Hi, i am a one man team from the United Kingdom, i just won the worcestershire regional qualifier and have just qualified for the nationals competition in march. Now after the regional i found that occasionally the wrong auton would activate (due to my operational error) - my question is to people who use LCD screens:
according to some people that i talk to they use the lcd to choose an autonomous and it says which side they need to be on. some people dont like the buttons on the lcd so they use a pot and a lcd they would use the pot to select which autonomous and the lcd will display which autonomous they selected. what i found to be useful with the lcd is that you can make it show your battery levels before the match. about you getting it is based on your budget if you have it go ahead. the programming is simple using the sample code and a basic knowledge of a switch statement.
I would highly recommend LCD Screens to anyone who has more than two autonomous routines, or has more than two options. If you just have two autonomous routines, you can use a potentiometer and perhaps some LEDs to confirm selection. Obviously, not as pretty, nice, and convenient as an LCD Screen, but certainly cheaper.
Also, if your team doesn’t have programming experience or comfort, I would not recommend getting and LCD screen as it can sometimes provide unnecessary difficulties.
An LCD screen for autonomous choosing is really helpful. I have 4 autonomous functions, along with 2 backups, and another 2 for skills programs. I pick them with a potentiometer. When the potentiometer is a certain value, the name of the program will appear on the screen. (I can do this during driving period or before the match, as a preautonomous function).
However, you don’t need an LCD screen to have accurate program choosers. The people who picked me at worlds last year for Sack attack had a really neat design for their autonomous chooser. They had a potentiometer, but they had a sticker on it and a cut sprocket that pointed to the number of the autonomous. The most interesting part, was that it clicked in place, so they needed to apply force if they wanted to switch their autonomous. If you’re thinking of a cheaper way to get accurate autonomous functions, you should figure out a way to do what they did.
I did this for a competition, and it worked really well. I used a standoff with rubber surgical tubing inside to provide some resistance to easy spinning, but to still allow the sprocket to spin. I’ve attached the best picture I could find, but it isn’t very good… sorry about the quality.
Regarding LCD displays: another (somewhat overlooked) advantage is that you can display the battery voltage (including backup battery) on screen before a match. This removes the time spent on unplugging the battery, checking it with a voltmeter, and then plugging it back in.
However, I concur with edjubuh–if your team finds programming challenging, the LCD may not be the route to go; the potentiometer method is much faster/more straightforward to code.
Battery monitoring is a good feature, you can monitor not only the main battery but also the backup battery and the power expander status. I posted an alternative competition template about a year ago that did this and would flash the backlight if any were too low.
Some modification of that template could perform your LCD functions only when the robot is disabled and not in the pre_auton subroutine (that’s when mine would display battery level). I like the flashing backlight idea.