Control System Advisor Aug. 29 2023| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition, Volunteer
Program: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Technical, Training, Volunteer

The Control System Advisor (CSA) for FIRST Robotics Competition is a key volunteer position. The CSA assists teams with Robot Control System-related issues. Works in collaboration with the FIRST Technical Advisor and/or Robot Inspectors, who may direct teams experiencing issues on the field or in the pits to the CSA for assistance. This position requires a high level of technical knowledge and interpersonal skills and can affect the quality of the event.


  • Assist teams in correcting Robot Control System Issues such as those related to the roboRIO, support boards such as the Pneumatics Control Module or Pneumatics Hub, wiring, programming, sensors, Driver Station software, and laptop-roboRIO interface
  • Assist teams with obtaining additional support as required
  • Be aware of problems that arise and be ready to take steps to quickly diagnose and correct, with the goal of getting teams' robots running and onto the field
  • Obtain a radio from event management office to keep aware of event information and issues, return it to office at end of day
  • Participate in training opportunities offered by FIRST and other parties

Experience and Skills Needed

  • Recent hands-on experience with the FIRST Robotics Competition Control System and diagnostic tools required
    • Team mentors or alumni strongly encouraged
  • Must be post-high school or equivalent
  • Minimum age: 18
    • Exceptions may be granted by event Volunteer Coordinators after review and approval by the local Program Delivery Partner
  • Understanding of basic Control System wiring guidelines and rules
  • Proficiency in at least one of the FIRST Robotics Competition software languages (C++, Java, Python, or LabVIEW)
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Strong time management and prioritization skills
  • Strong interpersonal/communication skills in a high stress environment
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time and move about the pit area
  • Knowledge of the competition game and robot rules

Volunteer Time Commitment

  • Pre-event Training calls
  • Minimum 2 full day commitment (Districts)
  • Minimum 3 full day commitment (Regionals)

Note: Event schedules vary. Please check the event schedule and talk to your Volunteer Coordinator for detailed information on when you are expected to arrive. Volunteers should arrive on site 15-20 minutes prior to the start of every shift to allow time to check in at the Volunteer Registration table.


CSA Trainer: Kevin O’Connor

Training Schedule: CSAs should plan to attend all webinars and review all training materials provided on the FRC CSA Thinkscape course.

Training Sessions - Introductory Training Materials provided within Thinkscape by TBD.

Follow up Sessions - Follow up webinars will be held on TBD. 

Joining Thinkscape

Note: All CSA communication and trainings occur through Thinkscape. This requires CSAs to create an account on Thinkscape and then join the FRC Control System Advisor Course.

  • To access the training, create your Thinkscape account. You will be placed into the Control System Advisor course.
    • Please note, if you already have a Thinkscape account (for example FLL coach account), you can add the Control System Advisor course by logging in, clicking “Join a Course” and entering this code: 8AA06DCA.
      • If you don't see the course content, ensure that you have selected the correct institution. In the Switch Institution dropdown in the top left corner, choose FIRST Robotics Competition.
  • When you log into Thinkscape for the first time, you will need to accept the terms & conditions and privacy policy.
  • You will see your Course icon listed on the main dashboard. Click on the Course title. Then you will see training modules within the course.


Reporting Relationships and Supervision

  • Supervision: FIRST Technical Advisor (FTA) provides support and advice during the event
  • On-Site Support: Volunteer Coordinator


* Must read and comply with the Volunteer Handbook.