Browsing articles in "Tutorials"

RobotC Debugger Bug

Jan 3, 2012   //   by sam   //   Blogs, FIRST Tech Challenge, Tutorials  //  No Comments

During testing, we have found that in RobotC version 3.x there is an issue with the debugger window(s) for the game controller input to the NXT. We have first found that the button mapping within the debugger is sometimes incorrect. To find the correct value for buttons, create a global variable that is storing the button values that you can watch in the “variable debugging window” within RobotC. Secondly, if you are having joystick mapping issues within RobotC, read the previous post. We have found driver issues with the two joysticks, and that might be your problem.

Joystick Issues

Jan 3, 2012   //   by sam   //   Blogs, FIRST Tech Challenge, Tutorials  //  No Comments

During our testing period, we have found a bug when using the new game controllers and/or the old game controllers. First off, the issue. When using the new controllers, a new logitech driver is installed on the computer. With the game conroller in the “d” setting (switch on the back side of the joystick) the game controller will run the same as last year’s with x,y (also known as x1,y1) on one thumb-joystick and z and z rotation (also known as x2,y2) on the second thumb-joystick. With the new game controller in the “x” setting, the second thumb-joystick (the one of the right) will run the top-hat (little pad in the upper left of the game controller) and the two triggers in the back of the controller now change the values of the previous x2. Now the main issue. Some computers will recognize the old game controller as the new ones with the “x” setting on. This means that the second thumb-joystick now runs the top-hat, the back triggers don’t work and all buttons now map to different values. This bug has nothing to do with FCS, it is a driver recognition issue and doesn’t happen on all computers. Although, we recommend that during the competition to use only new game controllers on the “d” setting and have teams make sure that their robots work on the “d” setting.

Samantha module

Sep 30, 2011   //   by sam   //   FIRST Tech Challenge  //  No Comments

For the information of all FTC teams out there, the Illinois Institute of technology has done a study on the best way to attach the Samantha module to the robot. They suggest attaching the module sideways; it increases the range of the module, they say. Check out this link for more information:

Getting a team up and running Part 2

Sep 3, 2011   //   by sam   //   Getting Started in FTC, Tutorials  //  No Comments

A continuation of the previous tutorial by our previous manager Aaron. Read Part 1 here!


Now that you have a list of goals, everyone needs a job. Analyze the list and figure out what the different roles might be. (Basic ones are: Manager, Software Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Media correspondent, CFO – Chief Financial Officer.) It might sound like a great idea for every team member to work in all departments but from what we have seen it isn’t. It is impossible to organize tasks that way, no one will know who is doing what. Also, if people specialize in one area they learn more in-depth, resulting in a more sophisticated robot. Keep in mind that team members can have more than one job, just not every job. Editors note: we actually switch around jobs this year, so that everyone would be able to learn something new every year.

Every Department should have a group leader. The leader will divide up tasks within his team, and is responsible for making sure that the projects given to his group are completed on time. Ex. The Manager tells the Head of Software that he needs a program to make the robot cross over a bridge in the center of the field. The Head of Software can write the program, or allocate it to a member of his software team. The head of software is also responsible for making sure that the bridge-crossing program is done, whether he writes the program, or someone else does. With many jobs that focus on projects that aren’t based on the robot, like media, often there aren’t enough people for a “group.” There still should be someone in charge so that there is someone making sure those projects are done on time.

A good way to organize who does what is with a RACI chart:
R: Responsible – Makes sure the project gets done (usually group leader)
A: Accountable – Does the project (can be the “R” or can be anyone in the group)
C: Consulted – If the person working on the project needs help, they should find the “C.”
I: Informed – should know the progress of the project but doesn’t need more info, and doesn’t help.

Some models include an S for supportive – this person can provide recourses or play a supporting role in implementation.

This is the format that our team used:

 Task1    Name     Name     Name     Name  
 Task2    Name     Name     Name     Name  

Another way that the RACI chart could be written:

  Name     Name     Name     Name  
 Task1    C   I   A   R
 Task2    A   R   C   I

Editors note: Many companies also use RACI charts, or a chart like it. Whether or not your RACI chart helps you (we hope it will) show it off!

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