Robots Live Grantham 2023
This event was something I was looking forwards to given I had to miss both Crawley and Colchester. Suffice to say, Grantham was a pain in the butt.

I made an effort to be at Grantham early so I could get setup and tested in good time before the event. Jibril was pretty much good to go, Azriel, as ever, needed a little bit of work but nothing untowards and in time, both were tech checked and readty to go in.

Azriel went first for the 2x FW melees. In the first fight, a wheel came off but was still mobile (loosely) on the other wheel. It did eventually cut out but this was with less than 10 seconds to go before the end so I count this as a survived. The second was miuch more disappointing where after the first lurch forwards, it cut out completely. I had also forgotten to plug back in the axe speed controller so that was a whoopise on my part.

Because I was the only MW in the show that day and with the main HW competition in the early stages, I really had no options but to join either a HW whiteboard or the HW melee. In the end, I went for the melee. I wasn't expecting much but despite all the work I put into rebuilding the electrics, the first ram from Teconic(?) knocked out the axe. I was flipped around the arena a fair bit before becoming immbolised. At this point, Implosion landed a direct hit on the polycarbonate lid, right over the new circuit board. The polycarbonate shattered and really did cause a big mess.

After the show, I hastily pulled out the board to see the damage and test. Mercifully, the board did light up once I recovered the XT90 removable links but there is worse to come.

When I turned up after a fantastically rubbish sleep, I made the decision to focus on Jibril. Azriel had always been secondary and I kind of wanted to focus on my "big" bot for a bit. I am glad I did - a lot of soldered connections had broken either from the initial impact from Implosion or from being brought in and out of the robot. My 30W soldering iron just was not up to the task and I am very grateful to Dave Weston for loaning me his and the impromptu soldering lesson. Knowledge!

I worked on that robot for 3 straight hours tearing the circuit board all apart to figure out just what was wrong. I don't recall the specifics but I do know the 12pm event had well started before I was finished. I had definitely missed the first FW melee. Just before the VIPs came through, I finally had it all put back together for the HW whiteboard where I would be working as a clusterbot with Backflip.

The legend that is John Reid turned up with both Terrorhurtz and Beta and he and I chatted for 5 or so minutes about how Beta was built and why a lighter hammer works best on Pneumatic bots and heavier hammers works best on Electric bots. He also put in Terrorhurtz in the same whiteboard.

Side note: I can now say I've been in the arena with Tornado and Terrorhurtz. Wow.

Anyway, during the introductions, Backflip accidentally bumped into me and Jibril flat died, much to my dismay. No axe, no drive but the lights were definitely still on. The fight happened with me occassionally twitching the controls to see if it being knocked about would instill some life. Nope.

As Jibril was being hauled out, Dave says he has seen sparking in the robot by the wheel. Politely put, I was bricking it because I really, really did not want to deal with a lithium fire, even LiFe batteries. Once again, the board came out. One of the advantages of the way built it is that it is a fully indepedent unit, I can test it on the bench without needing anything else. Sadly, nothing. No lights from the drive ESC or the receiver.

Unwrapping the receiver revealed that it must have overloaded somehow because one of the microprocessor chips had exploded. That, on its own, isn't usually enough, in my experience, to kill a ESC but plugging a battery into the ESC revealed that was dead too. Checking around it, the heatsink had burn marks on it.

What I think happened was when I was bumped into, the ESC pivoted upwards into the battery terminals on the board and caused a short. In my rush to get the robot running, a crucial pin to hold the board in place was missed, allowing the movement. The weapon ESC also didn't appear to be working but I am not convinced that is dead (though that could just be wishful thinking, VEX 300A controllers are golddust to find).

Azriel as well was deeply unwell. Despite the receiver lighting up, none of the drive ESCs were driving the motor and the axe ESC went full chat as soon as the robot was powered on despite several attempts at rebinding, so I think that receiver also has died.

So by the next show, I had no robots to run and, being honest for a moment, I was peeved. I had been looking forwards to this show for a long while and it had turned into a disaster. You could argue it was somewhat foolish of me to go into a HW battle with a "mere" MW at all but the alternative was to not go into the arena at all and that simply won't do.

I've ordered a new ESC and receivers which should be with me by Wednesday so I can perform surgery to get Jibril running. Azriel will be going to Stoke, as will Jibril. Maidstone for Jibril is still on the cards if I can get it running.

Watch this thread.