Weekly Goals (12/9 - 12/13): Defeat is Always Momentary

Today, we resolved to finally get graded on the challenges. Our robot was to autonomously put a cube in one of four randomly chosen boxes, then switch to a manual control program and put a cube in the remaining three boxes, then climb up the ramp and use the claw to hang from a bar. We knew that the motor controlling the string and its axle had a bad connection, so we tightened that.

Unfortunately, when we made our first official attempt, the string got tangled with the claw when it rose for the Autonomous. So by the time we had failed our first attempt and quickly untangled the string, we were all out of class time. Needless to say, we will try again tomorrow.


Weekly Accomplishments (12/6) - We're ready!

Although we tried many different things in ROBOTC, we couldn't get the Manual Control and any of the Autonomous modes to work within the same program. Some things we did would get us close (the light on the brain indictating a remote control connection would come on), but we couldn't operate the robot manually. After discussing a number of possibilities, we decided to preform a brain swap as a last resort.


Thankfully for us, the brain worked and we can now operate the robot manually. The Autonomous modes and the Manual Control are still segregated, but we will still be allowed to display the working Autonomous program, then quickly get on a computer to switch to Manual Control for the other challenges.



Weekly Goals (12/2 - 12/5) - Tweaking the code, bumper switch addition

We now have a bumper switch, and Chris has made some modifications to the code so that when the bumper switch is not pressed, the robot operates in manual control. But when it is pressed, the robot will carry out its Autonomous program, then revert back to manual control. We're running into some issues with the remote control connecting to the robot that we hope to have straightened out by the end of the week.


Weekly Accomplishments (11/25) - Autonomous completed, need bumper switch

The Autonomous portion of the challenge has been completed. The theoretical programs worked pretty good, for the most part, but there was still some customization needed (reduce that time a little bit, raise that time, reduce the power of the claw tightening, etc). Not only that, I found out that the some of the motors were either reversed or underpowered. I had to cut the power of the right motor in half so that it wouldn't overpower the left motor and drift off-course. It was long and tedious, but we finally managed to make it in whatever box we wanted about 90% of the time.

Besides the Autonomous, minor mechanical errors had to be corrected. Sometimes the axles on the gear tower were unaligned, or sometimes the string would get in the way of the claw, and we'd have to untangle it and clean it up. All that's needed now is to attatch a bumper switch to the robot so that it reverts to manual control once the Autonomous program has run its course.


Weekly Accomplishments (11/22) - Autonomous well on its way

Good news, our autonomous is well on its way to completion. That robot in the picture isn't actually ours, but I've run extensive diagnostic tests to see exactly how fast the robot moves at full battery. The results:
Forward/backward: 13 inches per second
90 degree turn: 1.9 seconds
Claw rise/lower: 3.5 seconds
Of course, these results are all approximate, because it may not be the same fully charged battery every time, there could be mechanical errors that need fixing, etc. But it's a good estimation, and the courses should only require slight modification, depending on the box the program is directing the robot to.


Weekly Goals (11/18 - 11/22) - Robot done; need Autonomous and SolidWorks

Turns out that both the Autonomous and SolidWorks still need to be completed. I'm beginning to make real headway into learning how to program ROBOTC, and once I understand it sufficiently, I can start planning out the route, writing test programs and doing diagnostics. *no screenshot, sorry*

Meanwhile, the SolidWorks is also coming along for Nick. We hope to have everything done by next Tuesday a week from now.


Weekly Accomplishments (11/15) - Nothing but ROBOTC left

For the last week, our team has been fighting a war on two fronts: the pull up challenge and the cube challenge.

In the pull up challenge, we've finally managed to have our robot complete the task consistently without some gear or axle snapping out of place. And better yet, it can lift itself at least a few inches off the ground.

Yesterday, Nick programmed the controller for the manual portion part of the challenge. On Wednesday, I stayed a couple of hours after school to plot out the autonomous course of our robot in the cube challenge. One of my teacher's former students came in an suggested a simpler route: starting directly parallel to the boxes, the four programs will turn at differing times (depending on he cube), turn back on course and do a U-turn to climb the ramp - all within 30 seconds.

On that day, I realized that we would have to replace the robot's brain. When new ROBOTC firmware is put in the brain, it's supposed to purge any old remnant programs. We put a few commands into the brain, but when we tested it, our robot started twitching and moving forward without any programming telling it to do so. The programming will have to be finished next week.