Experience & Tips

Lessons to Learn...

Just because you have a lot of cool sensors, doesn't mean that using them is optimal. Don't be afraid to be bold. We got pretty good results in the mock competitions with just the basics. No need to over-complicate things.

Gearboxes are critical - make sure the connections are smooth and that the entire set up is stable and is not loose - expect collisions and bumps.

Check, check, and check again that all pieces are properly in place and secured and that crashes wont send them flying aroud into....I dont know...say, a gearbox for example, which would cost you alot. This goes especially for gearboxes and servos. A loose connection is the worst thing that can happen.

Generally, protect your robot. Braces are great, on the inside and outside. Expect the worst. Pay special attention to critical things - legs, gears, servos, sensors, etc.

Make a checklist of things for before real matches, like battery/servo/motor connections.

Test, test, test as much as you can. Its the only way to find and fix errors. Even if it runs perfectly ten times on a row, test again. You never know.

When coding, make sure to use 'magic numbers'. Things like speed, gain, and motor slots should all be controlled from the very top. Keep your code readble and your naming sensible and consistent. Comment, alot, but dont forget to change comments when you change code. By the end of the month you will have to go back and you don't want to spend an hour figuring out what the variable yellowBanana is for.

Also, test your functions one by one, and account for all variables. What if the heading is outside the range? Or the motor velocity? Also be careful with variable types.

Most importantly, have fun. We had a blast. Dont let the competition aspect of this take over. Just focus on learning and having fun with friends