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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-22-2012, 08:48 AM
Anupam Goli's Avatar
Anupam Goli Anupam Goli is offline
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

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Originally Posted by MathMaven View Post
A better one: Finish the robot early so that the programmers have time to PROGRAM. Seriously, we need time to write and, more importantly, to test our code. My two years so far were awful because of this, and year three likely will be stressful again.

We withheld our cRIO and are building a practice bot to test code.... i'd much rather be practicing driving and building those relationships with the rest of the drive team.

Also: bad PWM cables exist. And DIO modules are weird. I'm getting a timeloop error even though this is the same setup i have used for the past 3 years.

Also: Take advantage of practice fields and scrimmages.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:01 AM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

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Originally Posted by Wing View Post
Also: bad PWM cables exist.
1. Yes, bad PWM cables exist. Also, bad digital sidecar modules exist. Um, wait, what? We found this one out after our programmers spent a week trying to debug code that wasn't broken, but wouldn't work.

2. LabVIEW really sucks if you don't KNOW LabVIEW. As heard from our mentor "There's no way to easily debug LabVIEW. Switch to Java soon or I'm leaving!"

3. Just because Inventor tells you it's not going to flip, does not mean it ain't going to flip.

4. Please look at your design constraints before you actually design something. Our shooter team spent the first four weeks designing a turret shooter, only to mount it and find out they forgot that they have limited space and in it's initial position, it sticks a good bit outside the frame perimeter, and it'd have to be retracted everytime we would like to cross the bridge.

5. (Personal one) Missing Presidents Day because you're sick really does suck. You miss out on a whole bunch of last minute decisions while you're gone too.

6. Just for fun, MMR2410 has had 3 years of Sweetheart Dance royalty Wohoo!

Happy Competition Season everyone!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:07 AM
shawnz shawnz is offline
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

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Originally Posted by ChristopherSD View Post
Take "concept-freeze" day seriously.
We learn this one every year.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

As a programmer I learned that ~90% of all problems can be solved with this process: (Rather than guess/check or theoretical fixes)

1. Ping the Robot
2. Check the voltage (under load!!!)
3. Check and keep your documentation ACCURATE
4. Walk through your logic with sample data. Then have someone else walk through a psuedocode version. Numbers should match
5. If something works, save and create a backup
6. Sockets, Threading and Vision can be difficult. Split the work up
7. Use the debugger. Its there for a reason.
8. Read the output from netconsole or serial during startup. You can find many hidden errors there, such as defaulting to old code!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:42 AM
Justin Foss Justin Foss is offline
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

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Originally Posted by rcmolloy View Post
Honestly, way too much. 973 has helped me as a mentor, grow and learn so much this year. Granted, I'm no AdamHeard when it comes to design and fabrication but with just a bit more help and examples I will be gaining the tools to eventually gain that potential. The past 6 weeks were stellar and the next 6 should be even more awesome.
You'll never stop learning how to be a better mentor, and that's part of the fun in it.
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  #21   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-22-2012, 09:46 AM
TheAthlete TheAthlete is offline
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

Being an electrical lead for the first time, and now the official head driver, I now understand what 'real' stress is. I've only had 2 practice matches at a mini-regional (Sussex, WI) and a total of 30 minutes of pure driving. Now we've bagged and i won't be driving again until competition.

Needless to say, give your drive-team more time with the robot!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:51 AM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

I learned that it's wrong to assume that poor decisions leading directly to difficult situations last year would not be repeated this year.

I learned that a pair of student programmers can do great things without supervision.

I learned that many people are unable to follow simple and explicit written directions, to answer simple direct questions, or to describe simple status indicators accurately. I have to learn that anew every year.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 10:24 AM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Anderson View Post
I learned that it's wrong to assume that poor decisions leading directly to difficult situations last year would not be repeated this year.

I learned that a pair of student programmers can do great things without supervision.

I learned that many people are unable to follow simple and explicit written directions, to answer simple direct questions, or to describe simple status indicators accurately. I have to learn that anew every year.
Sounds like it was a rough year.... :\
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Unread 02-22-2012, 10:27 AM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

Measure twice, punch then drill once - and that people tend to ignore this when under stress
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Unread 02-22-2012, 12:36 PM
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Smile Re: Things Learned During Build Season

I was out of it for three years, and come back into it, most things stay the same.

Whatever your team number is, that's how many designs you seem to go through and you still end up modifying it. (i.e. Design 1610, Version 7.)

That even students that are tag alongs or just there can be sucked into it.

Stopping for a meal break and sitting round a table with your team just goes to to show you Family is what you make it.

Decide where you want you electronics board EARLY so you don't have to redo it.

If you make your own frame (ex: Extruded Aluminum) Order it ahead of time so you don't loose a week.

That sometimes even when your behind or ahead, you can be the opposite.

And that you never get FIRST out of your blood.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 01:16 PM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

No matter how many times you read the competition manual, updates, Q&A, and CD, it's never enough to avoid discovering some blasted rule that you missed the first 18 times around, within 8 hours of stop build deadline.

Measure EVERYTHING. Again and again and again... And then get someone else to measure some more.

It's really fun to wrap the robot in shrink wrap after padding the corners with multi-colored pool noodles held on with too many zip ties, when you're giddy from overwork and undersleep, and finally DONE!!!

And that's just from last night...
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Unread 02-22-2012, 04:59 PM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

When you need to weight reduce your frame, have freshman drill the mounting holes.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 05:07 PM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

1) You never know when the next great member will come walking through your door. (Especially a new freshman programmer who has become the Lead programmer)

2) Even a Non-Engineering Mentor can have good ideas.

3) There is no way to avoid drama. The best thing you can do is to listen.

4) A good lead engineering mentor will by necessity watch every detail. Listen to them.

5) Pizza. Never. Changes. Taste.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 05:14 PM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

I learned that prototyping early and testing your ideas works much better than one guy CADing the whole thing for us and the rest of the team doing nothing. This is what happened to us last year and we ended up finishing the robot at the last minute at the regionals but it was too late to program any of it.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 05:20 PM
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Re: Things Learned During Build Season

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Originally Posted by tsakshaug View Post
As a mentor, I learned that getting changed to second shift at work makes it nearly impossible to work with the team
I completely symphathize - I'm in the same boat. However, I've worked closely with my management and my peers and gotten concensus that as long as my work performance doesn't degrade, I can do both. It makes for long nights though
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