May 4, 2018

5.04 Team Eblast

Spring Event Updates
Our spring event dates are rapidly approaching! Check your inbox (and Spam folder) for emails from your event host. Event specific info can be found on the FIRST in Michigan FTC website (scroll down). Some info and reminders as you prepare for competition:  

Coaches - FIRST in Michigan eblasts only go to the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 for your team. Please share event specific information with the families of your team members. This is especially important in regard to observing safety rules and behavioral expectations while at the event.

Please share the following points with your teams, their families, your event visitors:
  • Safety rules apply to everyone at the event.
  • If the event where your team is competing provides teams with a dedicated lunch table, please inform families/team members that it's usually ONE table and that the other tables surrounding the team's table are likely assigned to other teams. 
  • Per section 5.13 of Game Manual 1, saving group seats in the stands is not allowed. 
  • Teams (and their visitors) are expected to clean up after themselves which includes in the pit area, in the stands, in the lunch area. 

Teams are expected to have and bring their own safety glasses - enough for each of their team members and mentors in attendance at the event. Team members and mentors are expected to wear their safety glasses (over their eyes) at all times while in the pit area and on the competition field. Please share this safety expectation with family members, friends that are visiting your team at the event. 

The safety glass tables found at the entrance to the pit areas at events are for guest and visitor use only. Not for teams. 

Per Game Manual 1 > Tournament Rules > T15 - All Team members, coaches, and their guests must wear ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses while in the Pit or Competition Area. Prescription glasses with ANSI Z87.1 approved commercial off the shelf side shields are also allowed.

Teams/team members that don't bring safety glasses to events or don't wear their safety glasses in the prescribed areas at events are indicating that they choose not to be in compliance with this FIRST and FIRST in Michigan safety rule. Please don't be one of these teams - bring and wear your safety glasses. It's that simple! 

These following items are to be turned in at the door of event check-in.

***Team Roster: Team coach must turn in one roster at check-in at every event where a team participates.  The roster can be in one of 3 formats (see below)Note that team size is capped at 15.
  1. Dashboard produced roster - The Lead/Coach Mentors for the team can produce a team roster via the Team Dashboard under Team Contacts/Roster>Contacts Options>Print Team Roster. Example of a Dashboard produced Team Roster. To be on the Dashboard roster, team members must have followed the Youth Team Member Registration process.
    • The FIRST Team System was rolled over on April 30th in preparation for the 2018-19 season. If your team roster was not downloaded before this date, it is likely wiped clean. In this case - go to option 2, team produced roster.
  2. Team produced roster - Downloadable Team Roster Template. Download and customize.
  3. Hybrid - Coach writes-in the names of any students who do not appear on the Dashboard produced roster at the bottom of the sheet.
***Two Consent/Release forms are needed for every team member present at the event (includes coaches/mentors):

1) A paper FIRST in Michigan Consent/Release Form must be turned in for every team member present at the event. This is in addition to the FIRST national Consent/Release Form. The FIRST in Michigan specific Consent/Release form is linked.

2) A FIRST national Consent/Release Form must also be completed for every team member present at the event. If this form was signed electronically via the Team Member Registration process, this will be indicated on the Dashboard produced Roster. Otherwise, a paper version of the FIRST national C/R form must be turned in at every event where that team member participates.  

Teams need to be on site at events early on Saturday morning. Judging can begin as early as 7:30am. Check your event's agenda found on the FIRST in Michigan FTC website page for the event. Even if your team checked-in/completed Inspections on Friday (where applicable), the team still needs to be on site at the event by the stipulated time. If your team is running late, please call/email your Event Coordinator. The Event Information page for the event (also linked on the FiM FTC website page for your event) contains their contact information.  

