Basic FIRST Hardware

This blog is meant to discuss general training items for FIRST robotics teams.  While it is focused primarily on the McKinley Tech Firebirds, it could be useful for anyone.

With the large number of Freshmen on our team for 2014, we need to start with the basics.  FIRST has some training materials on their website,, under FRC, Resources.

While you could look over every link in the system, many of these are step by step directions on how to load software or configure hardware.  (Useful, but confusing to someone not very familiar with the systems.)

Start with the hardware overview.
The hardware overview is very important, because it shows you a picture of every component, and a very brief description of its function.  Every member of the team should know the name and function of all 15 items this overview.

Getting Started with the 2013 Control System 
is training put out by WPI.

Training manual on wiring each component of the FIRST control system.

Technical manual on the status lights of FIRST components
These lights tell you something about what the control component/system is doing, and can give important clues for troubleshooting.

Some interesting items, which could help the team troubleshoot drive system problems!

A good manual on Pneumatics

The three documents I mention above are an excellent place to start learning about FIRST.   In future potst, I plan to cover how to get Autodesk Inventor, a very good Computer Aided Design program, on your computer, and some very good tutorials from National Instruments on programming the FIRST control system in LabView.  I plan to include object detection and identification using a camera and the LabView software.

Jim Grove