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M02 Step Counter Issue

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  • M02 Step Counter Issue

    New coach to a young team.
    The kids put together the step counter for M02 per the instructions, but it seems to be very jump and not move smoothly at all. It doesn't look like there is anything wrong with how it was built, but it just seems off.
    Anyone have similar issues?

  • #2
    Welcome to the wonderful world of FLL!

    How fast or slow is your team trying to move it? Have they tried different speeds?

    In Section M02 of the Robot Game Rulebook, it states "The robot slides the step counter slow and steady..." (emphasis mine). The teams I have spoken with have all found that it jams if one tries to move it too quickly.

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    • #3
      We're not even to the robot part yet. We were just trying to test it manually.
      I guess we could be trying to go to fast or at a bad angle when not on the table and running into what you mentioned. It just seemed to jam so easily.
      I'll test it some more.
      Thanks.

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      • #4
        It has to be moved slowly or it will jam. It's intentionally that way.

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        • #5
          It is highly recommended that your team try by hand all of the mission models that they are thinking of solving. It is better to know up front that the Step Counter has to be moved slowly before they start development work. They may also discover that some are more difficult or easier than they thought.

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          • #6
            So I now see how slowly the step counter has to be pushed in to not jam. That probably could have used a note or something in the rules or build instructions.
            Anyway, good advice about considering which missions to actually work towards.
            Thanks.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chartes View Post
              So I now see how slowly the step counter has to be pushed in to not jam. That probably could have used a note or something in the rules or build instructions.
              Anyway, good advice about considering which missions to actually work towards.
              Thanks.
              Well, there is the note in the mission rule that Philso quoted. Part of the challenge for the kids is to figure out things like this.

              Almost every year has one of these "Goldilocks" missions that have to be done Just Right.
              Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
              KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

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              • #8
                After working fine for probably scores of tries, ours has started jamming at about 2 inches in. Not sure what changed. Also the dual lock is inferior and it won't stay put.

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                • #9
                  We have experienced the same problem that the mission will "work" for a few tries then jam early. I found two things commonly happen. First the sliding rack bends sideways easily and the parts start separating slightly causing it to jam. Second, the box that guides the rack also starts to separate. So every couple of runs I make sure to press everything together in addition to pushing the mission down with my full weight for it to stay in place.

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                  • #10
                    What nedcook and 150Robotraptors described happens with some of the mission models every year and should be considered "part of the challenge" as someonewhobikes stated. Please remember they are made from plastic parts that snap together, toys really, and cannot be expected to maintain precise dimensions and alignment I teach all the teams I have mentored to verify that all the mission models they care about look like they are assembled correctly, are reset correctly and are attached to the mat correctly when they first arrive at the competition tables.

                    Even in FRC where the field structures and robot structures are "much sturdier", they deform over time and can stop working as intended.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by someonewhobikes View Post

                      Well, there is the note in the mission rule that Philso quoted. Part of the challenge for the kids is to figure out things like this.

                      Almost every year has one of these "Goldilocks" missions that have to be done Just Right.
                      Slow and steady is different than will jam consistently if not done properly and likely will anyway.
                      And per philso's newest comment, I get it's plastic and should be rechecked often. However, this one mission seems an outlier in method and build versus so many of the others.
                      I really just think some additional note of the what the device does and how it works could be helpful instead of having to watch videos of what others have done.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chartes View Post

                        Slow and steady is different than will jam consistently if not done properly and likely will anyway.
                        ...
                        I really just think some additional note of the what the device does and how it works could be helpful instead of having to watch videos of what others have done.
                        It may be good to check over the whole mission model to make sure that there is some small gap somewhere or something is pressed too tightly together.

                        This mission model may also need to be pushed slowly and steadily AND with the force in line with the long axis of the model i.e. not at an angle.

                        Unfortunately, I do not have access to a field to confirm how these models work in real life since I am doing all my mentoring virtually this season.

                        Videos of what other people have done can help only if you apply the forces the same way they did and your model is built the same way. Giving information on how it works will bias the teams in how they solve the missions. Without such information, it is amazing how many different solutions teams come up with after discovering how it works for themselves.
                        Last edited by philso; 09-09-2020, 11:20 PM.

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                        • #13
                          This challenge is very poorly designed. I found that it still binds up even if pushed slowly. The "spinning cross" can catch on teal or black beams on the rack. I could take time to try and get it to work more reliably but there is no guarantee that the ones at qualifiers will work properly. The robot could possibly encourage it to work more reliably by pressing at a slight angle to push the rack into the frame (and away from the "spinning cross"). If the rack is pressed away from the frame at all almost always causes it to bind up. Maybe this is intentional, but I highly doubt it. It should only bind up if pushed too quickly.

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                          • #14
                            I would encourage you to check over your model again or better yet, have a fresh pair of eyes check it thoroughly. Sometimes, it is difficult to find the root cause of the problem with these models. Neither the team I am mentoring nor two other teams I correspond with regularly have reported the issues you are reporting. I know from watching video of their solutions that two of them just push straight, all the way in to the end. There are also videos of other teams I have seen where they just push straight.

                            Improperly built models are a problem at competitions. At the events where I have been the Head Referee, I work with the Referees in the morning (during the Judging sessions) to check all the models on all the fields and make the necessary corrections. Those that are missing too many parts or have too many incorrectly built models are returned to the teams and another field is deployed. It usually takes around 3 hours to review the 8 competition fields and the 2 practice fields. Hopefully, they do QC checks like this where you compete.

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