First off: I had a great final build season with you guys! I’m pumped for competition!
I adopted the “80%” mentality this year. While working with the programmers, it is a build season rite to accuse each other of being wrong until red in the face. The “80%” mentality consists of one primary element, the admission that you might be wrong. After you have checked everything, double checked it, and checked it again you are only 80% sure you have your end correct. It leaves a margin of error for when the programmers are actually correct and everybody leaves the situation with their resolve (mostly) intact. It helped me remain at minimum to moderate stress levels, and as Mr. Donlon expressed, “I’m surprised you haven’t throttled anybody yet.”
Learn how to use your tools! A multimeter can be used in so many ways I cannot list them all. We have a quasi-fancy, compact Fluke multimeter that has all of the essential functions. For you future electricians, the essential settings include AC/DC Voltage and Current, and Resistance. If you can, get one with an audible continuity tester, it beeps when you touch things that are connected electrically.
If you are dealing with Spike relays and they are only firing in one direction, check that your signal cable is plugged in the correct direction. :/
I learned a ton this year *gasp*, Mr. van Dyk was awesome! I learned how to use an oscilloscope, albeit 40 years old, I learned the benefit of having hook clips on the multimeter probes, and I learned more about the electronics and control systems than ever before. There is so much bouncing around in my head that I can hardly write it down.
More to come soon,
FIRST Team #3189