FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

2018 Motor Controllers and MXP

Nov 29, 2017 Written by Kevin O'Connor, Robotics Engineer, FIRST Robotics Competition


With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, we know teams are going to be hard at work on budgets, plans, and purchases to get ready for FIRST POWER UP. To help you make informed decisions, we wanted to give a sneak peak into the 2018 Game Manual and let you know what actuator controllers, MXP boards, and motors will be legal this season. We have two new legal actuator controllers this year, and one tweak to the legality of an existing device. We also have two new legal motors, in addition to the complete list from last season. For a complete list of legal devices, scroll down toward the end of the blog.


Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller

The “controller” part of the Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller is one of the two newly approved actuator controllers for 2018 (it’s also one of the two new motors). We’ve covered this device in a previous blog, so if you want more details you can read about it there.


Victor SPX

The other new device for 2018 is the Victor SPX from VEX Robotics and CTR Electronics. The Victor SPX takes all of the features of the Victor SP and adds CAN bus connectivity, unlocking some features from the Talon SRX such as Voltage Control mode (attempts to maintain constant output voltage with varying input). For complete details, check out the product page on the VEX Robotics website.


CAN Jaguar

The Jaguar motor controller is the device having its legality tweaked for 2018. While Jaguars will still be legal to use on your robot, they will only be allowed to be controlled using PWM. With data showing extremely limited usage of CAN Jaguars in 2017, we decided to clean up some code, the manual, and inspection by dropping this support for 2018.


Complete 2018 Actuator Controller List

  1. Motor Controllers
  • DMC 60 Motor Controller (P/N: 410-334-1)
  • Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller to control integral actuator only (P/N 840205-000, am-3740)
  • Jaguar Motor Controller (P/N: MDL-BDC, MDL-BDC24, and 217-3367)
  • SD540 Motor Controller (P/N: SD540x1, SD540x2, SD540x4, SD540Bx1, SD540Bx2, SD540Bx4, SD540C)
  • Spark Motor Controller (P/N: REV-11-1200)
  • Talon Motor Controller (P/N: CTRE_Talon, CTRE_Talon_SR, and am-2195)
  • Talon SRX Motor Controller (P/N: 217-8080, am-2854, 14-838288), equipped with firmware version 0.28 or newer if using via PWM. See R77 if using via CAN.
  • Victor 884 Motor Controller (P/N: VICTOR-884-12/12)
  • Victor 888 Motor Controller (P/N: 217-2769)
  • Victor SP Motor Controller (P/N: 217-9090, am-2855, 14-868380)
  • Victor SPX Motor Controller (P/N: 217-9191, 17-868388)
  1. RelayModules
  • Spike H-Bridge Relay (P/N: 217-0220 and SPIKE-RELAY-H)
  1. Pneumatics Controllers
  • Pneumatics Control Module (P/N: am-2858, 217-4243)                     



The MXP approved board list remains the same as the 2017 season:

  • Kauai Labs navX MXP
  • RCAL MXP Daughterboard
  • REV Robotics RIOduino
  • REV Robotics Digit Board
  • WCP Spartan Sensor Board
  • Huskie Robotics HUSKIE 2.0 Board



In addition to the Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor with Controller (mentioned above) being legal, there is also a new motor from AndyMark, the am-3775 AndyMark Redline Motor, that will be legal as well. More information on that motor is coming soon on the AndyMark website.

The complete list of 2018 legal electric actuators:

  • CIM (FR801-001, M4-R0062-12, AM802-001A, 217-2000, PM25R-44F-1005, PM25R-45F-1004, PM25R-45F-1003, PMR25R-45F-1003, PMR25R-44F-1005, am-0255)
  • West Coast Products RS775 Pro (217-4347)
  • Banebots (M7-RS775-18, RS775WC-8514, M5-RS550-12, RS550VC-7527, RS550)
  • AndyMark 9015 (AM-0912)
  • VEX BAG (217-3351)
  • VEX mini-CIM (217-3371)
  • Andymark PG (am-2161, am-2765, am-2194, am-2766)
  • Snow Blower Motor (am-2235)
  • AndyMark NeveRest (am-3104)
  • Andymark RedLine Motor (am-3775)
  • Nidec Dynamo BLDC Motor (am-3740)
  • Select Automotive Motors (Window, Door, Windshield wiper, Seat, Throttle) (various PN)
  • Electrical solenoid actuators, no greater than 1 in. (nominal) stroke and rated electrical input power no greater than 10 watts (W) continuous duty at 12 volts (VDC)
  • Hard drive motors or fans that are: included in any Kickoff Kit, distributed via FIRST Choice, part of a legal motor controller (including manufacturer provided accessories), or part of a legal COTS computing device
  • Factory installed vibration and autofocus motors resident in COTS computing devices (e.g. rumble motor in a smartphone).
  • PWM COTS servos with a retail cost < $75.
  • Motors integral to a COTS sensor (e.g. LIDAR, scanning sonar, etc.), provided the device is not modified except to facilitate mounting
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The SPIKE remains the only legal relay controller, yet it's a discontinued product.  We need to have a replacement offering or at least a suggested legal workaround.

Thanks for your comment! We are certainly aware that the Spike Relay has been discontinued for some time and that there are many teams that may not have access to this device. This device continues to be legal in order to allow teams that have stock on hand to make use of them where appropriate for their design. While we are always on the look-out for, and open to, devices which work with the existing FRC Control System and meet the needs of teams, with the current state of FRC actuator controllers (including motor controllers and the PCM) we do not see a strong need to develop a new relay device. Although, if there’s something specific you’re trying to do and need technical suggestions for implementation, please let us know at

I agree with the above statement, what is not understood is what are the requirements for selecting a replacement relay device. With exiting options in the market what are the limiting factors for selecting an alternative?  Can teams help in that selection process ( if they haven't already)?

So I am a programmer trying to use an old bot for test code yet the old talon SRs have no apparent way to add them in robot builder and using old metods show depreciated commands at LiveWindow.addaccuators what changed?

Hi Brett! The "Talon" selection from the "Type" menu of the SpeedController object in Robot Builder is for the original Talon and TalonSR (the SR has the same PWM input timings).

There have been some changes to the LiveWindow methods for 2018 to improve telemetry for teams which Robot Builder has not yet been updated for. While the old methods are deprecated, they do still work. You can find a description of WPILib's use of deprecation on the "New for 2018!" ScreenSteps page.

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