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A number of coaches have asked questions regarding how to set ROBOTC up this season. Here is a quick guide & checklist of what you need to do.
Downloading & Installing
You can download the latest FTC version of ROBOTC (v3.03 as of this post) here: http://www.robotc.net/ftc/
You will also need the latest NXT drivers which are available here: http://www.robotc.net/files/NXT_USB_Driver_120.zip
Both downloads will have a Windows installer which you should run.
Opening ROBOTC for the First Time
There are a few things we’ll want to set once we open up ROBOTC as the defaults are not all where we want them for an FTC team.
The first thing we’ll want to adjust is the menu level. In our opinion the default setting of basic is too restricted. We’ll want to program with it set to Expert.
To change the setting, select Menu Level, Expert:
The next thing you need to do is set the platform type for FTC.
Select Robot, Platform Type, LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO Mindstorms NXT + TETRIX:
In order to do the next step of upgrading the firmware on the NXT brick, we’ll need to make sure that the compiler target is set to use the NXT and not the new Virtual Worlds.
Select Robot, Compiler Target, Physical Robot:
Installing the new firmware
Once we’ve set the correct menu level, platform type, and compiler target, we’ll want to go ahead and upgrade the firmware on the NXT to work with the new version of ROBOTC. To do this, you will need to first connect your NXT via USB & turn the NXT on. Note that you must have the NXT drivers already installed from the instructions above and the NXT must have a high enough battery level.
*You should only need to do this ONCE each time you get a new NXT or upgrade ROBOTC to a new version. Flashing the firmware will erase all programs currently downloaded to the NXT brick!*
Open up the Comm Link Setup by selecting: Robot, NXT Brick, Communication Link Setup:
In the top left-hand corner of the link setup screen is the USB connections list. If your NXT is on, connected, & you have the NXT drivers correctly installed, you should see your NXT brick listed. Highlight your NXT and click the F/W Download button :
This will initiate the firmware download and you will see a series of status messages at the bottom as it initiates the download, boots the NXT into firmware download mode, and downloads the new firmware.
Do not disconnect or power down the NXT until the process completes successfully or errors out!
Select Robot, Download Firmware, Standard File (%latest_version%.rfw):
This will open a new popup where you can select the correct NXT to download firmware to. Highlight your NXT brick and click the F/W Download button:
As with the previous method, you will see a series of status messages as ROBOTC installs the firmware, the NXT will reboot, and the popup window will close.
What if something goes wrong?!
The most common issue I have seen teams run into is that the NXT does not properly boot so that firmware can be loaded (or perhaps ROBOTC fails to recognize so). If this happens to you, you may see a status message where ROBOTC is constantly waiting for the NXT to ‘enter boot mode’ and it may even error out saying something along the lines of the NXT failing to reboot correctly. If this happens, you may notice that your NXT brick will appear dead and make a constant clicking noise. DON’T PANIC! Your brick isn’t ‘bricked’. Rather, it is in what is known as SAMBA mode; a special boot mode for downloading new firmware. All you need to do is re-run the steps above and the firmware download process is generally successful the second time.
Once you have the latest firmware downloaded, you should be all ready to go and start coding for this season. Best of luck!