Sunday, March 29, 2009


we're back from davis!

it was a hectic and crazy three days, as always. while the tangible results might not show it, we did really well. i'm proud.
summary version: we ranked 15th, but did not get chosen for an alliance. [ironic! when we're 44th out of 48 we get chosen, but not when we're fifteenth?] and we didn't win any FIRST awards. although, team 100 bestowed upon us the "radical resourcefulness" award, which was fun :)

quick recap of each day...

- set up new driver's station
- as tends to happen with our tempermental paddle, code decided to just Not Work. it completely bypassed the "opening state" and wouldn't do anything. so we switched to a timer based code, which was effective although sketchy.
- the front brush gearbox literally fell apart. we superglued it back together.
- discovered one set of chain was absurdly loose, tightened it by taking off skateboard wheel and removing a link or two.

- everyone else arrived!
- karlin showed up how to use a flat sequence structure to make the brains wait before checking the limit switch again, so the paddle would actually work. but it didn't, really...
- so half an hour before our next match, karlin erin caroline and i decided we HAD to add another limit switch. frantic drilling/soldering/coding/ziptying resulted in our winning that match! it was very exciting.

- we won 4 out of 6 matches! we were ranked 11th at the end of the night.
- chairman's interview went well
i can't remember what else happened...

- we won one out of our three matches, ranked 15th at the end.
- didn't get chosen for an alliance, but were the second alternate
- had judges in our pit all day, chatting and interviewing
- after alliance picking, we packed everything up and took all the crates out to the car, crated up sadie
-only to have an event volunteer come over to us tell us we had to get the robot out NOW because we were ON DECK. frantic uncrating and bumper attaching resulted, and then we were told, no, you're not on deck, you're just the alternate. so if ANOTHER robot fails, then maybe you'll be on in fifteen minutes. HA. well, i suppose it was a good drill. we now know we can uncrate and be ready to go in five minutes flat!

all in all, it was a great regional. hope everyone else also had a great time.

before atlanta: fix the paddle. yet again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

saturday at svr!

quick update of the rest of the competition...

we added some sheet metal to the paddle and rewrote code (now with four states) before our last two qualifiers. we lost both matches, but all the parts of sadie did work when they were supposed to! yay!

so it came as a complete surprise to us to be chosen for the 7th seeded alliance by 115 (monte vista) and 1120 (milpitas). i think it's funny that we ALWAYS end up in the seventh alliance - at least four times since my freshman year!

the first match did not go well - at first sadie wouldn't turn on. then when i tried to swap batteries, they wouldn't let me because we hadn't technically called a time out... eventually, the robot eventually turned on but connection kept flickering, and she would randomly stop during the match... it was bad. turned out to be a combination of a bad battery and bad battery lead which we quickly swapped before the next match
...which we also lost, apparently there we continued to have some wireless issues, which we need to test out on thursday of davis (the driver's station still read 12V throughout the match). but in general, we did well in that match. as in, all the parts moved as they were supposed to, anndini's driving was good... we lost, but ah well, even getting chosen was far more than expected!

jimmy will be helping us to make a larger circle for the paddle by davis.

all in all, it was an amazing weekend - while we did not do particularly well if you're looking at rankings/matches, i'm really proud. considering the numbers of mishaps we've had (especially electronics! eek! driver's station AND crio AND analog breakout AND battery problems...), sadie performed remarkably well. hell, we hadn't tested everything together until our first qualifier friday morning!

and we've still got davis and atlanta!

thanks to the huge number of people who arrived to support us! we had quite the green group of supporters.

