Introduction: Samantha Unit Mounting Bracket Assembly

Picture of Samantha Unit Mounting Bracket Assembly

We are Cougar Robotics 4251 and this is for the Instructables Sponsorship Program.
(sidenote: the images in this are mostly of an old Samantha module, new pictures coming soon. The bracket works exactly the same with the new Samantha)
In FTC, many robots disconnect from the field control system during the pushing and bumping of a normal match. In this Instructable, we will go over the single weakest link in the control chain and how to make it significantly stronger. That weak link is the wires coming out of the Samantha unit. Here we will show you how to strengthen that connection to the point where it should significantly reduce the nubmer of field disconnects your robot suffers, it certainly has for us. These instructions are similar and based off of the instructions for FTC best practices on usfirst.org

Things you will need:
1. a Samantha mounting bracket (CAD file below) or a 6x2 Tetrix flat plate
2. the Samantha unit
3. Samantha power wire
4. a short USB extension cable (we generally use 1')
5. 2 gear hub spacers
6. some small zip ties

Step 1: Attach Samantha to Bracket

Picture of Attach Samantha to Bracket

The first step (once you have all of your pieces) is to actually attach the Samantha unit to your bracket. This can be done with two of the small standard Tetrix screws or with 2 small zip ties. It is important that the wire ports are facing the rest of the bracket so that you can support the wires coming out of them.

Step 2: Attach Wires to the Samantha Unit

Picture of Attach Wires to the Samantha Unit

Next, insert the power wire and the USB extension cable into the Samantha unit. These joints are the source of a large percentage of the field disconnects experienced by teams.

Step 3: Wire Supports

Picture of Wire Supports

Now we add the real key of this whole system. The gear hub spacers hold the wires in place and prevent the sensitive joints from moving at all. The gear hub spacers go in the bottom hole patterns on the Samantha mounting bracket and are zip tied down with the wires. You can also screw the hubs down and zip tie through other holes. I have done one each way. We have found that just zip tying down the spacer is fine.  

Step 4: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

Now you have a single part that can be attached to your robot. To flash the Samantha, simply use the USB extension cable. We haven't touched the connection between the Samantha and its wires for a year now and in the last 3 tournaments, we experienced 0 field disconnects. Part of the key to FTC is owning the problem and doing whatever you can to fix it. If you think it is out of your control, then it will remain that way. However, if you decide that you can take ownership of a problem, it can usually get better. Good luck from FTC 4251 Cougar Robotics!

Comments

Cougar Robotics (author)2013-08-10

stuff like is great! however, we worry that even great modifications like that to electronics would be against FTC rules

gkohle (author)2013-08-09

On all three Samnantha units I have also opened the case and reinforced the USB plug with some Gorilla Glue so it cannot even wiggle. that has helped over the past years, I like your design.

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