VEX U #9: Expanding and Refining

Meeting Recap

Welcome back! After a calm and relaxing Thanksgiving break, we reconvened to continue building mechanisms for our robot. Our drive base was pretty much finished last time, so we worked on shooting, grabbing, and lifting this meeting.

The lifting and grabbing teams saw smooth sailing on progress; the shooting team, on the other hand, took a U-turn in terms of what they wanted to make. Before, the shooters planned to push down on a slab of polycarb to catapult the ball. After adding the motor in (as seen in the image below), the team realized that it did not provide as much power to the ball as wanted. Thus, a new idea came about – gathering tension from rubber bands to “punch”.

We received word that the December 1st competition had been postponed due to many teams missing the VEX motors. This gives us more time, but not a lot. We hope to build more this week, before the finals week frenzy kicks in.

Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 12/04 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.
  • Micromouse: There are no more Micromouse meetings for the rest of the quarter.

VEX U #8: More Building


Meeting Recap

We continued working on our group prototypes, with one team focusing on the drive base, another building a lifting mechanism, a third working on grabbing caps, a fourth constructing a flywheel for intake, and a final group creating a shooter.

Since VEX U announced that they would be indefinitely suspending shipments for V5 motors, we have been using motors from older competitions until we receive and incorporate the motors from this year.

Our first competition is December 1st, but since we have only started assembly, we plan on aiming to participate in the January tournament instead. Nonetheless, we will be having more build meetings next week to work on our robot!

Up Next

  • Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you all enjoy a calm break with lots of food, friends, and family!
  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 11/27 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.

General Meeting 11/14/18

Meeting Recap

At tonight’s meeting, our competition lead, Micah, gave a workshop on electrical design. We learned about the components of design, the pros and cons of different power sources, various ways to distribute power, and the types of system communication. (WiFi == magic, but != internet!)

Afterwards, we observed the SDP T-Shirt cannon’s electrical design in all its glory. It is composed of various switches, voltages, relays, and a step-down. Thanks to all who came out to the meeting, check out the slides here!

Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 11/20 @ the ANTrepreneur Center!
  • General Meetings: No general meetings for the rest of the quarter. Good luck on any remaining midterms and finals!

VEX U #7: Vroom Vroom!


Meeting Recap

Yesterday’s meeting was filled with assembly. We went through our parts, picked out some channels for a frame, and built a drive base.  Afterwards, we wired it, added the wheels, and drove it around!


Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 11/20 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.
  • General Meeting8PM on 11//14 @ SSL 140.

Micromouse #6: Bring it Together

This is it, we’re getting to the real stuff! The hardest part of the challenge is debugging and bringing it all together. Today we talked about that process and did a bit of review. As always, the slides are linked here.

Image result for adafruit buzzerBuzzer Module

Real quick: a buzzer is a great way to audibly debug your mouse! At about $1 on Adafruit, you can attach it to your mouse to give some audio feedback in your debugging.


Bringing everything together is the real challenge here. The easiest way to do that is on pen and paper, but if you’re down for a challenge you should check out Eagle, a PCB design software made for diagramming and configuring circuits. If you’re unsure where to start, check out the Basics Tutorial #1.


From here, it’s on you guys! Happy building.



VEX U #6: We Got the Parts!

Meeting Recap

Today’s meeting was full of PARTS! Our VEX order finally arrived, and we had fun unboxing and going through various materials as a group. There were many shafts, channels, screws, and “friction-ful” mats. Afterwards, we broke into our respective groups to modify and enhance our designs after seeing the game parts – for example, the competition balls were heavier and the caps were smoother than expected.  One team even built a small prototype of their mechanism with some of the metal.

Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 11/13 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.
  • General Meeting8PM on 11//14 @ SSL 140.

Micromouse #5: Encoders and Interrupts

We reviewed motors and talked about encoders. The slides are here.

Image result for encodersEncoders

Motors notoriously do not spin at the same speed, so how are you supposed to make your two wheels spin at the same rate? The solution: encoders! Encoders work by measuring the shart rotation and ‘encoding’ it digitally so you can precisely turn your shaft to a certain angle! The image above shows an encoder on the end of the motor (bottom right).


In normal control flow, all your commands run sequentually. But sometimes you have to interrupt that sequence and do something else. That process is called, surprisingly, an interrupt and is much like when someone interrupts your conversation to say something important.

Interrupts can be triggered on a rising edge (when a signal goes low to high) or on a falling edge (when a signal goes low to high), or on either. Check out the slides to see the code, or drop by our next meeting if you have any questions.

Until Next Week!


VEX U #5: Catching a Quick Breath

Meeting Recap

This meeting occurred in the midst of midterm season, so we wanted to keep it light and playful. We surfed YouTube for videos on other VEX teams, but somehow ended up watching Hebocon and reading posts on UCI Confessions… Hopefully it was fun and a good study break for all!

Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 11/6 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.
  • General Meeting: 8PM on 11//7 @ SSL 140.  Micah will be hosting a workshop on Electrical Design!

Micromouse #4

This meeting we talked about motor controller design and implementation and some groups managed to start assembly. If you missed it, feel free to check out the slides!

Yep, this is a short update. Happy midterms y’all!


Hi! It’s J back with a VEX U update!

Today the teams did more brush-ups on their designs and went through another round of scrutiny.

All the teams did a great job presenting! We had two teams each on designing the mechanisms required for shooting and managing caps. They independently reviewed the design requirements laid out last meeting.


One of the proposed mechanisms for grabbers was rather “thiccc”. In this idea, the claws were in parallel, which granted the namesake.


One shooter groups was particularly creative in using snaps to show their step-by-step design.

Overall, we used the meeting as an opportunity to receive feedback and criticism from other club members about their design, so that we can implement changes in the future.

Up Next

  • VEX U: We will have a meeting 6PM on 10/30 @ the ANTrepreneur Center.
  • General Meeting8PM on 11/7 @ SSL 140. Our general meetings are now every other week. Tune in November 7th for a workshop on Electrical Design!