Tuesday, December 12, 2017

FTC Oregon Update: Dean's List Submission Issues - FIRST IT issues

As more mentors try to submit for Dean's List we are learning about new issues. Rather than send an email each time, I will post new information here to help you.

1. Only the Primary Coach and Asst. Coach can upload FTC Dean's List submissions from their FIRST Dashboards. If a submission is written by a different registered mentor, it must be uploaded by either the registered Primary Coach or registered the Asst. Coach. The author's name should appear at the bottom of the essay. 

2. If you have an issue and you call FIRST, 800-871-8326 during 8 am - 5 pm EastCoastTime, ask for Erin Fadden. She is the staff person in charge of FTC Dean's List 
3. Deadline for submitting to FIRST and the back-up copy to Cathy Swider is  12/15 -11:59 Eastern Standard Time. That's 8:59 Pacific Time 
4. Character count issue  -  a new line character was being counted as two characters instead of one and even though the word count was 4000 or less, it would end up going over. Erin Fadden at FIRST is working the issue but is not sure if it will be fixed in time. If people were to eliminate new lines/ para breaks while submitting or keep the character count low, (so there are at least 1 or 2 characters left), they should be good to go.


FIRST Tech Challenge Mentors and Coaches:

 Deadline to submit for the FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List is Friday, December 15th at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. 

 I am receiving reports of issues with the submission process through the Mentor's FIRST Dashboard.  As a precaution, I would like to initiate a double submission process so all submissions are received and if they aren't I have something to show to FIRST saying that they were submitted by the deadline of December 15th. 

The process will work like this. 
  • #1) Make every attempt to submit online according to the FIRST procedures outlined in the FIRST Dean's List Submission Guidelines.  
  • If you have issues call 800-871-8326 during 8 am - 5 pm EastCoastTime, and let them know you are having issues so it can be recorded. Ask for Erin Fadden 
  • #2} Please have the mentor who is submitting for the team member to send a copy of the submission to cathy-swider@ortop.org  as a Word document or pdf or Google Doc. All submissions to me must be received by December 15th at 8:59 PM Pacific Time. 
  • EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: DEAN'S LIST SUBMISSION - Name of Team Member - Team #.  Using that subject line will allow me to find and collect them. 
  • Each submission to me should include: 
    •  Nominee Name
    • Nominee Grade
    • Nominee GPA
    • Qualifying Event for the Dean’s List Interview to take place
    • Nomination essay of no more than 4,000 characters (spaces and punctuation are included in this limit)
    • Student Address/Email  (if the student is not registered in the Student Registration System)
    • Coaches can use the address of the school/Organization

Cathy Swider
FIRST Tech Challenge, Affiliate Partner, Oregon

Monday, November 27, 2017

LAST CHANCE TO WIN A 1/4 Relic Recovery Field! 

We hope our FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community had a
wonderful Thanksgiving.  Now that our turkey break is over, take time to read this week's FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon newsletter.

How did we do in League Meet Week ONE?

Check the Event Results - the link is on the HOT TOPICS page

League Meet Two Week 
Nov 27 - Dec 9  / League Meet TWO Week  - complete schedule here   
11/27 (Monday) - Columbia Basin
11/29 (Wednesday) - Central Oregon
12/1 (Friday) - Rose City
12/2  (Saturday)- Silicon Forest
12/3  (Sunday) - Tualatin Valley
12/7 (Thursday) - Mid-Columbia

NON-LEAGUE TEAMS: Your are always welcomed at League Events as spectators! 

League Meet TWO & THREE Week
These leagues will run Leagues Meet 2 in the morning and League Meet 3 in the afternoon.
12/9 - Capitol League, Mid-Western, SOAR

Requirements for League Meet TWO
Bring a printed copy of your Team Roster from your FIRST Dashboard with any additional paper copies of FIRST Consent and Release form. 

