MagLev C

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Re: MagLev C

Post by FawnOnyx » March 11th, 2014, 8:31 pm

Hi, thanks for your response.
chalker wrote:This one isn't so much an issue with it being 'cheap' or 'unfair', more as potentially causing a safety issue. 3.l talks about a stopping system that stops motion or shuts the motor off. If we allow systems that temporarily stop the motor, then start it back up again after some fixed time, that opens up a huge safety issue. Ditto for if it just slows down for a little while to essentially a non-effective rotational speed. Also technically note that 5.b.ix. mentions failing to move after 3 seconds, but doesn't explicitly say that's at the start of the run. That could easily be interpreted to be if it stops for move than 3 seconds midway.
It's nice to know this was a safety issue. The actual FAQ says this it's a spirit of the rules issue though, which is why I thought it was considered unfair. Can that wording be adjusted?
I personally don't think it's much of a safety issue considering we shroud the motor and start it safely ourselves but yeah that's for soinc to decide. Also, rule 5.ix says if it fails to move for 3 seconds, competitors are allowed (not required) to restart their vehicle.
chalker wrote:We have a general philosophy in SO events of disallowing ICs / computers, but allowing virtually any other electrical component. I've explained the reasoning for this in depth in the Mission Possible thread, so refer you there if you want to know more about it.
Ok, yeah I saw that Mission Possible thread. I was worried because I wasn't sure why general rule #2 was needed to clarify that question, as if it was implied that some usage of those components would violate the spirit of the problem. I just realized that gen rule 2 also says anything not explicitly disallowed is allowed so that explains it! This just sets my mind easier when making circuits.
chalker wrote:I'm not following this at all. The FAQ says magnets are allowed outside the track walls. Can you explain how this related to varying magnet strength?
I was extrapolating the side magnet question to lead to an application where side magnets are used to vary the strength along the track. For instance, side magnets could be installed outside the track at the event to create a favorable magnetic field that helps the maglev down the track. I think this would be disallowed sorta strangely by the description in the rules though, saying the maglev is "self-propelled," right?

The last two sorta lead into the other problems I've had. At last week's state competition I got a construction violation on the basis that my discrete components soldered onto a pcb counted as an integrated circuit. The definition of IC used was based off the wikipedia definition which actually states that ICs are circuits fabricated on a small chip of semiconductor material. Since this didn't match up I tried appealing but I was rejected because the other arbitrators found a different IC definition my pcb fit under. Regardless I'll be submitting an faq question about it to actually clear it up. The other problem was me putting a magnet on the end of the track to give a little starting boost to the car but I can see now how the description disallows that. I guess these weren't blocked under spirit of the rules but those new FAQ's that use spirit of the rules as justification just made me uncertain.

About the "have a heavy vehicle that can achieve a wide range of run times," I implied that from how the event is scored, which essentially defines the problem we have to find the best solution to. We're scored for heaviest vehicle and getting close to a variety of times. I and perhaps several others just assumed we would have to achieve that with one vehicle, but yeah the rules never disallow scores from separate runs. Explicit would be nice but I'm glad that's clarified now.
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Re: MagLev C

Post by JTMess » March 11th, 2014, 9:30 pm

(Unofficial and everything of course...) Do the rules allow for two tracks (one that each vehicle runs on) or a very long (3m) track with TWO 119cm sections marked for competition?
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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » March 12th, 2014, 11:42 am

JTMess wrote:(Unofficial and everything of course...) Do the rules allow for two tracks (one that each vehicle runs on) or a very long (3m) track with TWO 119cm sections marked for competition?
I don't think so. Note that track is singular throughout the rules (whereas we pluralize vehicles). Ditto for the 119cm segment.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker7 » March 12th, 2014, 1:36 pm

JTMess wrote:(Unofficial and everything of course...) Do the rules allow for two tracks (one that each vehicle runs on) or a very long (3m) track with TWO 119cm sections marked for competition?
Out of curiosity, why would you want to do this? It seems like it would be extraordinarily difficult to transport....
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Re: MagLev C

Post by gorf250 » March 12th, 2014, 3:30 pm

Chalker,
Based on my experience in the event, I'm somewhat familiar woth how the event is scored, but where in the rules does it describe which scores contribute to the final score? It's my understanding that the event supervisor selects the best time score and the best mass score from the two runs, but I can't find anywhere that states that only one set of scores (time and mass) are considered as opposed to, for example, averaging all time and mass scores.
Second, unofficially of course, does the new FAQ describing time and mass scores coming from different runs imply that the time and mass scores can come from different vehicles as well?