Friday, March 13, 2009

svr friday

first thing - we won the xerox creativity award! i think i speak for the team when i say that we are delighted and surprised. the xerox creativity award recognizes a particularly innovative or creative mechanism. our pushbrooms, the subjects of many a bad joke, won us this award!

in light of the results of our matches, the award was especially exciting. because the matches didn't go fabulously...
-our first match went well and we won
-second match - the paddle got stuck and the buttons wouldn't work. however, before 3rd match, we added a "merde!" button that overrides limit switch code and just moves the damn globe motor.
-third match - we lost, but the robot itself worked well. the difficult part is getting close enough to a trailer
-i think my match numbers are off, but there was one match where we couldn't deposit any balls because the damn moon rock managed to get itself LODGED ONTO the paddle. so "merde!" button or no, we couldn't get any balls out of the tube.

however, all in all, it was a good day. and we've still got davis and atlanta! the xerox award's a pretty good way to start off :)

tomorrow - we attach sheet metal to the paddle to make the circle larger, and therefore ensure no balls get stuck on the paddle. that's the makeshift solution - larger welded circle planned before davis.

hope to see you tomorrow!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

match schedule!

match # time
6 10:05 581, 987, 1641 1700,115,192
14 11:01 359,670,1868 841,1280,1700
20 11:43 2135,604,3013 1700,254,3045
25 1:28 2643,649,1516 253,2159,1700
39 3:06 846,1700,8 1120,971,2035
43 3:34 1834,2628,675 2141,1700,668
55 10:26 2489,1700,1868 114,2813,3022
60 11:01 2473,1700,2367 766,1458,1351

hope to see you there,

thursday at svr

oof. it's been a long, long day.
but FINALLY at 7:58pm, as we were being kicked out of the pits, we have FUNCTIONAL CODE that incorporates everything!

we never did manage to make it to a practice match. tomorrow will be a very exciting day! i'm confident that it will all pull together, somehow. i'll post the match schedule next.

quick summary of the day
-soldered up limit switch, attached tube, e board, etc
-discovered driver's station ethernet port didn't work, attempted to fix ethernet port, gave up
-got spare parts driver's station - we must return this on saturday.
-coding difficulty ---> lunch
-went through inspection
-reimaged crio, came back to test code and it would not work
-spent literally TWO HOURS with the nice people at the desk trying to figure out why we could no longer download code. it turns out that while they reimaged the crio, the didn't reimage the laptop. heh.
-discovered limit switch was having ISSUES. resoldered. discovered that the true state is the open state of the switch
-programming marathon led to FUNCTIONAL GATE CODE! it's written in three states, stopped, open, and close. button 8 opens the paddle, button 9 closes it. it's not perfect code, but it works for what we want it to, and it actually stops when we hit the limit switch

see you tomorrow! it's sure to be an exciting day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Encoder Operational

So, after I plugged things in the wrong way a couple of times, the encoder works! We scaled it so that it measures degrees. The encoder thinks that 250 is one full revolution, but we wanted it to think that 360 was one revolution, so we told it to scale by 1.44. Karlin explained code writing for the encoder and how we could use it to turn the ball-dumping motor. There is some nice "pseudo-code" on the whiteboard in the programming room. We will plan on meeting in the near future. (ideas for times anybody?)

Jimmy is working on a mount for the encoder. He made the ball stopper larger so that the ball doesn't get stuck on the metal thing (like what happened on ship). I am going to drop off a globe motor to see if the shaft on the back can be extended to make a mount for the encoder.

Also, Nan, Anne, Anna, and Shifrah worked on building a beautiful new cart today. We bought some casters at ACE to mount on an 80-20 a and wood frame.

Just a reminder, If you have any outstanding reimbursements, please e-mail them to Ms. Mourad asap so that you can be reimbursed. Also, remember to turn in your permission slips to Ms. Mourad by tomorrow. These need to be signed by you and a parent. Next week is the Silicon Vally Regional, March 12-14. All team members are expected to attend a MANDATORY TUESDAY meeting next week to discuss the competition, preparation, and what to expect. All team members (unless you have already talked to me) should plan on being at the competition Fridayand Saturday. You will need to fill out an absence form for the classes you will be missing on Friday. Please feel free to invite people to come watch us at SVR. We would love to show more people our team and how fun FIRST is.