We are tightening up the Inspection Requirements.
  • Teams will not be entered into the Match Sheet to play unless Field Inspection is passed. 
  • League Meet #2 will require all teams to comply with all criteria points of the Field Inspection and pass Field Inspection. 
  •  Robots should also pass all criteria points of Robot Inspection but it is up to discretion of the Lead Robot Inspector and FTA  to determine if a robot is safe and is very close to passing and allow the team to be entered into the Match Sheet. 
  • Why? It's the rule. And to be fair,  teams must demonstrate that the robot can move on the field during matches to be a helpful member of their alliance to earn the awarded points. 
Resources to help you 
  • Programming Resources 
  • Robot Wiring Guide    (other resources from the same page
  • Robot Inspection and Field Inspection Checklists & Inspector Manuals & Illegal/Legal Parts Lists 
  • PLEASE NOTE:  "The Main Power Switch is installed properly, labeled, readily accessible, and visible to competition personnel. The TETRIX, REV, and MATRIX switches are the only allowed Main Power Switch. <RE01> 
  •  8.3.3 Robot Electrical Parts and Materials Rules 
    • There are many possible ways to build and wire a Robot. These rules provide specific requirements on what is and is not allowed. Teams must ensure that electrical and electronic devices are used consistent with manufacturer's requirements and specifications. Teams are encouraged to review the FIRST Tech Challenge Robot Wiring Guide for suggestions on how to build a Robot with safe and reliable wiring. 
    •  <RE01>  Main Power Switch - The Robot Main Power Switch must control all power provided by the Robot main battery pack. FIRST requires Teams to use either the TETRIX (part # W39129), MATRIX (part # 50- 0030), or REV (REV-31-1387) power switch. This is the safest method for Teams and Field personnel to shut down a Robot.
    • The Robot main power switch MUST be mounted or positioned to be readily accessible and visible to competition personnel. A Main Robot Power label must be placed near the Main Power Switch of the Robot. Attach the image (“POWER BUTTON”) to your Robot near the Main Power Switch. To be easily seen by field personnel the label should be at least 1 in x 2.63 in (2.54 cm x 6.68 cm, Avery Label # 5160) and placed on a flat surface (not wrapped around corners or cylinders).
    • IMAGE FILES for POWER BUTTON sticker and Robot Moves Sticker

SPECIAL NOTE TO NON-LEAGUE TEAMS:  Non-League Teams will need to be fully prepared to pass all aspects of Robot Inspection and Field Inspection at their tournament. Teams will have approximately 2 hours upon arrival to go through inspection, fix anything that did not pass, and go through re-inspection for a final PASS/FAIL. Teams who do not pass inspection by the deadline will not be entered into the Tournament Match Sheet and will not play on the Relic Recovery field.

Engineering Notebook Resources
  • Did you know that keeping an up-to-date and compliant Engineering Notebook is a path toward FIRST Tech Challenge Judged Awards which count toward advancement?  |
  • Note to Rookie Teams - You are required to surrender your Engineering Notebook at Team Check-in at your League or Non-League Qualifying Tournament and every other tournament after that. 
  • On my road trip to visit League Meet 1 at Central Oregon, Midwestern and SOAR, I encouraged teams to look at Engineering Notebook resources for assistance. Mark pages of the Engineering Notebook with post-a-notes that stick out like tabs.  
Let Judges know where they should look in your notebook to find out:

  •  why your robot is Innovative
  • why it is well Designed
  • how the Control System worked (separate entry form) 
  • and how your team Connected with your community. 

Look on this page for resources 

FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List
Submissions for the FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List is required by Friday, December 15th. Submissions are uploaded through the Coach/Mentor's FIRST Dashboard. Carefully read the submission requirements.  
Complete information on this page 
  • Nominees for Dean's List Semi-Finalists must be Sophomores or Juniors.  Seniors are not eligible. 
  • All candidates will be interviewed at their League Qualifying Tournament or Non-League Tournament in January. No interviews will take place at Super-QTs. 
  • FTC Oregon will select 4 FTC Dean's List Finalists to represent us at the FIRST World Championship-Houston. Announcement will be made at the FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship. 

FIRST Scholarships
Mentors- please let your juniors and seniors know about the $50M in college scholarships available for FIRST students.   Click here for information 
The deadlines vary - it is not a single deadline on November 27th.


