On Friday, April Fools, the RoboLancers arrived at Westtown for another competitive weekend. During the last competition, the RoboLancers encountered some obstacles such as connectivity issues and belt problems. Luckily, we were able to identify the source of the problems which included a broken radio and too much tension on the belts. The tension in the belts was compounded by a vicious and speedy drive which put a lot of excess force on the belts. To solve this, we purchased a new radio and swapped from belts to chains. However, during our first practice match, our chain popped off! We embarked on another rocky start. But thankfully, with the help of other gracious teams, we were able to try smaller pneumatic wheels which we believed would solve the problem. Little did we know, the wheels actually impeded us from driving over defenses during autonomous and teleop. We quickly switched back to the 10-inch pneumatic wheels but maneuvered less viscously. But at long last, we were left with a working robot!
The event ran really smoothly with the help of other teams and volunteers which we are extremely thankful for. We would like to specifically thank one of the robot inspectors, Brian Lucas, who guided us through our connectivity issues. We were very fortunate to be picked by the third alliance team, competing along side the Gearaffes (5404) and Fightin’ Robotic Owls (5401). The competition exemplified the spirit of FIRST and was extremely fun. The judges was also full of amity. The whole entire atmosphere was amazing, as expected from FIRST!
On January 14th, we had our second competition at Temple today. It was, like the last, extremely nerve-wracking. However, unlike the last, we modified the manipulator arm so that it can actually cohesively work with the code. We attached strings on the sides of the arm so it would not drag on the floor. Not only that, our tele-op code also works! In addition, a big lesson learned from last competition was that our batteries kept dying. This time, we walked into Temple without worrying about any battery problems.
When we stepped into the field, there was an obvious improvement on the robot from the other teams. They scored better than last time and seemed to have planned things out more meticulously. Our strategy was to score points during Autonomous mode by moving down the ramp. We also wanted to move our robot up the ramp now that we are no longer as back-heavy as the last time. Furthermore, we also wanted to bring a rolling up the ramp during the last 30 seconds, since it promised more points.
Although we planned better than last time, we still placed only 8th. I think the factors that contributed to our placing include the penalty from accidentally touching the rolling goal as we maneuvered it, the shocking improvement from the other teams, and the autonomous code that can only score us 30 points. Walking out of Temple, our team came up with a lot of ideas for the robot. This include feeders with two rows instead of one, better motors that were faster in speed, a pulley based robot instead of a lever based robot, and so on. We also that believe if we make a code that can knock off the kickstand, we can do much better next time. With all these things we can improve on in mind, we went home and sketched up ideas inspired from the competition.
We had our First Tech Competition today and it was extremely nerve-wracking. Firstly, the day before competition, we noticed that the design of the robot did not match up with the programming. The reason being is because when the robot moves during the tele-op phase, the manipulator drags on the floor and impedes the robot from accurately moving. Another reason is because the manipulator moves backwards a little too much and the heaviness of the robot’s back causes it to fall backwards.
In conclusion, our team as a whole decided to take off the manipulator for this competition and focus on defending. Another problem arose when the two female driver, Raina and I, were not comfortable with the controllers because during practice, the battery kept dying. However, we were too excited in the moment and neglected the fact that our robot’s back was too heavy. And so, we tipped over when we moved backwards on the ramp.
Not only that, we were also penalized for touching the rolling goal’s tube during the autonomous phase. Aside from the exciting and nerve-wracking atmosphere of our First Tech competition, a lot of problems were identified.The things we need to work on includes our autonomous code, balancing the weight of the robot, charging the batteries (which is a silly mistake), and utilizing our practice field so the drivers can get comfortable.
There were many regretful things about the competition, knowing that we can definitely do better, but overall, it was a meaningful experience where we could find our mistakes and work on it.