Week Review 5/16/2024

New England Regional

Sunk Robotics won the New England MATE ROV regional this year! It was a very narrow victory against MUREX robotics from Phillips Exeter Academy. The New England regional has come a very long way since the first year we were in it, MUREX was using a novel method of sending data over power lines rather than using a separate Ethernet cable. We in marketing displays and technical documentation, they won in their engineering presentation by 2 points and we won in our product demonstration by 10 points.

Sunk robotics marketing table

I also learned that they read this blog, so hi Byran and Altan, if you want a tour of the shop send me an email or a message on discord and we can set one up.

At the competition the float was not able to be deployed because we did not fully understand how it was supposed to be deployed during the first run, and during the second run we suffered a failure that prevented it from working on the second run. Thankfully our pilot Jonas was able to do a fantastic job and saved the competition for us. In the end it came down to a tiny 8 point difference.

Image of Sunk Robotics at the New England Regional

Moving Forward

In order to make the float more robust for the World Championship we want to make a few changes.

  • Make the battery pack based on PCBs rather than prints
  • Add an external power switch to the float
  • Use bolts to secure the topnut
  • Make it more user configurable without a reset
  • Make a back up float in case there is a failure at Worlds

All of these changes are intended to increase reliability and serviceability. The external power switch is particularly important because the failure we experienced would have been avoided if we could have turned it off faster. It will also stop stressing the PCB and connectors by stopping the need to connect and disconnect them repeatedly.

Image of the Float in the pool at New England Regional

Improvements this Week

It was unfortunately a very short week because I had two AP Tests and Regatta and gym class making it so that I only had one full day in Robotics this week.

Ben and I were able to fix the damage done at regionals by putting in a new top nut. I made a variety of electronics changes including using USB power rather than power through the VBAT+ on a breadboard to try to diagnose the crash, but it did not fix the problem. I am going to put down this goal for some time until the rest of the float is improved because the error recovery is good enough that the crashes do not actually cause any problems during the run, but I would still like to fix it in the future because it is not a clean solution from an engineering perspective.

Next week I am going to try to make as much progress as possible on the battery holder PCB and possibly finish them.