So I think a tilter/drive diff is pretty easy this year, and it doesn’t seem to have many downsides. There aren’t really times when you need to tilt and drive at the same time (even though you could with power loss). Pros are a 4m tilt, and freeing up an extra motor. This begs the question: what’s the best use of that extra motor?
Options I can think of are as follows
H drive (1 motor is enough strafe is only really used in auton and depositing so you won’t burn out)
Booster wheel (5m drive when in a straight line)
2m lift (sort of pointless on a goofy since 1m 200rpm 5:1 is plenty fast, but for a db4 hybrid this could be a good option)
Powered cube clamp (absolutely pointless passive works just fine)
Interesting small zone or big zone? Small will be filled in auton, so I don’t think that’s viable, and it’s quite hard to deploy around the opponents large zone if they defend you. Not impossible, but losing time you could be stacking. Do you think it’s worth the time?
1m db4 hybrids can do that without a diff, but yea having a 2m db4 is a really nice advantage.
How I see it, a wall that fits on the back of a diffed tray bot isn’t gonna be heavy enough to hold opposing robots in place. Plus you’ve gotta manage the piece of string attached to the wall the whole match, which slows driving. Opposing robots pushing back from within the scoring zone will not be stopped, so they can sit around the area before deploy and make sure to be on the right side of the wall when it drops.
walls will become less effective as autons get better. your opponents already might be able to stack 15-16 cubes in auton. sure you can put your wall down, but all your opponent has to do is play defense on you and stop you from stacking any more cubes.
I know that this is a thread mostly about speculation, but I’ve seen a few of the teams on 2381 try to build a differential and I think there’s a few things that haven’t been mentioned yet, and which should be addressed.
differentials are not easy.
Seriously. They take so so long to tune. And even then, they’re a massive pain to maintain.
differentials take a lot of space.
Differentials do take a lot of space, and they require a lot of work to become compact enough to fit onto your drive. How you decide to link your wheels together, and split power becomes a huge issue, and it actually turns into quite a massive constraint.
Your drive is the most important part of your robot. Depending on how confident you are in VEX parts, a differential may or may not be too risky for you to attempt. A differential usually requires systems on both sides to be synced, and has multiple systems connected to it. One of those systems might be your drive. ‘if anything goes wrong, screw it and pushbot’ no longer works with a differential drive because if that differential breaks (and it can happen quite a lot), then you’re really in a bad position.
inherent extra friction
A lot of it. A differential has a lot more gears and friction than you would otherwise have direct, so it’s only really worth it if you can get an apparent benefit out of it. Which leads to my last point
There is no real benefit
Just about anything you can do on your robot, you can achieve passively, or by ratcheting some other mechanism.
I agree with all of this except for the maintenance. Using almost all screw joints, lithium grease, and hs gears, we have yet to run into any maintenance after about a month with ours.
Also a great point. We fit ours 25 wide 30 long but it is definitely a squeeze. I think the minimum length of a standard 7:1 is 1(pinion) + 2 * 7 (84 tooth gears) + 1(pinion idler) +1(pinion) so 17 holes. Pinion idlers are also always a bad idea so 19 holes with a 36 tooth idler.
3/4 are build quality components so I’ll leave those alone. This is probably not something new builders should attempt.
Here’s where I disagree. The 1m saving isn’t insane, but a v5 motor shouldn’t be underestimated. That’s a lot of power to do something… probably one of the things above, all of which are extra features to help differentiate from standard goofys. Any advantage you can get is worth it imo. The other difference is tilter speed is much faster. Our current one runs at 3:7, three times faster than normal, with a torque equivalent from 4 100rpm motors of about 1.9333.
This is true, however, as all vex parts require maintenance (think: all bearings, screw-joints, inserts, gears) at around the 1.5 month mark; having to maintain all of that on a differential is much more difficult. Identifying these issues and performing preventative maintenance also becomes more difficult.
I like that all important points regarding using differentials had been covered already:
every additional axle introduces extra friction losses - no way around it
it is possible, but hard, to maintain high build quality to manage friction losses
since systems are linked, it requires constant preventive maintenance to be reliable
Four bar could be made to work, but you pay the price with additional friction losses. My team had 4-bar differential in ITZ with 4 motors on 12T-84T-84T-12T geartrain connected to other 4 motors direct driving the wheels. It was ok, but it was, probably, losing at least one 393 motor worth of power to extra friction. With lower V5 motor limit that would be too expensive, so it made sense to switch from 4-bar to coaxial type differential to reduce friction. Similarly, this year coaxial 4 motor drive to tilter differential had been performing very well. It is the rest of the robot that needs more work and attention, because getting differential to work well and programmed correctly takes time.
There are only two scenarios where it makes sense to use differential. First one is where you have no other way to power all functions on the robot without reducing drivetrain power. However, you have to make very strong case why that design could be higher performing robot than well built and tuned Goofy with driving team having few months of practice.
And the second scenario is when you want to take the harder route to learn about system reliability, advanced mechanics and programming PID for complex systems with multiple degrees of freedom.
You may find yourself spending most of the time improving your build methods and doing in-depth research on how PID works at the expense of more driving practice. It all depends on the team which of those could have greater educational impact.