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Pool Test Update: 5/27/19 & 6/5/19

Summer is in full swing, and as the countdown to competition continues, pool testing regularly becomes important. Taking advantage of the better weather, the team has gotten access to several local pools to test new developments on the vehicle, both in our software and mechanical additions. Two pool tests have taken place over the past few weeks and here was the result.

May 27, 2019:

This Memorial Day pool test had two main goals: test a new control iteration of Puddles's software stack and test stereo vision underwater. Unfortunately the test did not go as planned. Due to a poor connection on the ESC board and a fluctuation in PWM signal one thruster would not spin, limiting our testing ability. This was quickly solved and the controls testing continued as planned, though it was not the end of our problems with the ESC board. During an earlier pool test a limiter was removed from the software stack which allowed for higher PWM values to be published to the thrusters. These higher values caused more current to pass through the ESC board than it was designed for. This led to multiple traces burning on the board, as seen below, creating smoke within the main housing. 

The damage stopped the team from being able to effectively test the new control system since our system could not account for the loss of a heave thruster. However, the pool test was still a success. Since testing the cameras does not require a thruster the team was able to determine that stereo vision will work underwater. 

June 2, 2019:

With issues from the May 27th pool test solved, the team went back out to test the new control system and get training footage of props. After addressing some communication issues between the motherboard and coprocessor board the new control system worked as planned. The vehicle was able to maintain stability when disturbed, as seen in the video below, and from the data gathered the team believes the vehicle will be able to perform rolls and flips during competition with some minor adjustments to the code. Footage of the props were not able to be gathered to due the lack of people able to attend the pool test. For future testing the team hopes to have more members there in order to multi-task and better use our limited time at the pool.