Thursday, December 15, 2022

Additional Arizona Qualifier + Live Stream for Diamondback Event


Additional Qualifier - January 28, Microchip in Chandler

You may know that our January and February qualifiers are, bursting at the seams beyond full! Thanks to our partnership with AZFIRST and Microchip, we are excited to announce a 9th qualifying tournament for Arizona teams. This event will take place at the Microchip facility in Chandler on January 28 (same day as the Copper event in Queen Creek). 

Any teams that would like to switch into this event because the date or location is better, or to add a 3rd event to your season schedule, please email Christine AND We're hoping that by shifting up to 20 teams to this event that we can alleviate some of the strain on the larger events and at the same time open up some availability at other events. 

It's pretty exciting that we have so many teams that want to play! 

Microchip Technology Inc.

2355 West Chandler Blvd.

Chandler, Arizona, USA 85224

January 28, 2023

Taking Flight Event at EVIT

Looking for a fun way to spend your weekend? Check out Taking Flight, hosted by STEM+C! Flying contraptions, robots, and more! 

Electrostatic Mitigation Reminder

As the weather gets colder and the air gets drier (and when is the air NOT dry in Arizona?), electrostatic discharge (ESD) issues could arise during practice and more crucially at your event which may affect your robot’s ability to compete at peak performance. Teams are reminded that there are several things you can do to minimize the effects of ESD on your robot, which are explained in our Managing Electrostatic Discharge Effects document on ftc-docs. You can also find additional mitigation techniques for both the robot and the Driver Station in the FIRST® Tech Challenge Robot Wiring Guide.

Pro-tip – Official Game Q&A Forum

“We’d like to remind all teams that in order to receive official answers about robot construction rules, game rules, etc., you will need to use the official Game Q&A forum. Each team has an account where they may ask questions and receive official answers. The rulings from the official Game Q&A forum are the only FTC Forum rulings that may be brought to a tournament to question a gameplay ruling or show the legality of a part.

Our community forum offers a section for teams to discuss hardware design, 3D printing, CAD, etc. This particular section of the forum is for teams to help teams, and is not in any way an official source to prove legality of parts at an actual tournament.  

For more information on the forums FTC offers, please check out our Forum Blog:

Software Development Kit Update
We have recently released the FIRST® Tech Challenge Software Development Kit (SDK) version 8.1, and subsequent patch version 8.1.1. This release is an optional upgrade release for teams that includes several enhancements for the SDK. Please note that teams who have upgraded to 8.1 should continue to upgrade to 8.1.1 to fix a few after-release issues found in version 8.1.
These enhancements include IMU support for REV Control Hubs shipped after September 23, 2022, a new universal IMU interface, updates to iterative OpModes, usability improvements through the REV Hardware Client, and others. For more information, check out our blog post.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cactus Live Stream & Tips for Teams


We hope everyone had the chance to celebrate the holiday with friends and family and that you're ready for more robot action! 

With our first qualifiers under our belt, please check out the lessons learned from the Roadrunner and Petrified Wood Qualifiers.

From Zach, Lead FTA:

In terms of inspection updates, we had several teams with devices named incorrectly. Here's a snippet that can be included in the blog:
Before heading off to competition, be sure to review the field inspection checklist to make sure your team is ready. Teams should especially pay attention to the names of the driver station and robot controller devices: the expected format to pass inspection is your team number followed by "-DS" or "-RC" depending on the device. For example, if my team number is 2486, my driver station should be named "2486-DS", and my robot controller "2486-RC". If you need to rename your devices, here are some instructions from FIRST on their new ftc-docs wiki.

From Rich & Robert, Head Referees:

Well done to all teams that recently competed at Brophy and Gilbert.  For the first tournaments kicking off the Energized season, we are …  well…  ENERGIZED!!!!  We had quite a few really good matches, and teams you did wonderful, the bar is set high for the next round of tournaments heading into the Holidays!

A couple of things that we feel are important to note in the game are Human Player actions and the design of your Beacon.

  1. Human Player:  Across the board in the early season events, the majority of penalties are being racked up by the Human Players injecting the cones and beacons into the substation.  Teams, please sit down with the Game Manual and FTC Q&A and review the rules.  The typical issues we have seen are:
    1. Coordinating placement and robot movement.  Communication is key here…  between drive teams and the Human Player.
    2. Moving cones that have already been placed.
    3. Placing the Beacon on a Cone outside of the field and then introducing the Beacon-Cone together into the field.  Check the rules…  but think about this question…  Can you set a beacon on a cone that is already placed in the substation?
    4. Jamming the beacon onto a cone with force.  This runs the risk of damage to game elements…  there is no need to jam or forcefully push the beacon onto a cone.  Think about this -if you are asked to remove the beacon from the cone with gentle pulling using just 1 finger and your thumb from each hand, can you separate them easily?  If not, too much force has been used – Also along this line, tape cannot be used to hold a beacon on a cone…
    5. And remember there is only 1 Human Player allowed in the Alliance Station.  Even though there are potentially 2 Human Players in an Alliance, you must choose only 1 for the match.
  2. Beacon Design
    1. There may be an update with more clarification on beacon design coming for the GDC (Game Design Committee).  But remember, Beacons cannot resemble a cone, disposable cups can resemble a cone, so therefore no cups can be used as beacons.  Even if they have a little decoration, if they appear to be a cup and somewhat conical in form, chances are they will not be allowed.

A couple of other minor things worth mentioning:

  1. Robots moving the pre-stacked cones at either end of the field can quickly result in a number of penalties for control of more than one cone or control of opposing alliance cones.  Be careful when operating around the stacks.
  2. Drive teams wear eye protection covering their eyes…  please remember to always wear your eye protection in the pits, and when queuing, setting and running a match!

Drop us a note if you have a question or need some guidance, we are here for you!


Refs Rich and Robert

  • Qualifier payment deadline - TOMORROW December 2 - we must have at least your PO request by tomorrow or you will be assessed a $50 late fee!
  • Dean's List Nomination Deadline - December 15 at 9:59 PM AZ Time