Last weekend we had the opportunity to go out to Georgian Bay for our second district competition. The weather was awful. We got caught in a snowstorm and the drive was 6 hours. We got there as they were in the second half of the driver’s meeting. Nonetheless, we unpacked and got ready at our to pit to compete. The tournament was very well organized and the people over there were very nice, so kudos to them. Now, on to the competition.
As is usually the case with FIRST competitions, many things went wrong. Our climbing mechanism was a winch with a hook that worked well in theory; the issue was that the hook would never catch on to the rope. We didn’t have much time to do drive tests as we spent most of our 6 hours working on the robot to finish it. So, in the heat of the match, the hook didn’t work. We remembered things we had seen about velcro to help catch the rope onto the winch but our winch was stationary and so we couldn’t move it up to get the rope to wrap around the velcro 2 or 3 times. It was then that team 5406 the Celt-X showed us that we could use a slipknot instead of moving the winch. We owe our climber working to them. Another issue we had was our gear delivery system. It was a bar that rotated and brought a box along with it so that we could receive gears from the player station from any position. But, again because we hadn’t done enough drive tests, there were a lot of problems with the speed and power and most of the time the gear fell onto the floor. But, this soon became one of our strengths.
Despite the challenges we faced, many good things also happened. We had met up with another Ottawa team that was attending the competition, team 2994 the Astechz, and decided we would do scouting together. This was to save on the amount of data entry and the fact that each team needed to have half as many people in the stands scouting. This was beneficial for both of our teams because only half of each team attended the competition. It worked wonderfully. On another topic, returning to our gear mechanism, the fact that our gear delivery system didn’t work made it so that we dropped gears on the floor. In one game that we played, we were teamed up with team 2013 the Cybergnomes and realized we had a plan where since our robot was fairly fast, we would continually cross the field in order to keep getting gears and dropping them on our side where cybergnomes would then pick them up and place them. Because of the good synergy between our teams, despite our shortcomings in the qualifiers we were still selected by them for the elimination games. The first game, our team got the highest score at the competition with 440 points, and at the time it was a provincial record. The second, we lost on an accidental penalty where we got pushed into the other team’s zone. The third match, all robots got disconnected from the field for 30 seconds and the game was replayed. Finally, in the fourth and final match, we lost and were disqualified from the game. Despite this, the event was still really fun and we will use this as a source of motivation going forwards.
The competition was over at 7:00 and the drive home was as long as the drive 2 days before. Students were back at home before 2:00 but the mentors still had to return the minivans we rented and didn’t get home before close to 3:00 AM, so big thanks to them for all their hard work. We will use our experiences acquired from this competition going forwards as a source of motivation in the future so that we continue pushing forwards and improving as a team together.