Now it has been a couple days since the KC regional. Typically we like to write up a post to share results and pictures with everyone as soon as possible. This year we have a smaller number of students, and keeping up with everything we’d like to do has been a challenge.
Thursday we started with a robot that was mostly complete mechanically, but pretty much untested during the six-week build period. We had to make last minute tweaks to the robot and try to pass inspection as fast as we could so that our two possible drive teams could get enough practice experience to compete. The inspection didn’t go through without hiccups. During it, they found that our robot electrical system was ground to the frame, a big no-no, and it had the potential to derail our chances at practice. Luckily, we noticed a wire had gotten wedged between the metal frame, and removing it (and taping with electrical tape) fixed the problem. After another small pneumatic problem, we were able to make it to the practice field for 3 matches.
Meanwhile, we were making updates to the NI LABVIEW program which controls the robot and in a later practice match we had a control cable (PWM) to our motor controller come undone. With help from Tyler Hieber (5968) we were able to fix the electrical issue, but Alex C. (our programming and electrical lead) and Nelson G. (an engineering mentor) continued to have some confusion and problems with code to make the joysticks drive the robot correctly and with pneumatic operation of the gear gripper. Some of these problems continued into the qualification matches played on Friday, and diminished our abilities to compete. Luckily, we had the help from various people to help Alex C. to get the robot performing to its best. We want to thank Pete (1730), Kate (CSA), Gregg (remotely), and anyone else that helped.
Saturday we performed better and had working auto modes for scoring in the high boiler. We also finished the competition climbing the rope in the last 6 matches, which was a very important task for winning in this game. We finished in #20 place with a 5-4 record, which was an improvement upon last year (when we finished #37). However, we weren’t selected to play in the playoff matches, to our disappointment, because of the inconsistent play during our troubles with the robot (which had our drivers going sideways). During the playoff, our team spent time working on the robot to add some more competitive features because we leave on Tuesday for our second and final regional competition for this year. We are going to Huntsville, Alabama, which is known as Rocket City because it is the home of NASA’s rocket facility. We will tour the visitor center on Wednesday and compete at the Von Braun (creator of the Saturn V) center. Again, you can follow our social media (links in menu) or thebluealliance.com/event/2017alhu for updates on our trip.