Programming 2013

This year, we started programming right after kickoff. Our team had a fairly large programming team consisting of the following people: Matt Arroyo, Dale Keith, Sam Lewin, Liz Maurais, Cody Paquette, and Jacob Tilton. While waiting for the CADD model and the prototype, we began lessons in Java and object oriented programming, led by our mentors Mr. Lewin and Mr. Narkis.

Programming lessons
Learning as we go along

Things like classes, arguments, and strings were discussed. Seeing as the members of our programming team all had different computer hardware, configuring the development computers took a long time. Once we had something to work with, we began programming things like the odometer and the drive train. Sharing code among the team was a breeze thanks to our use of Subversion, located on a server inside our Programming Den. Day after day, our programming team was hard at work pondering ideas, fixing bugs, integrating software with hardware, and scribbling down ideas on windows that were used as whiteboards. The programming team was a very tight knit group this year, helping out each other whenever possible, while still providing a challenge to overcome.

Hard at work
Hard at work

Software development is key to the success of the robot’s performance on the field and the we hope the group’s effectiveness will translate to great execution during the competition


This past weekend, Team 501 participated in our second ever “Bowlathon” fundraiser at Merrimack Ten Pin. We had a fantastic turn out, with 39 bowlers coming out to support us. The event was equally successful at the 50/50 raffle table, where not only did we sell tickets, but also spread the word of FIRST and our team. After all, fundraisers are a great way to maintain a presence in our local community, as well as providing financial support. We will post pictures from the event below. Stay tuned for more upcoming events from our team and follow us on Twitter @FRCTeam501.

Go Team 501!

Team 501 in the Hooksett Banner

This week, Team 501 was featured in the local newspaper, The Hooksett Banner. The article talks about team activites such as: build, programming, and the team website. Several students are interviewed including team captain Nicole Lyle, programming aficionado Sam Lewin and webmaster Dale Keith. Team mentors Isaac Onigman and Stu Lewin are also prominently featured. This article gives a good sense of team identity and team unity. Check out the article by clicking here!

Go Team 501

4 days until ship date.

Programming Workshop


On Saturday December 10th, several Team 501 students went to Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, NH to attend a Programming and controlling the cRIO workshop. At the workshop, WPI’s Brad Miller showed off some new features in the 2012 FRC programming library for Java and C++. Mentors and students got to ask questions and see a live demo of some of the new features in action. Later in the workshop, Kevin O’ Connor , a software engineer from FIRST, showed off the capabilities of the Microsoft Kinect system that will be included in every 2012 FRC kit of parts. The Kinect will allow teams to use gestures in order to control their 2012 robots. Furthermore, teams will be able to customize the gestures that are part of the Kinect. After lunch, National Instruments’ LabView was demonstrated and those in attendance were able to see the features of LabView with an FRC robot. The workshop was very informative overall and allowed people to have a small taste of what’s coming when Kickoff 2012 rolls around on January 7th.

Christmas Parade

Team 501 participated in the Christmas parade in Manchester this year.  This year we built a frame out of PBC pipes that we decorated with Christmas lights.  We also decorated the robot with lights.  The final touch was three giant candy canes that we hung from the PBC pipes.  After the robot was decorated, the biggest challenge was staying warm and occupied.  We talked to Milo the moose, the Morning buzz, and other people walking around.  Finally, we saw people start to move and we got ready to go.  We grabbed our, “Power Knights Team 501” sign and waited for what seemed like forever. We finally began to move down the street and waved to people standing on the sidewalks.  Many people cheered when we went by and we returned the favor and cheered back.  More and more people cheered, which took the team by surprise because we never had so many people recognize us for what we do and what we have accomplished in years past.  What made us all happy were the kids that were saying, “That’s so cool”, I want to do that”, “When can I join”, etc.  It was awesome to hear so many people interested in joining the team in the future and I hope that they do end up joining the team.