What have you learned from week 1 competitions?

Now you tell me… :slight_smile:


while the third is stuck touching it but not docked

I saw numerous teams who didn’t understand this rule. It shocked me. READ THE GAME MANUAL<

yup, happened to us in a match. Cost our alliance 3 rank points.

BTW - Congrats on a punching a well earned ticket to champs! It was so fun watching your bot hoover those cones and zoom across the field.


Such an easy mistake to make, but so costly…

Thanks! You guys really made us work for it!


We were thinking more of a telescoping one for the driver station similar to the 2016 season.

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Quick comment, the balance was different between all scales we have seen (the team version, the one at Kettering week 0, and the official one). Be prepared to tune/slow down your balance, as the field balance was really easily tipped. I wonder how this will change in week 5-6 when these scales have taken ton of abuse.


Here are some points from being a coach in a week 1 event. Most teams already have their robot assembled, so I’ll split it into things you can’t do anything about them and things you can.

Things you probably can’t change:

  1. Tank drives are just not effective for lining up. The ability to make small adjustments left and right with turning is just such a timesaver on cycle times. Sometimes turning is just not effective enough.

  2. Making a U shaped chassis and entering the hybrid nodes with the chassis to score on high nodes is a big mistake!! We did it, it shortened our arm length, but with our tank drive, if we didn’t line up correctly, we had to re-enter the grid to line up better which cost us cycle time.

  3. KOP chassis with CIM motors get easily bullied by swerve drives/stronger drivetrains, and you can easily get G207 when it’s not your fault. We were pushed by robots the whole competition, and it wasn’t fun, especially when we were pushed into safe zones, and got G207 called on us because it didn’t seem like the other robot had the intent for G201.

  4. Tippy robots are not cool. If your robot is tippy, ballast. If you can’t add weight, move motors downwards mechanically. Nobody wants to see a robot fall, and you will fail last second ramp balancing. Worst case, drive carefully and avoid sharp turns.

Things you can change (there are a lot):

  1. Go through your electronics and make sure you drive every match. Drive your robot with bumpers on into the wall and make sure nothing disconnects. Nobody picks a robot that doesn’t move consistently.

  2. Put an IMU on your robot, go to the practice field, and iterate on your PID values untill it works consistently. We had precoded PID control, but we knew our ramp at home sucked, so we came to the practice field and calibrated it. After 2 matches we got it calibrated, and we didn’t fail a single auto climb, which won us 7 matches in a row!!!

In early comps, auto climb wins the game.

  1. Have a consistent intake. The Everybot style intake is hands down the fastest and easiest. No claws, no 2018 style with pneumatics. Just rollers parallel to the floor with compliant wheels. It works, it’s simple and it makes sure your game piece falls as it should. If there’s still time, change to it.

  2. Coordinate Feeder stations during strategy talks. Usually the better robots will have floor intakes, so we made sure to use the substation close to the barrier. Less chaos, can be lined up to easily.

  3. Prioritize links over singular pieces. Too many matches were lost on bad priorities, especially putting pieces on the middle row instead of the floor. If a game piece fell to the hybrid nodes, adapt to it and close the new link.

  4. Make sure you cotn put game pieces in already filled hybrid nodes. It hard to see, but the coach should be aware of where to put game pieces. Too many 4th RP lost cause teams put 2 pieces in the same node.

  5. Score low for faster cycle times if you think you can get the 4th RP. The 3 point difference in a low link to a mid link is not much, but can be worth another 2 cycles.

  6. Go over the ramp if it shortens you cycle time. If you go 3 offensive bots, you will need it.

  7. Don’t score on the grid opposite to your Driver station. Hard to see, hard to follow, not comfortable for the drivers.

  8. During playoffs, practice triple climbs. It won us games we wouldn’t have won otherwise. Swerve bots can drop two modules off the ramp. Use it to make space.

Last but not least:

Even a KOP chassis can rank high. Know the strategy, make sure your drivers know how to change direction under heavy defense. Guide them through the game, and make sure they get enough practice.

(Also too lazy to explain, but get on the ramp only perpendicular to it, lock your wheels/turn 90° after climbing so you don’t fall off when disabled if the charge station isn’t balanced, prioritize getting the climb RP over anything else)

Hope that helps someone, feel free to @ me.


This was at the end of PRACTICE DAY at Hueneme (a week one event):


Just leaning into the Haas sponsorship and rubbering in the track.


PNW Glacier Peak had a field fault in match 39 when the charging station broke. How many other events has that happened at so far?