HOT LINKS to make life easier!  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

FIRST Tech Challenge Community

Q: Who is on this blog/email list?  A: Everyone - all coaches, mentors and team representatives and some volunteers 
After some thought I have decided not to break out League teams from Non-League teams when sending out the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Update during the League Meet season.  I feel non-league teams can benefit from reading about tournament preparations in advance of their January non-league events.

League Payments were due on Oct 31 and Non-League are due on November 15
Are you paid - League? Are you paid - Non-League
Payment information - League  and Non-League 

11/11 – Capitol League, 11/15 – Central Oregon & Columbia Basin, 11/16 – Mid-Columbia & Mid-Western, 11/17 – Rose City, 11/18 – SOAR & Silicon Forest, 11/19 – Tualatin Valley

If you are registered with a league your team should attend all three official scoring meets. At the end of December the scoring system will select the best 10 of 15 matches played to compile a ranking list for the start of the League Tournament in January.   League Teams should come to the League Meet even if their robot is not ready to play.  Help will be provided to all teams who attend.

  • FIRST Consent and Release Form at Check-in 
  • Every team is required to bring the official PRINTED Team Roster  from the FIRST Dashboard to every Meet.  This must be handed in at Team Check-in. Saying you did it online isn't enough. You need to print it and bring it 
    • listed on the printed team roster will be every registered coach and mentor 
    • listed will be every student who is signed up electronically 
    • also for each person under the Consent Column will be
      •  a check mark = YES, an electronically signed Consent and Release form is on file or 
      • an "X" = there is No Consent or Release form on file, this means a paper FIRST Consent and Release form must be attached to the back of the roster and the names hand written onto the bottom of the form 
    • What if our whole team is submitting only paper Consent forms? 
      • The Printed Roster from the FIRST Dashboard listing the two registered mentors must be presented, all students and other coaches hand written on the bottom of the form and all paper copies of the signed FIRST Consent and Release forms stapled to the back of the roster. 
  • Bring and wear Safety Glasses over your eyes in the PIT and at the Field. It is a rule Game Manual 1 - <T15>  No backtalk to volunteers who tell team members to put on their safety glasses. Doing so could result in  Game Manual <T2> infraction. 
  • Read your emails from our League Manager. They are important. 

  • Do a Robot inspection at your last meeting prior to the meet - using the Robot inspection sheet  - bring the sheet with you to go over it with the Inspector 
  • Do a Field inspection of your robot  at your last meeting prior to the meet - using the Field Inspection sheet - bring it with you to go over it with the Field Inspector 
  • Expectation for League Meet One: All robots must go through Robot and Field Inspection in the time period allotted by the League Manager in order to play. 
    • Robots will play in the matches as long as the robot is safe to operate but might not have passed all aspects of Robot Inspection. (the requirement to fully comply increases with every meet) 
    •  Robots must pass Field Inspection. Your robot must move to play and be a contributing member of an alliance. 
  • Practice the transition from Autonomous to Teleop
  • Read Game Manual 2 - The points count and so do the penalties in League Meet One. 
  • Read the Game Forum and ask questions relevant to your team - print it and bring it to show a referee 
  • When the League Manager is making announcements, show respect, be quiet and listen. 
  • LABEL EVERYTHING with your team number so that it can be returned to your team when you forget it. Specifically batteries, phone chargers, phone charger cables, tool boxes, safety glasses. 
  • Write what happens during your meetings and at the meets in your Engineering Notebook. 
Other items for League Play  

  • Adult Coaches/Mentors cannot stand with their team's  Drive team in the Queuing Line, at the Queuing Table or at the Field.  Mentors and other team members must sit/stand in the audience.  Keeping the playing fields clear of extraneous people was a problem at League Meet Zero at some locations. 
  • Holding phones during Autonomous is not allowed  - At some locations we did not have a stand for the phones/controllers. We are correcting that. 
  • Don't take stuff that doesn't belong to you. -  Mentors at the Silicon Forest League, please look for two Rev Robotics batteries that do not belong to your team. They are not marked with a team number but were removed from a team's pit table, not the charging station.
  • As far as I know we had two impressive scores at League Meet Zero - a 147 scored at the Tualatin Valley League and a 156 scored at the Mid-Columbia League.  Go Teams!
  • Offer to help set-up or clean up at your league meet. It is much appreciated

