The X-bot’s Guide to FTC

 

Safety FIRST!

As teams start to work with many different mechanical and electrical parts and tools, it is important to look at some safety tips:

Here is an excellent link for FTC Safety

http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/previews/robot_c_products/teaching_rc_tetrix_preview/fundamentals/tetrix_hardware/documents/safety.pdf

Our safety captain recommends safety: after all you have more fun when there no accidents!

Wiring

This year we switched to an all Andersen Power Pole based wiring – it really improved our electrical performance. Locks due to ESD went down dramatically, and we had a lot less disconnects too.

The advantages include getting rid of daisy chaining and using the distributor. We’ll post some pictures soon…

Here is a great reference for Wiring this year. Take some to read it:

http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/Robotics_Programs/FTC/Team_Resources/FTC_Robot_Wiring_Guide.pdf

Drive Train

When you are new to FTC, try to keep it simple and get something that works consistently. The simplest configuration is 4 wheel/two motors with direct drive, which should work for most common scenarios. A bit more effort and you can try 4 motors or even 6 wheels either with 2 motors or 4 motors. Consider using Omni-wheel for the back so it gives a smoother nav.

Programming

We chose Robot-C and never looked back, even though our initial exposure is to graphical programming language like LabView, such as NXT-G. Robot C online help is super, and it is a pretty reliable piece of work

Robot C testing: Bluetooth to the rescue!

How do you test your Robot?

Have you tried run the Samantha FCS while you are also making code changes? You’d have gone through the following steps:

1. Connect your PC to the Robot with a USB or Wifi connection, and download the program

2. Disconnect from Robot C and connect with FCS, and register 2 Controllers.

3. Adjust the game configuration ( Autonomous/ Tele-Op check) and time duration.

4. Start the game – when the time runs out, you restart.

When the program needs an update, rinse and repeat.

How does Bluetooth help?

Another approach better suited for testing is to connect via Bluetooth. Turn it on on NXT and your PC ( if available), then you can do both download and test through Robot C.  To download, use the same steps as in above. To test, select RobotC->NXT brick->joystick Control-FTC. Pick dual controllers, and then choose to start/run Teleop or Autonomous. In Tele-Op you can keep it running forever, no timers to restart, or no switching between 2 programs.

Happy Testing!

More Coming Soon

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