Drive Systems

Drive Systems come in all shapes and sizes with lots of different strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. Below we go over some of the major FRC drive trains and will focus on several key factors of each; turning radius, directions of travel, efficiency, number if motors needed, weight and complexity.

The major drive trains include;

  • Inline 4, 6 or 8
    inline

    • The image above assumes all solid wheels are powered
    • Inline drives are very simple to assemble
    • Inline drive trains are very efficient when going strait
    • Inline drive trains skip and waste a lot of energy turning because they drag wheels
      • Changing the outer wheels to Omani wheels is a way to increase the efficiency of the tank drive while turning
    • Inline drive trains have the maximum amount of friction in all directions with solid wheels
  • Drop center 6 or 8
    drop center

    • The image above assumes all solid wheels are powered
    • The center wheel(s) is below the outer wheels by 1/8″ to 1/4″
    • The center or rotation changes based on the center of gravity at the moment the turn in initiated
      • The center of gravity will allow only 4 of the wheels to be part of the turn
    • Drop center drive trains are very efficient when going strait
    • Drop center drive trains are very fairly efficient when turning
  • Mecanum 3 or 4
    mecanum

    • The image above assumes all mecanum wheels are powered
    • The center or rotation changes based on the power and direction of rotation of each wheel
    • Significant energy is lost when driving in any direction due to the mecanum rollers being at 45 degrees
    • Mecanum drive trains need more advanced programming to be effective
  • Omni 3 or 4
    omni

    • The image above assumes all mecanum wheels are powered
    • 3 wheel omni is also known as kiwi drive
      • Significant energy is lost when driving in any direction due to the omni rollers pushing against each other
      • Kiwi drive trains need more advanced programming to be effective
    • 4 wheel omni with the wheels at 45 deg to the frame is also known as holonomic drive
      • Significant energy is lost when driving in any direction due to the omni rollers pushing against each other
      • Holonomic drive trains need more advanced programming to be effective
    • 4 wheel omni drive has no resistance to being pushed from the sides due to the omni rollers
  • H
    hdrive

    • The image above assumes all mecanum wheels are powered
    • The center of rotation changes based on the power and direction of each wheel
    • H wheel(s) are recommended to be spring loaded
  • Swerve synced or un-synced
  • Octicanum or Butterfly

Now that we know what some of the major drive systems can do, we will go over the key component of a drive system in greater detail.

The two FRC drive trains that are used the most are the Andymark drive and the West coast drive. Below are some details on each of these systems.

Calculators

Here are some great drive system resources to learn more

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