    SUPER-QUALIFIERS - Feb 10 & 11 
    Traditionally we have advanced* 96 teams to Super-Qualifier Weekend (4 tournaments)  to determine the field of 48 teams to compete in the State Championship (Feb 24-25 Liberty HS, Hillsboro).  This season is it going work a bit differently. Instead of four 24-team tournaments, we will hold three 32-team tournaments. 
    These will be:
    Delta - Saturday, Feb 10 at Evergreen Middle School, Hillsboro
    Theta - Sunday, Feb 11 at Evergreen Middle School, Hillsboro
    Pi - Sunday, February 10 at Benson Polytechnic High School, Portland

    Why the change? 
    We submitted multiple building requests over the past 6 months to a variety of schools and other types of venues. Either we were turned down because venue was booked for basketball or after our permit was approved, it was rescinded so that a basketball** event could be run. So the best we could do was come up with three venues and divide the teams differently. 96 teams will still compete and 48 will advance to the State Championship.  Our thanks to Hillsboro SD and Portland Public SD for welcoming us to hold our events. 
    * advancement rule - Game Manual 1 - Sec 7.4 Order of Advancement. page 24 
    **In 2016  624K tech jobs went unfilled and 92 men and women were drafted to play in the NBA and WNBA

    HOT LINKS to make life easier!  

    Wednesday, November 1, 2017

    FIRST Tech Challenge Update for November 1, 2017

    UPDATE: November 2nd 
    1. Version 3.5 of the FIRST Tech Challenge Software is Now Available!

    Version 3.5 of the FIRST Tech Challenge software is available.  The new software includes the following important changes:
    1. Fixes were implemented to prevent random Op Mode stops.
    2. The file size of the Robot Controller app has been trimmed to reduce the required install time.
    3. A fix was implemented to ensure that log files get properly updated and saved.
    4. Support for using the Modern Robotics Touch Sensor as an analog device was added to the FTC Blocks Programming Tool.
    Instructions on how to update your FIRST Tech Challenge software can be found on the Programming Resources web page:

    Detailed information regarding the release can be found at the following link:

    NOVEMBER 1st

    League and Non-League event sign-ups are officially closed for the 2017-2018 season.
    There are 141 teams participating in 12 Leagues and 56 teams participating in 3 Non-League events.

    Non-League Qualifying Tournament Assignments were posted this morning.
    Check here to see where you'll be competing. 

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon EVENT PAYMENT TO  ORTOP
    Now the next step is to pay ORTOP for your event/program participation. 

    Just a reminder, national registration payment is different from local event payment.  FIRST HQ keeps your national registration payment for themselves and ORTOP needs your event payment to run the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon program.

    Want to check if ORTOP has received your payment? 
     YOUTH REGISTRATION SYSTEM  (formerly known as STIMS) 
    "There is no more important safety rule than to wear your Safety Glasses! "  
    • Must be worn in the pit by team members, mentors, volunteers and visiting guests. 
    • Must be worn at the field by drive teams and volunteers. 
    • Best advice: invest in reasonable quality safety glasses for visual acquity and find a storage method to keep them unscratched.   
    ORTOP Website for FIRST Tech Challenge OREGON !

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community:
    Just a friendly reminder, deadline to sign-up for League is Monday, October 16 at 11:59 pm. 
    Q: What about NON-LEAGUE QUALIFYING TOURNAMENTS ? You promised to open sign-ups  on Friday, Oct 13th? 
    A: True. My apologies. I'm still waiting on Oregon State University to confirm the dates. I know it will be either Jan 20/21 or Jan 27/28.  There will be a 3rd Non-League QT as well. Having locations and dates are very important. I have forecast the need for 3 non-league tournaments counting on about 140  teams signing up for leagues.  I will open Non-League Sign ups on Tuesday, October 17 at 3pm , with or without confirmed dates from OSU. No worries, there will be non-league tournaments.
    Q: I don't really know the difference between League and Non-League. What is the difference?
    • A:  League teams participate in casual but official 3 short meet events in November and December, play 5 matches at each event, have the benefit of support from other teams and mentors, and try out their designs in real competition. Teams start with basic designs that evolve other the course of season.  League teams compete in a League Qualifying Tournament in January  It supports iterative design and keeps a teams moving and developing their robot.
    •  A Non-League team conducts team meetings in the fall on their own to develop their robot and competes in one Non-League Qualifying Tournament in January.  
    • Both League and Non-League teams advance to Super-Qualifier Weekend and the State Championship. 

