To begin robotics programming, there’s some additional software we’ll need to download. First, however, be sure to uninstall any FRC software you have from previous years. To do so, follow the uninstall instructions at the bottom of this page and at the top of this page.
WPILib is the programming library we use to make it easier to program our robot. It allows us to easily interact with sensors and motors on our robot, and it also comes with its own version of Visual Studio Code. Below, I’ll walk through the Windows installation of WPILib, but you can find the installation process for other systems here.
First, scroll down on the WPILib releases page until you find this:
If you’re using a 64-bit Windows computer (you probably are), click on the file containing “Windows64.” If you’re using a 32-bit Windows computer, click on the file containing “Windows32.” Then save the download anywhere on your computer.
Once that finishes downloading, right click on the zip file and press “Extract All…”. Then press “Extract”.
Open up the new folder that was created, and double click on the “.exe” file inside. If you get a warning that looks like the image below, click “More info” and then press “Run anyway”.
Now the installation process will begin. Start by selecting “Current User” when prompted. Then, this window should appear:
Click “Select/Download VS Code” and then press “Download”. This will download a version of Visual Studio Code specifically configured for FRC.
Once the VS Code download finishes, click “Execute Install”.
WPILib also comes with some other useful tools. The one we’ll use most often is called the FRC Shuffleboard, which we can configure to display various pieces of information about our robot during matches. We’ll go over how the FRC Shuffleboard and other WPILib software work later on.
FRC Game Tools Installation
The FRC game tools are some additional tools used for controlling and configuring our robot. To install these tools (highly recommended), follow the steps given here.
Included in the game tools installation is the FRC Driver Station, which we use to drive our robot, manage wireless connectivity, and handle controllers. Also included is the roboRIO Imaging Tool, which is required for the next section.
Before the roboRIO can be programmed, it first must go through the “imaging” process, which provides it with the most updated software. To image your roboRIO, follow the steps covered here.
Note: roboRIO imaging requires installation of the FRC game tools.
To set up your robot’s radio for wireless connectivity, follow the guide here.
CTRE Device Configuration
The Pneumatics Control Module and the Power Distribution Panel are components made by CTR Electronics (CTRE), and they require additional configuration software.
From this page, download the latest CTRE Phoenix Framework installer. Then extract the downloaded zip file, and run the “.exe” file. In the installer, use these installation settings:
Once installation finishes, you should see the Phoenix Tuner and Phoenix Firmware shortcuts on your desktop.
Next, I’ll go over the purpose of some of the software we just installed, and I’ll show how it can be used.