[FTC]: Can anyone lend assistance?

Hey everyone, this is HAL’s second year in FTC, but we aren’t starting out so hot…
Our first problem is with LabView… people keep telling myself, and our team programmer that LabView is a bad choice, and that RobotC would be better. This point is well known- but the serious question is in if there is a teleoperated template out yet, as the template given with the software was 5x too big for the NXT memory.

Our second problem is in the development of a firing mechanism. We tried making a “pitching machine” type thing, but we can’t seem to get that to work. Another idea we have been playing with is a slingshot (I will explain if you ask, but its a bit difficult to relate in text). Does anyone out there have any ideas they would like to share?

Asistance would be appreciated. And remember, “HAL is always watching.”
(Yes a bad movie reference was made).

you should check out this thread: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69586.

You can find the templates offered from National Instruments made for FTC at this website: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/content.aspx?id=6650

Disclaimer: I haven’t built much with the FTC kit at all.

A lot of FTC designs this year are probably going to be based on the high speed FRC projectile games of 2006 and to a lesser extent 2009. Pitching machine type designs worked very well in those games (one or two wheel flywheel shooters), and for quick rapid firing it’s an ideal solution as it’s easy to reload the firing mechanism (easier than, say, stretching surgical tubing in a barrel or other forms of giving the ball energy).

The FTC kits are (supposed to be, at least) super easy to build prototypes with. Perhaps try a different type of pitching machine (dual wheels on top bottom versus single wheel with plate, etc etc)? What in particular are you having trouble with? People on CD might be able to give nice tips.

If the flywheel shooter doesn’t work out, maybe something that’s more “spewy” that reaches the 10 point goals (longer shooter rather than higher) could work?

Why exactly is LabVIEW a bad choice? Is there something you are attempting to do with LabVIEW you are having trouble with? Have you been unable to find resources and training material on LabVIEW? Have you posted any of your questions to the FTC forums on ni.com?

The templates that ship with the software and are also available on FIRST’s website are definitely not too large for the NXT memory. If you running out of space on your NXT you either have too many unnecessary files on the brick or you need to defrag the NXT. Defragging can be done in the NXT Terminal (Tools»NXT Tools»NXT Terminal). If you need to clear up additional space you should remove files such as NXTShell.rxe and Program Chooser (after you have set your teleop program).

You can also save space by preventing the FTC Controller Station from automatically downloading Program Chooser.rxe and FTCTeleopBasic.rxe by renaming or removing these two files from the directory that contains FTC Controller Station.exe.

I am sure by this point I am probably sounds a little defensive, but as a NI Developer who worked on the FTC software I can promise you NI is very committed to making LabVIEW a good choice. We have a lot of resources on our site (linked above) as well as support forums that are monitored by members of our K-12 Software R&D team.

Cheers!
Mark
LabVIEW R&D

Okay, Thank you all for replying.
@BLAQmx: I do not see a problem with LabView, and a recurring error we get is that the size of the teleop file is ~500kb, and the NXT Terminal in LV shows me ~180kb. How can I deal with this?

@Chris: I have looked at those designs (for FRC '06) and am wondering how I could implement a design similar to the fly wheel, where in the pipe there are two wheels off the same motor, and they touch the ball on two tangents. They will build pressure against the other wall of the pipe, and eject them accordingly. Any ideas?

The VI templates are actually going to be much larger than the compiled code. Looking at the files on my machine FTCTeleopBasic.vi is 602kB and the compiled FTCTeleop.rxe is only 19kB.

:smiley: twitter syntax

I’m not the best person to ask, but you could mount both wheels to two parallel c-channel bars (or two custom machined bars) and then add material to the wheel (surgical tubing etc) until there’s enough contact between the ball and both wheels. Or you can put two wheels on the same axle spaced appropriately, then two more on a lower axle to sandwich the ball. This is jsut for the shooter, feeding such a design is another challenge :smiley:

@BLAQ: Yes… I am a twitterbug XD (guess its sticking… hope this doesnt affect my VB code)… and how would I go about compiling my code- because I became accustomed to last year’s build and am having a bit of difficulty converting.

@Chris: I have a couple designs for the pickup and storage… but am having issues with the mounting of the NXT and battery. would you know of any method to go about mounting these, because we current have our battery in a clip between our two back motors (this makes me nervous, our team has poor luck with the tabs on the motors).

You can build your VI into an RXE file in one of three ways, but all require the VI to be targeted to the NXT. This is done by navigating to File»Target to NXT. Please be sure to have your NXT turned on and connected to the computer when doing this. If you are using a USB connection LabVIEW should automatically find the NXT. If you are connected via Bluetooth and have not established the Bluetooth connection in LabVIEW yet you will be prompted to establish connection (just follow the on screen instructions).

Once you are connected to your NXT (you should see your NXT’s name in the bottom left-hand corner of the block diagram and front panel windows) you can either press the Run, Deploy, or Debug button. All of these will compile you code and automatically download the RXE file to the brick. The functional difference between these 3 buttons is as follows.

Run: Compiles, downloads, and immediately begins running the program.
Deploy: Compiles and downloads the program.
Debug: Compiles, downloads, and immediately begins running the program. The front panel window for the VI goes into a run state and Front Panel controls and indicators can be used to interact with the program running on the brick.

Okay thank you (finally found the quotes!) now could you… recommend (?) any programming methods for this year? (ie. conditions, loops, nxt usage)
And the template installed w/ LV is the template that we should be using, right?

I recommend using the templates. The most essential part of the teleop templates is the communication loop. If you decide against using the templates please use the same communication loop in your code. Great care was taken to optimize this loop to give the greatest possible remote control over the robot.

I recommend beginning your development with your VIs targeted to the computer. This will allow you to utilize the full suite of LabVIEW debugging tools (Highlight execution, single stepping etc). Once you have your code working you should then target the VI to the NXT deploy the code to the brick.

When developing code with the VI targeted to your computer try to stick to the NXT programming palette when adding structures, functions, etc. This will prevent you from writing code with an unsupported function that will throw a 1003 error at compile time.

ok go on youtube and tipe in FTC shooter it works (but its very hard to make and have work) we are makeing it better and better just something that might work for you