Recent Posts

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Things we learned / cables - strain relief, keeping them in, tying them off.
« Last post by Louis L on October 21, 2018, 07:13:40 PM »
Wiring needs to be controlled. Sometimes the priorities can be confusing as they seem to contradict each other.
  • Keep wiring neat. The more the mess, the greater chance of problems.
  • Have service loops, slack in the cables. This allows plugging and unplugging of cables.
  • Strain relief at connections prevents cables from coming off when a cable gets pulled.
  • Hot glue on connector can be used if the connector feels loose - be careful how it's used.
  • Route cable such that it does not pop off. This usually means folding the cable over 180 degrees and zip tying it down.
  • Check for pinch points.
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Robot Software / Re: User Interface
« Last post by Louis L on October 17, 2018, 01:04:45 PM »
Updated to reflect climber function UI
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Imagery / PacMan costume
« Last post by Louis L on August 20, 2018, 09:42:22 PM »
Ran across this drawing Michele made; thought we could archive it here!
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General Topics / Planet naming contest
« Last post by Louis L on July 22, 2018, 10:09:54 PM »
Use this thread to suggest names for the planet. Rules are below. We'll collect names until Monday Aug 6. Here are the rules:

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DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Presented By The Boeing Company brings us to a planet in deep space that is as mysterious as it is inhospitable. This lifeless planet presents many challenges: Its atmosphere is toxic, its ever-changing landscape is dangerous and unpredictable, and…it has no name. Would you like to name it? Now is your team's chance to influence our story and be forever known as the team that gave our planet its name!
 
The FIRST Robotics Competition 2019 “Name the Planet" Contest is open to all past FIRST Robotics Competition teams with plans on returning during the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season, as well as all rookie teams for the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season. Only ONE submission is allowed per team, and must be submitted by the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 as designated within the Team Dashboard. If your team does not yet have a permanent team number, please use your assigned temporary team number. Submissions must be complete by 11:59PM EDT on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 to be considered.

 
Name the Planet Contest rules:

(1) No submissions may contain material protected by intellectual property laws, including, by way of example, and not as limitation, copyright or trademark laws (or by rights of privacy or publicity) unless you own or control the rights thereto or have received all necessary consents to do the same. For example, “Disneyland” is not an appropriate name.

(2) The Planet Name will represent your team and FIRST, and it must be designed in the spirit of FIRST Core Values.

(3) The Planet Name should be written using characters in the modern Latin alphabet not exceeding 50 characters (including spaces).

(4) It is important that we know the correct pronunciation of your planet name. Although the pronunciation of many names is obvious, some require special attention. The pronunciation guide is a way to help us pronounce your planet name correctly. The pronunciation guide should be written for English language speakers. For example, “Raul Gonzalez” would have a pronunciation guide similar to “rah-OOL gon-SAH-les”. It’s recommended to use a pronunciation resource such as the following document in creating your pronunciation guide:  https://www.tntech.edu/assets/userfiles/resourcefiles/8487/1450475497_Name%20Pronunciation%20Instructions.pdf

By submitting your entry into this survey, you irrevocably grant to FIRST and its assigns, licensees, and successors the right to use your submitted Planet Name in all forms and media including composite or modified representations for all purposes, including advertising, trade, or any commercial purpose throughout the universe and in perpetuity. You also waive the right to inspect or approve the use of the Planet Name for publication or other written copy used in connection with the Planet Name.

Please note, we are collecting the name and email address of the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 who fills out the contest entry in order to ensure only ONE contest entry per team is received, to follow up with your team if needed, and to notify you if your entry is selected.
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Robot Software / dev laptop holder inside cabinet
« Last post by Louis L on June 24, 2018, 08:59:18 PM »
I made a "holder" for the dev laptops in the tall cabinet. We'll use this Fall (2018).

Up until now, the dev laptops were either stored vertically (where they can fall down) or stacked one atop another. Stacking is not a good idea since each weighs 6 to 7 pounds so the bottom on gets crushed (good thing these have a strong magnesium chassis but the LCD is still a weak point). So I made a box with slats. Each laptop gets its own place to sit vertically without leaning on another laptop or falling over. Each slot is labeled 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. There is no "2" since that laptop has been retired and used for parts. Everyone using a laptop is expected to put it back in the correct slot.

Above this unit, there is space for the chargers so they no longer will clump up on the shelf.
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Things we learned / Avoid initializing at power-time
« Last post by Louis L on May 21, 2018, 02:29:49 PM »
For 2018 (Panthera in PowerUp), the Pigeon IMU is initialized at power-up. This is when the orientation of the robot is established. Since we're using the IMU to provide field-centric driving compensation, it means the robot must be powered-up on the field, pointed in the correct direction.

At BattleCry, in the 2nd match of the elimination round, the officials requested that robots be powered on in the queue to speed up the connection process when setting up on the field. This meant our robot was no longer pointed in the right direction when the match started and both auto and the controls did not work as expected and the results weren't pretty.

  • Hardware power-up sequences that can affect game play should be done at the start of auto or the start of tele as needed.
  • If the above can't be avoided for performance reasons (for example, if the init sequence takes too long during auto), we need a hot key to do a re-init at game time. Better to waste a few seconds and forego auto than to ruin the entire match.
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Program Management / Re: Post-RIDE discussion summary
« Last post by Louis L on May 09, 2018, 11:37:02 AM »
Made what is probably the last update to this thread.

We tested the climber last night and the camera the night before so all hardware mods are done. There is some minimal cleanup to do still - strap some wires down and grease the drivetrain. But aside from that the robot (hw and sw) are done. We have next week to practice before BC19.
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General Topics / Re: Driver station - beyond the joystick and game controller
« Last post by Louis L on May 09, 2018, 11:32:16 AM »
I ordered a "kit" that consists of a small USB board with headers and a bunch wiring for connecting to arcade-style buttons and joysticks. Actually I got 2 different ones. They sent me the wrong one the first time; then sent the right one but told me to keep the first one. The first one has half the number of connections as the second one.

I need to poke around and see what this all means in terms of how the various supported buttons and joysticks map to a "real" controller like an xbox unit.
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Robot Software / Re: User Interface
« Last post by Louis L on April 27, 2018, 11:07:27 AM »
Minor cleanup to OP wording for clarification.
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General Topics / New Robot Cart - do we need one?
« Last post by Louis L on April 24, 2018, 05:02:05 PM »
Some have expressed a desire to build a new robot cart to replace the existing one. If we are to do this, we need to justify doing so and also make sure the changes are an improvement and address the deficiencies of the current cart.

Background

The current cart is our second gen cart. The first gen was a piece of plywood drapped over the 4 ft dolly that was custom made for each robot. Standoffs on the plywood supported the robot. Since the robot was different every year, the standoffs were rebuilt each year to fit the robot. The standoffs allowed the robot to be "driven" while on the cart without going anywhere. They were also not very secure and didn't last very long.

The current cart has been in service for at least 4 years (that I can remember). Some of the goals addressed by this version of the cart included:
  • no pneumatic wheels (on old cart) to lose air
  • a place to carry batteries
  • folding design so it can be more easily transported if necessary
  • Securely hold robot
Feedback
If you think a new cart is needed, please post why, what features are necessary, and any specifics about the build.


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