Detector Building C [TRIAL]

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Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » April 8th, 2019, 9:08 am

Detector Building is a trial event for Division C at the national tournament for the 2019 season.
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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby YeagerTheCat » April 9th, 2019, 12:27 pm

Tough specs for this thing. +/-0.2C resolution? Will be interesting...

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby trdd » April 10th, 2019, 10:12 am

Looks like this will be an official Division C event next year.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby dxu46 » April 18th, 2019, 1:37 pm

What microcontroller board is the best one to buy? I'm talking about functionality, how difficult to use, etc.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby YeagerTheCat » April 18th, 2019, 9:03 pm

No right answer to that, but a basic Arduino is a decent place to start.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby acidbeaker » April 19th, 2019, 11:01 am

dxu46 wrote:What microcontroller board is the best one to buy? I'm talking about functionality, how difficult to use, etc.

I would highly recommend the Arduino over others, mostly because the Arduino is beginner-friendly and has lots of resources. If you have experience with other microcontrollers, like Raspberry Pi, you could use that, but in my experience the Arduino is simple enough for this event.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby Lorant » April 21st, 2019, 5:26 pm

Is there anything better than a thermistor to use for the actual detector part?

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby YeagerTheCat » April 22nd, 2019, 8:51 am

That is also a question without end :-). There are of course other options to measure temperature with (RTD, thermocouple). There are other analog output sensors, but it becomes a little tough to work out if they then fit within the rules in terms of it being automatically adjusted/calibrated.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby trdd » May 6th, 2019, 7:23 am

Lorant wrote:Is there anything better than a thermistor to use for the actual detector part?


That will depend on the rules for next year. Instead of temperature, the rules may ask to detect weight; or distance using piezo-electric or strain gages or optical sensors. They may even ask to detect speed, or time, luminosity, magnetism, or pressure.... But if they do ask for temperature, then thermistors are the way to go. Since it will be the first time that it will be an official event, they will probably stick with temperatures for now.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby killer225whale » May 6th, 2019, 9:16 am

acidbeaker wrote:
dxu46 wrote:What microcontroller board is the best one to buy? I'm talking about functionality, how difficult to use, etc.

I would highly recommend the Arduino over others, mostly because the Arduino is beginner-friendly and has lots of resources. If you have experience with other microcontrollers, like Raspberry Pi, you could use that, but in my experience the Arduino is simple enough for this event.

Some nuanced things to keep in mind though are the resolution of the ADC (analog-to-digital converter) on whatever microcontroller you use compared to the range and resolution of whatever you're trying to measure, and also how your voltage changes with temperature.

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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby Umaroth » June 7th, 2019, 11:20 am

I competed in this event when it was a Division B trial event at SoCal States 2018, and I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved based on last year and what I heard this year.

The number one issue with the event in its current state is the lack of separation between the top and bottom teams. From what I can tell whenever this event is run, the top teams are all extremely close to each other, as are the bottom teams, with a huge separation between the two groups because of the heavily weighted build log. At the national level, where the top will most likely have nearly perfect scores with little to break ties, it may as well come down to luck. Granted, the only environmental factor that has been tested thus far has been temperature, but with an entire season to work on the detector, I doubt there would be anything preventing teams to nearly perfect every other factor.

My idea: make this event sort of a Swiss Army Knife do everything type device
Similar to how many events have topics that will only be tested at the State and National level, there would be different environmental factors that would be tested at each level. Not every factor will be tested each time, so, for example, and ES at one tournament could choose to test temperature and salinity, whereas another ES at another tournament could choose to test air pressure and wind speed. With this type of set up, competitors would have to prepare for every type of environmental condition that could be tested, but it is not guaranteed that all will be tested at once. While I could see cost getting in the way of this, it could be worked around by making the ones that are more likely to cost more only tested at the State or National level. By having the event set up this way, there would be much more to separate teams, and it would require teams to find more efficient ways to calibrate their devices and complete the tiebreaker quiz with so many things to test.

