FTC ROBOT League Championship – Final Update! (Ready or Not, Here it Comes!)

Ring it UpThis is the final reminder that the FTC ROBOT League Championship is this weekend, February 2, 2013 at Jesuit High School, at  4701 North Himes Avenue in  Tampa, FL

This update contains information that will help you prepare for the event – some of the information will look familiar, from previous updates – read it anyway, and read it completely!

  • Full Qualifying Tournament – The league championship will following the FTC qualifying tournament schedule and as such will include the alliance rounds and the full set of FTC awards (Inspire, Think, Motivate, Connect, PTC Design, Rockwell Collins Innovate, and Judge).  Therefore, it will be a longer day and the tournament is not expected to complete until 6pm.  The following is  the tournament schedule:



8:00 a.m. Team Check-In Begins
8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Robot Hardware And Software Inspection
8:30 a.m. Team Judge Interviews Begin
9:45 a.m. Drivers Meeting With The Referees
10:15 a.m. Opening Ceremony
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Qualification Match Play
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Qualification Match Play Resumes
3:15 p.m. Alliance Selection
4:00 p.m. Elimination Matches Start
5:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony
6:00 p.m. Cleanup And Load-Out
  •  Teams Attending – There are currently 12 teams registered to attend the league championship.  The following is the list of teams currently registered to attend (teams 5836 & 6433 are currently not registered to attend):


Team Number

Team Name



Heavy – D












Team Duct Tape






Mission Impossible Team






Hydra B



Mechanical Bulls



Smoke & Mirrors



Brick Buddies

  • Logitech Controller Issue – The standard FTC Logitech controllers have a “Mode” button that changes the behavior of the controller and we have recently seen instances of this button getting accidentally pushed.  The Mode button is on top of the controller and a small green light is displayed on the controller when pressed.

    We have updated the field reset procedures that include the FTC Assistant reviewing each of the controllers to make sure the Mode button is not pushed.  However, if during a match it appears that you are having trouble controller your robot, I am recommending that teams look at the face of the controller immediately to see if the “Mode” button is set.

  •  Hardware Inspection Process – Later this week I will publish the hardware inspections schedule.  Each team will be assigned a specific hardware inspection time between 8:15am and 9:15am.  Immediately after the hardware inspection, teams are required to go to the competition field to complete the software inspection.  We will have two adult hardware inspectors at the hardware inspection table in the pit area. We will not be doing the team inspecting team process.
  • Hardware Inspection Feedback – During the first three league tournaments, our objective has been to ensure each team is able to operate their robots on the competition field.  Therefore, we have often not always enforced all of the robot rules.  However, as we progress to the league and state championships, the robot rules will be enforced and teams will not be able to compete if their robots do not pass inspection (and the lead hardware inspector believes the violation gives the team a competitive advantage).  If you are unsure if a specific part is legal, I encourage teams to post questions on the official FTC forum. I also strongly encourage teams to review the game forum on a weekly basis.  In “The Robot – Inspection and Build Rules” section of the forum there are currently 276 (7 new posts since my last email) clarifications posted such as the fact that fishing weights are not legal and drawer slides that you can purchase at Home Depot and Lowes are considered to be a legal “linear slide” part. As an FTA, it is my responsibility to review the game forum on a weekly basis.  Therefore, I expect the teams to also take the time and review the game forum.

    The following is a summary of some of the common challenges we have seen during hardware inspection:

o   A robot Bill of Materials is required and the attached spreadsheet is the recommended format.  You are only required to list non-Tetrix components such as linear slides, plastics, metals, etc.  In addition to the part description, the template also asks that you reference the specific game rule number or forum reference that makes the part legal.

o   Robots must fit in an 18 inch cube at the beginning of a match. Make sure you check the size of your robot regularly. Most importantly, you need to valid the size once the robot has been initialized and all of your servos are set to their starting position.

o   Illegal material such as lead or manufactured parts other then the items explicitly mentioned in the rule book or forum are not allowed.  Plastics or metals that have a design pattern are likely not allowed because the pattern was created through a manufacturing process. Bunge Cords are not allowed because they are a manufactured COTS product. Springs are not an allowed item because they are considered to be a COTS product.  However, cardboard is allowed because it is considered to be a raw material.

o   The NXT screen, Tetrix power switch, and Samantha module must be mounted on the robot such that it can be easily accessed by the FTA.  It is difficult for an FTC to debug problems with the robot if we do not have easy access to these components.  Also, be careful to not mount the NXT or power switch in a location that can be bumped by another robot or field element.  We did have several instances of robots turning off during a match when bumping another robot or field element.  The accessibility of the NXT, power switch, and Samantha module needs to be considered during the design of the robot.  Please review rules RG05 and RG07.


  • Software Recommendations – One of the most common software mistakes I have seen this year is teams not properly telling the NXT which program to run during the TeleOp phase of a match.  When teams set their robot on the field, it is their responsibility to turn on their robot and start the autonomous program.  The Field Control Software (FCS) is responsible for starting your TeleOp program once the autonomous period ends.  However, you need to tell the FCS what is the name of your TeleOp program by running the “Program Chooser” and selecting your TeleOp program. RECOMMENDATION: Once your robot properly connects to the FCS, you are allowed to ask the FCS operator to tell you what is the name of your TeleOp program set in the FCS software.  If the name is not correct, you can go to Program Chooser and reselect the TeleOp program name.  You then need to ask the FCS operator to disconnect and reconnect to your robot.
  • Engineering Notebook Recommendation – At the Polk State College tournament, our lead Judge Marian Manganello, recommended that each of the teams should review the FIRST recommendations on structure and content for the engineering notebook.  The engineering notebook guidelines can be found on Part 1 of the Game Manual in  chapter 3 starting on page 13I encourage all team members to review pages 13-15 of the game manual to  better understand what the judges are looking for when they review your engineering notebook.  This will become more important at the League Championship as the engineering notebook will be used to score teams for several of the judge awards.  For example, the Think Award is an evaluation of the quality of a team’s engineering notebook and how well it captures the teams experience throughout the season.
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