Driver Station Guide

From many years of collective experience, the writers have accumulated some general recommendations and best practices for driver stations to reduce the risk of disconnects.

  • A 5GHz phone is preferred over the standard 2.4GHz phone to reduce ping issues. Have you ever noticed that your team’s robot seems to lag at competitions only?

    Most teams run on 2.4GHz, which means that the 2.4GHz channels will be more crowded on competition day. This can lead to noticeably higher ping/lag which adversely affects driver and robot performance.

  • USB and OTG connections can be a possible source of disconnects during a match. This is generally caused by poor quality connectors or adapters between the driver station and the gamepad controller. It generally is worth it to purchase higher quality connectors as opposed to the cheapest options.

    Recommended USB to OTG Cable

  • The Xbox 360 controller is preferred by many top teams over the standard Logitech game controller. This is mostly as the Xbox controller has less of a dead spot. A dead spot is basically the area where the joystick can move but not communicate that the stick has shifted slightly. This means that when the joystick is moved to a position where the controller can detect it, the robot will sometimes have a tendency to lurch forward. Dead spots make it difficult for the driver to execute fine-tuned and precise movements.

    The Logitech controller has a considerably larger dead spot area, so the Xbox controller is preferred. However, this is likely a non-issue for the large majority of teams. Also, keep in mind that there are very specific models of the Xbox controller that are legal, so they can be hard to find new.

    Starting with the 2020-2021 season, PS4 Dualshock 4 controllers are legal; these are likely performant, but have not really been tested for FTC.

  • A phone holder and OTG strain relief connector can be useful as it may help to prevent connections from loosening. Especially if teams are running dual controller configuration, ensuring that the USB hub is secure won’t hurt.