View Full Version : Professional electronics board assembly [annotated collector's edition]

02-16-2004, 01:07 AM
The room was silent.

Well, except for the Elvis remix our mp3 was pumping out. And the drill press.

But other than that, it was silent. Dead silent.

Surveying the assembled robot-assembling robots (which I mean only in the tireless human laborer sense), I tugged the garbage bag in, hoping no one would notice the dried blood. I breathed a sigh of relief as I made it to the back room, and began unloading the bounty.

Mountain Dew.

It was all there.


I'm not sure holding up the convenience store for a 6-week supply of caffeinated fixes was what Dean Kamen had in mind when he spoke of gracious professionalism, but robotic innvation requires one to push the boundaries a bit. At least, that's what I told the clerk before I pistol-whipped him.

Innovation is particularly required for the assembly of electronics boards, and as we all know, caffeine fuels such. There are many questions that plague a FIRST-participating electronics engineer:

- 20 or 30 amp fuses on the Spikes?
- How do speed controllers relate to the human condition?
- Why the hell are they so obsessive about wire gauges? Eight is nearly as good as six, right?
- How many $&^@ing times can I drop the terminal screws for the victor 884s OH MY GOD I HATE MOORE'S LAW
- How many thousand volts for a six inch spark?
- Measure twice, cut once... strip/crimp sixteen times?

We'd labored over these important questions for countless seconds, eventually deciding to bolt some widgets to a square piece of plexi. I'm sure all of you went through design processes that were just as rigorous.

We ran into a few issues, so we thought we'd share our insights:

- Don't screw speed controllers down; too slow to change. Use industrial strength velcro, and then two cable ties (TIGHT!)
- Don't use the bathroom after the team captain has
- 60 PSI is enough to launch an apple 50 feet
- Tom can handle over 800 mg of caffeine before entering "a state of high vibration"
- Drills work best when going forwards
- Dean Kamen likes it if you send him a potted cactus
- Overcloking a Segway can lead to impressive (impressively dangerous) results
- The staple gun is not, not, NOT A TOY. Your captain will be right pissed if he finds various household items inextricably linked to the ceiling.

Here's a good general process to follow:

1. Look at the rulebook BEFOREHAND. Yeah, it's sad that magnetrons aren't on the additional hardware list.
2. Think about your schematic before building.
3. Once you have a schematic, print it out in blue, stape it to the wall, and proclaim you have MAD CODEZ
4. Now, you're ready to begin building.
5. Pop open a Mountain Dew, and get your materials
6. attach the electronics before wiring, with enough space for wires.
7. Pop open another Mountain Dew.
8. Remember the velcro/cable tie thing!
9. Pop open another Mountain Dew
10. Cut wires to length, keeping in mind the compulsively anal requirements.
11. Pop open another Mountain Dew
11. Crimp connectors.
12. Connect components.
13. The thing with Mountain Dew
14. By now, two things should be accomplished:

A. You've completed your electronics board.
B. You're completely sauced.

All in a day's work. Here are pictures of our results!



Until next time, be safe, and good luck with your robots!

02-16-2004, 01:10 AM
Haha, thanks for the laugh. Looks like someone has nothing to do tonight :)

02-16-2004, 01:18 AM
Hahahaha. very, very amusing. We could use more stuff like this on the forums methinks.

The Lucas
02-16-2004, 01:39 AM
I browse the forums late at night almost all the time (just look at some of my post times, especially close to ship) and lots of odd things are posted then, but this has got to be the craziest, sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled post I have ever seen. Unfortunately, your day’s work is not done until you wire that last Victor speed controller (nope that wasn't a hallucination :D ). Finally, I leave you with these words of advice:

Don't Drink and Scoot, especially on an Overclocked Segway! :ahh: Just give up those Segway keys (well maybe you can keep the black one. I mean ... how much damage could you do in beginner mode? :yikes: )

02-16-2004, 01:42 AM
Unfortunately, your day’s work is not done until you wire that last Victor speed controller (nope that wasn't a hallucination).

That photo was taken several weeks ago. The fourth Victor is a spare and has since been removed from the board.

02-16-2004, 01:43 AM
how much damage could you do in beginner mode?

well, the cat certainly moved before.

Tom Bottiglieri
02-16-2004, 08:19 AM
hmm as i look at the wiring diagram.. is it legal to wire the SPIKEs up with that cabling? it seems to me as if you need to use the 10 gauge monsters they give us.

(not trying to criticize, but i actually had the same question myself. It doesnt seem logical to wire a 10 gauge wire to a 16 gauge wire on the motor...)

02-17-2004, 08:57 PM
I resent my post being edited. Samuel Adams is a perfectly acceptable beverage for robot assembly... as long as the high school students are not the ones consuming it. Honestly, replacing "Samuel Adams" with "Mountain Dew"? That completely kills the joke...