Redshift Project Depot

FRC 2018 (Power Up) => General Topics => Topic started by: Louis L on April 12, 2018, 05:05:04 PM

Title: Driver station - beyond the joystick and game controller
Post by: Louis L on April 12, 2018, 05:05:04 PM
I'm putting this here for lack of a better place on the Forum.

For next year, I want to try and experiment. I want to extend the control interface beyond just the (driver) joysticks and (operator) game controller. I want to build a custom input device (CID).

Why? Adding another device probably isn't the smartest thing to do, and on the surface, it's also not the most necessary. But I'm looking at this not from a pure Drive Team perspective but past that. For a given game the Drive Team knows the ins and outs of the controls - be they on the joysticks or the game controller. That's not an issue. They have put in the time needed to be good at the controls in order to use them in competitions. The software developers are also sometimes good with some/all of the controls. They have to use them during software development. The problems comes in when the rest of the world needs to use the robot and none of the people who know how it works are available. We try to keep the Forum UI topic up to date as a reference for this reason but it's not handy to have to refer to this document all the time.  What we need is something more intuitive and flexible.

What? The standard Driver Station consists of a Windows laptop and some controllers. Usually this consists of 2 joysticks for robot motion control by the Driver and one or more additional controls for the Operator. The joysticks are USB joystick devices and the controls are USB game controllers.

Some teams make an entire custom Driver Station where the Operator controls are embedded into a single panel.  The problem with this setup is that it the array of buttons and controls are fixed. I would like to have controls that are more intuitive. Here's what I have in mind.
There are of course pitfalls to doing something like this.That's all I have for now. I'll probably get some parts to test with over the summer. I've used similar devices before for Arcadia and don't expect any issues.
Title: Re: Driver station - beyond the joystick and game controller
Post by: Louis L on May 09, 2018, 11:32:16 AM
I ordered a "kit" that consists of a small USB board with headers and a bunch wiring for connecting to arcade-style buttons and joysticks. Actually I got 2 different ones. They sent me the wrong one the first time; then sent the right one but told me to keep the first one. The first one has half the number of connections as the second one.

I need to poke around and see what this all means in terms of how the various supported buttons and joysticks map to a "real" controller like an xbox unit.