S.A.R.T Development Blog

Day 167 – Serious Simultaneous Sensor Struggles

A mere week before our trip to Canada we had a major malfunction of our robot’s components. Our previously wired sensors had an issue where the wires connected to the contacts on the sensor would break, rendering the sensor useless or dangerous if the wires happened to touch. To overcome this problem, we decided to use a silicon potting mix, plastered over the exposed wire.

At the time, we thought this was a good solution, but when we fully assembled the robot and turned it on, we discovered that some of the sensors had overheated to the point where it had warped the plastic around it and heated the screw holding it in enough to burn human flesh. The next day Connor and I investigated into why the sensors had overheated and found that nearly all the wires had snapped inside the potting mix, making them short and overheat the sensors. Because of this much progress was lost as some sensors had been completely fried and one of the internal components in our front camera had shattered.

If you put your hand close enough you can feel how hot it is.

We desperately needed to get the new sensors and the replacement camera ASAP so that we could have a fully functional robot. As we were leaving on the 14th and it was Friday the 8th when we found out why the sensors overheated, and the Monday after the weekend was a public holiday there was no definitive way that we would get the sensors on time before we left for Canada. To fix this issue, Kyle, Connor and I looked for retailers in Canada that sold the components we needed and found the seller Elmwood Electronics, which sold all the components that we needed apart from the cameras. We also bought the soldering iron that we needed as the 240V ones we had weren’t compatible with the 110V supplied in Canada. We found a seller on eBay that sold the exact same cameras we were using for a reasonable price. We had all these shipped to the address where we were staying on Monday and found they all arrived safely on Tuesday. Hurrah for reliable express shipping!

Now that all the parts are in Canada we will be soldering up the sensors and putting together the robot in time for the competition. Good luck and see you all at the competition!

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