Imaging the roboRIO and Common Troubleshooting Techniques


The roboRIO is designed specifically with FIRST in mind. The roboRIO uses the same basic architecture of a Real-Time processors + FPGA as the previous cRIO but is more powerful, lighter, and smaller. Before deploying programs to your roboRIO, you must first image the roboRIO with the FRC roboRIO image. This white paper explains the process for imaging your roboRIO with the latest FRC roboRIO image.


Communicating with your roboRIO

The roboRIO is accessed through a network interface either over Ethernet or USB. In either case, the roboRIO is considered a networked device and is accessed by its IP address or DNS name. The IP address for the roboRIO when connected using a USB cable is always The IP address for the roboRIO when connected using an Ethernet cable is obtained automatically using DHCP. In this case, the IP address is assigned by the computer or the D-Link bridge, which ever the roboRIO is connected directly into, and will reflect the subnet of that device. If at any point you would like to check the Ethernet IP address of your roboRIO, connect the roboRIO using both Ethernet and USB and then open the web interface by typing into the address bar of any internet browser. This web interface shows the Ethernet IP address of the roboRIO amongst other information.

The imaging process sets the DNS name of the roboRIO to “roboRIO-TEAM-frc” where TEAM is the team number you specify. Once the imaging process had been completed, you can use the DNS name in place of the IP address to communicate with the roboRIO. You can even address the roboRIO in LabVIEW using the string “roboRIO-TEAM-frc.local” instead of the IP address.


Imaging your roboRIO


Step 1: Connect your roboRIO to a computer using a USB or Ethernet cable.

We recommend imaging the roboRIO while it is connected directly to a computer using the USB-B port on roboRIO. This ensures the most reliable connection and bypasses most firewall and network restrictions.

However, you can connect the roboRIO to the Ethernet port of your computer directly using an Ethernet cable or indirectly through the D-Link bridge. Just be aware that firewall and network settings on the computer may block Ethernet communication with the roboRIO. We do not recommend imaging the roboRIO over a wireless connection with the D-Link bridge because the roboRIO may lose connectivity during the imaging process and enter an unknown state.

Figure 1: roboRIO USB and Ethernet connections


Step 2: Ensure that the Firmware on the roboRIO is up-to-date

The roboRIO is shipped with a manufacturing firmware image which may need to be updated to the most current version; the most recent version of the firmware is downloaded with the FRC 2015 Update Suite. While out-of-date firmware will work with all versions of the roboRIO image, it is recommended that you update your firmware before imaging your roboRIO.

Updating the firmware on the roboRIO first requires that you navigate to the Web Interface. This can be done by typing the IP address of your roboRIO into a browser window. The roboRIO’s IP address can be determined using the methods described in the section titled “Communicating with your roboRIO.”

Once the Web Interface loads, you must login to give yourself administrative privileges. Click “login” to open a new dialog window which prompts for your username and password.

Figure 2: Logging in to Web Interface

Use the username “admin” everytime you login to the web interface. The first time you login there is no password set, so leave the password field blank and click ok. If your roboRIO has a password set, then you must enter this password into the password field.

Figure 3: Web Interface User Name

Once logged in, you can begin the firmware update by clicking the Update Firmware button.

Figure 4: Update Firmware Button

A file explorer window will appear, use this window to browse for the most recent version of the roboRIO firmware. The firmware file is located in this directory by default:

C:\Program Files (x86)\National Instruments\Shared\Firmware\cRIO\76F2

Finally, click the “Begin Update” button to start the firmware update.

Figure 5: Firmware Selection


Step 3: Run the roboRIO Imaging Tool

The roboRIO Imaging Tool is used to deploy an FRC roboRIO Image to the roboRIO. You can find the roboRIO Imaging Tool by selecting utilities from the LabVIEW getting started window. Click roboRIO Imaging Tool 2015 from the list of utilities to open it. If you have not installed the LabVIEW development environment, you can find the roboRIO imaging tool on your computer using Windows explorer and running “roboRIO_ImagingTool.exe” found in this default directory::

C:\Program Files (x86)\National Instruments\LabVIEW 2014\project\roboRIO Tool

Figure 6: LabVIEW Utilities Tab


Step 4: Discover your roboRIO with the roboRIO Imaging Tool

The imaging tool will automatically search for and detect roboRIO targets connected to the computer over USB or Ethernet. Once detected by the imaging tool, your roboRIO will appear under the list of discovered targets. If your roboRIO is not automatically detected see the troubleshooting steps in the Troubleshooting Techniques section.

Figure 7: FRC roboRIO Imaging Tool


Step 5: Configure and start the imaging process

Make sure your roboRIO is selected amongst the list of discovered targets. Then enter your team number into the appropriate field. Check the box next to “Format Target” and click the ”Reformat” button. The message “Re-Imaging roboRIO target…” will remain displayed in the bottom left of the window for the duration of the imaging process.

Figure 8: roboRIO Imaging Tool Detailed Information


Step 6: Review the results of the imaging process

A dialog box will appear after the roboRIO has been imaged successfully. This dialog box will state the current IP address of the roboRIO. Click OK to dismiss this dialog window.

Figure 9: roboRIO Imaging Tool Successful Image Update


roboRIO Checklist


Before using the roboRIO, check the items listed below to make sure your roboRIO is properly configured for use. If your roboRIO fails any of these checks, please follow the appropriate steps in the imaging or troubleshooting process.