If I recall correctly, that happened in one of your qualification matches at Calvin. Was a penalty called against you in that match? (I don’t think there was one).

After finals, for reference.


I’ve heard that black nitrile treads are very popular in California. Actually, they are very popular in Michigan also.

Assuming that correlation is causation, I will speculate that Hueneme Port’s CS is much more blackened that Calvin University’s because of the larger number of high OPR teams at Hueneme. High OPR must correlate with aggressive driving, right? And the field at Calvin only had one team with OPR > 50, while Hueneme had five. That’s gotta be it.

So to save the CS artwork, we need all teams to dial back their OPR.



This 100xs this pls put you motor controllers in break mode at the very least!


Charging stations, carpet, and the cord covers took one heck of a beating in Waco. At least one alliance got hit with a card for damaging the field…

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Things I learned at Port Hueneme.

  1. Defense wasn’t too heavy, but it got worse in playoffs, and it will continue to get worse at later regionals. This has been the pattern almost every year as the high level bots get even better at scoring, and the teams that have been struggling decide to take off their major mechanism in favor of being an enforcer.
  2. Getting in the way of a fast robot is dangerous. Many tips happened, most not from defense, just that the they collided while doing cycles.
  3. I’d much rather have a consistent low goal bot on my alliance than a subpar high goal robot. Low goals are incredibly fast to score, if you can already do that well, don’t change anything.
  4. Never hang out in the inlet/outlet lanes. Go in, place your piece and get out, scoring high isn’t going to be the deciding factor this year, scoring quickly is, so don’t cause a traffic jam.
  5. Depending on your drive gear reduction, break mode is not enough to keep a robot from drifting down a slanted charging station.
  6. So many intakes being snapped off, keep everything in tight while traversing the field.
  7. Everybot intake is king, get rid of your pinchers (I know we are looking to change)
  8. Auto-balance is the single most important feature of a robot for rank. We had it and ranked significantly higher ranking than we deserved for the rest of the robot performance (we were the only tank drive within the top 18). However, each alliance only needs one team that can do it, a whole alliance of them is useless.

As for the black scuffs everywhere, we went into the event with blue nitrile wheels, and within a day they had turned black… there surface of the charging station was also noticeably less grippy because of all of the residue and our balance auto was failing as the event went on due to this.


Not from the competition itself, but from breakdown:
To breakdown [and presumably assemble] the GRID, you will want a 7/16" socket on a cordless drill, a 7/16" wrench to hold a few nuts in place as you drive the bolt heads (most but not all are driven into PEM nuts), and as every recent year, a pair of large diagonal pliers for the zip ties, and a thin sheet of polycarb to break the hook and loop holding the whole thing to the carpet.
Oh, by the way, do not remove any of the three connector pins (~1.3" outside diameter aluminum tubes 10" long for middle, or 6 3/4" long for each end) from the GRIDs ten dividers (one left, one right, eight middle), even if your FTA tells you that everything comes apart except not to separate the two cube shelf hoops, and doubles down when you ask specifically about these tubes. Bottom line, cut all the zip ties, but only take out the bolts which are at a 35 degree angle relative to vertical.

And also by the way, this appears to be a MUCH better thought out assembly than last year’s HANGAR. Whoever thought that driving multiple nylock nuts each over several inches of threads was a good idea…


I think I saw 1678 had a really good approach to this. They will try to score high for a majority of the match, but pivot to the bottom row when they were running out time and still needed more links.


How important do you guys think picking up tipped cones is after viewing these matches? Initially I thought it would be the difference between a championship level robot and the average bot but Im looking at 1678 having one of the highest points per match average (from what I’ve seen) at 71.33 (34 of these coming from the grid) while only getting their cones from the double feeder station.

I absolutely dont doubt the advantage that reducing your cycle time in half by picking up tipped cones provide but seeing citrus circuits perform has made me reconsider alot.

I think it is a risk not having one robot on your alliance able to pick them up. Citrus picked 4414, who could pick up tipped cones, and did so multiple times during many of their elims matches.
But, with the right planning, you can be fine without being able to directly manipulate tipped cones. Pre-place all cubes (that you won’t grab during auto), and just bulldoze any tipped cones into hybrid nodes. More difficult, but not the end of the world

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I have to disagree with you here. I personally believe you just need to be intentional with your on field placements. if no one on your alliance can pickup tipped cones set out all cubes, minimize that advantage. you may be giving away some bottom node cubes, but you know they likely cannot find extra cones.

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