The assumptions here are that you are:
- On the practice field literally whenever possible, which is reasonable for a competitive team
- Not taking like 20+ batteries to champs and can just roll around with charged ones all day long
- The champs layout is still hot garbage from a walking perspective, but even before that
You will end up at the point where the “battery kid” becomes a thing. The battery kid is “running” dead batteries from the the robot in the practice field line back to the pit, and fresh batteries back to the robot. They are also running fresh batteries to the queue when you’re going from the practice field directly to your match.
A solution here is to just give a single Battery Beak to the battery kid, right?
Doesn’t quite work out like that in practice, as the robot should never be without a battery. You can’t take out the dead battery and rely on a fresh one being back by the time your (practice) match starts. Now your situation is a battery in the robot, a battery or two in the cart, and X number between the robot and the pit, and in the pit charging.
If the battery kid has the one Battery Beak, and you swap a battery in the robot while they are not with the robot, you now run the risk of putting a dead battery in the robot. Sure, you can use lil color coded battery flags, or special battery spots on the cart. Sometimes the battery kid doesn’t have time to unplug the battery and let it sit for a few minutes to make sure they’re not just reading the surface charge*, or whatever else could happen so you can’t trust the “charged” batteries.
The long and short is that the battery should be checked the moment before it goes into the robot.
If the robot -and thus the robot-tied Battery Beak- is not in the pits (assumption 1) whoever is pulling a battery off the chargers needs a Beak as well. A 12.8v and 13.4v battery are both “charged” on many chargers, but we typically consider 12.8 to be dead.
There are some ways you can sort of get around this, like wiring one of those awesome LED voltage indicators into the robot or into your charging setup. On the robot is great sanity check, but ain’t nobody got time for that in the 30 seconds before a match starts and there are 3 batteries sitting in the cart and you need to pick one. Alternatively, a Batthawk (no load applied like with the Beak) can go in the cart to quickly sort out your best option in the moment.
This is a very long-winded way to say you need a Battery Beak and at least one other battery measuring device. It’s a lot easier if those are just two Battery Beaks.
*this is also a hint of a broader discussion where the student isn’t at fault if the process can be blamed. Sometimes you end up in a hairy spot where cutting corners pays off, and you make the call to cut those corners. If you know what corners you’re more likely to cut, you can design the process to have specific checks in place.
Here, the corner cut is not waiting those 2-3 minutes to let the surface charge settle if you need a battery right now. Our standard procedure to accurately determine the most charged battery involves that 2-3 minute “cooldown period”. Beaking straight off our good chargers can read as high as 14.2v, and then as low as 12.6 a few minutes later. The transit time from pit to queue can substitute for that waiting period, and you just text the battery kid to bring the 2-3 highest batteries they can find ASAP. You Beak your best option (sometimes literally on the field), which can now be accurately determined, and the rest go back to chargers.