Event Recap: Channelview District 2023
Photon #8515 competed at the Channelview District Event.
For those who do not know, Photon is our development subteam geared towards helping rookie Spectrum students. Each year, Photon competes at two district events, but we choose not to compete at DCMP regardless of whether we qualify.
This year, Photon used the Everybot 2023 design and made minor adjustments and improvements to the robot.
A Photon student holds our 8515 mascot, a purple dinosaur named Photon.
The Photon driveteam holds up their hand signal for “cube” to the human player.
Custom Gussets: Instead of pairing 120° and 135° brackets to make the superstructure angle, we CADed and then routed our own .090” aluminum gussets.
90° MaxPlanetary substitute: “2 Motor Gearbox - Through Bore” from Rev Robotics, we did not use it as its intended purpose, but we have previously purchased it and decided to use it instead of the 90º Max Planetary.
Ballast: Our bellypan consisted of 4 steel plates that each weighed 4 lbs having 1 in the front and 3 in the back which amounted to 16 lbs of steel belly pans. We mounted 40 lbs to the front of the chassis using 2 bolted ¼” polycarbonate plates. This made the robot more stable and lowered our center of gravity which prevented us from tipping over the entire event.
Intake Hard Stops: Our intake arm was not straight, no matter how much we attempted to address this issue. As a solution to this problem, we added two 2” long, ¼” thick polycarbonate plates to each side of the intake to prevent it from getting stuck because the bolts holding the intake together would get stuck behind the superstructure.
Photon went 5-7-0 overall at the event, finished ranked 28th, and was not invited to join an alliance. This is likely contributed to by the fact that Photon allows different students to drive for the first time in qualification matches, which gives us inconsistent results for each match. For elimination matches, however, we ensure that we have the same drive team to respect our alliance partners, knowing that although Photon is our secondary team, other teams do not share that same privilege.
Nevertheless, we are happy to announce that we received the Gracious Professionalism award like we did last year at Channelview 2022. This year, Allen was volunteering as the LRI at this event, and because it lacked volunteers, some Spectrum students helped Allen manage the inspection station to help teams get inspected and worked with teams to make their robots become legal. We also had other Spectrum mentors and alumni volunteer at the event as the FTAA, Field Resetters, Official Scorers, and Judges.
Failures and Fixes:
Failure: Arm was not able to move well during a match.
Fix: The hex shafts for the pivot on the arm were slightly too short which made it able to overtighten and become stiff. We loosened the bolt slightly to allow it to move more easily. We will be making two new hex shafts for the pivot for the Houston district event.
Failure: Throughout the competition, we had trouble balancing on the charge station. This put our robot at a disadvantage since we did not have the opportunity to get points from the charge station. The drivetrain drove far too quickly and was too sensitive; the controls did not aid the cause.
Fix: We added a new button on the controller that, when held down, will significantly slow the drive speed for more accurate balancing on the charge station.
On the first day of competition and for whatever reason, there were hardly any inspectors (there were four in total after a couple hours after the pits were open). So, two of our Photon members decided to spend their valuable hours managing the inspection spreadsheet, weighing robots, and sorting each teams’ inspection folders. At the end of the day, the two students nearly completed all the teams’ inspections.
At the competition, we experienced some issues and we thought that it was due to faulty batteries or electrical problems. After further inspection, we realized that the charge on the batteries were WAY too low (130% is good and the battery was at 90%). We checked all of the batteries and they were significantly low on battery, which prompted a mentor and a student to check the power source and find that the entire charging station had not been plugged in the entire day. We then quickly asked the 118 electrical mentor for a battery and proceeded to win the next match we were in.
Thank you to our sponsors REV Robotics, Solarcraft, Inc, the Gene Haas Foundation, Analog Device, Texas Workforce Commission, Intuitive Foundation, International Society of Automation, Houston Chapter, QAD Works & St Agnes Academy & Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.
Thank you to all the volunteers that helped make Channelview an awesome event.