Using Motor Controllers in Code

Motor controllers come in two main flavors: CAN and PWM. A CAN controller can send more detailed status information back to the roboRIO, whereas a PWM controller can only be set to a value. For information on using these motors with the WPI drivetrain classes, see Using the WPILib Classes to Drive your Robot.

Using PWM Motor Controllers

PWM motor controllers can be controlled in the same way as a CAN motor controller. For a more detailed background on how they work, see PWM Motor Controllers in Depth. To use a PWM motor controller, simply use the appropriate motor controller class provided by WPI and supply it the port the motor controller(s) are plugged into on the roboRIO. All approved motor controllers have WPI classes provided for them.

Spark spark = new Spark(0); // 0 is the RIO PWM port this is connected to

spark.set(-0.75); // the % output of the motor, between -1 and 1

VictorSP victor = new VictorSP(0); // 0 is the RIO PWM port this is connected to

victor.set(0.6); // the % output of the motor, between -1 and 1

CAN Motor Controllers

A handful of CAN motor controllers are available through vendors such as CTR Electronics and REV Robotics.


For information regarding the SPARK MAX CAN Motor Controller, which can be used in either CAN or PWM mode, please refer to the SPARK MAX software resources and example code.

CTRE CAN Motor Controllers

Please refer to the third party CTRE documentation on the Phoenix software for more detailed information. The documentation is available here.