FTC-Iowa: Preparing for an Event

Preparing for an event can be a factor with how well your robot and team perform at an event, especially a qualifier or championship event. The best way to practice for a tournament is to attend a "non-tournament event", which include scirmmages, workshops or skills driving events" Check out the listing of non-tournament events.

To prepare your team for an event

  1. Review the Game Manual. It is important to read the game manual several times prior to the event.
  2. Review the FTC Forums. The FTC Q&A Game Forums have the most-up-to-date information about changes to the rules.
  3. Polish the Engineering Notebook. Is your team documenting their experience properly? If you have any questions or would like to see a great engineering notebook, check out the Engineering Notebooks page.
  4. Review the FTC-Iowa Cancellation Policy. This policy details reasons that events may be cancelled (weather, illness, etc.)
  5. Bill of Materials. Is your team using any materials outside of the standard kit-of-parts? If so, your team will need to submit a Bill of Materials sheet (a sample copy is in the Game Manual) to the inspectors during the competition.
  6. STIMS (Student Team Information Member System). All participating students, who will be attending an FTC event, are asked to complete an online consent. More information can be found by clicking on STIMS.
  7. Judging Video. If your team plans to submit a video for the judges to view, please view the FTC Video Requirements.

Hardware Inspections

For easier inspections, teams are to do a self-inspection prior to the event. Teams can download a Hardware & Software Inspection checklist from the Game Manual (Part 2) and bring it to the event and show the inspectors. A complete list of "robot rules" can be found in the FTC 2012-2013 Game Manual Part 1.

As a reminder, the following items are not allowed:

  • Prefabricated (a.k.a. purchased/store bought) springs
  • Prefabricated (a.k.a. purchased/store bought) hinges
  • Sandpaper
  • Non-skid material, if it has an adhesive backing.

To prepare your robot for an event

  1. Install and test run Program Chooser. (Program Chooser helps you select the TeleOp Program.)
    • To install Program Chooser using Labview:
      • On your computer, visit: c:\Program Files\National¬† Instruments\LabVIEW 2010\examples\FTC Toolkit\Program Chooser 2.0\Program Chooser.vi
      • If you don't have a FTC Toolkit directory, go to National Instruments to get it.
      • Program Chooser installs to the NXT under "Software Files"
    • To install Program Chooser using RobotC:
      • On your computer, visit: C:\Program Files\Robotics Academy\ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS\Sample Programs\NXT\Try Me Program Source\Program Chooser.c
      • Program Chooser installs to the NXT under "Try Me Files"
  2. Make sure you are using this year's official FIRST Templates:
    • RobotC: On your computer, visit: C:\Program Files\Robotics Academy\ROBOTC for Mindstorms\Sample Programs\NXT\Templates
    • LabVIEW: On your computer, visit: c:\Program Files\National Instruments\LabVIEW 2010\examples\FTC Toolkit\Templates
  3. Install the Wireless Diagnostic Utility: Samostat
    • Labview: On your computer, visit: C:\Program Files\Samantha Field Control System\Labview\samostat.vi
    • RobotC: On your computer, visit: C:\Program Files\Samantha Field Control System\RobotC\samostat.c
  4. Install and practice with the Samantha Field Control System
    • Download The Samantha Field Control System
    • Test under a variety of robot conditions, simulating a competition.
    • Test under heavy motor loads (changing directions, going up inclines, pushing things around, with low batteries). You may need to have your motors coded to less than 100% power to help avoid drawing down the 12v battery too much, which causes Samantha to restart.
    • Get some experience by attending a Workshop, Skills Driving Event, or a Scrimmage!

At the Event

  1. Closed-toe shoes. Students will be asked to change shoes if they are not wearing closed-toe shoes.
  2. Safety glasses. Bring your safety glasses. We cannot provide safety glasses for all of the teams and volunteers.
  3. Print out of consent forms from STIMS (Student Team Information Member System)
  4. Gracious Professionalism. An important aspect of participating in FTC.
  5. Engineering Notebook.  Don't forget!
  6. Bill of Materials. A documentation of anything your team used on the robot beyond the robot kit-of-parts.