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Best Practices for Managing Bots, Including Regatta Tips and Tricks

We recommend that you use this as a checklist when running your Bots.

BEFORE THE EVENT: 

  1. Take Bot Master 1 and Bot Master 2 training.
  2. Be familiar with our Problem Solving guide. 99% of all support tickets are answered by this article.
  3. Buy our waterproof gear bag and keep it fully stocked.  The bag has all the parts needed to build a Bot. If anything ever breaks, you will be able to fix it quickly.
  4. If you are running an event in a new area, determine the best cellular carrier: https://www.nperf.com/en/map/
  5. Setup and store the Bots in a place that makes them easy to launch and easy to charge.  Put down waterproof outdoor carpet if the area isn't clear of puncture hazards. If possible, be close to water (hose) and power to avoid unplugging the Pelican case every day.  Floating plastic docks (like Versadock) are most ideal as they allow one person to launch and retrieve a Bot.
  6. Confirm inflatable pressure (Deck=40 kPa; Hull=20 kPa; Topside=10 kPa).
  7. If the topside has straps, ensure they are very tight to hold the topside locked with the hull.
  8. Ensure all Bots are fully charged.  Check battery status in the app (Menu -> Battery). Plug in to charge if needed.
  9. Assign each Bot a specific role (i.e. windward, offset, etc.)  This will allow you to use the auto pin feature in the Layout menu.
    • Open the app and click Menu > Settings > Configure Bots
    • Assign each Bot a specific role (i.e. Windward, Windward OffSet, Leeward Gate Port, etc.).  
      • On the Layout screen when you choose "Auto Pin Bots - Yes", the orange dots will automatically pin to the newly set course based on their role. (The Bot will NOT automatically start navigating, but you won’t have to drag and drop the orange circles.)
    • On the same Configure Bots menu, rename the Bots to match up to their role (i.e, W for Weather
      • Use blue painters’ tape to label the Bots with the corresponding name.  Place the blue tape labels on the inside of the top ring (front, back, right and left) or on all four corners of the pontoons to help visually identify the Bots.
  10. Confirm the compass calibration is good.  This is done by checking the ProNav compass against a hand bearing compass right next to the motor head.  Keep in mind that many docks have substantial magnetic interference.  You can only run this test in a flat area that is free of magnetic interference.  Lookup the ProNav Compass direction via Menu > Logs

DURING THE EVENT - MORNING (Pre-Launch and Launch): 

  1. ALWAYS test the Bots before launching them in the water.  Open the app, click on a Bot on the left side menu.  Then click Remote on the Bot Menu and test Left 90, Right 90.  Turn and hold the motor head so that the prop is held away from the deck and test Prop Thrust to 80%. 
    This should be done at the beginning of your race day and at the end of the day, every time you use the Bots.
  2. Check the air pressure on each inflatable by pressing on each cavity to ensure they are hard. The topside is critical because when it deflates it can hit the Minn Kota motor head, which physically blocks steering.
  3. Confirm all Bots have fully charged batteries (Menu -> Battery).
  4. While deploying the motor, ensure that the ProNav/Motor wires are not wrapped around the shaft AND that the motor clutch engages with the motor collar.
  5. After launching the Bots, ensure that the motor head is clear of the topside rings – pull the top rings towards you if it’s not clear.
  6. When towing, always have the motor in the up position with the bridle under both pontoons and do not exceed 5 knots.
  7. After an hour on the water, check Menu -> Logs to confirm 12+ satellites are discovered.