Note that our spring events might roll out a bit differently than regular season events. Check the information provided by your event's host for specifics.
  • Review the What to Expect at an Event guide for an overview of a typical FIRST in Michigan FTC event roll out. The guide contains many valuable resources (Inspection checklists, info on the judging process, etc.) that will help teams have a good event experience. 
  • Event Participation - team's presence is expected at the events where they've been confirmed.  A late withdrawal from a confirmed event causes issues (planning and financial) for the host and reflects negatively on the team. As competition is a requirement of teams accepting FIRST, FIRST in Michigan, MDE, and/or sponsor specific grants; withdrawing from an event could impact grant awards. 
    • Remember, feeling "not ready" is usual - group support is available at the event!
    • Some events offer Friday load-in/early inspections. This is a great way to ease the Saturday morning "crunch". Note that event set up occurs on Friday late afternoon through evening so it's possible that the event will look "not ready" when teams arrive on site on Friday. Help is always appreciated!
    • FTC events start early on Saturday with teams needing to pass Robot/Field Inspections and cycle through their assigned judging timeslot within the 7:30-10am timeframe (est.). Teams should plan to be on site Saturday right when doors open. Check the agenda of your specific event for the roll out of the day. 
  • Event Volunteers - FIRST in Michigan events are 100% volunteer driven. Teams are expected to provide one volunteer (whole day) at events where they participate. This volunteer doesn't have to be a team mentor - ask a parent, relative, friend! It's fun and they get a shirt, volunteer pin, luncheon, and applause! 
    • Team event volunteers cannot fill the roles of Judge, Referee, or Scorekeeper as they have an affiliation with a team competing at the event.
  • Team & Robot Prep - A few tips on ensuring a good event experience and a well behaved robot:
    • Know the rules. Read Game Manual 1 and 2 - knowledge is power!
    • Robots must pass both a hardware and field inspection before playing in matches. Inspections are generally between 8-10am the morning of the event. Below are the checklists that will be used; use them as a guide to prepare your robot to pass the first time!
    • Keep all batteries charged! Majority of robot issues at events have been traced back to a low TETRIX batttery or low phone batteries. Bring extra batteries and chargers to your events.
    • Good wire management: Robots encounter many bumps and jiggles at events (rolling over balls, climbing ramps, other robots, etc.) which can loosen wire connections and cause communication issues. Secure all connections between phones/modules/batteries, strain relieve wires where needed, and no loose dangling wires (zip ties!) . Check out the Robot Wiring Guide for best practices.
    • Preparing for Competition
  • FTAs, CSAs and Inspectors - Your event's Field Technical Advisor (FTA), Control System Advisor (CSA), and Inspectors are amazing resources available to teams BEFORE match play begins. If your team has field communication issues - please do not struggle in silence! Visit the FTA at the competition field either at early check-in on Friday or early Saturday morning for assistance. They've pretty much seen it all and can diagnose problems quickly and efficiently. They can also connect your team to the CSA on site for more in depth robot triage. 
    • Teams should go through Robot Inspections as early as possible, even if your team is having field communications issues. It is helpful to get this aspect "under your belt" so that the team can focus on other areas i.e. judging, field inspections, tweaking the robot, etc.
  • Practice Field Usage - Our events provide a practice field space as a courtesy to our teams. This is a shared resource which is usually self managed at an event. Some practice field rules:
    • Share the space. There are usually 36 teams at and event and one practice field. Teams must be cognizant of other teams waiting to use the space. A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes on the practice field.
    • Practice field area is a mandatory safety glass area. 
    • Human bodies may not be on the soft tile mats while robots are in motion. If you need to triage your robot while using the practice field, move the robot off the field and into your pit area.
    • Respect the practice field attendant and their directives.
    • Leave all practice field game elements on the practice field.
  • Judging Teams each participate in a mandatory 15 minute judging rotation. Judging occurs in the first two hours of the event and can begin as early as 7:30am. Teams should plan to be on site at the event right when doors open. Teams bring their robot (not powered), engineering book, Control Award submission sheet (if applicable), and display boards (if desired) to judging. Teams will be given the opportunity to do a short (less than 10 minutes) presentation to the judges which will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A period. If the team does not have a presentation planned, have them let the judges know to proceed directly to the Q&A.
    • The Judging Self Reflection sheet is a good preparation tool. Review the Engineering Notebook Guidelines as well. The Engineering Book is a key deliverable for a team and is a required component for consideration of many awards. Please make sure your Engineering Book is clearly marked with your team number on the front/back/spine/etc.
  • Awards - Descriptions of all FTC AwardsCheck your event's roll out to see what awards will be offered. The award ceremony takes place after the finals of the elimination rounds. Teams are asked to stay to the end of the event to celebrate the accomplishments of the day. Teams will not be informed if they are an award recipient in advance of the awards ceremony. Engineering Notebooks will be returned either to Pit Admin or directly to the team's pit table just before the awards ceremony. It is a team's responsibility to pick up their Engineering Notebook before departing the event.
    • FTC Control Award: This is a Core Award for FTC. The Control Award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field. Note that a team MUST APPLY for the Control Award in order to be considered for the award. Team's applying should fill out the Control Award Content Sheet, located in Game Manual Part I, Appendix 3 and linked below. And, the team's Engineering Notebook must include an Engineering Section that documents the control components.
    • The Control Award Content Sheet should be turned in (along with the team's Engineering Book) at the team's morning Judging session. 
  • Gracious Professionalism - Teams are expected to behave in a gracious and professional manner at events. This goes for team coaches and mentors as well. Just in the way that positive behavior, that exemplifies the values of FIRST, reflects positively on a team; negative behavior will reflect poorly on a team. Judges are informed by event volunteers when stellar behavior and actions are noted - but they are also informed when poor behavior and actions are noted. The true test of gracious professionalism is when things aren't going well - coaches and mentors are asked to monitor team behavior and to set a good example for their team members and model appropriate behavior at all times. 
From the Game Manual Part 2 Revision 1.4 11/21/2017:
 <G4> Robot Setup Alignment Devices – Alignment devices are allowed during pre-Match setup if they are constructed from legal components, are part of the Robot, and remain Completely Inside the 18-inch (45.7cm) cube starting volume constraint during the set up process. A Minor Penalty will be assessed to the Team for violation of this rule. 

