Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Back online! has been broken for a few months now due to a registrar snafu at the little hole in a wall hosting operation I was using. Ditched them and actually got a reliable host this time - costs a bit more, but at least I know it'll stay up (plus I have multiple additional domains all hosted at the same place, so it was very much worth it). Still haven't had a proper chance to resume by bot work, as my 5th year of college proved to be in general busy, looking for a job and getting senior projects finished. Alas, it is now done - I have graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Computer Engineering!

As far as bots goes, I'm still trying to decide what to do. The field of competitors has been dwindling since I last competed, so I'm not sure it's worth the cost to invest in rebuilding Kobotsu. I do have antweight parts still laying around someplace (gotta find them, though, as I've moved twice since last time I used them). Might just have to do something with those to get back into things, as I've really been missing going to competitions.


Monday, May 16th, 2005

I brought the information on the "Bots" page up to date - it was accurate as of after Robot Assault, but quite a bit has happened since then. It now has the current status of built robots, as well as spots for some future robots that are coming up (most likely Mini Kobotsu will be the first of them finished, since the equipment to build it will fit where I'm going to be this summer, not to mention a good 12lber is quite a bit cheaper then a good 120lber)


Saturday, May 6th, 2005

And, after the previous "Longest time between updates", we have a new record! 14 months, beating the old record of 12 :) Well, I'm still around. Not doing bots too much, just due to busyness. Since last update, I've been to Rocket City Robot Assault and Robot Assault 2. Did pretty well at RCRA, taking fourth place; didn't place as well at RA2, but had some really fun fights, including a rematch against Man-O-War. They won again, but the sparks and bolts heads were flying for a couple minutes first... until we burned up the Minimag. See, we switched from the MC1 to a contactor so that we could have room for a third battery pack... the spinup times were amazing, but it didn't sink in to my head that without the current limiting I needed to back off a bit more, at least until after the smoke started pouring :).

In any case, Kobotsu is now retired. The frame was just too worn out, slowly warping out of shape and with too many random patches welded on where it had taken damage. I've got a new version designed (of course, I've been saying that since last update, but I'm actually somewhat satisfied with this version since it seems pretty powerful without costing as much as a new car, a problem a few of the designs I had were having problems with when I went back and totalled things up after doing the design), but this last year of school has been heck trying to stay caught up with work and classes, so I've had to take the year off. Not to mention that WinXP SP2 kills Solidworks (grr...), making working on it more difficult - it's looking like I might have to make a second partition on my drive and have two bootable copies of XP, one SP1 and one SP2, just so that I can do bot work again starting this summer. The new version should be cool, though - unlike the current version, it'll actually have armor that serves as more then a dust cover! Plus, new drive motors that won't be so fincky. Once I get Solidworks working again, I'll have to post more details.


Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

I believe that is the longest I've ever gone without updating a website - I switched majors last year (from computer science to computer engineering), and have thus been quite a bit busier getting caught up with the physics classes I was behind on. Anyway, current Team Vortex status: Kobotsu attended Robot Assault, unfortunately going 0-2 due to electrical and radio problems (a wire popped loose fighting Warsaw, causing us to loose radio power - the one powerpole not taped together because it was buried and I didn't see it, and it has to pop loose; in the fight versus Chaos Toaster, we had IFI radio issues and couldn't both drive and run the drum at the same time, so I couldn't line up the drum and I couldn't do anything to him when the drum was off). Currently, it's in the garage at my Dad's workplace, on a couple sawhorses; it needs some work before it will run, because Warsaw managed to do some decent damage that needs repaired - we brought it to a welder between fights and he fixed it up pretty well, but I need to make sure everything's still lined up right - and I'm wondering if there's a problem with either the MC1 or the MOB controlling it, as it started acting up during the fight with Chaos Toaster (the main reason I went ahead and turned it off and went for ramming - otherwise, I'd have kept it on and hoped for a lucky shot with the drum). I'm guessing it's the MOB, we've had a lot of trouble with them totally unrelated to the charging incicdent, and the one hooked up to the MC1 only ran with one channel, the other was bad, and I'm thinking the problem might have progressed to the other one. First up, though, is getting the shop set back up after moving...

