Writing the code for a PIDSubsystem in C++
PIDSubsystems use feedback to control the actuator and drive it to a particular position. In this example we use an elevator with a 10-turn potentiometer connected to it to give feedback on the height. The skeleton of the PIDSubsystem is generated by the RobotBuilder and we have to fill in the rest of the code to provide the potentiometer value and drive the motor with the output of the imbedded PIDController.
Setting the PID constants
Make sure the Elevator PID subsystem has been created in the RobotBuiler. In the case of our elevator we use a propertional constant of 6.0 and 0 for the I and D terms. Once it's all set, generate C++ code for the project using the Export menu or the C++ toolbar menu.
Add constants for the Elevator preset positions
Elevator constants define potentiometer voltages that correspond to fixed positions on the elevator. These values can be determined using the print statements, the LiveWindow or SmartDashboard.
Initialize the elevator position in the Elevator constructor
Set the elevator initial position so when the robot starts up it will move to that position. This will get the robot to a known starting point. Then enable the PIDController that is part of the PIDSubsystem. The elevator won't actually move until the robot itself is enabled because the motor outputs are initially off, but when the robot is enabled, the PID controller will already be running and the elevator will move to the "STOW" starting position.
The autogenerated code to return the PID input values
If you look at the RobotBuilder generated code for ReturnPIDInput() you can see that there is a //BEGIN and //END comment delimiting the return statement. \ In between //BEGIN and //END comments is where RobotBuilder will rewrite code on subsequent exports. So in general you should not change any code in that block. But, the function returns the value in raw analog units (0-1023). The setpoints are in units of Volts, so this won't work.
Set the ReturnPIDInput method to return voltage
The function must be changed to return voltage. If we change the code inside the //BEGIN and //END block, it will just be overwritten next time RobotBuilder exports the file. The solution is to remove the //BEGIN and //END comments, then make the change. This will prevent RobotBuilder from changing the code back again later.
That's all that is required to create the Elevator PIDSubsystem in C++. To operate it with commands to actually control the motion see: Operating a PIDSubsystem from a command in C++.