FIM Week 4 Recap - (No Lakeview 2)

We are now at the end of the fourth week of competition for 2023 and I will now run down not only what happened at each of the six events, adding Lakeview 2 when it is finished, and how my predictions were from earlier in the week.

Week 4 Recap

No takeaways this week, improvements across the board, but not sure we will see much change in gameplay till MSC.

Lakeview 1 District:

In summary, Lakeview 1 was a moment in FIM history. Very few times in FIRST have I seen a rookie team burst onto the scene and not only be successful, but be one of the best robots at an event. The last time I saw this was 7769 back in 2019, and I think most people would say they are the best 7000 series team in Michigan. While it may be early, I think we have found the best 9000s team. Team 9312-NERD Spark, had a better than expected Jackson, and helped an 8 Seed make the Finals, but here at Lakeview they were the best robot in the building. After finishing 1st they selected 5675-WiredCats and 4810-I AM Robot. Looking at the rest of the draft the two opposing alliances that would stand out would be the 3rd and 4th. Both alliances were partners of one of my Favorites and one of Contenders. The 3 Seed had 2611 and 1684 while the 4 Seed was captained by 5152-Alotobots, and aligned with teammates 6002-ZooBOTix and 5235-Gears of Fortune. The 3 Seed wouldn’t have much luck as 1684 seemed to have some issues with their swerve drive that sealed an early loss for the team, but alliance 4 was even better than expected, sending the 1 Seed to the Losers Bracket. However, as known they would meet back in the Finals, 1 versus 4. This was a very competitive Finals, even tying their first match 108-108, but the one seed was putting up, four and five, extra game pieces in the next two games, ultimately winning the series. Congrats to 9312, 5675 and 4810.

Hits:
6002/5675/5152/1481-All had successful playoff runs, no shame in that
2611/1684-Had a tough mechanical failure, but would have made a real run for the win had they been at full spec.

So/So:
4327-Dark Horse-I don’t know how they fell to a second pick, but definitely expected better in qualifying, but was a key piece of the 6 Seed going as far as they did.

Misses:
9312-Dark Horse-More like Lead Horse, I thought the 8 Seed at Jackson performance would have limited them in terms of qualifying, but not at all. Hopefully a great team for years to come.

LSSU District:

In Summary, LSSU was an event that almost went according to plan, one of my two favorites to win as the 1st Seed finished as Rank 1, 3655-Tractor Technicians. So I fully expected a 857 pairing for the win…but that’s not what happened. My Contender 4392-The Deceivers was taken with the first overall pick. Their 3 piece auto was a standout here, that 3655 definitely didn’t want to go against. They were also able to get a rather impressive final pick with 7768-The AutoMatons, and also needed some assistance from 3602-RoboMos for a match. 857-Superior Roboworks, the heavy favorite coming in, was left out of the 1 Seed; so they had to draft their challenger team starting with 9176-Greenspire Steel Sturgeons (what a name), that may be the best everybot in Michigan and one of the few swerve drive ones. Then finished up the alliance with 4835-Junkyard Dawgs. We can also fast forward to the Finals, as this matchup was inevitable, but a 2 Seed victory in the Winners bracket final would put the 1 Seed on their back foot, and 3655 on their side as they tipped over in that match (a large part of why they lost). The finals would be another 3 games just like Lakeview, no tie in this one, but the one difference maker for the series was the autonomous. The 1 Seed started with at least a 2 game piece lead every game, due to The Deceivers 3 piece auto, which made the 3655 selection obvious that it was the correct one. Congrats to 3655, 4392, 7768 and 3602.

Hits:
857/3655/4392-Best 3 at the event, no question

So/So:
6637/7782-Captains of Seeds that couldn’t break through to a top 3 finish.