Finally, I was extremely dissapointed to see the clarification regarding stopping and restarting the vehicle to stall for time. As we are well into the science olympiad season, I've spent many many hours and a considerable portion of our funds building a circuit that does just that. I'd go as far to say as in my 5 years of sci oly experience, it's the coolest thing I've built. I'm upset that I won't have the oppurtunity to demonstrate this at our state competition. It was perfectly safe (the sturdy proppelor guard ensures that) and I now have to essentially start over four weeks before state. It seems that this "spirit of the rules" has been stretched to discourage creativity, innovation, and new uses of available resources.
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Re: MagLev C

Post by Stingray355 » March 12th, 2014, 6:07 pm

I share your disappointment in not allowing a vehicle designed to stop and restart automatically. Our first design choice was just such a vehicle and we submitted a question asking for a rules clarification and then waited and waited and finally were forced to build a much less challenging design in order to be ready for the invitationals. In retrospect I am glad we abandoned it and built a much simpler device that will run the full range of times at the maximum weight but it would have been great to have the opportunity to build our first choice.

I understand the pride you would have felt taking your device to state gorf250 and now you may be scrambling (no pun intended) to get another device ready for state.

I know everyone works very hard to make the rules fair and simple and leave room for creative designs, not an easy task. Anything that could be done to get clarifications out to the teams as quickly as possible I know would be appreciated.

So far this year we have had most competing schools show up without a device at all or without a device that can actually complete a single run and lots of teams in 2nd tier or worse. I can't remember any event we have ever competed in where there were so few schools able to field a working device. I wonder if this is unique to our little corner of the world or if this is happening in other states as well.

We go to state in a few weeks maybe things will be different there. Good luck to all.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » March 12th, 2014, 6:48 pm

gorf250 wrote:Chalker,
Based on my experience in the event, I'm somewhat familiar woth how the event is scored, but where in the rules does it describe which scores contribute to the final score? It's my understanding that the event supervisor selects the best time score and the best mass score from the two runs, but I can't find anywhere that states that only one set of scores (time and mass) are considered as opposed to, for example, averaging all time and mass scores.
Good point, in that the rules don't explicitly state that. However they do explicitly state "a scoring rubic is available on the event page", and if you download that spreadsheet, you'll see that only 1 set of scores is used. Hence it's included by reference. I'll make a note to add this more explicitly in future years.
gorf250 wrote: Second, unofficially of course, does the new FAQ describing time and mass scores coming from different runs imply that the time and mass scores can come from different vehicles as well?
Yes. Standard caveat about this not being the place for official statements though.....
gorf250 wrote: It was perfectly safe (the sturdy proppelor guard ensures that) and I now have to essentially start over four weeks before state. It seems that this "spirit of the rules" has been stretched to discourage creativity, innovation, and new uses of available resources.


Yeah, as pointed out a few posts back, the FAQ should probably be worded better to point out the safety concerns, not the spirit of the problem ones (although I think that's also a factor). We're always trying to balance allowing creativity, innovation, etc with 'spirit of the problem'. In fact you'll note that we often answer FAQs by pointing the General Rule #2, which says by default things are allowed. However I'll also point out general rule #1, which says teams can't interpret the rules to have an unfair advantage. Personally I think that applies here as well. The vast majority of teams are tackling this problem via slow speeds. While starting and stopping is a creative solution, it likely doesn't occur to most people (and in fact hadn't occurred to me prior to seeing this recent FAQ, yet I spend a LOT of time thinking about SO rules.)

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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » March 12th, 2014, 6:56 pm

Stingray355 wrote: I know everyone works very hard to make the rules fair and simple and leave room for creative designs, not an easy task. Anything that could be done to get clarifications out to the teams as quickly as possible I know would be appreciated.
This is always a challenge for us. There are SO many FAQs that get submitted during the season and we only have so much time to go through them. One of the reasons I participate so much in this forum is to get a pulse for what's going on and where the major points of concerns are. If you've followed SciOly for long, you've probably seen me chime in and say submit a FAQ so we can formally respond.

That said, this whole starting / stopping thing has caught me off guard. We had 1 question submitted somewhat recently, and I hadn't heard a peep about it otherwise on here or from the various event supervisors I regularly talk to around the country. If you previously submitted a question about this, somehow it got lost unfortunately. I suspect this is one of those situations where people who came up with the idea kinda knew it might be ruled out (like you did) and thus kept quiet about it hoping to be able to use it. I regularly emphasize that if in doubt, ask questions or don't risk it - that's particularly true for ideas you feel you have to 'keep secret' in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by Stingray355 » March 13th, 2014, 6:35 am

I appreciate your response and I know how often I read your posts on these forums and how much time it must consume to try to keep on top of all of these issues. We submitted our request for clarification within a few days of receiving a copy of the rules. We made note of the necessity of not having the device stop for more than 3 seconds or the official time would be stopped at that point.

If our first design had worked as designed/hoped it would have been pretty interesting to see in action. Of course we all know that is a big "if", who knows what glitches and unforeseen challenges that may have needed to be sorted out. It was interesting to read that someone else was working on a similar concept and I know how disappointing it must be for them to not be able to demonstrate the fruits of their efforts.

Your comment/assumption that we wanted to stay under the radar with as many details as possible in order to maintain what was hoped to be a competitive edge is spot-on.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by Mega » March 15th, 2014, 10:50 am

Would this be legal? Could be useful controlling the fan speed...

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wt ... LXKBF4&P=V

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