So it was fight day and we still had work to do but we had a few hours and all we had to do was to fix the colour sensor code, tidy up the circuit and wires and mount the last colour sensor which we thought wouldn’t take too long, we were wrong. First I was trying to fix the code while Dave mounted the sensor, I prioritized the code so the the most important states were checked first thinking that maybe this could the problem as this was a problem I had in the Engineering Computing project when I simulated a car driving up a road using similar sensors. After doing this I was waiting for Dave to finish the mounting of the sensor and when he was done we tested in the ring and occasionally it would turn away from the white line but not always and it would only turn if the right sensor seen white first so the left sensor code wasn’t working. Before fixing this we wanted to see how our bot would match against another bot at full power so we fought the team Skynet and set up our bots facing each other, we easily pushed them out of the ring and drove off after as well.
By now we found out how much of hassle it was to get to the circuit and batteries even with the open side so we turned “She’s Fairly Tight Ted” into a convertible and just left the the sides off. We decided to just finish tidying the circuit because once that’s done I could work on the code and when it was working the bot would be ready to fight. So we re soldered wires to have a colour code and have the right length for the them to fit in nicely. The colour sensors were red for positive, black/blue for ground and yellow for voltage output, the limit switch was the same but the voltage output was replaced with common which was grey, the motors were just red and black and the range sensor was yellow for echo, orange for trigger and red and black again, all the wires were grouped and wrapped around each other in the group. To hold this wires in place and hopefully stop them from coming out we made make shift cable ties by tying the wires to the aluminium which brings down the aesthetics but at this point we just wanted it to work. When this was done we soldered one last thing which was to solder two 9V battery snaps in parallel so we could get the same voltage but more current because 9V batteries don’t supply as much current as the same voltage with 1.5V batteries.
So it was back to the code for me but I was having tunnel vision looking at the same code for days so I went get help from one of the lecturers, he told me to test each state and see if each state worked on its own, from this I noticed that when I prioritized the states I forgot to change one of the states, whenever the left colour sensor seen white it would go into attack mode by going full speed and sending us off the table, so when i fixed this all the states worked together. At this point we didn’t test the range sensor as from seeing everyone else was having problems with we just hope the kamikaze strategy would work for us.
We measured the current being drawn from the batteries and seen that at half duty cycle it was about 150mA, jumped over 200mA when the direction changed for a second and at full duty cycle would be around 180mA so this wouldn’t waste too much power each fight. It was getting close to the fight and we tested our bot again but it was unreliable because sometimes the bot would just drive straight off the ring first try but when put back on the ring , it would work perfectly and stay in the ring and turn every time it saw white, this only happened occasionally so we weren’t sure what was causing this and just hoped it wouldn’t happen in a fight, the only thing I could think of was that configuring the ADC might take longer than the two seconds you wait before the fight and wouldn’t work straight away but there was not way to fix this other than increase the delay which could cost us the fight if the other bot got us the side. Another problem we found was that when at full speed we would occasionally not stop in time on the white line and go off the end. With all the stress and rush to get the bot working we forgot to take pictures and videos.
It was time, time for “Team Renegade” to go downstairs to the weigh in and be measured, which there were no problems. We were checking everything and we heard our name being called “Team Renegade and Golden Nuggets”, our opponent looked intimidating but we seen that their bot didn’t work properly beforehand so we hoped for an easy win. So the team gave me the honors of putting “She’s Fairly Tight Ted” in the ring, I heard the words “Fight!” and she was on her own from there, two seconds went by and we start heading for the edge while the other bot spins in one spot and we get to the line and… drive off like Thelma and Louise, we land on our backs and the motors change direction like it would be if it was turning. So that was one loss, we still had a minimum of three more fights, I think our bot saw someones leg and drove full speed off the edge and couldn’t stop in time so I went back and tested the bot with a white strip on my laptop but there was one problem, the bot wouldn’t start, the LED was showing that it was on but nothing happened, turned it on and off a few times but nothing, I took out the delay but still nothing, I checked every connection and pushed in every wire and no change then I hear “Team Renegade and Skynet” but we weren’t ready but we went anyway, I place her in the ring and waited for the other team, they were re-coding and pleading for more time but Richard counted down and we won by default, so we got one win, straight away we fought Golden Nuggets again and what we expected happened, we didn’t move with our one LED on and their bot spun in circles and Richard counted down and they won because their bot moved. So one win and two losses, I went back to troubleshooting but without a voltmeter I couldn’t do anything but check connections. So we were called again to fight Skynet after not progress,after the two seconds “She’s Fairly Tight Ted” sat dead in the water and the other bot drives off the edge so we got two wins and two losses but after that we had no more fights, the next round contenders were chosen and we were bottom of the list so we didn’t make it.
So after the fights we came last of the DT009 class which is disappointing but it was a learning experience and gave us some insight to what robotics module next year will be like and this has no way put me off picking it. I really enjoyed this project even with all the stress and the 9 till 10 days at the end and I’d like to thank my lecturers for putting up with my pestering, Dave, John, Damon and Ted and my team for putting up with me in general and finally I hope when I get “She’s Fairly Tight Ted” back I can revive her but until then Rest in Peace.