Misses:
4398-Favorite-Rough Weekend, still think they were drafted low.
9176-Proof the Everybot can be successful anywhere, with the right drivers

Midland District:

Midland from the start was a story of 3 teams vying for the top spot, similar to LSSU, or at least making sure they would end up on the 1 Seed to overwhelm the remaining team. 5166-The Fabricators would have the crown at the end of qualifying as they finished 4 ranking points above the other two Favorites. 5166 would make their choice 5712-Hemlock’s Gray Matter; while 5216-E-Ville Empire would captain the 2 Seed and choose 5114-Titanium Tigers, and later on 5231-The Radical Jays. The playoffs would go as expected for the first ten matches, then we got to the Winners Bracket Final, where the 2 Seed would upset the 1 Seed on ten penalty points, but 5712 would also look to mostly play defense this match after seemingly being unable to load cones from the single loadstation, despite their previous match having no known issue. Then comes the Loser Bracket Final where the 1 Seed would hope to win their place in the Finals, after a tough loss. Their opponent would be the 4 Seed, made of 5424-Rogue Robots, 3770-BlitzCreek and 6753-CBA RoboKings; a very solid well-rounded alliance. It was the 1 Seed early as they took a 16 point lead after autonomous, a much needed lead as Hemlock’s Gray Matter’s arm would fail without a minute to go, making them unable to score. The number one alliance would still take a double-digit lead going into the endgame as both alliances were able to triple balance as time expired…which is when it all fell apart. When 5712s power was shut off as time expired, their arm dropped and touched the carpet (as it was still fully extended after the failure) causing it to only count as a two robot dock instead of a triple balance, making for a 3 Seed victory, 127-119. The 3 Seed would take the momentum into finals as they were able to lead in auto and obtain another triple balance, which was able to offset their poor link building to take Finals match 1. The next two wouldn’t be as kind to them, as they weren’t able to build proper links, despite having similar or in the case of Finals 3 more game pieces on the grid. So the leftover favorite of 5216 on alliance 2 was able to pull of the win, Congrats to 5216, 5114, and 5231.

Hits:
5216/5166/5712-Clear Top 3, still true after the event.
5114-Definitely improved on their Kettering 2 performance.
3536/314-Good Teams, but just not in that top tier

Misses:
5603-Contender-Shows how bad the schedule was at Kettering 2, where 5603 was number 1, but here they are a second pick of the 6 alliance.

West Michigan District:

Finally after 3.5 weeks of predictions, I finally got one 100% correct. The redemption teams 3357-COMETS and 27-Team RUSH came though at the top of the leaderboard to form alliance 1, along with 4855-Ramageddon. Where the 2 alliance would be double Goodrich, 494-Martians and 70-More Martians, as they allied with 6094-Manic Mechanics. There were good teams throughout these playoffs, Seeds 3-6 were all competitive, but we all knew that it would come to 1 versus 2. Their first matchup in the Winners Bracket Finals, 2 would be victorious after placing 4 extra game pieces in teleop along with 15 penalty points on their side. But two games later they would meet back in the Finals, and I would definitely recommend at least watching this series if not the entire West Michigan playoffs. It was a back and forth, but the 1 Seed would take game 1 after a failed balance by the 2 Seed. Then the 2 Seed came right back and won game 2 with the advantage of an extra game piece in auto, along with a engaged charge station after autonomous instead of the 1 Seed’s dock. The tiebreaker would be the decider, that would be close as both teams would triple balance, but with 5 extra game pieces on the grid, the 1 Seed would take the game with an event high 153 points. Congrats to 3357, 27, and 4855.

Hits:
3357/27/494/70-Perfect Prediction, four probably top 25 robots in Michigan

So/So:
4003-Much better this time around, after a so/so Standish/Sterling

Misses:
1918-Contender-I had them a lot higher in my mind, but it shows how hard the West Michigan event was.

Troy 1 District:

I was at Troy 1 Saturday morning for qualifications and before lunch I already knew who would win. I went to the cafeteria and I saw him, the one and only Pi Guy, the fighting pi mascot. Like I said in the preview, if he appeared and I saw him, 67 would choose 1718 and they would win the event. Not so shockingly 67-The HOT Team would finish first in qualifying, and they would indeed choose 1718-The Fighting Pi; and later in the alliance selection get an absolute steal with 8115-Platinum Peacocks. The real fight however was for who would meet them in the finals and take home second, every score in the playoffs was over 100 points apart from one, the 8 Seeds elimination game. Two standouts were 5436 and 217 on Seed 2, 68 and 818 on Seed 4; but the ultimate finalist would be the 3 Seed alliance of home team 226-Hammerheads, 2960-Automation Nation and 9226-GR Pioneers.Ther consistent triple balance and 5 links worth of game pieces per game were enough to punch their ticket to the Finals. But like expected, the 1 Seed would sweep them while putting up over 20 game pieces in both games, as well as always maintaining a lead out of autonomous mode. Congrats to 67, 1718, and 8115.

