Understanding Motor and Gearbox Design 3 - Zoro Group - Zoro gearbox Suppliers

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Understanding Motor and Gearbox Design 3

Step 5: Available Motors

This section of the tutorial will describe some common use scenarios for the different motors allowed in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Motor Name



RS-500 Series:
AndyMark 9015
Fisher Price
BaneBots RS-550

These three motors are all very similar – the only distinguishing factors are their performance specifications.  Generally, they are used in manipulators such as powering a pitching wheel, elevator, or conveyor/collector system.

BaneBots RS-775

The RS-775 is a larger and more powerful version of the RS-500 series of motors.  It is also commonly used for manipulators.  However, the RS-775 motors have a history of developing case shorts, causing some teams to avoid using them.


The CIM is the largest, most powerful, and most reliable motor supplied to FRC teams.  Because teams are only allowed to use 4 of them, they should be allocated to the drivetrain, where their power and reliability are most needed.

Denso (Window Motor)

The Window Motor is a motor that comes with a worm gearbox attached.  Its high torque and low speed are often used in manipulators.  Due to the worm drive, they cannot be backdriven, a capability that is desirable for some applications.

Vex 393

The Vex 393 was a new motor for the 2012 season.  For this reason, it has not seen much use.  However, its small size and relatively high torque make it well suited for secondary functions in manipulators.  As teams become more familiar with it, this motor will likely see wider use in more applications.

Step 6: Choosing a Gearbox

Now that you have a motor and gear ratio chosen, you need to choose a gearbox. The first requirement for choosing a gearbox is that the chosen motor must fit on the gearbox. Though most motors have unique bolt patterns, the BaneBots RS-550 motor, Fisher Price motors, and AndyMark 9015 motor all belong to the RS-500 series of motors and therefore have the same mounting pattern.

Next, the gearbox must have the gear ratio you have chosen. However, there is more leeway in this requirement. Some gearboxes can be “stacked” together, creating greater reductions. In addition, not all reduction needs to happen in the gearbox and can instead be achieved through power transmission systems such as sprockets and chain. It is also possible that the exact gear reduction that you want is not available, in which case close enough is usually good enough.

Finally, the gearbox must have an output shaft that you can use. Though various sizes of keyed shafts are most common, hexagonal shafts are becoming more and more popular in FRC. There are also many different hubs to accommodate the various styles of output shafts. Ultimately, this is the least restrictive requirement when choosing a gearbox.
Step 7: Available Gearboxes

This next section provides a list of commonly used gearboxes that are compatible with common motors.

Motor Name

Compatible Gearboxes

RS-500 Series:
AndyMark 9015
Fisher Price
BaneBots RS-550

Banebots RS-500 Planetary
AndyMark CIM-Sim
AndyMark 3 Stage Toughbox
AndyMark Planetary
AndyMark Double Doozy Planetary

BaneBots RS-775

BaneBots RS-700 Planetary
AndyMark PG71 Planetary


AndyMark Toughbox
AndyMark Toughbox Mini
AndyMark Toughbox Nano
AndyMark 3 Stage Toughbox
AndyMark CIMple Box
AndyMark Shifter
AndyMark Super Shifter

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