Four Meetings Before Kickoff

Only four more meetings left for us before kick off. The off season has gone by so fast. We didn’t manage to finish the CAD for the belly pan of our swerve drive robot before Fall break so the CAD students jumped right into that. The belly pan was released late on Wednesday night and was cut out on the router during Thursday’s meeting.

One of my favorite features of the belly pan is the new female plugs we added for USB B, USB C, and Ethernet. These plugs are mounted in the top left corner near the battery and will allow us to access the Roborio for imaging, Spark Maxes for firmware updates and Ethernet for tethering to the robot with out having to flip our robot and remove the belly pan.

One of the areas we struggled with last year was that it wasn’t until day 29 that we had a robot frame moving and driving. One of the reasons that it took us so long to get there was we didn’t have an electronics lay out. With the work we’ve done on the swerve drive base we will hopefully have a test sled that will (if the game isn’t swerve hostile) be ready to use as our practice bot on kick off. The CAD for the swerve frame and electronics layout will be released to the public soon, our students are working on a write up for it.


The programming sub team has been busy working on adding a battery monitoring feature. We have in the past had some issues remembering to change batteries. This usually happens late at night when we are debugging something and all of a sudden everything seems to break. Then we notice the battery voltage is sitting at 8 volts and we change the battery. Things return to some what normal and we go back to our debugging journey feeling a little silly. Its hard to remember to change the battery. Its also bad to run the batteries down really low and we have been guilty of this. It degrades the battery’s life and performance.

The basic idea of this feature is that we can monitor the current drawn from the PDH and have a timer that tracks how long the robot has been on for. After a period of time the driver station will play a sound alert and display a message on the dashboard informing the users of the need to change the battery. They are in the final rounds of testing it at the moment. Hopefully this will prevent a few late night headaches during build season(We’ll also be releasing this soon).

Kick Off Preparation

Kick off is right around the corner and that means we have to get a few things done before hand for smooth sailing during build season. These tasks we’ve identified to ensure are done before kick are things that have blocked our progress during previous build season.

Things to do before kick off:

  • Order metal for 2 x robots
  • Order wood for team field build
  • Order poly carbonate
  • Go over evergreen rules as a team
  • Run mock kick off
  • Go over kick off game plan
  • Make sure twitch isn’t blocked on the school internet

One of the things that I’ve started working on this year is documenting our team’s processes as we go. I’ve lead the kick off for the past three years now and someday I won’t be the one to lead kick off. It’d be nice for some one to be able to pick off where we’ve left off and to enable that I’ve been writing down the processes in our team’s Notion page. Our kick off game plan isn’t ready just yet to see the light of day, hopefully within the next week it will be.

Writing things down also gives us an opportunity to improve. Our past kick offs have not had any good instruction set, if you had been to one or two previously you knew what was going on. If it was your first time it was a struggle to keep up. We had a document that described the process at a high level but relies a lot on previous experience to fill in any missing parts. Our kick off game plan will list the different activities we plan on doing and what the desired outcome of each activity is.






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