Maryland Senior Mentor Newsletter – Nov 21

Hello Maryland FRC teams,

I’d like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

Kickoff Workshop

The Chesapeake Regional planning committee is organizing a workshop directly following the kickoff event on January 5th at Capitol College.  Steve Shade, the Chesapeake Regional Head Referee, and I, the Chesapeake Regional Lead Robot Inspector, will break down the 2013 FRC game, answer questions, and provide general guidance to help the teams get off to a great start.  The workshop will start at 1:00 PM in the auditorium at Capitol College and conclude at 3:00 PM.  Registration instructions will be sent in my next newsletter.

Bag and Tag Exemptions

The deadline to apply for a Bag and Tag exemption is December 7th.  Those teams who may be traveling to events and need to ship their robots for whatever reason need to submit a request to FIRST to  Your request should include as much detail as possible to support why an exemption is required.  The subject line should be “Bag and Tag Exemption Request, Team XXX.”  If you have any questions, let me know.

Initial Event Registration

The deadline for teams to pay their initial event registration is December 7th.  Payment terms and methods to submit payments are outlined here.  If your team foresees issues in getting your payment in on time, please let me know.

SAIC Funding Reminder

SAIC is providing funding for teams that have mentors who are employees of SAIC.  The deadline to apply for that funding is November 27th.  If you have any questions on the application process, please have your SAIC mentor contact me directly.

Motor Controllers and Radios

The FRC blog has announced that the Talon and Victor 888 speed controllers will be legal for use in 2013 robots.  Here are the costs for each:

  • Talon from AndyMark – $59
  • Victor 888 from IFI – $50
  • Jaguar from IFI – $60

The FRC blog has also announced that all teams will receive a new D-Link DAP 1522 Revision B wireless bridge for use in this year’s competition.  All teams will be required to use the Rev B version of the radio on their 2013 robots.  Additional information including, pictures of the two versions, are available on the FRC blog here.

Team Communication

One of the challenges during build season is to find a method of communicating meeting changes at the last minute.  The need for last minute communications is usually caused by weather events and/or school closings.  It is helpful to setup the method of communication now so there is time to test it before it is needed in the winter.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Email – This would require the students and/or their parents to check their email regularly.  Would require students to have access to email throughout their day which is not always possible
  • Phone Chain – Requires access to the correct phone numbers to the student and parents.  Get volunteer parents to complete the chain.
  • Text alert system – There are several free text alert systems available that allow you to send text messages to your entire group from one place.  An example is Rained Out.  Some of these services can also send email alerts at the same time.

The key to any of these methods being successful is for everyone to be aware of how the team will communicate before the need arises.  Now is the perfect time to determine what works best for your team.

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