Wiring Placement

We have to run 3 wires all the way up a scissor lift up to 6 foot tall. How have you guys done your wiring if you had a similar experience so it wouldn’t mess up anything as it descends.

As team we stared at the robot for like 2 hours trying to figure out how to place the wire.

The trick is making sure that your wires have enough slack when the lift moves, but don’t hang out very far where they can get tangled or hang out of the 18". I’ll take some pictures tomorrow of how we did it on our lift.

Also, if you are running wires up for motors, it is best to run 2-wire extensions, as the product page recommends not having more than one extension between the MC 29 and the Cortex/Power Expander.

We are using 2 wire extensions for the motors, they are programmed for ports 1 and 10 anyways the third wire is a sensor.

Something we did which was really nice was to bundle all of the cords together using zip ties and vex mesh. It looks awesome. Here’s a video of our robot with it configured this way.

(Closest red robot)

Wiring is always a headache. I think there’s an art to it and most kids don’t even think about it until the end, and then they do a sloppy rush job at it. In addition to Programming Skills and Robot Skills, I think tournaments should present awards for Wiring Skills, since it’s so important and yet it can be very difficult, too.

As was already pointed out, keep your motor controllers near the Cortex. Also, don’t run wires and secure them at what you think is their exact length on these tall robots. Here and there leave a little slack (or fold and double up the wire) so that if you find you need more slack somewhere near the top, you won’t have to re-string the entire wire to get that slack: instead, you’ll be able to pull some of that slack out of your local “repository” of doubled-up wire. I have my kids use two zip ties at each connection to help keep them from coming loose. I do NOT allow them to use electrical tape, which tends to hide the fact when a connection has come loose, not to mention the tape can sometimes take a long time to peel off if you need to make a repair.

This year’s rules allow you to use cable guards and cable guides. Depending on your situation, such guards can be very useful (not to mention kinda cool looking). :slight_smile:

I totally agree with all of this! My students tend to put off wiring as long as they can…but I always tell them that nice wiring is what makes or breaks the final “look” of the robot. This year, we have one really professional looking robot thanks to the use of cable guards…love that new rule!

There is a lot to consider while wiring that can have a big impact on the maintenance of the robot. Sometimes students just cram all of the wires together or where ever they will fit. But they should be considering which components are likely to need to be replaced at some point during the year and making those wires accessible.

What has worked best are two basic methods.

  1. There are standoffs for lateral support, run the wires when in the fully upright position and zip tie them along the supports. Run signal one side, motors on the other so you get limited interference.

  2. Snake it along the scissor. This uses a ton more wire length and has the potential of the wires getting clipped/chomped by the scissor. As you have more wires, this can be unmanageable.

With allowing cable runs, this would be a good opportunity to use them on the snake method to help avoid chomping of the wires. Our scissor design teams are down about 4-5 potentiometers this year due to that chomping/crimping.

We started using Cable Wrap this year. You can stuff many wires in it and it forms a straight durable line that can be attached anywhere. (Also it looks pretty cool).

Remember: you can use 3 wire extension as 2 wire extension for minimizing distance between MC 29 and cortex!! You don’t have to buy insane amount of 2 wire extension, just use 3 wire to replace long distance between MC 29 and motors if you have excess 3 wires. Leave the third wire hanging out safely. Same thing applies to IME extension that runs down the lift.

Also: don’t start to zip-tie wires to the lift until all the wires are set up. Bundle all wires together so that you save zip-tie and make things look neat.

Can you mold the Cable Wrap?

I suggest corrugated wire tubing. It is very inexpensive and is flexible and will not tangle. You can use rubber bands or zip ties to connect it to various points.

Thanks everyone, I think I will try out some different types of tubing and cable runs, see which is more efficient.