Hot Goal Timing Issues

This weekend at the Central Valley Regional we noticed an issue with the synchronization of timing between the field management system enabling robots and the triggering of the hot goal lights and targets.

We found that robots were being enabled up to a second before the lights and vision targets indicating the hot goal turned on. This seemed to be a simple time shift as robots would stop moving before the lights turned off and the second hot goal lights would activate exactly 5 seconds after the first hot goal lights turned on. This creates 2 issues:

  1. Given humans score the hot goal by way of the field lights and not the field timer, teams had approximately 6 seconds to score in the first hot goal and 4 seconds to score in the second hot goal.
  2. Teams had to wait 1 second in auto mode to sense the hot goal. With multiple moving robots and shot being fired, the challenge becomes much different than initially expected.

Over the course of an entire match one second would probably not be a huge deal but given the 5 second scoring window for the hot goal, this bug equates to a 15-20% decrease in available scoring time. Many teams have designed their robot to score balls in the hot goal over a 5 second period. In some matches they are being given less than 4 seconds.

Here are some illustrated examples of this happening. These videos have a timer that starts in the first frame that I can see robot motion, which is the best indicator I have of robots being enabled. There could be more time of “enabled” on top of this as robots may not start moving at exactly t=0.

**CVR Qualification Match 2: **
In this match, the second hot goal is only active for 3.9 seconds. The first hot goal is not indicated until 1.1 seconds after robots are enabled. The second hot goal is activated at 6.1 seconds. Robots are disabled when the overlay timer shows 10.0 (you can see a ball in 254’s robot start to move towards the shooter then fall as the single acting solenoid outputs are disabled.)

**CVR Qualification Match 83: **
In this match, there is a .7 second delay from robots starting to move until the hot goals activate

**CVR Qualification Match 11: **
In this match, there is a .6 second delay from robots starting to move until the hot goals activate

**CVR Qualification Match 32: **
Since the robots are not visible in this video, I have synced the overlay timer to read 1.0 when the match timer on the field changes from 10 to 9. There seems to be about 1.2 seconds of delay from robots on to hot goal on, and a 3.8 second long second hot goal.

As an additional data point, we observed that the scorekeeper seemed to be enabling robots from the PC interface, not the blue hardware control box.

Of the issues listed above, it seems point 2 has a very simple fix. In 2008, drivers were not allowed to touch their controls once the “ball randomizer” had determined ball position and field crews could place them. The first hot goal could work in a similar fashion and be lit before the match starts.

Has anyone else seen issues like this? It would be nice to have these issues fixed for future events!

Thank you,
Team 254 Mentors and Students

This happened at Alamo as well, but sometimes the delay was much worse. In finals match 2, the first hot goal lit up and never switched.

The delay has caused our 2 ball, 2 hot goal auto to be a 2 ball, potentially 2 hot goal auto. Due to our setup, our bot sees the right vision target and decides which goal to shoot at first. The delay makes it always think that the right goal is hot first so it starts moving before a hot goal has actually lit up. So we just have to hope that the right goal is hit first.

I hope this can eventually be fixed

We noticed similar behavior at GTRW.

This is EXACTLY why we asked the following question to the Q/A system. Appearently the answer given is not actually representative of how the system operates.

Q.Exactly when in the match does the first “Hot goal” indicator flip so that it is visible? Befor auto, at the
beginning of auto, or some short period of time after the start of auto?

A.Per Team Update 2014-01-10 both VISION TARGETS will be positioned such that the the reflective
material faces the FIELD prior to the MATCH. The signal to flip one VISION TARGET to hide the reflective
material will be sent at the start of AUTO.

Here is what the 2014-01-10 Team Updates states:

There are four (4) VISION TARGETS on each end of the FIELD: two (2) dynamic VISION TARGETS and two (2) static VISION TARGETS. There is one (1) dynamic VISION TARGET located above each LOW GOAL. Each dynamic VISION TARGET is located behind the polycarbonate panel on the ALLIANCE WALL. The dynamic VISION TARGET is horizontal and begins 5 ft. 8 in. above the FIELD carpet, is centered over the LOW GOAL, and consists of a panel with one (1) 4 in. wide, 1 ft. 11 ½ in. long strip of retro-reflective material (3M 8830 Silver Marking Film) adhered horizontally along the length of the panel with a 2 in. black ABS plastic border surrounding the retro-reflective material. The dynamic VISION TARGET is actuated to show the retro-reflective material when its corresponding HIGH and LOW GOAL are HOT. It will rotate to hide the retro-reflective material (pointing it upwards) when its corresponding HIGH and LOW GOAL are not HOT. Both of these conditions are shown in Figure 2-9.

Before the MATCH starts and throughout TELEOP, both dynamic VISION TARGETS are positioned such that the the reflective material faces the FIELD.

