FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

2024 Beta Testing and Motors/Controllers

Oct 12, 2023 Written by Kevin O’Connor, FIRST Robotics Competition Senior Robotics Engineer




As teams begin to stock up and prepare for the CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas season, we wanted to share some more information about new technology available for the season including Beta Testing of software updates and new motors/controllers.


Beta Testing

The Control System software teams have been hard at work over the summer making various improvements and bug fixes and are about ready for teams to jump in and start testing. After a successful test of a more open Beta Test last year using GitHub and rolling application acceptance, the software Beta Test will be moving even further in that direction this year. The testing will again be facilitated using a GitHub project, but this year the project will be publicly accessible with no application or designated users required. The GitHub project is live now, and software is expected to be posted within the next few days. Users wishing to test LabVIEW will need to fill out a quick form to request a license key.


New Motors/Controllers

In addition to the existing motors and controllers listed in R501 and R503 of the 2023 Game Manual, there will be 3 new devices we plan to add for 2024:

Kraken X60

The first new device we have approved is the Kraken X60, a high-power, high-performance brushless motor from WestCoast Products. It uses an integral spline shaft to facilitate robust power transfer and allows for easy support of the motor shaft with an 8mm bearing if needed. A flexible design architecture allows for support of both integrated and external motor controllers. For the 2024 season, the motor will be approved for use only with an integrated CTR Electronics TalonFX controller (combined PN: WCP-0940). For more information, see the WCP Product Page.

NEO Vortex

The second device we have approved is the NEO Vortex motor, which is a high-power, high-performance, and high-resolution sensored brushless motor from REV Robotics. It features a dockable controller interface that can be mounted directly to the SPARK Flex (described below) or a standalone adapter allowing control from any brushless motor controller like the SPARK MAX. Its through-bore rotor is the heart of its unique interchangeable shaft system, facilitating easy integration with various robot mechanisms. For more information, see the REV Robotics info page.


The third device we plan to approve is the SPARK Flex, a new smart motor controller from REV Robotics. Its dockable form factor allows for direct mounting onto a NEO Vortex, simplifying wiring while maintaining flexibility. Improving upon the foundation of the SPARK MAX, new features include 3-phase current sensing, reverse polarity protection, and an expanded Data Port with additional interfaces. When docked to an adapter, the SPARK Flex can control any existing NEO or compatible brushless/brushed DC motor. For more information, see the REV Robotics info page.  

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