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Electronics set-up

So what actually has to be done to make sure our school is up and running? There are a number of different tasks for which equipment needs to be prepared. This page is not meant to be comprehensive, but serves as an outline for me for preparation. There are much more complete and accurate instructions out on the web than what I have listed here, but this gives one person's overview. The attached Word document has my notes on these issues. The main source is the FTC Toolbox (resources on the Samantha Module, Programming and Design, Field Control System, Tetrix and a variety of other topics). I've linked some of the sub pages from this site directly.

1. Every robot needs to have a properly configured Samantha module. In an emergency, one can be swapped between two robots in a competition (only the team number needs to be changed, nothing else). But that is an emergency only.

2. Every computer that is used by students for programming needs to be properly configured with programming software (RobotC or Labview), drivers for joysticks to work, and a USB cable and/or bluetooth dongle for transfer of programs to the robot.

3. Every computer that will be used to manage a competition field, or wireless communication with the robots through the Samantha module, needs the FCS (Field Control System) software and joystick drivers. Multiple computers can be set up to control the same router. We have a desktop computer set up in our robotics room that is usually used, and a laptop that can be carried to other locations and used to control the FCS. FIRST Field Control System Resources

4. A router needs to be set up and configured properly to serve out the wireless for the Samantha module. A USB Flash Drive needs to be created that can be used to flash the Samantha modules so that they can connect to the router. These files can be saved and put on other flash drives as backups. With luck, this can be used 'as is' for multiple years. Also found on the FIRST Field Control System Resources

Additional fussy electronic issues:

5. Running a program on the robot with joysticks. This can be one of the more troublesome tasks for someone who is new to the business.

6. Troubleshooting I. (Software) Updating Firmware

7. Troubleshooting II. (Router) Once running, the router should be fairly stable. But it should be set up carefully. And not every router will work. Follow FIRST's specifications carefully.

8. Troubleshooting III. (Joysticks) There are several steps along the way that can cause joystick problems.

9. Random Construction notes. Things that I want to remember next time.

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