Initial Hardware Testing

For your competition team to have the best chance of success, hardware components should be tested as soon as they are received. This is generally done by:

  • Powering up the device and confirming LED states.
  • Ensuring hardware shows up in Tuner if wired to CAN Bus.
  • Drive outputs / drive motor in both directions (if motor controller).

This is explained in the sections below, but it is worth pointing out how important this step is. It is in your team’s best interest to test ALL purchased robot components immediately and in isolation. Here are the reasons why:

  • Robot replacement components should be in a state of readiness. Otherwise a replacement during competition can yield erroneous behavior.
  • Many robot components (in general) have fixed warranty periods, and replacements must be done within them.
  • Confirming devices are functional before handing them to students ensures best chance of success. If a student later damages hardware, they need to understand how they did it to ensure it does not happen again. Without initial validation, you can’t determine root-cause.

Much of this is done during the “bring-up” phase of the robot. However, there is much validation a team can do long before the robot takes form.

Unfortunately, there are many teams that do not perform this step, and end up isolating devices and re-implementing their cable solutions at competition, because this was not done during robot bring up.

Note

“Bring up / Board bring up / Hardware bring up” is an engineering colloquial phrase. It is the initial setup and validation phase of your bench or robot setup.