Massive FIRST Timer

Mike shows us his giant FIRST timer. It's snowing again. And tomorrow doesn't look good either.

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We're bean counting on Friday. No shipping.

And just to add insult to injury, it's snowing like a madman today.

So it's not actually snowing that badly, but we've got reduced staff, and who knows what FedEx is going to do today. So please be patient. We should be back up to 100% by monday.

Mike Copioli gave us a heads up on one of his projects. He's a mentor for the Thunder Chickens (awesome name) FIRST Robotics Team #217. Mike  needed a simple field timer for the team. Using the BlueSMiRF and a handful of 6.5" 7-segment displays, he built a wirelessly controlled timer with start, stop, and set time commands.

Super easy to use serial commands set the time and start/stop the count down.

Red plastic cover makes the segments even easier to read. Nice o-scope! 12V at 0.77A is not too horrible.

Mike used a 18F PIC, and a handful of transistors to control the large LED segments of the displays. Thanks Mike! Go Thunder Chickens!

Comments 10 comments

  • I'm from FIRST team 399!!! "Eagle Robotics" we took first place in the Denver regional thanks to SparkFun sensors and components.
    Thanks SparkFun!!!! :)

  • Member #505951 / about 9 years ago / 1

    wow thats big

  • webqaz / about 14 years ago / 1

    I do have to admit I am a fan of the thunder chickens bot. Very clean and the strategy is a good one, good luck at states and nationals!

  • OlegM / about 14 years ago / 1

    Snow. I hate when it happens:-). I placed an order yesterday hoping to pick it up today - my weekend toys. Now I need to wait till Monday.

  • OK, Nate, you can't tell us that juicy piece of trivia and not tell us why you got kicked out of FIRST.
    I mentored two teams and I felt there were some kids on the teams that really should have been kicked off, but weren't. So you must have done something really bad . . .

    • I wish it was some really dramatic story with a power tool and a misplaced rocket cartridge... The club was run by students at the time (this was more than a decade ago!) and they decided to institute an application process to be on the team. Oddly enough me and another guy named Nathan were the only two out of 50 that didn't get to re-join the team. Maybe the team captain was upset I was dating his ex-girlfriend? Who knows about these things?
      PS - It's still snowing sideways.

  • Josh2 / about 14 years ago / 1

    FIRST is cool, to bad they closed the competition today because of the weather, got half way out to DU with my dad just to find out from the rest of the team(#1377) that it was over. ;( But this is pretty cool what he did, would have been good for the field system at the Mines skirmish, that was a disaster with the driver station updates that were floating around.
    Good luck Thunder Chickens and other FIRST FRC teams

  • npflood / about 14 years ago / 1

    FIRST!! I'll be cheering for the Thunder Chickens this year too.
    As a professional software engineer I got my start in electronics and computer programming in FIRST. It's a great program! I'm a living example of how getting kids into stuff that's way over their heads will give them bigger expectations for themselves.
    As an electronics professional or hobbyist let me encourage you to check out their website at See if there is a team in your area, they're fun to watch and even more fun to help out. The engineers and shop guys at Siemens Automotive gave me invaluable experience and skills that I use today.
    GO Thunder Chickens.

    • FIRST is a very good program to get students into robotics and engineering.
      Can you believe I got kicked off the FIRST team when I was in highschool? :X If FIRST is good for students, just look how good it is to get kicked out of it! ;)

      • mmmlinux / about 14 years ago / 1

        I too got kicked off the FIRST team in high school. For failing math... oddly enough, I was the lead programmer.

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