This Saturday was a crazy experience. The day started with our arrival at the site with our sister team Iron Reign. We unloaded the bot into the pit and got everything set up. Next, we went in to our presentation room with the judges. Although our presentation was strong, we were not able to demonstrate our bot and its functionalities. We decided to create a stronger presentation for next time.
Next thing on the day's schedule was the qualification matches. Our first match was match number 1. During this match, we ran into several issues. Although our autonomous worked successfully, our teleop was not working properly. Our phones would spontaneously stop communicating and our driver was not able to drive the bot. However, we ended up winning that match 30 points to 0 points. We went back to attempt to fix this issue. Our second math was match number 8. Coincidentally, this match was played so that we were against our sister team! We were deciding who would let the other one win but strangely, the match ended up tieing!
Again, our robot was malfunctioning during this match. We kept getting errors that the motor controllers were inactive and were dead. Another team at the event suggested that we rewire everything and restart the robot. This seemed to do the trick. Our third match was match 13. In this match, our robot was successful in autonomous alongside our alliance partner's code. All was going well until our robot suddenly died and would not turn back on again. Although we won the match, this was an issue that seriously needed to be addressed. We did our best to fix the issue before the following match by trying the rewiring method again. Our 4th qualification match was match 19. Something incredibly strange occured during this match. We decided not to run our autonomous since our alliance partner had a similar autonomous but theirs was more reliable. However, during the driver control period, our robot would flicker on and off with errors! This was incredibly strange as we had no idea what was going wrong. We tried to do everything we could to fix the bot for our final qualification match. We tried resetting the phones, fixing any connection issue, rewiring the motor controllers, replacing the battery, etc. We ended up getting it to almost work. During the match, our robot threw the errors again and died. Strangely, this match was between rank 1 and 2 vs rank 3 and 4 (we were surprisngly rank 4). We won the match but we were bumped down to rank 6 by the end of the qualification matches
During the period from the end of our last qualification match to the time alliance picks were selected, we spent time attempting to fix the robot. We tried to go debug the bot at the practice field in the pit. During this time, we tried everything we could. We reset both phones, reconfiguered the program, reset the wifi direct connection, rewired everything, downloaded the code again, etc. Just before alliance picks, we came to the conclusion that the bot could not be fixed and it was time for us to step away from the bot. However, one of our team members didn't give up. He attempted to take some parts off and re place them. He found one thing that the rest of the team had not checked. The cord connecting the phone to the Power Distribution Module was loose. This meant that the code would not be able to control the robot at certian periods of time, therefore incapacitating it. We decided to get replacement cords and place them on the bot. After further testing, we were able to get the bot functioning at full capacity. At this point, we were just hoping that we would get picked by an alliance.
Finally came alliance picks. We were lucky to be placed on an alliance because we had fixed the bot just before alliance picks had started. This meant that the top 4 ranks were not able to completely see our true potential. On the alliance, although we weren't alliance captians, we took control of strategy of the bots as we had the most experience. This led to us having a secure first match. The second match however, our autonomous did not completely work because the set up was slightly at the wrong angle. This meant that only one of our balls had made it into the middle vortex. This small loss at the beginning led to us losing many points to the opponent alliance. A similar situation occured in the final match where we lost one of the beacons at the end of the match therefore making us lose the semi final rounds. However, something strange happened during the third match. One of the teams of the opponent alliance and our team had robots headed to one corner of the game pad. Both bots were headed to get access to their respective particles. In this process, the bots made contact. This caused our robot to just spontaneously stop moving alltogether. This meant that we were incapacipated for the remainder of the match. Had our robot not malfunctioned, we would have won the match because we would have been able to get more balls into the center vortex to make up for the lost beacon points. After further inspection after our loss, we realized that out robot had died because all the connections fell loose due to the instability of the polycarbonate where everything was mounted. We realized that we needed to fix this.
We decided to express gracious professionalism and support the other teams who were in the finals. Upon watching the finals matches, we learned a lot from the teams about strategy and how mounting should be done. We took some minor notes on what other teams did. In the end, our sister team 6832 won the tournament with their alliance. They also placed for 2nd place Inspire award. We were very happy for them but our team had a critical descision to make...
Upon packing up all our materials and getting our robot on the RV with our sister team, our team captian gave us two options to decide from: retire for the season and focus on preperation for next season as well as support Iron Reign on their adventures or put in complete effort for this following week and attend the February 4th qualifier. This was a big descision for our team to make because it would require the amount of dedication and persevearce that we had not expressed often. We decided that our team had the capability to put in the effort to attend the February 4th qualifier and started prepping for the following week on the bus ride home.
Written by: Abhi Bhattaru