RoboSub 2014 - July 30, 2014 - Day 3: We came, we saw, we qualified!

Posted by admin-robotlord on August 4, 2014

I had hoped the rest of the team had gone to bed early but sadly they were not in bed till 4 AM which made our morning commute to TRANSDEC a bit edgy with lack of sleep. Mike, Rumman, Veselin and Alvin had spent their night trying to fix the bug, including an additional test at the hotel pool at 3 AM, but to their dismay it had not been successful. It then came as a surprise when we had checked the connections at TRANSDEC, that everything was working like magic. With extreme enthusiasm we tested in the dolphin pool for the heading controller's ability to move in a straight line. Again, it was a complete success. So far the day was going very well.

The new food truck was Thai food which proved to be disappointing. Even though we are in San Diego and minutes from the beach, the food truck offered one dish with seafood and everything seemed very heavy and hot for such a warm summer day. Luckily I had decided to get the Spicy Crabwich from the usual food truck and ate it happily. Sometimes its good to try new food but not when you had already found a favourite, something Mike can relate to.

After lunch we got ready to test Aqua Ursa in deep waters, since we had signed up for a practice run that would allow us to qualify if we made it through the gate. And, as fate would have it, we hoped to qualify, we worked hard to qualify and yes we qualified! The normal slow speed of an underwater vehicle dissipated a climax moment but it was a moment of triumph and proof that we did not work all year for nothing!

We packed up and headed back to the hotel, with our next step to attach the camera case for our vision capability and confident with our chances in the semi-finals. To our surprise, when we disassembled AquaUrsa at the hotel the camera case had leaked and a small puddle was visible inside. We needed an alternate solution and fast, eek!

The first time it leaked, the bolts weren't screwed in tightly but this time we knew something was wrong with the seal itself. The o-rings used for the camera case never fit properly and it had worn down being used for over a year. Since we were short on time, an alternate solution was to buy gasket material and cut out the exact piece we need, which it turns out was not an easy task.While gaskets are easy to cut yes, but not easy to cut through the entire thing, especially when accuracy of the cuts were important.

The hard work was to come later but for now, it was time for dinner and with so much work to do, it was pizza time. Since I had to wait for Mike and Alvin to come back from Home Depot with the gasket material, I walked to Pizza Nova and picked up the team some take out. The garlic chicken pizza was delicious and it was the first one to be devoured by everyone (except for Mike who only eats pepperoni). It's definitely a must try and something I would get again.

As the night went on, we worked on our individual things. The electrical and software teams were busy with the spare boards that finally came in this afternoon. The MecEs finished fixing the electronics tray and assembling the newly sealed camera case and I worked on finalizing our static presentation and of course this blog. Everything seems to be going smoothly and each problem seemed to be solved quickly. As we worked into the night, or the "afternoon" as Alvin and Rumman likes to put it (I think I'm getting used to working on 4 hours of sleep), I'm hopeful for the next few days. Maybe we'll even make finals (I'm an optomist).


Jamie Lee
ARVP Mechanical Team Co-Lead
University of Alberta


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