FTC 7314 Engineering Notebook 2016-02-13

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Competition Season Meeting

Meeting Date Meeting Time Location Attendees
2/13/2016 2:00-5:00 PM TCHS Brandywine Amal, Akhila, Josh Justin, Myles


Meeting Goals

  • Battery Research: Robot Batteries: Research best practices for maintaining our batteries. We may have inadvertently damaged our existing batteries in recent weeks.
  • Mechanical: Robot fender is rubbing main tank tread on both sides. Need to extend spacer height to lift fender. This is interfering with repeatable autonomous runs.
  • Electrical: Power supply wiring is longer than needed, would like to shorten where possible.
  • Drivers: Verify that our recent debris pickup modification to prevent blocks from escaping works well and does not cause any other problems.
  • Video Production: Organize this effort and plan for having a video for our Harrisburg qualifier.
  • Wrap-Up: Decide and communicate meeting schedule for the remainder of the week.


After the recent discovery of our batteries potentially being overcharged, we have decided to monitor our battery usage more carefully. To do this, we have tested each battery and marked them with a sticker based on their performance. We are monitoring the battery performance. based on our research, we will no longer leave our batteries on the chargers over night. We reconfigured our battery tester for NIMH batteries.

  • Battery #1 performing okay
  • Battery #2 performing okay
  • Battery #4 performed well with 4 climbs to the top of the mountain.
  • Battery #7 performing well, with three climbs to the mountain.
  • Battery #3 is missing....(oops!)
  • Battery #5 yet to be recharged and tested.
  • Battery #6 yet to be recharged and tested.

Media ( Video)

The team had some fun recording footage for our planned video to be used at our next competition. At the same time we were able to run lots on autonomous runs.

This video is to be shown at our pit and at judging presentations. One of our goals after last qualifier was to make our robot and team more accessible and friendly, so this is definitely a way to do that.

Jacob is working on the video, and is really excited about it!


Mechanical: Robot fender is rubbing main tank tread on both sides. This was noticeable at several prior meetings, so we decided to resolve this. It's most apparent when running autonomous, and is completely interfering with repeatable runs. We decided that we would extend the spacer height to lift the fender a little. Josh, Justin and Myles worked to resolve our mechanical issue.

The debris pickup is working without any observed issues. Our improvements seem to be working well. One thing that we should be wary of when driving is that the surgical tubing at the bottom tends to get tangled, which can lead to a jam.


  • We did not get to today's electrical rewiring work. This is not particularly urgent, so it's okay if we push it to next meeting's schedule.


After our mechanical issue was resolved with the fenders rubbing, the program team worked to refine autonomous mode.

They worked specifically on tuning the inside autonomous. We changed the starting position so that it wouldn't interfere with any other robots. Also, the new autocorrect feature seems to be working nicely.

  • Observation, With our recent update to the latest version of FTC software from FIRST, communications has been good, with no unexpected faults.

Red Inside Autonomous:

Below is a sample of our steplist, including the inside change.

       // Here are our steps (in order) that make up our rescue plan.
       stepList = new ArrayList<StepInterface>();
       stepList.add(new Step_Straight(10, DcMotor.Direction.REVERSE));
       stepList.add(new Step_GyroTurn(32, Robot.TurnEnum.LEFT));
       stepList.add(new Step_Straight(32, DcMotor.Direction.REVERSE));
       stepList.add(new Step_GyroTurn(90, Robot.TurnEnum.LEFT));
       stepList.add(new Step_FindBeaconBox());
       stepList.add(new Step_TrackWhiteLine(Robot.AllianceColorEnum.RED));
       stepList.add(new Step_UnloadClimbers());

Field Elements

We finally acquired new batteries for the beacon! This will help our testing greatly.

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