The static VISION TARGET is mounted such that half is behind the polycarbonate sheet above the LOW GOAL and half is behind the acrylic panel of the PLAYER STATION. It uses vertical reflectors which are located above the inside edge of the LOW GOAL. The vertical reflector consists of a 4 in. wide, 2 ft. 8 in. tall stripe of retro-reflective material bordered by 2 in. wide black gaffers tape on the left and right sides. The vertical reflectors begin 3 ft. 1 ½ in. above the FIELD carpet.

The blue underlined text is where the update was made.

Notice that no where does it say EXACTLY WHEN the targets flip.

We were right there with you Tom, we saw the same issues in our matches as well.

I hope a post from me following Sac/Davis this weekend will have better news to report!

Our team abandoned HOT goal detection a few matches into our regional and felt it was more efficient to make up the lost 5 points in TeleOp. We have now turned our focus to a two-ball auto.

It’s a real killer if the hot goal doesn’t light up as soon as the match starts or goes at a variable time and you’re detecting the saturation of the goal to determine if it’s hot or not.

Thankfully this wasn’t an issue at GTRE, but nevertheless I hope it isn’t an issue for our team at future events (and others if they use the saturation values of the hot goal–do any of you do this instead of using the retroreflective tape?).

In the 22 matches we played and the 22+ matches I watched while in queue, we saw a hot goal problem twice. The first time, one side of the hot goal remained on the entire auto period. A few seconds after teleop started, the match stopped, and was reset. Our drive team was never told why. The second time the exact same thing happened. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but in our three full match replays, the hot goal side changed at least once, but I don’t know if a match restart has the ability to switch the hot goal side.

After this match, I watched the timer, and every other time, the hot goal switched within .5 seconds of 5 seconds on the timer.

Another observation I had was that the timer, lights, sound effects, and robot state weren’t as lined up as they were last year. In a few matches, our robot was disabled before the buzzer and the lights went off. In one match, I loaded the shooter right as the buzzer stopped.

I don’t think it’s a problem with the light controller because they were able to put on some pretty fast moving light shows during picking.

To my knowledge, this happened once in eliminations at Mt. Olive. Since only one ball was interfered with, we gave the bonus.

I also recall seeing video of it happening at Centerline.

Here’s a video. We shoot the ball in the far goal at 6 seconds into the match.

We definitely noticed it being an issue at GTRE, and had to add in one second delay to make sure both our shots were fired on the correct goal.

Well, we had issues with the drive train early on and couldn’t actually get going for the auton during that time, so I’m guessing that we just had the good fortune of having the camera delay how it sensed the hot goal once we got going.

I mean, that’d be a problem anywhere else and I definitely will be looking into that, but this time a delay in input seemed to work to our advantage :rolleyes:

Everything in the FMS is connected by ethernet. With all the ref’s talking about lag in the tablets, the issues with the hot goals, and the timing of the sounds, all of which I’ve noticed, I think they are all related to lag somewhere. The FMS normally doesn’t seem as off as it has this year, but thats where I think the issue is, and I hope they get it fixed soon, because its causing problems.

I noticed the timing of sounds but didn’t see a connection. This happened with the end buzzer at MO very often and Groton at least once; a delay between the match ending and the robots stopping(usually stopping first). One match in Elims at Groton even had the “ding ding” not play, but I don’t know if that was the FMS though.

I noticed a significant hot goal delay at the start of autonomous at both GTRW and GTRE.

I also felt that matches were ending about 1 second before the match timer expired and the buzzer sounded.

We also noticed robots being disabled 1-2 seconds before the lights going out.

I’m glad you guys noticed this as well. I thought I was going crazy. It definitely seemed like robots were being disabled before the buzzer. I just assumed it was something to do with they way the audio was being fed to the A/V system. But now that you mention the match timer and lights, it appears to be a larger issue.

I linked this in another thread, but I will put it here
This was a Semi-Final match at GSD a week ago.

If you look at the goals, the second “hot” goal turns on with a fraction of a second left. This happened on both sides of the field (look to the far left of the video and watch it a few times). Whatever is wrong with the hot goal timing this year, it does not seem to be an isolated incident. Also, I think Dean Kamen points it out to one of the field personnel, so it did not go unnoticed.

I noticed something with the timing this year as well, usually when the timer hits zero on the field (before the buzzer sounds) you can step forward and the control the robot almost immediately. But this year there is a noticeable 1-2 second delay between the end of auto (timer hits 0) and the start of teleop. It was bothering me a lot at GSD, because in 2012 and 2013 you could immediately take control after auto, this year seems different.

Look at your Driver Station logs. You’ll see a consistent one-second pause between the end of autonomous and the enabling of teleoperated mode. It’s always been possible, and this year it’s definitely being controlled that way.

We experienced both the hot goal delay and the early match endings at San Diego.

We had to implement the same solution. Losing an entire second in autonomous is pretty detrimental.

Good News! The people in charge of the FMS are aware of this issue and are trying to fix it in time for week 3 events.