2018 State Championship

2018 State Championship

After three back-to-back competitions, we were more than ready for a break! Fortunately, we got a week to rest, recover, and drink some tea. However, we knew that we could not relax too much since States was right around the corner. After our break, we met a few more times to refine and fix up Grunthos. A couple of students on our team also made a hook for Grunthos to climb with.

On load-in day, we were in pretty high spirits and things were going well. Later on in the night, the qualification match schedule got released, so we took a look. At first glance it did not seem so bad, but then we took a closer look. In five different matches, we were going against one team three times and another team twice. Unfortunately, both of these teams were the other top teams in the state. Needless to say, it was going to be tough for us. However, we knew that we had to remain optimistic and not panic!

The next day, our first match went smoothly, but after that, we hit a series of unfortunate events. In addition to our rough schedule match, we had to contend with our climbing hook getting in our way and hindering our robot performance. Despite these problems, we ended the day ranked 8th!

The following day, we removed the hook after it caused us another issue during our second to last match. Before that match, we attempted to tie the hook up because of all the problems it had created. Sadly, it was not enough, and the hook jammed our elevator lift. After that match, we made the decision to remove the hook from the robot completely. Fortunately, we still kept our 8th rank by the time Alliance Selections rolled around, and we ended up as the first pick of the 4th Alliance. At the end of the selections, our two alliance partners were Team 2655, The Flying Platypi, and Team 6003, SUM! Ever since we gave Team 6003 our gearboxes during week 4 of the build season, we continued to help them by giving them advice, tools, and anything else they needed. In doing so, we developed a close bond between our teams, so we were thrilled to finally be in an alliance with them! Playoffs followed in quick succession, and we ended the competition as Semi-finalists and qualified for the World Championships in Houston!

Next up: Worlds in Houston!

2018 UNC Asheville District Event

2018 UNC Asheville District Event

Coming off from two back-to-back weekend competitions, we were pretty exhausted! However, we could not afford a break because we had to immediately start getting ready for a demo at the advance screening of the movie Pacific Rim Uprising. The demo itself was quite a success, but there were some funny issues during the demo such as the movie starting right in the middle of our presentation! After the demo, we set to work using our unbag hours to work on repairing anything that got damaged at competition and programming a faster auto.

At Asheville, our goal was to have fun! We had already competed in two district events, so we knew that how we performed at Asheville had no effect on our overall ranking in the state.

The load-in day was both eventful and uneventful for us. During the drive to Asheville, there were two accidents that caused significant delays on the arrival of our pit, tools, and robot. As a result, we had to sit in traffic for a long time. In turn, it left us setting up everything much later than we had planned. After we finished set up, we got in line for inspection. While we waited for it to be our turn, some of our team set out to help our friends on Team 3196, Team SPORK, make their spork pins. It was extremely fun because we got to catch up with them and help them out!

The next day was mostly smooth sailing. Occasionally, our cube collector bent inwards, but we were able to fix it whenever that happened. We hope to fix that issue completely before States comes around. We also had a strange issue where the carriage of our elevator would not lift at all or until the second stage was already up. This happened a couple of times, but we were able to identify the problem and fix it. At the end of the day, we were ranked 3rd!

During Alliance Selections, we were the first pick of the 1st Alliance. At the end of the selections, our two alliance partners were Team 5190, Green Hope Falcons, and Team 587, The Hedgehogs. Our alliance did quite well in playoffs, but we did run into a few technical problems. At the end of the day, we ended the event as District Finalists and won the Imagery Award for the first time in our team history!

Next up: NC State Championship!

2018 Pitt County District Event

2018 Pitt County District Event

After Stop Build Day, we took a few days off to catch up on our sleep and school! During the weeks leading up to our first competition in Greenville, we finished our robot cart, made some spare parts for our robot, and started packing up.

Like all other competitions, our first day of the Pitt County District Event was spent setting up our pit. Afterward, we went to dinner with our long-time friends Team 2640, HOTBOTZ. In 2012, our two teams got extremely close, and ever since, we try to arrange socials between our two teams whenever we can. These socials give us the opportunity and time to catch up with each other. The social this year was no different, and we spent the night laughing and theorizing about what the next day would bring!

The next day, ready or not, it was time for the start of qualification matches! It should come as no surprise that the first two matches of the day were rough for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that our Drive Team was still getting used to Grunthos. Driving Grunthos in practice is just not the same as driving him on the real field. The second reason is that our PID (Proportional–Integral–Derivative) was fighting our robot. Fortunately, we were able to fix the PID in time for our third match. After that problem was fixed, we performed quite well for most of the matches and got our auto super consistent!

