(March 25th): FINALISTS at the Central MD District Event
March 25th and March 26th were the dates of our second District Event, located in Edgewater, Maryland at South River High School.
Our performance on the field on the first day was fantastic. We ended the day ranked 14, with a 4-3-1, win-loss-tie score. Besides the two matches in which we didn’t perform as well as we should have, we managed to win and outperform the robots on our alliance. In the first match that we lost, the shooter was left on, and therefore drained the battery too quickly. That was immediately fixed. During our second match, our climber attached to the rope too far from the center, causing our robot to not climb high enough to hit the touch pad. In our third match, our robot did not move because there was an unexplained error in our robot code. All were problems that will not arise again and will guarantee that we continue to succeed as a team going into tomorrow.
During the second day of qualification matches, we consistently delivered 3+ gears and climbed. Although we took losses in all of our qualification matches that day, we performed with such excellence and managed to be the first pick of the second seed. Our seed consisted of Team 6239 and Team 2421! All of us could climb and deliver gears, creating an unstoppable alliance that earned the highest points scored at the entire event.
Today we have proved to ourselves greatness and a system that works. Communication, performance, scouting, scheduling, and organization were all aspects of today that earned us finalists. We can only improve from here and use what we learned during that competition as a foundation for future success.
In our first finals match, we successfully climbed and got three rotors running. Unfortunately, Team 2421 lost communications and was unable to climb, resulting in our 305-311 point loss. In our second finals match, 2/3 members of our alliance, including us, did not successfully climb, leading to our 205-305 loss. Nevertheless, we performed amazingly and managed to deliver four gears.
Of course no competition is perfect. We encountered a variety of problems during our matches. We see district events as a massive learning experience and test of our abilities. For example, we encountered a massive power drain during matches that made our robot intermittently stall on the field. This was due to an unforeseeable code problem that made the shooter run for the entire match. We encountered further battery drainage problems during the day. We fixed this by changing how the robot stops, introducing a faster shift and voltage ramp to decelerate instead of reversing the voltage input. We also checked every wire connection to get rid of any extra resistance in the robot. One major connection that was fixed was the one to the pneumatic control module, which drains a lot of power since the compressor is constantly running.
We also saw the importance of shooting during our matches. Shooting can help break tie breaker points by earning the alliance partial points. We were over-shooting by a lot during our first few matches since we were guessing the correct velocity, but tuned it down on the practice field. During a match we actually scored the only high goal of the entire competition. However, we experienced a lot of trouble with the shooter jamming and drawing too much current during matches. After the competition ended we took a look at the shooter and saw a slight problem – we kind of bent a few 1/4″ steel bolts out of place. As such, we took the shooter and auger off the robot before bagging in order to fix the shooter and the jamming.
We also got to work and test our autonomous code during qualification matches. We planned to perfect it at this competition so that we could use it at District Championships. We were forced to slowly adjust the auto code during qualification matches for side auto, causing us to miss a few of the side auto gears. We wished to have one or two more tries to get it inch perfect, but ran out of matches to do so. However, the motion profile is extremely close, and we should only need one or two more tries on a real field to make certain that it works.
We see ourselves as a really strong team capable of high shooting, delivering gears, earning autonomous points, and climbing. Receiving and delivering gears for us is a smooth and fast process. We dodge robots with great agility and since our active gear placer has a wide mouth, it’s rare that we miss the gear when it’s delivered from the loading station. Our robot is also incredibly fast and resistant to much jostling due to other robots. Our six wheel west coast drive doesn’t take much pushing around! We also now have a 3 second climbing mechanism, giving us confidence in our climbing abilities. With the increased competitiveness at championship, we’re hoping that our refined skills with place us in the top 20 to be sent to St. Louis!
All photography credits go to Mrs. Noemi Kedei, our lead non-technical mentor.