Strategy: The robot checklist

One part of our strategy this year is to learn from the problems of last year (and the year before, and…) by having a checklist of things to make sure the robot is ready to go. I can think of a few things (mostly things we’ve had problems with) like:

  • check screws holding radio modem cable to modem and controller
  • replace main battery
  • replace backup battery
  • check tension on belts/chains
  • check drivetrain for loose bolts
  • circle the robot 3 times chanting “Hold Together, Hold Together”

Anyone care to add to this list?

lube/WD-40 as needed

In the second match of our semis at SVR, our robot went right crashing into another robot instead of our usual 4-5 lines in hybrid. Afterwards, we discovered that the PWM cable for the enconders came loose and detached.
Sooo I’d add to check all cable connections.

After every match if possible, do a complete top-to-bottom check of everything, from drive train to extraneous decorations. We lost driving control for a couple of matches because we disregarded the loose tread on our wheels when we put it on, all the way back in Week 3. And tighten down those bumpers!

Robot on, make sure all victors light up and spin
Check for comm with field/OI
Pneumatics valve closed, charged
Remove safeties, cords, pins, etc

Team 1983 has adopted a very similar approach this year. Everything you have looks very necessary, and very close to what we have done. We completely took the idea and ran with it. We have a 5 stage checklist that goes through multiple team members to get the ok for a match. Since we started fully using this system, we have almost eliminated pre-match problems of things being overlooked. It has proved very efficient for us. I believe our checklist is in the white papers section as part of our safety plan. I will double check, and edit if not, but I’m assuming it is there. => scratch that, the entire plan, for example how we use the checklist can be found in the white papers under the Skunkworks 1983 Safety and Health Plan, and the appendices, including the actual safety checklist (Appendix A) can be found on our website www.ahsrobotics.us.

Anyways, this has proved a very very good thing for our team this year.

Team 2062 has developed a very extensive checklist that we use similar to a preflight checklist before flying. We go over it every time the robot comes back into the pit. I’ll see if I can get one of my students to share it here.

I know that they were planning on handing copies out at Atlanta to show people.

It’s pretty cool.

Get the programmer there and make sure he uploads the most recent, most bug-free copy of the code with the correct autonomous mode.

My old teams have had blown matches because I had left testing code on the robot that was useful for debugging, but not for actually driving the thing.

Yeah, checklists are a very good idea. Definatly make sure to do a post match check as well. At the Florida regional this year we were in the quarter finals and after our first match we neglected to do a post match and check our drivetrain because we were fixing our flag holder. (it fell off the robot every match.) As a result we didnt notice our ceter wheel on our left side had sheared through the bolts hoding the sprocket on. So yes, it’s always good to have pre match and post match checks.

(After a match)
Check any known damage cause on field - check
Do a full systems check (including checking the drive system for loose bolts, and putting the robot in Home position) - check
Put battery on charge.

(Random programming tweaking)

(Right before we leave the pits for a match or while in queing area)
Tether up.
Put in new battery.
(With controls)
Drive forward - check.
Drive back - check.
Arm up - check
Arm down - check
Home it! (Return to starting configuration) - check.
(With remote)
Check remote operation - check
Home it! (Return to starting configuration) - check.

Check battery voltage at OI - check
Untether - check

(On field)
Place it where it needs to go / check field position - check
Power on - check
Plug in OI to field radio - check
Check disable button in players station / make sure it’s deactivated* - check
Wait for match to start.

Good to go.

*Often overlooked, we’ve gotten our drivers into the habit of making sure the E-Stop button is fully operational and not in the Stop position (checking for a bad flashing beacon light on player’s station) before the match starts

We keep the latest revision of the checklist up on Windchill. Does any other team use Windchill?

Attached is what we used at the Wisconsin regional. It looks like it will have things added before we go to Atlanta, but these items are very robot specific. Lets us know if this is any help.

Robot_After_Match_Checklist4.doc (21 KB)


Robot_After_Match_Checklist4.doc (21 KB)

I’d recommend turning the robot on, doing a complete controls diagnostic, and then checking the battery voltage.

My team has a checklist that we go over before every match and I do a quick visual check on the field as I’m turning on the robot.
Some items that are often overlooked are the screws that hold the wires in the rockwell power distribution block and fuse blocks.
Make sure that the wires are tightly connected to the battery. We used to have a problem with people lifting batteries by the cables and causing the connections to come loose. The robot was disabled for an entire match because one of the battery leads came undone within the first 10 seconds. Learn from our mistakes, being disabled by a simple battery problem is very embarrassing.

Oh, something I forgot:

It is of extreme importance that you not only have items in your checklist, but ASSIGN THEM TO PEOPLE. People will work harder to make sure something gets done if any failure of that system has their name written on it.

Keep repeating in a wisper when your mentor says leave the Tether cable on until we are setting up for the match, “Don’t forget to take off the cable, don’t forget to take off the cable.”

check wire connections as the robot shakes and rattles around you can get loose wire connections. EXPECIALLY in the Terminal Block