MCHE 201 — Star Wars

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  1. Can we purchase additional motors, servos, etc.?
    No additional actuators can be used. See the last paragraph of Section 3.2 of the full rule handout or the Overview Presentation.
  2. Can we buy servos to replace the ones from our kit?
    If the servos from your kit break, you may purchase new ones to replace them. The replacements must exactly match those found in the kit.
  3. What components can we use from our team members' kits?
    Only one pyboard per team can be used. All other components in the kit can be used 3N times where N is the quantity of that component that comes in a stock kit.
  4. How does the start button on the competition track work?
    The master start button on the track closes a relay connected to each zone of the track for 30 seconds. From the standpoint of your device and necessary code, this is identical to setting up and reading a pushbutton switch that is held down for the entire 30 seconds of each round. So, that is the best way to develop and test your code, wire and test reading a pushbutton that is held down for 30 seconds.
  5. Are we allowed to have our computers attached to the pyboard during the run?
    No. We will provide a USB power connection for each zone. This removes any need for your computer to be attached to the pyboard during a contest.
  6. Is the start zone considered part of the team's zone?
    No. Each team's start zone is not considered to be part of the team's zone. So, for example any points that are awarded for items being completely within the team's zone would not be if the item is in the start-zone area. Similarly, if negative points are awarded for a item remaining in the team's zone, then these points would not be deducted if the item was in the team's start zone.
  7. Do the Proton Torpedoes toward the volume of the robot?
    Yes. The complete robot must be contained within the specified volume and start from within the start zone. This includes the Proton Torpedoes, as they become part of your device for delivery purposes.
  8. Are there any specifications for the Judge's Presentation during the Final Contest?
    There are no detailed specifications on your presentation for the judges. You should have a short (2-3 minute) overview talk ready and be prepared to answer the judges' questions. You may have a trifold board, a laptop, etc as you seen fit. The only real restriction is on the space you’ll have; expect to have about 1/2 of a "normal" table length. You can take a look at pictures from previous semesters to get an idea.
  9. But... Dr. Vaughan, this is ridiculous. You are ridiculous! @#%^! &^%$%#^$@#%!! @@#$~#$#!$%^!#$@^%!!!!!!
    Woah. Woah... Give it 5 minutes.
  10. If we attempt to deliver the Proton Torpedoes to the Exhaust Port and they are not fully contained in it, do we still get the 5 points for them being inside the Death Star?
    Yes. The Exhaust Port is inside the Death Star, so the Death Star points would be awarded.
  11. Is the Jedi Training Zone considered part of the team's zone?
    Yes. Note that this means that if parts of your machine are in the Jedi Training zone at the end of a trial, you are not be eligible for Safely Escape Death Star Explosion points.
  12. If I put the Proton Torpedoes in a bag or other container, is that container considered part of our machine?
    Yes. Note that this means that if the bag or container is in your team's zone at the end of a trial, you are not eligible for Safely Escape Death Star Explosion points.
  13. I have a 3D printer. Can I use it to make parts for the contest?
    Yes. You can makes parts using your printer, but you must budget for its use according to the type and amount material used by the printer to make your part.
  14. How will the Force Units be positioned?
    They will be placed something like they are in the figures in the contest rules. N of them will be placed offset from the Death Star, and 5-N of them will be placed between the Death Star and the Start Zone.
  15. Do we need to have receipts for our machine at the contest?
    We will only ask teams for receipts at contest time whose machines appear to be approaching the $100 limit. Having run this contest many semesters, we do have a good idea of what a $100 machine looks like. This information should, however, be in your report.
  16. Can we make changes to our devices between rounds?
    Yes. As long as your device is able to adhere to the contest requirements by the start of your next round, you are free to make changes between rounds.
  17. Can we extend the start cables?
    Please do not alter the banana cables that we've given you to interface with the track by cutting or soldering extensions to them. If you need to extend them, we recommend that you buy extensions with banana plugs on each side, like these or these.
  18. Can we use springs in our device?
    Yes, but they must be in their equilibrium state at the beginning of the round. In other words, if their ends were disconnected, their length would not change. No energy is stored in them.
  19. For the individual contest, are we required to actually drop the proton torpedoes into the center or can they just be inside the volume of the center above it?
    For the individual contest, you can earn any of the Proton Torpedo points. The only change from normal is that elevated part of the center zone is treated like any other on the track. This means that the area above it would count. This is only for this contest. For all other contest, the Proton Torpedoes must be completely contained in the Exhaust Port, including in the vertical direction.
  20. What doe the track look like? How fast does the center part rotate?... and similar.
    It's best to visit open lab hours to see for yourself. However, you can get an idea of what the center looks like using the flickr albums from this and past semesters and the "general" MCHE 201 album (all linked from the class page). For example, there is a render of the track in this year's album. There are images and video in the MCHE201 "general" album.

For more information, see the full project description and rules.