DURING THE EVENT - EVENING (Post-Race, Bot Retrieval and Wrap Up):

  1. If you have multiple Bots, send some of the Bots towards the dock/shore while you are collecting the others (i.e., send the windward marks towards the dock while you collect the leeward marks.  Then, on your way in, grab the windward marks which have navigated closer to shore. This will help save time on the tow-in.)
  2. When bringing a Bot back to a dock or a RC boat, use the “Come to Me” button on the Remote screen for an easy retrieval.
    • You also can drag the orange dot waypoint to you so that the Bot motors your way and then open the Remote screen.  Tap stop when the Bot is 3 meters away and then hit Go and use Left and Right to make small directional corrections.  It is best to NOT use Left 90 or Right 90 when in manual control. – Remote driving is recommended only for more advanced users.
  3. Ensure that the ProNav/Motor wires are not wrapped around the shaft when pulling up the motor. There is a sticker on the motor head that says “Lift This Way”.  When lifting the motor, always turn the motor head to the side so that you can read the sticker.
  4. Back on shore, open the app and use the Remote screen to test Left, Right, Prop Thrust to 80% (turn and hold motor head to direct prop away from hull) to ensure nothing broke while towing or pulling the Bot out of the water.
  5. In saltwater, rinse the Bot with fresh water after every use.
    • The mist setting is best for all motor parts.  A more aggressive spray can be used for all rubber parts.
    • Run water on the prop between white and black parts for 15 seconds.
    • DO NOT spray the top of the steering motor (bottom black ring).  Instead, wipe it with a clean cloth.
  6. Plug the Bot in to charge as soon as you finish rinsing.
  7. If you need to remove the topside to do any maintenance, lift it by holding the d-rings on the top ring and pivoting up.

AFTER THE EVENT (Moving/Shipping the Bot): 

  1. If moving Bots between events/shipping, put the Motor in to the horizontal position before rinsing.  This protects the steering motor.
  2. Remove the prop and secure it onto the shipping cradle, and then put the black prop collar onto the motor, place the washer and nut back onto the shear pin and tighten. (This protects the prop from being damaged during transport/shipping).

MISC AND BOT PRO TIPS:

  1. If you notice any problems, click "MENU" ->"LOGS" before trying to fix the issue.  Then, fix your problem.  This stores a log that our support team can review.
  2. TAKE NOTES!  Record any issues or tasks you need to do so that you don’t forget/lose track of them.
  3. If you need to carry the topside around by yourself, it is easiest to do that by grabbing two of the d-rings on the inside of the top ring and lifting.  The topside balances well when you do that.
  4. When a Bot is navigating, avoid using the Anchor button because it will immediately overshoot its target and will have to come back.  Instead, hit Stop, wait 5 seconds, and then press Anchor.


PERFORMING ROUTINE MAINTENANCE:
 

  1. Every month or whenever setting up:

    • Inspect and CorrosionX MC4's (Check contact depth inside terminals).
    • Check silica desiccant (in Battery Box) - the beads should be orange.  If they are grey/clear, heat the pack in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours.
    • Remove the prop to inspect for foreign objects like seaweed and jellyfish on the prop pin/shaft.
    • Inspect thrust gasket depth (should be recessed 1/4").
    • Inspect prop pin (ensure that it moves freely and regrease).
    • Inspect Battery Box (Pelican case) for any moisture or standing water.

  2. Yearly:

    • Run Annual Maintenance Checklist (varies by year - reach out to support@marksetbot.com).
    • Ensure Bots get all possible upgrades:
      • Upgrade to our latest towing system with a retractable tow bridle.
      • Add "Lift This Way" stickers to the port side of the motor head so that people lift them. correctly without snagging.
      • Verify your ProNav has Ringke straps.  This protects the wires from snags and ensures the wires aren't being pulled hard when the motor is in the up position.
      • Add a white clip to restrain ProNav wire.
      • Place a silica desiccant (with orange (active) beads) in the Battery Box.
      • Apply clear heat shrink covering ProNav disconnects.
      • Upgrade to short ProNav standoff bolts.
      • Apply corrosion block on Pelican terminals.
      • Grease the Steering motor.
      • Apply fresh seals on lower drive unit.

 

KEY BOT MASTER TRAITS/CHARACTERISTICS: 

  1. Experienced at setting up race courses
  2. Physically capable of lifting 65 lbs regularly
  3. Great time management
  4. Good at managing expectations and comfortable saying no when something isn't possible
  5. Organized
  6. Good communicator
  7. Logical problem-solver
  8. Quick learner
  9. Technologically savvy
  10. Able to follow directions