DEWBOT VII Duel on the Delaware

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Duel on the Delaware revised.jpg
22-October-2011. Sab-BOT-age's 5th time participating at Duel on the Delaware. Also the first FRC competition for 6 new students.

In spite of finishing qualifications at 19th out of 28 teams, 4th-ranked team 365 (Miracle Workerz) selected us as their first alliance partner (thanks, MOE!), filling out the alliance with team 87 (Diablo). Our alliance went on to win Duel on the Delaware this year.

New driver Andrew and Human Player Douglas both put in excellent performances thoughout the day. Quinn assisted the field team with the robot.

Check out the Event Website.

Who was there

Students: Sasha, Andrew, Douglas, Michael, Ian, Nicole, Molly, Kira, Yahya, Ben, DJ, Lucy, Patrick C, Quinn, Sarah, Patrick D, Varun

Mentors: Clem & Faith McKown, Julie Christopher, Siri Maley, Ben Kellom, Rita Wall

Parents: Joe Morganto, Eric Stuehrmann, Bill Curran, Hilda Saffran (Faith's mom) and the Dragos

Fan Club: Foster

Driver: Andrew
Operator: Sasha
Human Players: Douglas
Coach: Siri Maley
Scouts: Nicole
Pit Crew: Molly, Lucy, Kira,
NEMO Representatives: Faith McKown, Joe Morganto

Problems Encountered

  1. We still lose the line in autonomous, even with 3 photosensors. Continuing off course after losing all three stops the robot (intentionally). If this happens too soon, the automatic backing up that occurs at the end of autonomous puts us over the center line. We knew this from IRI and do not need the back up in the code, but left it in anyway. This almost caused us a penalty in a very close match.
  2. Our minibot failed to attach to the pole on two occasions. We traced this back to one minibot, which we removed from circulation (rather than swapping minibots, as had been our practice). No more such incidents after making this change,but we haven't yet identified the problem with the other minibot, nor can we definitely prove it was the same one both times. (We should really keep track of this.)
  3. We needed to change treads at the start of the event - should have done this at Creamery. This kept us from getting on-field programming time, limiting autonomous development.
  4. difficulties in pit coordination put us on the field with a protruding tread screw for 2 matches while trying to fully replace the treads (which doesn't take long with the proper equipment). The protruding screw impede the wheel's movement, making driving very difficult.
  5. Most of the replacement treads were not punched, and those that were, were cut too short or punched incorrectly. We did not bring the punch or template for treads, making both creating new ones and testing the provided ones difficult.
  6. We cross-threaded a wheel insert trying to attach an incorrectly punched tread. We needed to chase this, but did not bring a tap set (we were able to borrow this)
  7. Treads on the replacement pivots also were not new (meaning if we did have to switch a pivot, we'd have to switch the tread at the same time)
  8. (1) BHCS used to mount the front-left pivot module had a stripped head, making removal problematic - consider replacing such high-use BHCS's here with SHCS's (or HHCS's?) and making this a spec for future robots. This spec would apply to all high-use/critical fasteners in which their use is practical.
  9. We still have pit problems with placing the minibot on the trident correctly and remembering to check the velcro on the arm. These were caught during the on-field coach's check (rough time to do it). In general, we are not running the full pit checklist. (It's a strong testament to the durability of this robot that the only complaints here is minibot mounting and arm velcro.)
  10. We had low-voltage issues (~8 volts after <1 minute under load) in at least 4 matches. This is currently ascribed to (2) batteries, which appeared fully charged, and (1) suspect battery charger. The frequency and seemingly sudden onset of the problem though, may point to another cause.
  11. The batteries and chargers described above were removed from circulation out of cautiousness. This meant battery management through play-offs was very tight - we had to borrow a battery from 365 - 365 later had to borrow a battery from us and almost from 341 (whom we were competing against) - it all worked out, but it was a close thing.
  12. We had no in-pit or on-field injuries (though the lack of good gloves makes the latter precarious). However, one person did unfortunately bruise their hands saving a tote from crashing down during transport from the parking lot. (They are alright.) This is our first competition injury of the season - not a first we wanted to have.
  13. People still tend to go missing at inopportune times. This is especially true of essential but less frequently necessary pit crew members. Lunch coordination also left a few students hungry for a while. We can fix these.
  14. We're not entirely sure what to do with the 9 volt Cypress battery. This didn't cause any performance problems (that we noted), but is a curious misunderstanding/lack of communication.
  15. We broke the grenade pin off the Trident. While impressive, this wasn't problematic. We did bring an extra, though we didn't know it at first. This is a critical technology, dirt cheap but not so easy to duplicate ad hoc. We should really make sure we have enough.

Overall, DEWBOT VII is a heck of a machine. Easy to maintain and hard to break. Our pit process, having remained largely unstressed all season (at least compared to early years), is capable, but not optimized. We should change this.

Lessons Learned

  1. Check the robot before packing. Specifically, ensure treads are in good condition. (this is an easy fix)
  2. Get field carpet. (For autonomous, also for driving) Ok, so maybe this isn't a new lesson per say.
  3. Put an electrical grounding test on the pit checklist and whenever we have battery issues. We still have not done this, and the knowledge of how to is not widely disseminated.
  4. Follow the packing list. This needs to be updated, as the tote colors have changed for some items. (No new additions, though a few can be removed.) Specifically, bring the taps we use and a bunch of grenade pins (and know that we do).
  5. Follow the pit checklist. Post this - mount it on the robot, tattoo it on the coach - just follow it. (Seriously though, we should mount it on the robot)
  6. Develop a clear pit management process for problems, changes, etc.
  7. Teach students how to assume real leadership for their fields, and incorporate this into the management process.
  8. Practice driving with defense and loud music.
  9. Stop cross-threading and stripping things. (Seriously, we need a lesson on this.)
  10. Fix/replace the black toolbox (handle). Consider a toolbox + cart and/or full pit setup design. This is a good design and CAD project (we've know this).
  11. Figure out a better--safer--way to move in and out of a venue.
  12. Obtain a battery tester and test all the batteries. Buy new ones as necessary.
  13. Go back to videotaping matches, especially minibot deployment.
  14. Scouting data is good, but we need to improve organization.
  15. Mark minibots and keep track of which one we use each match.
  16. Keep record in pit - Match # - Minibot # - Battery # - Battery charger used to last charge battery - Match comments
  17. Make absolutely sure your alliance partner actually has their Ubertube in their claw if it's behind them. (This helped cost us F1-1.)
  18. Coach needs to get more steadfast and about strategy in elims. If it's not going to work, debate it, don't be too nice.


Access the Post-Mortem.

Duel on the Delaware Photo Gallery