auto vs. manual loading zone, which one?

From my experience it seemed like the majority of teams seemed to favor the human loading station over the auto loader. Granted some of the robots were not capable of using the auto, but it seemed like it was used a lot less frequent than planned. From time to time, I also noticed robots were simply just waiting to get onto the human loading zone, when the auto’s were open.

We were quite capable of using the auto loader, but we had trouble getting up on even that small piece of wood (due to the front omni wheels) I would try to go fast to get onto the triangle, and I always ended up knocking the tetra down with the force of the robot crashing into the side.

My questions are
which one did your team use the most and why?
also, if anyone had omni, or “wonder”, wheels in the front, did you encounter the problem of getting onto the zone?

We tend to use the auto load station for that reason. Many teams use the HP station better, so we work out of the auto load station and stay out of their way.
Also, is it quicker for us to use the auto load station. The HP station just takes too much time.

Our driver, Eric, can do both human and auto-loading very well, however, its considerably quicker for him to use the human loader primarily because it doesn’t require quite as much precision :wink:

Ive actually noticed that there has been quite a variety of which one to go to…

111, 45, 108, and 65 seemed that they only used the auto loader (and did it all very well) at midwest

whereas someone like 71 went to the human player several times.

Personally we use the manual loader, but have pulled a few off an auto loader. The way our pneumatic arm is designed, we dont get the maximum height needed to cap with a few tetras on the goal already if we go to the auto loader.

We might try a little auto loading in Atlanta

We used the human player station, soley because we had 2 24" pneumatic cylinders that used up most of our air in the tanks, so when we went to the human player we left our arm in the up position to conserve air. We could have used the auto station but it took too long to align and used too much air lowering the arm.

As far as the omni wheels we had a few issues getting into the loading station. once the human player stepped off the pad the robot continued to roll until it hit the wall and it bounced off the triangle a few times and the HP had to run back and the driver would have to re-drive in, but we saw that at our first competition and quickly fixed that in the driver controls.

We are capable of using the both, although I did prefer the human player bcause there was less precision involved in lining up.

Generally I sent the driver to whichever loader was closest to the goal I intented them to score on.

My team, 65, uses the auto loader for a couple of reasons. (1) for our strategy right now its really quick (2) not a lot of teams use it so we will always have one open and (3) with our skewer right now thats the only place we can pick up from (with the skewer we don’t have to be too precise…all we have to do is be on the triangle and be some where in the area of the middle of the plane of the tetra)

It all depends on your robot in which one is better.

111’s design almost demands that they have exclusive access to both autoload stations. In one qualification match where we were allied with them, we used the human player to good effect. Our drive team is very fast picking up tetras from the autoloader, so that’s what we preferred to use.

Maybe we’ll redesign our robot before Championship to hold a stack of tetras the way 71 does, and make multiple stops at the human player station? Nah…

We use an arm to pick up the tetras, and since it’s driven by motors instead of pneumatics, if we use the manual loader, then when the tetra is placed on the arm, the arm will fall down (since there’s no power being applied to keep it up, since the robot is dissabled), and the tetra will fall off. Auto works fine for us as long as the field attendents are on the ball and keep refilling the loader.

The Friarbot has a pneumatically-powered claw that opens and closes. In competition, we exclusively used the automatic loading station, opening the claw to grab a tetra and then closing it again to withdraw. I don’t know quite how a human could put a tetra on our (opened) claw with the robot disabled - it would probably be possible, but we’ve never tried.

It is possible for us to use the auto loader, but it require far too much time and precision to aim correctly as to not hit the tetra b4 entering the loading zone. We can enter the zones with ease now though (with our omni wheels too!), so the human zone isnt too much of a problem. But if we’re not careful, we can have a bit of trouble getting off, as the wood is just enough of a hieght difference that it can cause one of our wheels to loose contact with the floor and spin out. But shims helped all but solve that problem.
Teams that can use the auto loader quickly tend to do so, because it is generally faster and less crowded. But many teams cannot use it reliably and/or quickly, so they choose to use the human instead.

We use solely the autoloader, if you watch the Las Vegas Regional on NASA you can see :smiley: We chose this because our robot is disabled for at least 3 seconds even if Michael Johnson is our human player. So instead, we use an anvil as our human player (Ian) and have many different software feedback sources to ensure our arm grabs from the auto loader fast.

1278’s major problem was our arms design, We used a center mounted 4 stage continuous forklift style lift. Due to design issues we just could not get the first section to come down. Our strategy was to start near the autoloader, use it once, get one quick cap then use the auto loader

We work around our alliance partners, but I prefer the auto tetra loader.

GO 1403!!!

We could use both stations. We primarily used the human player becuase the human player could put them on our base. We used the autoloader a few times but it usually wasn’t worth it.

We can use both the auto and manual loading zones, but due to the rule <G15> I have found that you have a better chance of getting to the human loading zone under very defensive matches. Combined with low human error of tetra placement on the robot, i find the human loader a faster and more reliable source of tetra supply.

We use the manual loading zone because it is impossible for our robot’s design to be able to use the auto loader and be on the triangle.

We actually can use both loaders but our arm allows for a much faster pick-up from the auto loader, and we have yet to try the auto. The only way we would use the human loader would be if we were alligned with a team like Wildstang that uses both loaders one after the other, or if two teams we are alligned with can only use auto. We have yet to human load so we might give it a try in a practice match in Atlanta and see how it works for us.

Our robot was origionaly designed to load from the auto loader, but after a little mishap with the forks puncturing an air conditioner we decided to cut the ends off. Now we can only do human player zone…not that I’m unhappy, :smiley: I’m human player :stuck_out_tongue:

A couple of thoughts:

  1. There was a spreadsheet created some time ago that calculated that going for the auto-load stations was more efficient time-wise. I believe it is here:

  2. However, that spreadsheet did not account for the extra time that most robots seem to need at the auto-load stations to be EXACTLY perpendicular to the loader.

  3. For the manual loaders with human players, the robot can be at any angle to the load station (but still “INSIDE” the load station triangle). At three regionals, I would say that the ratio of robots using human players versus auto-load is about 75% human, 25% auto.

BUT…in an alliance, be sure to seek robots that can be positioned on either side of the field for a quick pick-up at both auto and human load station. If your robot can ONLY go to the human-load station, it might not be valued as highly in an alliance.

ALSO…by far, there have been a lot of penalties for “foot faults” by the human players either passing each other (three people in a skinny area) and setting feet outside the zone or by NOT having both feet on the ground while placing a tetra.