- Start early – get a moving chassis and practice driving it ASAP.
- Analog power control is best for controlling your robot in remote control mode, allowing for fine control of your robot. An RC transmitter or game controller are best for this.
- Match your motors to your motor driver: the stall current of the motor can destroy an incorrectly spec’d motor driver.
- Practice driving your robot every spare moment you have.
- Let someone else drive your robot to find the limits of your design – 200 school kids work well! :-). You know the limits of your robot but they don’t and they will find any faults in your design.
- Give your robot a power name!
- Breadboards suck; make your connections permanent.
- It’s best to practice driving your robot, at least a couple of times a week.
- Make sure your power supply cannot disconnect when bumped, because it will be!
- For some challenges, a four wheel or tracked design will work best: castor wheels catch on everything.
- Blinky LEDs: more is better.
- Make sure your Raspberry Pi has a good, strong 5V power supply.
- Changing your robot’s mode should be simple and not need a PC to do. This can be done with a single switch and LED to make a simple user interface.
- Controlling your robot over WiFi can only lead to pain.
- Have a spare battery pack on charge or new batteries available.
- Backup your SD card!
- Mock-up the courses if possible, so you can test your robot and your programming.
- Did I mention about driving your robot often, and not just the day before?!
Take a look at Brian’s fantastic robot-building article in The MagPi issue 51.
Last year, we conducted a survey of competitors to find out what motor controller they used in their robots. The results of the survey can be found here.