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Jan 24, 2016, 11:34 PM
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On 63 mile weeks

The 2 vehicles went 47 miles & the human threw down another 16 alone in the last 7 days. It takes a lot of sleep for a human to run that far. A human who can run that far outruns the robots quite often. Increased mileage has led to increased problems with the vehicles. Compare to 2 years ago when it was a buster to keep up with the G-buggy set to 9 minutes/mile. Now the robots more often have dead batteries & failed electronics before the human.

This year is much slower than last year, but the focus is on endurance more than speed. Robotic pacing has been key to longer distances, by preventing the human from going too fast in the long runs & making the intervals faster.

Slow steering buttons were destroyed in yesterday's rainstorm. Yet another reason for a removable steering pad which can be attached to both sides for dual handed operation. Had a few flips. Need to find throttle settings which prevent flips. Microcontroller had no problems after drying out. Water was the problem & neither conformal coating nor packing tape did the job.

The next step will be a transparent garbage bag covering the entire vehicle. Quite an astounding increase in rain from the last 3 years, yet it's still below average.

Carrying 44oz of cargo greatly increased the battery usage of the lunchbox. 6 miles with the last 3 carrying 44oz cargo took 3672mAh. The old battery is down to 4300mAh, but it might have less capacity when charged at 3A.

Rain continues to cause problems for the ECX Ruckus. While conformal coating keeps it alive, rain throws its analog gyro off. The lunchbox's digital gyro has I2C failures in the rain & sometimes drops out completely, making the skewed analog gyro better in some ways.

The Ruckus can't be enclosed in a garbage bag to shield the electronics. The electronics have to be moved to the topside with some kind of struts added for the payload.

A plan began to evolve for hauling a shirt on the ECX Ruckus. It would involve a long & narrow container, maybe a tube that was stuffed from 1 end or which opened like a clamshell. Of course, mounting a camera would require a rectangular container. A tube for a shirt wouldn't have to be waterproof, since the shirt wouldn't come off in rain. A camera would still be used in rain.

The Ruckus may be stretched by cutting it in half. Skateboards do quite well with large payloads, so the next step up in size looks like making the existing vehicle longer & stiffening the suspension. An idea of stuffing a ziplock bag was dashed when the focus shifted to long & narrow containers.
Last edited by Jack Crossfire; Jan 24, 2016 at 11:41 PM.
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