  1. Confirm the roboRIO possesses firmware revision 2.1.0f3.  You can do this by viewing the roboRIO status through the web interface.
  2. Confirm the roboRIO possesses image version FRC_roboRIO_2015_v23. You can do this by viewing the roboRIO status through the web interface.
  3. Confirm the FPGA loads when the roboRIO powers on. This is indicated by the RSL light on the roboRIO. The FPGA is loading proper if the RSL LED turns solid orange when the roboRIO powers on. If the LED does not turn on with the roboRIO or if it turns on after a delay, then the FPGA is not loading properly and there was previously an imaging error. If this occurs you will need to reimage the roboRIO to resolve the issue.


Troubleshooting Steps


My roboRIO is not discovered by the roboRIO Imaging tool.

Test the physical connection with the roboRIO using the ping command in Windows command prompt. Open the windows command prompt by clicking the Windows start button and navigating to All programs >> Accessories >> Command Prompt. Once the command prompt is open type the command “ping” follow by a space and then the IP address of the roboRIO. If you do not know how to determine the IP address of you roboRIO see the section titled “Communicating with your roboRIO.” If the ping command is not echoed back to the computer from the roboRIO, then a connection with the roboRIO can not be established.


My roboRIO is connected using a USB cable and the ping command is not returned.

Make sure all anti-virus software and firewalls are disabled. Try connecting to the roboRIO using other USB ports on your computer. Also check the USB ports on the computer with other USB devices such as a flash drive or camera. Try connecting to the roboRIO using a different USB cable. Make sure you are using the IP address specifically for the USB connection. If the roboRIO is still not returning the ping command, try another computer.


My roboRIO is connected over ethernet and the ping command is not returned.

Make sure all anti-virus software and firewalls are disabled. If your computer has multiple network adaptors (ie Ethernet and WiFi), try disabling all of the network adaptors that are not connected to the roboRIO using these steps:

  1. Right click the network icon in your Windows notification bar and select “Open Network and Sharing Center.”
  2. Click “Change adaptor settings” on the left to view the local network adaptors.
  3. Right click each adaptor that is not connected to the roboRIO and select disable.

If you still cannot ping the roboRIO after trying the above steps, then it may have assumed the default link local IP address in the form of 169.254.X.X. In this case, you must change the network settings of your ethernet adaptor to also use a link local IP address by following these steps:

  1. Open the adaptor settings window by following steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Right click on the Ethernet adapter connected to the roboRIO and select properties.
  3. Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” from the list and click properties.
  4. Click the button next to “Use the following IP address.”
  5. If you computer currently has a static IP address assigned to it, that address will appear in the IP address field. In this case make note of the computer’s current IP address and subnet mask so you can later change these settings back.
  6. In the IP address field enter
  7. In the subnet mask field enter

If you are still unable to ping the roboRIO, try using different ethernet cables or different ethernet ports on other computers. You may also want to test the roboRIO with a USB cable since the IP address is always and this bypasses most network settings and restrictions.


The roboRIO imaging tool returns an error.

If you receive an error during the imaging process please follow these suggested steps to prevent the error and image the roboRIO. Perform these troubleshooting steps in order while the roboRIO is connect using to a computer through its USB type B port. Try reimaging the roboRIO between each step until you have successfully imaged the roboRIO.


Step 1: Reset the USB connection to the roboRIO.

Occasionally some USB drivers will enter a fault state during the imaging process and continuously fail to image the roboRIO. Try clearing this state by unplugging and replugging the USB cable to the computer. If that does not help, try resetting your computer and then run the imaging tool.


Step 2: Reimage in SafeMode

To put your roboRIO in SafeMode, hold down the reset button until the the STATUS light goes solid and then release the reset button. The roboRIO will now restart in SafeMode which is indicated by the STATUS light flashing three times in a row. Once in this mode try imaging as previously outlined.


Step 3: Reformat the roboRIO using NI-MAX (National Instruments Measurement and Automation Explorer)

Open NI-MAX by opening the Windows Start Menu and clicking all programs. The shortcut for NI-MAX should appear in this list near the top, above the various folders. If you do not have NI-MAX installed on your computer, you can download the installer here:

Reformatting the roboRIO erases the current image on the roboRIO and resets all team-specific configurations. This returns the roboRIO to a near default state and allows you to put a fresh image on the roboRIO.

Connect the roboRIO to your computer using a USB cable and put the roboRIO in safe mode using the instructions above. Then, expand the Remote Systems tab within NI-MAX to search your computer for the roboRIO. The roboRIO will be listed under the Remote Systems tab once it has been detected. Now right click on the roboRIO and select Format Disk.

Figure 10: Format Disk Option in NI-MAX

A new dialog window will appear asking for a username and password. Type “admin” for the username field, leave the password field empty, then click ok.

Figure 11: NI-MAX Log In Information

A new windows appears asking whether or not you wish to reset the network adaptors to their default settings. Select the first option and click format.

Figure 12: roboRIO Format Disk Window

NI-MAX will now reformat your roboRIO. After the reformatting process has finished, try imaging the roboRIO using the roboRIO Imaging Tool and the steps outlined above.


Step 4: Try imaging the roboRIO using a different computer.

Some older computers will take too long to send command to and receive commands from the roboRIO. In this case the imaging tool will timeout, thinking that the roboRIO has been removed or is no longer responding. This will result in an error. Imaging the roboRIO with a faster computer may prevent this error entirely and allow the imaging process to complete without timing out.


Step 5: Call National Instruments Technical Support

If the above methods fail to successfully image your roboRIO call 866-511-6285 to speak with an Applications Engineer who can assist in resolving this issue.