    Q: Why do we have to sign up for a League when the team is already nationally registered? 
    A: Where your team is going to compete at an event in Oregon was never asked on the national registration form. And I can't assume or guess where your team wants to compete or if your team wants to be part of a league or go the non-league route. I have almost 200 teams to sort and I need your information. If your national registration is in progress but not complete, go ahead and sign up for a League if that is your preference.

    Q: Why else do I need to submit the information to you? If our team is in [insert city] can't you just assume we'll be in [insert league]?
    A: No, I can't assume that. And I need to know your team's preferred name, how many kids are on the team so I can order pins, and a lot of other information necessary to prepare materials for the league meets. We are handing out League Crates at volunteer training on Oct 21. That is not much time to prep. 

    Q: How do I know if I've submitted a League event form to tell you we want to be in League? 
    A: Right now only the League Sign-up is available and it is closing tomorrow. 
    You can check this list to find out if your team has already submitted a form. 

    Q: Which Leagues still have room? A: Here is the League Schedule.
    • Rose City at Madison HS in Portland needs one more team to BE a League and room for 5 more teams 
    • Capitol League in Salem needs one more team to BE a League and has room for 5 more teams. 
    • Central Oregon League has 6 sign-ups and has room for 6 more teams. 
    • Columbia Basin League - Pendleton -  -has 6 sign-ups and room for 18 more teams 
    • Mid-Columbia -Hood River - has 7 sign-ups and room for 9 more teams. 
    • Mid-Western -JunctionCity - has 8 sign-ups and room for 4 more teams.
    • SiliconForest -Hilsboro - has 22 sign-ups and room for 2 more teams. 
    • SOAR - Roseburg - has 20 sign-ups and will make room for 6 more teams. 
    • Tualatin Valley - Tigard - has 14 sign-ups and is CLOSED. 

    Q: Okay, I checked the list and we're not on it and we want to be part of a league? What do I do now?  
    • Look at the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Schedule 
    • Read through the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Sign-up worksheet to know what is asked, prep your answers and know what your options are.  
    • After preparing, go online and submit an online FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon LEAGUE Sign-up for your team.
      • ONE TEAM = ONE SIGN-UP FORM. The form is not designed for multiple teams. Submit one form per team
    • Pay for your League Membership  —  includes League Meets & League Qualifying Tournament
    ONLINE SIGN-UP FOR LEAGUES ENDS ON Monday, OCTOBER 16th at 11:59 pm, but you have until Oct. 31 to pay. 

    Thank you for your cooperation in moving event registration forward. 

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Hello FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon!

    3 ITEMS -
    #1 - National Registration
    #2- League Sign-up/Non-League Signup
    #3-Benson BotFest Signup 

    We are about one month out from kickoff! Time to get all of the paperwork (or online submissions in line) and move on to dedicated business of building robots!

    Here is your checklist!
    #1 - Are you Nationally Registered and Paid?  Here is a list to check - there is a 48 hour delay from the time you pay and the time it shows up on my list. There are 171 teams on the list, I'm expecting a total of about 186. 
         Not on the list?  Either you are not registered, or you haven't updated your team profile for 2017 or you are a new team who has not gone into the FIRST Storefront to complete your national registration 
    #2 - Have you registered yet for a League?  I'm expecting about 130 teams to be registered for leagues but as of today only 62 teams have sign up for Leagues as of today. [insert puzzling gif here] 
    Here is the list to check if your online league sign up was received. 
    Not on the list, and want to be part of a league? 
     Don't delay, sign up today. Payments are not due until the end of the month but League Sign-up is supposed to end on Monday, October 16th. 