I hope the event committees will listen to people's suggestions for this event. Detector has the potential to be a great event provided that the rules are set out well.
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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby builderguy135 » June 7th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Umaroth wrote:I competed in this event when it was a Division B trial event at SoCal States 2018, and I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved based on last year and what I heard this year.

The number one issue with the event in its current state is the lack of separation between the top and bottom teams. From what I can tell whenever this event is run, the top teams are all extremely close to each other, as are the bottom teams, with a huge separation between the two groups because of the heavily weighted build log. At the national level, where the top will most likely have nearly perfect scores with little to break ties, it may as well come down to luck. Granted, the only environmental factor that has been tested thus far has been temperature, but with an entire season to work on the detector, I doubt there would be anything preventing teams to nearly perfect every other factor.

My idea: make this event sort of a Swiss Army Knife do everything type device
Similar to how many events have topics that will only be tested at the State and National level, there would be different environmental factors that would be tested at each level. Not every factor will be tested each time, so, for example, and ES at one tournament could choose to test temperature and salinity, whereas another ES at another tournament could choose to test air pressure and wind speed. With this type of set up, competitors would have to prepare for every type of environmental condition that could be tested, but it is not guaranteed that all will be tested at once. While I could see cost getting in the way of this, it could be worked around by making the ones that are more likely to cost more only tested at the State or National level. By having the event set up this way, there would be much more to separate teams, and it would require teams to find more efficient ways to calibrate their devices and complete the tiebreaker quiz with so many things to test.

I hope the event committees will listen to people's suggestions for this event. Detector has the potential to be a great event provided that the rules are set out well.


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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby Unome » June 7th, 2019, 3:01 pm

builderguy135 wrote:
Umaroth wrote:I competed in this event when it was a Division B trial event at SoCal States 2018, and I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved based on last year and what I heard this year.

The number one issue with the event in its current state is the lack of separation between the top and bottom teams. From what I can tell whenever this event is run, the top teams are all extremely close to each other, as are the bottom teams, with a huge separation between the two groups because of the heavily weighted build log. At the national level, where the top will most likely have nearly perfect scores with little to break ties, it may as well come down to luck. Granted, the only environmental factor that has been tested thus far has been temperature, but with an entire season to work on the detector, I doubt there would be anything preventing teams to nearly perfect every other factor.

My idea: make this event sort of a Swiss Army Knife do everything type device
Similar to how many events have topics that will only be tested at the State and National level, there would be different environmental factors that would be tested at each level. Not every factor will be tested each time, so, for example, and ES at one tournament could choose to test temperature and salinity, whereas another ES at another tournament could choose to test air pressure and wind speed. With this type of set up, competitors would have to prepare for every type of environmental condition that could be tested, but it is not guaranteed that all will be tested at once. While I could see cost getting in the way of this, it could be worked around by making the ones that are more likely to cost more only tested at the State or National level. By having the event set up this way, there would be much more to separate teams, and it would require teams to find more efficient ways to calibrate their devices and complete the tiebreaker quiz with so many things to test.

I hope the event committees will listen to people's suggestions for this event. Detector has the potential to be a great event provided that the rules are set out well.


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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby pepperonipi » June 7th, 2019, 7:19 pm

Umaroth wrote:I competed in this event when it was a Division B trial event at SoCal States 2018, and I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved based on last year and what I heard this year.

The number one issue with the event in its current state is the lack of separation between the top and bottom teams. From what I can tell whenever this event is run, the top teams are all extremely close to each other, as are the bottom teams, with a huge separation between the two groups because of the heavily weighted build log. At the national level, where the top will most likely have nearly perfect scores with little to break ties, it may as well come down to luck. Granted, the only environmental factor that has been tested thus far has been temperature, but with an entire season to work on the detector, I doubt there would be anything preventing teams to nearly perfect every other factor.

