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:
- 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.
- 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: ** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgI_PkgsuXA
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: ** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXKHpcc6ZOE
In this match, there is a .7 second delay from robots starting to move until the hot goals activate
**CVR Qualification Match 11: ** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rycIqPJpbz4
In this match, there is a .6 second delay from robots starting to move until the hot goals activate
**CVR Qualification Match 32: ** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3KVlqbwvc
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!
Team 254 Mentors and Students