....As for a power switch, it might be your lucky day. According to Tom Eng in another post, all power modules will have a power switch built into them. It would make the most sense logistically to use that as a main power shutoff.
          The main power switch must be mounted in an easily accessible place. Not so cool if it's built into a power/USB distribution box since this will need to be mounted in said place so this removes some design flexibility. If the battery plugs directly into the power/USB distribution box this also constrains where it can be placed. Wonder if the new switch is adequately rated this time? Here's hoping we can still have a separate switch in circuit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Speaking as an FTA - that "design flexibility" to mount the switch where ever can have it's downside too. A few times I have not been able to shut down a bot that had locked up with motors running. (going round and round as Murphy's law requires. :-) ) Yes, the team did meet the technical requirements of having the switch accessible, but I had to reach thru a small cut-out in a plexi shield and then you couldn't necessarily see which way to push the switch. Very difficult when the robot is still moving. We had to wait until the end of the match and then have a ref pick up the bot so I could hit the switch.

            I much prefer the bigger, uglier, but easier to kill switch that FRC uses. It's also easier to see if it's on the other side of the bot. That little green label is often hard to pick out in the heat of the moment.

            All that being said - hopefully with the improved controllers we'll have much less static / lockup issues so the need to emergency power off a bot will be all but removed.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DanOelke View Post
              Speaking as an FTA - that "design flexibility" to mount the switch where ever can have it's downside too. A few times I have not been able to shut down a bot that had locked up with motors running. (going round and round as Murphy's law requires. :-) ) Yes, the team did meet the technical requirements of having the switch accessible, but I had to reach thru a small cut-out in a plexi shield and then you couldn't necessarily see which way to push the switch. Very difficult when the robot is still moving. We had to wait until the end of the match and then have a ref pick up the bot so I could hit the switch.

              I much prefer the bigger, uglier, but easier to kill switch that FRC uses. It's also easier to see if it's on the other side of the bot. That little green label is often hard to pick out in the heat of the moment.

              All that being said - hopefully with the improved controllers we'll have much less static / lockup issues so the need to emergency power off a bot will be all but removed.
              I agree with you. I am pretty sure that I read in another post here that there was a restart function on the driver station tablet but that might not always work, especially if the WiFi connection is interrupted.

              As for the power switch, they may come out with a new one that uses Anderson Powerpole Connector. I didn't see one online but I didn't do too much looking. If they end up using a USB power switch it would enable an easier placement of the switch but if the power module became unresponsive, you would have to use the power switch located directly on the power module. This isn't too big of a deal but it could result in some motor burn outs if the FTA can't easily reach the power module.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by brb8910 View Post
                I agree with you. I am pretty sure that I read in another post here that there was a restart function on the driver station tablet but that might not always work, especially if the WiFi connection is interrupted.

                As for the power switch, they may come out with a new one that uses Anderson Powerpole Connector. I didn't see one online but I didn't do too much looking. If they end up using a USB power switch it would enable an easier placement of the switch but if the power module became unresponsive, you would have to use the power switch located directly on the power module. This isn't too big of a deal but it could result in some motor burn outs if the FTA can't easily reach the power module.
                Think I just misspoke here. Teams could easily convert over their normal switches to Anderson PowerPole just by adding two connectors on either end of the positive wire. This would cut of the power before the power module. My team is going to be using this setup if they only have the power module switch just for our own convenience.

                Comment


                • #9
                  FYI: If they do not provide such a switch, using one will quite possibly be against the rules (this year's stipulated one and only one power switch. I could be wrong, but just something to keep in mind.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    FYI: Tom Eng posted the following comment regarding the separate power switch. The forum is:http://ftcforum.usfirst.org/showthre...use-Protection

                    Good question. I don't think we've made any ruling on it. It might be beneficial to have a separate Master Power switch, but it is also convenient to I don't think any formal decision has been made. I will make a point to discuss this with the game design committee.
                    PS: I hope Tom doesn't get upset I keep quoting him

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      HI brb8910,

                      The 12V batteries that will be included with the kits will have the same style RC-style connector that the current 12Volt batteries do. We investigated using the Power Pole style connector for the batteries, but unfortunately, that option was cost prohibitive.

                      The Power Module will be equipped with the RC-style battery connector to mate with the battery's connector. If teams prefer to use Power Pole connectors, they can replace the RC-style connectors with the Power Pole connectors.

                      Tom

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom Eng View Post
                        HI brb8910,

                        The 12V batteries that will be included with the kits will have the same style RC-style connector that the current 12Volt batteries do. We investigated using the Power Pole style connector for the batteries, but unfortunately, that option was cost prohibitive.

                        The Power Module will be equipped with the RC-style battery connector to mate with the battery's connector. If teams prefer to use Power Pole connectors, they can replace the RC-style connectors with the Power Pole connectors.

                        Tom
                        So, the battery connection to the Power module is a wire pigtail? May we know how long, and what guage? Is it long enough to do the connector replacement without butchering a pretty new device?
                        Jim Bates
                        Atlantic County NJ 4-H Robotics
                        FLL Teams 71 & 13365
                        FTC Team 9765

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Jim,

                          The Power Module has a pigtail that runs from the casing and terminates with the RC-style connector. On the preproduction unit the pair of wires (red and black) is a little over 6" long and it looks like it's 14 gage wire. If you want to replace the connector it looks like there is enough wire to do so.

                          Note that we have swapped out the RC-style connectors on some of our Power Modules to the 15A Power Pole connectors and it works well, even though I believe the 15A Power Pole connectors are listed for 16 ga wire. It's a bit of a tight fit, but can be done.

                          The other option that you can do (and what we have been doing for some of our bots) is to build a little adaptor cable. You can put the RC style connector on one side, and then the Power Pole connector on the other. You can attach the adaptor to the RC-style connector on the Power Module, and then leave the adapter in place (and use the Power Pole side to connect/disconnect to/from the charger). If you do this, then the RC-style connector on the Power Module does not get fatigued due to repeated connects and disconnects.

                          Tom
                          Last edited by Tom Eng; 03-20-2015, 09:09 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Okay. Thanks for your help and clarification. My team will be making some of these converters for all of the batteries that we changed over to Anderson PowerPole.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tom Eng View Post
                              HI brb8910,

                              The 12V batteries that will be included with the kits will have the same style RC-style connector that the current 12Volt batteries do. We investigated using the Power Pole style connector for the batteries, but unfortunately, that option was cost prohibitive.

                              The Power Module will be equipped with the RC-style battery connector to mate with the battery's connector. If teams prefer to use Power Pole connectors, they can replace the RC-style connectors with the Power Pole connectors.

                              Tom
                              Can you clarify what batteries will be used going forward? Are the batteries next year the same as this year or are they new and just have the same connectors as the current batteries? Our team spent a small fortune on new batteries this year. It would be good to know if we need to count on replacing them again

                              Thanks,

                              Eddie

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