RoboCup Canada, Day 6: Functionality Finally?

Today we got to the venue and immediately got to work. Today we had the bad luck of the last day except somehow worse.

Outside our accommodation

Unlike Monday, the runs started earlier in the morning and went until around lunch. Then there were more runs from after lunch until the early evening. Learning from Monday’s mistakes, I made sure to make our runs a bit later and spaced them out so that we would have time to change batteries and troubleshoot problems if something went wrong and boy, oh boy did things go wrong. Before the runs were scheduled we managed to get our robot running pretty consistently. We had one minor scare when it shut off randomly but we found it was because a loose screw had been left in the case and had shorted the board.

Immediately before the run, we were driving the robot around and me, being the organised fellow I am, I went to ask a ref if we could take the control panel over early. When I returned, the robot was once again broken. I went back to the ref, head hung low and let them know that our robot could not compete in our first run because the demons had once again invaded our poor robot.

Connor managed to get it working for some runs and during those runs Kyle and I had our go driving the robot to see who the best driver would be.

For some reason our servos were being very uncooperative the entire day. Occasionally one of the wheels would continue spinning when it definitely shouldn’t be. Other times, it was two of the wheels.

Whatever the problem was it was very frustrating.

Kyle’s first run he had a very difficult course, the elevated step fields. After his first point, the wheels started malfunctioning and he didn’t manage to get any more points. For his first actual driving of the robot and with the wheels malfunctioning he did a very good job. Thankfully for my first run, I had a far easier course, the centre course. Once again one of the wheels stopped functioning near the start of the run but thankfully I managed to use this to my advantage.

At the start of the run, I was really struggling but I somehow managed to figure out how to use the wheel as a pivot point and “drift” around the corner.

After this fancy foot / wheel work, I managed to get quite a few points before the robot decided to give up and die. After this run, our string of bad luck continued. I started a run and was going quite well until the back wheel instead of malfunctioning and spinning slowly in the wrong direction, it straight up stopped working. We missed out on a few runs figuring out the warning messages the motors were giving us through the lights on their side and found that they were giving a torque error.

Our hypothesis was that the cutouts that we had in the wheel hubs (which the servos rested in slightly) were causing the hubs to rub against the chassis. This happened because the weight of the robot caused the wheels to angle and press against the chassis causing the motor to overheat or over torque.

The wheel issue, you can see the black ring where it had been rubbing against the chassis. Also note the buildup of black stuff in the cutout.

We also found that a few of our motor cables were a bit dodgy so we decided that that night we were going to re-crimp them all. Seeing as we couldn’t do any real runs we decided that we would dedicate our time to getting as many sensors working as we could. Seeing as the sensor test was scheduled for the end of the day, we had a lot of time and managed to get most of the sensors working. Kyle even got the motion detection working to some degree. The only sensors that we did not have working was the VoIP and the distance sensors. We went home that night saltier than an anchovy pizza but we were still determined to keep going and do the best that we could.

Salty Anchovy Boys

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