Moving a VEX tournament around

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Harbor Freight makes a number of different sized moving dolly’s.

They can also be found at your local Lowes, Home Despot, Menards, etc.

Find sizes you like. For example the 30" hardwood one is perfect for stacking the 48" lengths of the metal field.

I use the flip top tubs for power strips / extension cords. I have dolly for every three tubs. Put the three blue tubs on the blue dolly (spray paint) and the red tubs on the red dolly and put them …

If you need a longer / wider dolly use a pair of 4" wide webbing straps with screws to attach them together. (Dolly end to end. Webbing under, then pull to the center and back to the end part and attach. Then do the other dolly the same way. When on the wheels the dolly ends are held together. In the parking lot, fold them and they become an easy to store unit.

Homer Boxes have all the electronics. https://www.homedepot.com/p/The-Home-Depot-19-in-Plastic-Portable-Tool-Box-with-Metal-Latches-and-Removable-Tool-Tray-17331512/202021300

I either strap them to a dolly with a long moving strap or use a folding wagon.

I have a pair of these Amazon.com wagons that I use to carry the Homer Boxes or smaller items. Walmart carries one that the rear panel folds down that may be better for you.

The use of straps / bungee cords makes it easier to load, tie down, and move. You then don’t need to worry about a load dumping out.

I have a rolling suitcase that carries all the laptops. It makes it easy to move them and easy to make sure that I have all of them. Pro tip, buy the metal side one.

At the end of the day, nothing I have is carried, it all has some kind of wheels, be it built in, dolly or wagon.

Last, if it doesn’t have your name on it, it will walk. And since you took the time to label it, add a number. It helps to be able to go “missing Raspberry Pi #12” and have people search for it.

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You could have a roaming practice field at worlds

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Business idea lol, charge teams $20 for an hour to use the moving practice field at worlds. Then pick it up and find a new team to pay

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The real trick is putting all the electronics in a road case so you don’t need to wire everything up at every event. (there’s normally a lot more wires, this picture is from my off-season rework of the wiring)

Streaming PC, network switch, mixer, wireless mic receivers, couple of raspberry pis for music/etc. Makes life so much easier.

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Been there, done that…

Does not work 100% the way you want when components fail, or going to other sites.

I used to believe it, but figured out one size fits all not best fit, more so as technology evolves quickly or becomes unavailable (thank you supply chain impact on Raspberry Pi availability in affordable manner…)

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Not sure if that was directed at Alec or me. I have stuff divided into “one field event” so I can do small events that I want to start this fall and the “rest of the story” for the bigger events. The nice thing about the one field VRC event pack is that it can do a 1-4 field IQ event since you don’t need the field control hardware.

But I’m looking at how to do video and thinking that a road case may be the way to go. I’m still stymied that the venues I use are locations with poor wireless due to the metal construction and other phones. So it’s hard to do the video component. But to look at Alec’s case, some short 6-18" cables would make that a tidy setup. And a Cisco switch would make it easy to do VLANs to keep traffic separated. Sadly my calendar says 2 August so I have little time to set this up.

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After way too much trial and error, we’ve finally settled on SDI cables as the way to transmit video signals, and it’s amazing.

The cheapest option is something like this

Of course you then need an SDI capture card/one of those ATEM video switchers with SDI input/whatever which is also not cheap. But it’s, in our experience, absolutely rock solid, and there’s a reason it’s what’s used in professional broadcast equipment.

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One of my alumni parents works at Cisco and provided us a layer 2/3 switch and AP to make our own scouting network.

I’m gonna contact him again because he and I can develop a good vnet diagram

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Responding to single rack everything solution - getting there- it will take time. Problems deal with network connectivity, different video options at site, etc…

Maybe if we had lego brick system that allowed you to configure each venue easily (even at same district - yes we had issue at HS where two separate networks divided main athletic area with no routing between — ugh!)

I hope one wire for power and one wire for network to just “work”. Wont hold my breadth at this point - hope to retire - ALIVE - some day.

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One of our requirements to provide our service is we require a hardline internet connection. We have a really long ethernet cable on a spool that’s a hundred something feet long, so it doesn’t need to be nearby, but we need hardline internet. Luckily that’s not been an issue for us.

As far as video, if the venue has video we send the video to wherever it needs to go via a 150’ SDI cable. We then convert it to HDMI, and that can then be converted to VGA/DVI if needed. If the venue has no video then we bring our own not very great projector and screen.

For audio we have a 100’ XLR cable, and can convert that to a standard aux cable if needed.

Basically, we standardize the runs over really long rugged connections to wherever it plugs into the venue, and then have a few adapters to make it play nice with the venue’s equipment.

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Thanks for the tip on the SDI cable, I’ll look at that in the morning.

The issue I face is that outbound traffic hops a building firewall, a district internal firewall and an external firewall. Getting the right rules set up has been impossible. Plus I then need to get a block of fixed IP addresses so I can set up and know I have IP’s I can use.

Are you all streaming to youtube or do you have a more school district friendly service you get set up with.

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Ah, yeah, the firewall issue is… always fun. Sounds like the situation where you’re at it is uniquely terrible. And yeah, we’re streaming to YouTube, so I don’t have any suggestions for you there.

For the fixed IP addresses, I don’t know if this would work for you, but we have a router in our road case and just hook the WAN port to the school’s LAN, so we basically just have our own private network (complete with our own wireless access points). This is nice because at any event we help run, our tablets connect to our WiFi, the TM PC is always at the same static IP, etc. We even have a share drive set up to transfer files between computers as needed.

Of course, that doesn’t really work if you’re across multiple rooms, unless you start doing really hacky things with your network.

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+100 for this. I would recommend anyone with any kind of multi computer TM setup that they move from event to event to have their own router and own private network that they control. If you want wifi for the tablets, ubiquiti APs strike a pretty good balance of performance to price, and even allow you to do things like build a wireless bridge to a wired device in another room (great for pit monitors!). They’re also PoE powered so you can have the power brick plugged in back at the TM desk and have the AP at the end of a 200ft cat5e cable providing wifi wherever it needs to.

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Agreed on traveling network setups, they’re great.

Another thing we have in ours is one of these “travel routers”:

One of the features of that box is to bridge a wired-only device (such as the WAN port on our Ubiquiti router) onto a WiFi network - handy if the venue ethernet drop is unavailable for whatever reason. We’ve even used it to hook our traveling network setup to a school-district-provided cell hotspot, and streamed to Twitch for a whole day with no issues.

And returning to the topic of firewalls - we have actually had really good luck streaming to Twitch from a bunch of different schools and other venues. The only recent issue I can remember is, one school had the “twitch.tv” domain name blocked, but it turns out streaming to Twitch goes to a different domain which they hadn’t blocked, so the stream still worked fine, which I verified by checking periodically from my phone via cellular.

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