Near the end of the day, we noticed that we could never manage to drive the robot up onto the platform at the end of the match. We thought we just put a dead battery in one match, but the same problem happened a couple more times. Our last match, in particular, we were having all sorts of problems. Finally, we discovered the problem; we had forgotten to check our batteries with a load. What this meant is that our battery voltage would always drop drastically during matches. Needless to say, it was a lesson learned and a mistake that we were not eager to repeat! Besides the robot performance, everything else was smooth sailing. Scouting went well, our Chairman’s interview was successful, we had many judges visit our pit throughout the day, and we ended the day ranked 4th.

The last day of competition dawned bright but a little too early. Due to daylight savings, we lost an hour of sleep. Despite that, we were ready for the day to begin! Our first match went well, but we knew that we could do better. Unfortunately, we had problems during our last two matches. During our second-to-last match, the knot holding one of our ramps in place came undone. This slip of the knot caused that ramp to fall down early on in the match, and we had to spend the rest of the match like that. In our last qualification match, our auto did not work. It was strange because we had not changed the code once we got it working. We concluded that some unknown thing was still wrong with our electrical because we were still getting dips in power despite testing with a load. At the end of qualification matches, we kept our 4th rank.

Finally, it was time for Alliance Selections, and what an experience it was! The rankings got messed up three times. While everything got fixed before any damage was done, it was a stressful time for all the teams because it had the potential to ruin plans. At the end of Alliance Selections, we moved up to the position of Captain of the 3rd Alliance with Team 2642, Pitt Pirates, and Team 6215, Armored Eagles, as our alliance partners!

After a quick lunch and a strategy meeting, playoff rounds began. Due to a few electrical and mechanical problems, our two quarterfinal matches did not go as well as we knew they could, but we still managed to pull a win. We fixed our problems and did extremely well in semifinals, making it to finals! During both of our finals matches, every second was a battle for the scale and switch, but in the end, our alliance ended up taking home the blue banner! We were also awarded the Innovation in Control Award for the first time in our team history!

Next up: UNC Pembroke District Event!

2018 UNC Pembroke District Event

2018 UNC Pembroke District Event

Before UNC Pembroke, we were pleased with our performance at Pitt, but we knew that we could improve. The week of the competition, we worked on repairing Grunthos (our robot) and making small adjustments to our collector and elevator. In addition, we made the tough call to discard the idea of using ramps. A lot of effort went into making the ramps because it was a huge challenge to get the balance right between making them light enough but also strong enough to lift a 100-120 pound robot. Scrapping what we worked so hard to make was a slightly upsetting thought for us. In the end, we only removed our ramp pistons and kept the ramp boards themselves to display our sponsors and help with our starting configuration.

Despite a rougher start to the competition, Saturday went well! In our first qualification match, we did not run auto because we were unsure what would happen with a significantly lighter robot. On the practice field, we knew we could always kill Grunthos if the auto went wrong, but during an actual match, we would not be able to and ran the risk of damaging Grunthos. After our first match, we spent time on the practice field adjusting our auto, hoping to get it working like normal in time for our second match.

Though the changes got finished in time for our next match, the end outcome was not a working auto. Unknown to us, our encoder popped out prior to the start of the match, messing up our auto! Within the 15 seconds of auto, our robot rammed into the pile of cubes in front of the switch, slammed into the side of the field, tipped and came upright again, hit our alliance partners, and then proceeded to drive backward into our alliance station wall! Fortunately, our robot did not get damaged, we only suffered from a mild panic attack, and we were ranked 5th at the end of the day!

The next day, everything seemed to go by quickly for us, and before we knew it, qualification matches had ended and we were ranked 3rd. During Alliance Selections, we hitched a ride on the 1st Alliance. On that alliance, we had one of our buddies from Pitt County last weekend Team 2642, Pitt Pirates, and welcomed a new team aboard, Team 6729 RobCoBots! Playoffs followed in quick succession after a brief strategy meeting with our alliance, and we ended the day with another blue banner and also won the Innovation in Control Award!

Next up: UNC Asheville District Event!

2018 Build Season: Week 6

2018 Build Season: Week 6

Week 6 was spent getting everything ready before for the end of build season. During this week, our main goals were to rebuild our carriage, which broke at the end of Week 5 during testing, and spend time calibrating our code. Thankfully, none of our leads got sick during this week, so things ran a little smoother!

This time around, we were able to rebuild our carriage with the design changes in three days! While it was not enjoyable and did nothing good for our health to have our carriage break at the end of Week 5, in the end, our carriage ended up better than it was! Needless to say, we are extremely happy (and relieved) about that!

On the day of Bag and Tag, we were able to meet at one of our student’s church. The room they lent to us gave us much more space to actually test our robot. Finally, we were finished with testing and our 2018 robot, Grunthos, was bagged and tagged!

Now we are powering up for our first competition at the Pitt County District Event on March 9-11!