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Sign-up Procedure 
    NON-LEAGUE Team Event Sign-up will open on Friday, October 13th at 3pm. I'm still waiting to hear from Oregon State University Robotics Club on dates. And we are close to confirming a 3rd Non-League QT. 
    BENSON BotFest 2017
    Our annual workshop for rookie team members (rookies on veteran teams are welcomed) held at Benson High School in Portland on Saturday, October 21st, 9am - 2:30 pm ALL of the information, schedule, online sign-up is posted at on the ORTOP Website under Team Resources/Workshops 
    If you have a question about Benson BotFest 2017- contact John DeLacy at johncdelacy@gmail.com

    NEEDS for BotFest 
    1) I am looking for an adult Mentor to teach the OnBot Java workshop. You should have familiarity with OnBot Java.
    2) Also, looking for two more FTC Teams that have any kind of a robot to participate in the referee training scrimmage. Needs to have a 30 second autonomous program (required only to wiggle and stop at 30 seconds) and a teleop. Contact Cathy Swider if you can be there for about one hour the morning. 
    3) Veteran team members to be at the Help Desk in the Cafeteria to help rookie teams with their robots. Can have more than one team to do shifts. 


    Friday, October 6, 2017

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community:

    I've decided to open the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Sign-up today- October 6th. It will close October 16th. 

    And wait to open the Non-League sign-ups until next Friday, October 13th at 3:00 pm. This is because I am waiting on dates from Oregon State University.  It will close October 31st. 

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Event Sign-up

    • Eligibility for FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Events 
      • FIRST Tech Challenge teams must meet in Oregon or Skamania/Klickitat Counties in Washington.
      • Must be a current nationally registered paid team, with two adults as primary and assistant coaches who have passed background screening
        - click here for national registration information
    • FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon teams must choose between being part of :
      • a League (League Meets with League Qualifying Tournament)
        • This includes 3 or 4 short League Meets in Nov/Dec with a culminating League Qualifying Tournament in January
      • a Non-League (attending one Non-League Qualifying Tournament)
        • Teams work on their robot in the Fall and attend one Non-League Qualifying Tournament in January
      • Both Non-League and League Teams will advance to the Super-Qualifier Weekend in February for a chance to advance to the State Championship

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Sign-up Procedure 
    • Look at the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Schedule 
    • SLOW DOWN, Read through the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Sign-up worksheet to know what is asked, prep your answers and know what your options are.  
    • After preparing, go online and submit an online FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon LEAGUE Sign-up for your team.
      • ONE TEAM = ONE SIGN-UP FORM. The form is not designed for multiple teams. Submit one form per team
    • Pay for your League Membership  ---  includes League Meets & League Qualifying Tournament
    • SIGN-UP FOR LEAGUES ENDS ON Monday, OCTOBER 16th at 11:59 pm 

    FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Non-League Qualifying Tournament Sign-up Procedure 
    • There will be 2 or 3 Non-League Qualifying Tournaments depending on number of registered teams. A team can compete in only one event.  There will be 2 events on a Sat/Sun at Oregon State University. Date to be announced. A 3rd event will be created if there are more teams than can be accommodated at OSU. All events will occur on January 20/21 and Jan 27/28.
    • (when released) Read through the FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Sign-up document to know what is asked, prep your answers and know what your options are.  
    • (when released) After preparing, go online and submit an online FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon NON-LEAGUE Sign-up for your team.
      • ONE TEAM = ONE SIGN-UP FORM. The form is not designed for multiple teams. Submit one form per team
    • Pay for your Non-League Qualifying Tournament 
    • SIGN-UP FOR NON-League Events OPENS ON Friday, OCTOBER 13th at 3:00 pm 
    • SIGN-UP FOR Non-League Events ENDS ON Tuesday, OCTOBER 31st at 11:59 pm 
    • QUESTIONS???? - I'm here for you! Email me - I'll monitor email until 4pm and then check after I get home at 6pm (yes, I have a 2 hour commute on Friday afternoons)