It's an end to a great season - MegaHurtz Makes it to the Playoffs, Again!
Our robotics team competed in two District Events this season. Our first competition was at Kettering University in Flint Michigan where we completed qualifications ranked #24 out of 40 teams. We accepted an invitation to join the #2 alliance and made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately our alliance was knocked out in the quarter finals.
Our second competition was at St. Joseph High School where we completed qualifications ranked #14 out of 41 teams. Doing much better at this event, we were the first round selection of the #8 alliance moving into the playoffs. The most exciting moment for our team at the St. Joe event was when our #8 alliance smashed the #1 alliance and set a new high score of 159 to 128. Sadly, technical issues caused us to lose the next two matches and effectively knocked us out of the quarter finals. Here's what happened: During the third and deciding match between our alliance (RoboRangers #4325, MegaHurtz #5056 and RoboSharks #4956) and the #1 seeded alliance (Stryke Force #2767, Average Joes #3620 and The Iron Giants #5069) one of the opposing robots slammed into the driver's station wall causing our control system to disconnect from the field. It took about 40 seconds to determine the problem and correct it. In a match that runs only two minutes and 15 seconds, that was enough to kill any chances of recovering. It's important to note that the other team did nothing wrong here. This game is rough and the cable simply popped out. During that match the RoboRangers also broke a drive belt so there was a time when only one robot was working for our side.
Knowing how the first and last match played out, it was clear we were the better scoring alliance. If we had not broke down, there is no doubt in my mind we would have won and moved on. All the teams played well and we really enjoyed working with our alliance members. This was our last event for the 2016 season so we wish the best of luck to our alliance members and the rest of the FRC community as they head to their second events.
Now we set our sites to promoting our program and raising the $16,000 we need to do this again next season.
Week #1 FIRST Robotics Competition, 2016
MegaHurtz Robotics (FRC 5056) was part of 40 teams that competed in the Kettering District #1 event held at Kettering University in Flint Michigan on March 4 and 5. This was our first of two events we will compete in this season.
Arriving at a new event location for the first time is always a little daunting. Where do we park? Where do we unload? Where do we go once inside the doors? Fortunately, Kettering University provided a entire building for the competition with their Recreation Center. On Thursday, we arrived approximately 4:00 PM. There were already several teams unloaded. We had no trouble backing up to the load-in doors and getting our robot and gear inside. The pits were small at Kettering so we were a bit cramped in an 8’ x 8’ pit area, but we made it work.
As soon as the pit was setup, our first priority is to get the robot inspected. A robot inspector has to come by and unbag the robot. This is a process where they verify our lockup form, lockup tag number and give us the OK to cut the tag. Once the robot is opened we have time to get things ready for them to come back and begin the inspection. This year there is a two page inspection checklist to go through to ensure we followed all the rules and our robot is safe. This particular inspection was one of the longest we’ve done because there is just so much to go over with the bot. One of the last things to be inspected was the firmware versions of our radio that connects our bot to the field. A “week one” update was released (this information was not sent out to the teams so everyone was finding out about it at the event). Any releases that come out before we get a chance to test them scare me. Last season at Kentwood we had to do a firmware update and it broke our bot. We spent more time with our robot dead on the field than competing because their field and the update they applied didn’t work right. I did not want a repeat of that again this year so I was extremely frustrated to find out we had to update things. This frustration was not helped by the first attempt by the systems specialists at the event failed. That is to say that when they did the update the first time it didn’t work. The second time they did the update they forgot to configure our radio with our team number. On the third attempt it appeared everything was right and truth be told, we had no additional issues with our radio.
After inspection is complete, our highest priority is to get connected to the field. The field is an independent computer systems that links the robot to our control system. It allows for control of the robot wirelessly. We have experienced first hand how a robot can work fine when we directly connect to it, but does absolutely nothing when connected through the field system. Our first match is not a good time to discover we have field issues so we made sure to get a practice match in to verify everything works with the field.
MegaHurtz Team Blog