# Opinions: The importance of elevation/suspension

Hanging is useful if more than one team in your alliance can do it; but if only one can then it’s not really enough of a difference to be a major swing. It’s harder for two teams to score four points in those twenty seconds via goals than it is for one team to score two points, because they tend to get in each others’ ways.

How important is hanging? Do a little math.

On average, how many points are going to be scored per match? Then, calculate how often they’ll be scored.

For instance I’d wager saying that each team scored 2-4 points per match during week one (in fact that’s probably a bit high). It’s pretty simple to see that hanging in that context is HUGE.

In the fourth week, there were routinely scores up in the 8-10 point range during eliminations. That 2 points might save you once or twice, but it’s a lot less important.

At nationals? It may be (on average) even less important, as robots improve and scoring improves.

It’s a risk vs. reward thing. Do the math on the rate of scoring, and figure out which is more important - taking the time to hang or trying to score another 2 balls. My guess is that by nationals unless you hang in under 10 seconds every single time, then mathematically it’s a wash.

You also have to take into account the availability of balls.

Let’s figure that an alliance has two robots playing offense and one on defense.

There might be a point in the last 15-20 seconds of the match where they just scored a significant number of balls they control and will have to wait a while for the balls to be put back into play, controlled, and then scored. It would be much easier for the robots to then just turn around and hang on the tower.

That timing might just the difference between a finalist and winner.

While I agree that hanging will be less valuable in the Championship eliminations, as ball scoring becomes more prevalent, I think we’ll definitely see it a few times.

At philly, both alliances in finals didn’t have hangers either. However, all of the hanging alliances lost in semis by very slim margins in matches that could have gone either way (we got knocked out by 1 penalty point).

For us, during qualifiers we usually won by big margins (not the best thing for QPs) and hanging turned mainly into a “seal the win” thing and also showing off to the scouters. For elims, our midfield parter, 1640, could do some decent scoring from midfield, and could jump the bump to offense, we would swap zones to go for the hang. An important factor though was 87 being able to hold down the opponent’s goals and keep the score opponent score from jumping while we had no active midfield bot.

Hanging mattered a lot more to get us into the tournament (at #1 seed – saying that never gets old!), but it didn’t matter much once in the tournament itself, because the games were for the most part blowouts, with one notable exception*.

That is to say, if you look at the scores of the qualification games, only two of them were won by 2 points or less where we hung – but the fact that we could hang reliably altered the strategy of our opponents, and that made the difference in a lot of games. FIRST games, just like most games, have a large psychological component, and if you can get your opponent reacting to you instead of mastering their own thing, that’s a big advantge.

*In the semifinals match two, we lost 7-8, and did not hang because we had a glitch in our hanger and didn’t take a time out to fix it – so that would have been critical.

1551- I saw you guys at FLR, and you have an absolutely amazing hanger. I still am not sure how it works.

It’s pretty straightforward, and came in at about 16 lbs, including a CIM.

Four-start screw (3/8" x 3’), Banebots 4:1 transmission, flexible-but-not-too-flexible shaft coupling, a thrust bearing, some aluminum tubing, some extruded aluminum and delrin sliders, some gubbins to hold it all together, two limit switches, a ratchet-like catch on the bottom, and a big ol’ hook on top.

We built our robot so that everything but the mecanum drive was completely modular – even our electronics are held on by velcro and nothing else – and came up with five or six lift prototypes. This was the one that worked best for us, so we bolted it on top (literally).

It’s a shame we never fell over, though. That righter took some effort to make just right, and we never used it. (Then again, if we fall over fast enough, we literally bounce right back to our ‘feet’… Making this robot a bit like our team, come to think of it!)