banner I have been a Lego League coach since 2007. This year, I wanted to document the season to give rookie coaches a resource to help them through to competition. The process can be intense, but it can also be a lot of fun for you and your team.

I hope to cover enough through my posts, but if I leave anything out, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me.

Motor Tip #3

Author: fllCoach | Files under Programming

Smooth Acceleration

With regional/qualifying tournaments looming, your team probably has most of its programs done and you are doing some final tweaks before competition. I have one last tip for the year.

You may have noticed that when you put a motor block into your program, it defaults to 75% power. If you don’t change the power and the first block in a program is one of these motor blocks, your robot can do a little wheelie when it takes off, especially if the weight distribution is back heavy. That’s because it’s not unlike a car going from 0 to 75 in a split second. In a car, you want to accelerate slowly. You should do the same with your robot.

Start with a motor block at lower power and add motor blocks at incrementally higher power to get to the power you want. Use the smooth motor transition method I described in a previous post to prevent stutter steps and create a smooth acceleration. This will increase your accuracy, prevent wheelies, and impress the judges.

Even at this late date, you can make this change without affecting your programs too much. In fact, it might help some of your programs. My team intends to use this method to tweak one of our programs that is accelerating too fast and causing the stent to slip off the post being used to transport it. We’re hoping the slower acceleration will keep the stent in place.

Also note that 75% power is a bit much for most missions on the mat. I don’t know why the Mindstorm interface designers decided that was the best power to default to. Make power adjustments as necessary and take note of why they were made. This will be a good thing to point out to the judges so they know your team thought through the missions.

Best of luck at your regional/qualifying tournaments!

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