The intent of this rule is to prohibit the use of devices external to the Robot and to prevent the extension of any object or tool Outside the 18-inch (45.7cm) cube starting volume. Humans standing on the other side of the field to aid in aligning the Robot are not allowed.

Head Referee Note:
Teams please note the Rule G4 above in regards to alignment devices while setting up your robot, per this rule you are not allowed to:
  • Extend any part of the robot beyond the 18" volume (arms, sensors, collectors to aid alignment)
  • Use body parts such as fingers, arms,feet, hands etc to aid alignment while setting up 
  • Use separate tools such as rules, templates or tape measures to aid alignment
  • Use a spotter standing back from the robot to aid alignment during set up
This season, a Main Power Switch is a mandatory component for all FTC robots. Robots will NOT pass inspection without this switch installed as per the rules. Note that a switch does come with the REV Expansion Hub pack that is purchased through the FTC Storefront. 

Per Game Manual 1 > 8.3.3 Robot Electrical Parts and Materials Rules >  RE01 Main Power Switch:
The Robot Main Power Switch must control all power provided by the Robot main battery pack. FIRST requires Teams to use either the TETRIX (part # W39129), MATRIX (part # 50- 0030), or REV (REV-31-1387) power switch. This is the safest method for Teams and Field personnel to shut down a Robot. The Robot main power switch MUST be mounted or positioned to be readily accessible and visible to competition personnel. A Main Robot Power label must be placed near the Main Power Switch of the Robot. Attach the image (“POWER BUTTON”) to your Robot near the Main Power Switch. To be easily seen by field personnel the label should be at least 1 in x 2.63 in (2.54 cm x 6.68 cm, Avery Label # 5160) and placed on a flat surface (not wrapped around corners or cylinders).

Allowable switches per the FIRST FTC Legal/Illegal Parts List:

TETRIX W39129 - In stock;  Don't forget to use your TETRIX discount code that all FTC teams receive FTCTX7P

Any teams that are having issues with their REV expansion hub, please share these issues with REV directly at Per REV, here is a basic list of trouble shooting that they've found helpful for most teams.
  • Disable Instant run in Android studio
  • Upgrade to SDK 3.5 
  • Wipe and re-install new version of Driver Station App
  • Check for loose power cables on xt30 connection
  • Verify hub works with REVHubInterface software (
    • If not perform a factory reset (in the same folder) and try again.
  • If hubs are not discoverable with the phones but work with the PC software we recommend a complete uninstall/reinstall of android studio.