That, and working on Neo Kobotsu, which you'll just have to wait for if you want to know any more :) :) :)


Thursday, November 14th, 2002

No big update (College consumes the majority of my time), but here's a picture of Kobotsu flipping Whambulance in our second fight at SA:

What you can't tell just from the picture is that Whambulance is a little over 2/3rds of the way through a 540 flip, and actually ends up landing square on top of Kobotsu because I kept it going full speed forward after hitting him :)


Friday, October 25th, 2002

This is a bit late, but Kobotsu competed at Southern Assault in late August/early September. We ended up going 3-2. There are pictures and video available at SECR's website. More to come...


Friday, July 26th, 2002

The verdict is in - we don't have to buy new OSMCs! Those things are tough - I put 70 volts though, and the OSMCs themselves survived just fine, though the MOBs didn't, we'll need to replace them since the ATMEL processor casings burst open with the overvoltage :) I'm definitely going to label all the wires this time, so that I don't hook the charger to the ESC instead of the batteries again in the tangled mess where they all hook together.


Wednessday, July 24th, 2002 (Update 2)

Fixed the little thing with the Bots and Email mouseovers looking funny. I hadn't intended to fix it yet, I was going to do the progress report first, but it was bugging me (and other people), so I decided to go ahead and fix it :)


Wednessday, July 24th, 2002

The original Vortex progress reports are back up in the Bots section. With that accomplished, 90% of the information from the old site is on this one, with the rest to come later today in the form of all the little bits I posted on the news page after Progress Report 5 was posted being combined into "Progress Report 6 / Treasure Island Event Report". I'll also try to work on a Kobotsu (revision 1) event and build report section. After that, the next task will be to put up a tech section, with little tricks we've learned in our year and a half building. However, that last part is somewhat low priority - we need to apply them to Kobotsu first, to get it ready for Southern Assault (38 days till we head for North Carolina!).


Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

Links page is up, though it's a little light - already has a complete list, so I'm just putting the stuff I use, more as a reference for myself if my computer crashes then anything else :). Also, I added a counter/statistics thing to this page. It's about 4-5 lines under the bottom news item just to the right of the blue bar - It usually doesn't load right (at least on my computer), so it's usually hard to see, but that's the fault of the counter company, not me :) If you can find it and click on it, it says how many hits I get, where they come from, the browser they use, their operating system, etc. However, I still have to update the rest of the stuff from the news item on the 21st.

Work has begun on rebuilding Kobotsu for Southern Assault. Not much needs changed - we didn't exactly get a chance to test it at the Mechwars Invitational, since I fried my OSMC motherboards before the first fight by hooking my chargers to the OSMCs instead of the batteries (pumping 70v into a 50v max device :), so we didn't get much functional testing. Hence, the changes are pretty much focused on maintainability, things like attaching the killswitch to the side instead of the top so we don't have to unhook it to take the top armor off, and tapping stuff so I don't have to get nuts down inside to hold parts down. Vortex was close, but Kobotsu has the tightest interior of any bot we've built so far, so it's currently pretty hard to get to stuff inside at times, especially removing the drive motors. This will also help with weight, since mounting will be simplified, reducing the amount of excess mounting material for the electronics - We had to drop down to thinner top armor at Mechwars, this should make up the difference.


Sunday, July 21st, 2002

Here it is! I've got a bit of information about all 4 robots we've worked on / are working on, as well as information about all the members of our team. I still need to get progress reports and event reports up, fix the Bots and Email buttons in the menu, and put the links page up.


Saturday, July 20th, 2002

Well, I've been promising it for several months, and it seems I finally got around to it - A totally re-done website! Along with the site itself being updated, I'm going to be adding information about our team members, and about the 3 bots we've been working on since I last seriously updated the site.