My idea: make this event sort of a Swiss Army Knife do everything type device
Similar to how many events have topics that will only be tested at the State and National level, there would be different environmental factors that would be tested at each level. Not every factor will be tested each time, so, for example, and ES at one tournament could choose to test temperature and salinity, whereas another ES at another tournament could choose to test air pressure and wind speed. With this type of set up, competitors would have to prepare for every type of environmental condition that could be tested, but it is not guaranteed that all will be tested at once. While I could see cost getting in the way of this, it could be worked around by making the ones that are more likely to cost more only tested at the State or National level. By having the event set up this way, there would be much more to separate teams, and it would require teams to find more efficient ways to calibrate their devices and complete the tiebreaker quiz with so many things to test.

I hope the event committees will listen to people's suggestions for this event. Detector has the potential to be a great event provided that the rules are set out well.


Definitely agree. I heard lots and lots of teams say that they got a perfect score in the device portion of the event when I was in the testing room at Nationals, which isn't really how an event should be.

Couldn't the rules also be changed so that there are more building restrictions? I think this would also make the event harder without adding too much cost for other sensors/parts in a Swiss Army Knife-like device. This could include restrictions such as: having to use certain parts (such as a third-party ADC) in the device's setup, requiring the device to fit within a very small size (such as within a 10-15cm cube), or requiring the device to be contained inside a waterproof case. There were already some this year which added some challenge to the event (such as requiring LED's or making sure the probe could withstand boiling temperatures for a set period of time), and I believe that adding more would just increase the difficulty of the event.
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Re: Detector Building C [TRIAL]

Postby Umaroth » June 7th, 2019, 8:03 pm

pepperonipi wrote:
Umaroth wrote:I competed in this event when it was a Division B trial event at SoCal States 2018, and I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved based on last year and what I heard this year.

The number one issue with the event in its current state is the lack of separation between the top and bottom teams. From what I can tell whenever this event is run, the top teams are all extremely close to each other, as are the bottom teams, with a huge separation between the two groups because of the heavily weighted build log. At the national level, where the top will most likely have nearly perfect scores with little to break ties, it may as well come down to luck. Granted, the only environmental factor that has been tested thus far has been temperature, but with an entire season to work on the detector, I doubt there would be anything preventing teams to nearly perfect every other factor.

My idea: make this event sort of a Swiss Army Knife do everything type device
Similar to how many events have topics that will only be tested at the State and National level, there would be different environmental factors that would be tested at each level. Not every factor will be tested each time, so, for example, and ES at one tournament could choose to test temperature and salinity, whereas another ES at another tournament could choose to test air pressure and wind speed. With this type of set up, competitors would have to prepare for every type of environmental condition that could be tested, but it is not guaranteed that all will be tested at once. While I could see cost getting in the way of this, it could be worked around by making the ones that are more likely to cost more only tested at the State or National level. By having the event set up this way, there would be much more to separate teams, and it would require teams to find more efficient ways to calibrate their devices and complete the tiebreaker quiz with so many things to test.

I hope the event committees will listen to people's suggestions for this event. Detector has the potential to be a great event provided that the rules are set out well.


Definitely agree. I heard lots and lots of teams say that they got a perfect score in the device portion of the event when I was in the testing room at Nationals, which isn't really how an event should be.

Couldn't the rules also be changed so that there are more building restrictions? I think this would also make the event harder without adding too much cost for other sensors/parts in a Swiss Army Knife-like device. This could include restrictions such as: having to use certain parts (such as a third-party ADC) in the device's setup, requiring the device to fit within a very small size (such as within a 10-15cm cube), or requiring the device to be contained inside a waterproof case. There were already some this year which added some challenge to the event (such as requiring LED's or making sure the probe could withstand boiling temperatures for a set period of time), and I believe that adding more would just increase the difficulty of the event.

A size bonus could also be a good idea, but not sure how it could be implemented well
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