Hits:
67/1718-Easy win, Easy Prediction;Pi Guy #1
217/226/2960-All super competitive, just not against a top 5 team partner with a top 25.

So/So:
469-Challenger-Did good, I expected more, the multiple piece auto was really hit or miss, but mostly miss.

Misses:
5436-No Idea how I missed Cyber Cats, I checked my shortlist and it appears I skipped them when transferring to my Preview Post, but even if i would have added them, I would have put them too low.

Will add Lakeview 2 whenever it finishes/when I have time to add it. May be added in comments if it locks me out of editing.

Coming Soon will be the Week 5 Previews, as there will be no Top 25 this week, as I prepare for my Pre-MSC List. I will try and get the previews out as quickly as possible, as I am also competing next week at Troy 2

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JessMenace is starting to convince me they’re writing the FiM script with these Troy predictions.

Pi Guy knows all.

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One thing I will say about 1918 at West Michigan is that they had an extremely unlucky schedule. Their rank most definitely didn’t reflect their performance on the field. Another thing that I liked about West Michigan was the depth of the field; all of the alliances were scary good, and the new elim bracket most definitely played well towards all alliances.

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I concur, the depth of field was unheard of at West Michigan, it truly felt like an actual states division all the way through, and boy was it stressful like one. with 7 teams of an OPR 50+, and 12 teams averaging over 100 points a match, this was unlike anything I saw at Calvin or Muskegon

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Troy 2 next week :skull:

6002 had a rollercoaster of a weekend but its been fun. Bringing a mostly untested new robot to Lakeview we discovered a few issues that set us back but we ended up with a really good alliance in 5152 and 5235 (who I think may be a contender for best defensive robot). We thought we could give that 1 alliance a run for their money but just couldn’t outlast them. Huge thank to you the Lakeview shop teacher for some assistance with a part. Also to 5675, 7197, 4381, 3620, 6078, 3452, 7809, and probably a couple I’m missing for either parts or tools. The FRC community has really treated us well this weekend.

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Thanks Jess!

9312 was Awesome. 4810 had to miss one match to reload code and replace a USB connector, iirc. 5675 replaced a swerve module between finals matches. It was a great best 2 out of 5 match, one tie, one field fault.

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These guys were amazing and were number one on our list if tractors and superior were to team up. Not only were they a quick everybot cycler, they were very small making triple balances easier.

I was shocked at how late they went. We had them as one of the faster cyclers. One issue they had was the lack of high scoring ability.

LSSU was a ton of fun and is always one of my favorite events (when they have one).

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Hello, I am a member of team 5712 and I think you did a great job of this weeks recap. I just want to take a second to acknowledge 2 teams that truly made our weekend 10 times better.

  1. 5166 these guys were great to work with and they have made one heck of a robot this year. It was awesome to play with them and pull away with some very high scoring matches until our robot had some wiring issues . Overall I think we made a great alliance and cant wait to see them at sates.

  2. The second robot/team that I want to talk about is 5216. We have great history with this team. Including winning their first event together last year at midland. When you look up Gracious Professionalism, these guys should be on the front page. After the Top Bracket Finals one of our CANCoders wires was ripped out and caused the first electrical problem. After upsetting the 1st seed (that you may see in the finals) you would expect a team to let you figure it out on your own. 5216 rushed back to the pits with our team offering any help that they were able to give us. Including offering to take apart there spare swerve chassis to give us a new encoder. This was way beyond expected and I think I speak on behalf of the team when I say this event wouldn’t have been near the same with them. When awards came around they stayed on the field and waited of Impact to be announced. When 5712 was announced 5216 was our biggest supporters in that moment. This team is the pinnacle of GP and our team couldn’t be more thankful for them

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To add some technical background to what happened here: 5712 uses a CTRE Hex Bore Mag Encoder Housing + CANCoder for tracking the position of our wrist mechanism on our intake. This is a great sensor to work with and easy to program, but the downside of using them in this kind of implementation is that it leaves the CAN wires exposed and held on only by solder. We’ve had these wires break at the solder points before in practice but there’s only so much strain relief and shielding you can do on them.

