Practice field charge station vs Real charge station

Our team went to Warren hills for our second district event and something very odd with charge stations had been going on. When we went to the practice field to calibrate for auto engage it worked perfectly over 5 times in a row. But the second it got to the real field it wouldn’t even dock. This has seriously affected our matches to not get ranking points or even win a match. If you have any idea why this is happening I would love to hear input. To our team it has seen entirely unfair. The plexinon the charge station in the corners and where the base and ramps meet are being held together with tape due to the fact it is bend upwards.
Also only a rumor that the hinges on the real field and been greased but not the charge station. If true it would make sense that it’s easier to go up on the real field.


There is more polycarb on the real charge station for the logo. That extra weight can effect things.

Still either way it’s unfair for testing auto


The practice field has the same amount of polycarb on the surface, with a blank piece in place of the logo piece used on the field.

The only things missing from the practice field (as spec’d) are the trapezoid end caps on either end and the sensors/wiring/electronics.

Another main difference is likely the condition. The one on the main field has been used for weeks at this point and seen a lot more wear and tear than the practice field. But given that there aren’t multiple extra charge stations at an event, you can’t just take the practice field one and replace (entirely) one from the field.

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Both of the events I attended had less polycarb on the practice one, I didn’t know that wasn’t supposed to be the case (the later event had the extra polycarb just sitting off to the side, unused).

The top of every charge station is meant to be two full layers.

Layer one has two quarter-top pieces on either side, and he logo piece (or blank) centered. These pieces have cutouts to go around the welds in the metal frame.

Layer two has two half-size pieces that meet in the middle, to fully cover the first layer. And then there’s several bolts that go through all of the holes in both layers, into PEM nuts that are built into the frame.

I can’t definitively say every event has this because I’m not familiar with how everyone runs. But the above is true both for PNW district events (my home region) and for regional trucks (after working Colorado this past weekend).

At some events, we suspect its different between red and blue side of the field as well.
We were lucky at Hawaii yesterday. After the event, they gave away 3 real charge stations. Was able to get one of them, and we are currently assembling it at the shop.

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We felt the same thing that the charge station was different from blue and red side. According to our driver the real fields were smooth and the practice was stiff


I also experienced some minor differences. It’s disappointing but also part of the game. We have plans to make our Auto more robust

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I guess we will just cope and try to make ours more “robust”. What did you do to make it cooperate with the different charge stations?

Auto balancing is a must if you dont already have it.

There is a LOT of variation olin practice fields between events.

I don’t suppose you have a picture of the practice field?

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This is all I have from my social media officer


That’s the thing we knew that and thought we did because of the practice field but when it came to the game it never worked

probably need to add or reduce power to your drive motors to account for the variation of the charge station.

In general, on practice match days we always run our autos on both sides of the field to ensure its tuned for regular matches. It almost always isnt the same as what we ran in the shop or our previous event (we do a lot of events). We end up tuning the entire practice match period.


Ok that helps thank you so much

To be honest with you, that is a really nice charging station for the practice field.

The charging stations on practice fields and in your shop will never quite perform the same as on the field. If you have the resources to recreate a real field charging station at home, that is your best bet. But if you are like us and can’t really do that at all. The best you can do is design your auto-balance to account for those differences. Our strategy is to get our robot somewhere on the charging station during auto and then run a PID loop based on the angle that our gyro is giving us. So the exact distances we drive and the time it takes will look a little different at home compared to the field. Knowing that we did not tune our PID to be exactly perfect for our charging station at home. We tuned it to be good enough hoping to catch the real field within the success space as well. We got lucky and ended up with an auto that has a 100% success rate.

It is unfortunate that that’s how it is, but it McBe how it McDo.

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I guess it Mcbe how it Mcdo thank you for the help and information

Every charge station is different. Give a button to your driver that runs your auto balance routine. Then, in practice matches on the actual field, balance on each station repeatedly during teleop to tune your balance in.


Ok this helps thank you