Early in the match (or possibly even before the match) the CAN wires on this sensor failed causing us to lose position data from the wrist, which resulted in the up and down oscillations you can see as our driver was trying to get it to go to the right position (switching between an “up” and “down” position that never got to the desired set point). This ended up being a good thing as alternating the directions likely prevented the ~150:1 planetary gearbox from self-destructing under extended stall torque, or the NEO550 motor powering it from burning up (both things we’ve encountered during early testing).

Thankfully, the CANCoder was an easy repair (just solder the wires back on) so we were back in the game quickly, but it hurts to have it cost us an important match.

I can definitely say after this that I would pay good money for a product that would make CAN connections like these more durable, especially for these kinds of external applications where incidental wire damage (or in this case, even just some moderate tugging) is basically inevitable.

At 85 seconds left on the match clock, 5712 impacted 6753 who was playing (perfectly legal) defense and it appears the force of the impact caused the string potentiometer cable on our arm to dislodge from the Analog port of the RoboRIO. This, consequently, resulted in the sensor reading “0”, and the arm extending to reach a setpoint it would never get to. Nothing much else to say here other than it ended up being really, really bad luck, especially considering the timing (and we had zero issues with it for basically two whole events). Remember to hot glue your PWM-style connectors kids!

Overall, we’ve definitely learned some lessons from both of these failures and plan to make sure neither of these issues happen again. We’re also looking at adding a variety of redundancies to critical sensors; both physically adding redundant sensors were possible, as well as coding in fall-back routines that can detect an out-of-range value or disconnected sensor and fail-over to a secondary sensor or on-motor encoder.

Congrats to the winning teams, we look forwards to seeing you all again at states!

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I was kind of hoping 3655 would pick us (based on our statbotics EPA or how our scouting data put us when you including balancing), but was (rightly) expecting 4392 to be picked since you could put up a few more game pieces than us from what I saw.

Also Finals 3 we (857) had a CAN wire come unplugged prior to the match that we didn’t catch so the wrist and intake didn’t work - which also means auto scored zero and we had to play defense.

:+1:t3:

4422 Twisted Angels might be a contender for that title as well!

Yeah, I think it came down to us being able to get a couple more cycles and the auto. Tractors had the balance auto covered so we didn’t have to. (in fact we never balanced in auto the entire competition)

CAN wire coming unplugged is unfortunate. It’s always more fun when robots are at full strength.

You guys have an amazing robot, see you at states!

As you predicted, Team 9208 Eddies Circuit did well for a rookie team at Lakeview # 1. As 2nd pick for Alliance 7 (9227-216-9208), their consistent & reliable performance was key to helping their alliance win some of their semi-finals matches. It really was a fun experience and Team 9208 appreciated all the support and encouragement from other teams. It was pretty crazy to see rookie team 9312 compete with such an amazing robot.

after schedules were released this is one of the first things I noticed. I was very surprised to see them fall that far down the order in alliance selection as well.

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Pi Guy is a legend.

West Michigan was truely a wild event. Congrats to the winners, they were strong enough and lucky enough (prepared to seize the oppurtunity) to dance out of their misteps, like stabbing other robots. and flopping. I thought the #5 alliance was going to clip the #1 alliance except for some odd code problems at the worst time. Never the less it was a strategy persons dream district event and I loved it.

10 Teams above 40 EPA and
20 teams ended above 30 EPA
this event was full of offense. Excited to see if Troy 2 can match it.

Notes:

  • That Final match of the day where Comets had no business winning against 4003 (seed 3) and 2054 (seed 4) at the time to keep the number 1 seed is worthy of a What If episode as surely 494 ontop of the rankings would be a different story. It may have been smoother sailing as 27 had many different hiccups thoughout the playoffs.
  • 1918 had a tough schedule, however it did seem like they missed a couple oppurtunities to grab the extra ranking points when it felt attainable, like cant quite finish a link or charge station woes. (Not necessarily their fault)
  • Auto is quickly becoming the differentiator for the top teams. Get to work on those!
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