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May 30, 2002  Battlebots 5.0 is over... at least the battle series  is all filmed, and the Nuts have all been awarded.  The battlefield is littered with all but 4 winners -- one from each weight-class.  The new season will probably begin to air sometime late in the summer on comedy central.  However, t is unclear how much Robotic Death Company you'll see on the tube.   Even though our bots both learned powerful lessons in their untimely losses, there were some spectacular moments... as you'll read about below in the reverse chronology of the 5.0 tournament ...  --svm
Monday May 27

We did not do well in the Rumble like we had hoped.  We spun up and made a few hits before we hit someone who flipped us.  While trying to self-right RAMBITE started to smoke and burn.  Flames shot from the bottom and the match was stopped so someone could come into the arena and extinguish the flames.  Here are a few pics of the damage:

Here is RAMBITE right after the fight with the shell removed.

That is what is left of a VIC 883 Motor Controller from IFI.

This is the IFI VIC 883 next to the IFI Thor 883 that came out of "The Judge"  He had a very similar flame out on his during his match.


We did not do very well this season like we had expected.  We still have a lot to learn and a lot of testing to do in the next 6 months leading up to Season 6.0.  We will not be building another bot  until we get the bug out of the two that we currently have.  We need to make sure we have reliable motor controllers in both bots that can handle the current of all the motors we use in the most extreme conditions.  We also need to be more stable when we spin the lightweight up to full speed and we need to spin up a little faster.   The heavyweight spun up very stable and got to top speed very quickly.    

This season we were in the pits across the table from the Judge and behind Team Loki.  Both were really friendly and helpful when it we needed help and we also help them out whenever we could.  Team Loki broke out their tools to help us get MEGABITE ready to fight when we were shoved into the arena 2 hours before we were scheduled to fight.  They had 5 bots that made it to the TV rounds and were among the nicest bunch of bot builders you could ever meet.  

 The Judge's designer is a mechanical and electrical genius.  His bots had sensors to detect when the opponent was within range of his hammer.  They also had redundancy built into it in case of failure.  His bots have been consistently voted by other bot builders the best engineered bots.  They are a work of art.  He did not do as good this year because of technical problems.  Hi Lightweight the Prosecutor did win 3 preliminary fights but lost it's first fight of the TV round.  The Judge, the super heavyweight, lost its first fight mostly because of his burning motor controller.

Heart of Gold lost his 1st fight of the TV round because of a technical failure.  He was winning the fight up until the failure happened.   He came to me and told me he liked my update about his fight so maybe my perspective of how the fight went was accurate. 

Thanks for reading these updates.  Please emails me if you have any questions. --John

Sunday May 26

When we started the fight RAMBITE did could not spin and move at the same time.  If we spun it would not drive and when we started driving it would not spin.  This made it impossible to spin to full speed and get any good hits.  He pushed us at will.  We got hit by hammers and saws and was flipped upside down.  We learned the night before we could self-right without our mast, so we removed the mast before the fight and added armour to the belly for saw damage.  We spin and turn on our side like a coin and self-right.  This made the crowd cheer when we did this, but we did not get many points because of our spin/control problem.  We lost a lopsided decision.  After thinking about our testing we have done, we realized we tested the bot spin while it was stationary and drove around while it was not spinning.  We did this mostly because of safety issue.  We will be in the losers rumble on Monday night.  We are adding a battery pack to drive the wheels and the two we have will be for the spin only.  

In the rumble we plan to hit someone famous at full speed.  We will be happy to give a big hit to someone and to test out RAMBITE when it spins at full speed.

We bent our main shaft in the fight from a hammer hit to the end or our weapon, but have repaired it and rewired RAMBITE for the new voltage system.  It will be ready to rumble tomorrow night.  We will be driving back Wed morning since the fight don't end until 11PM Monday night.  --John

Saturday May 25

We fight "Slap Em Silly" May 26 Sunday Morning.   We have been having teams come up to us hoping we knock them out.  There seems to be a lot of resentment over an incident that happened with the "Slap Em Silly" team yesterday.  They have a Heavyweight Multi-Bot that was fighting a match where the opponents realized something was wrong with his bot after they got into the arena.  He asked for a postponement something that is common and all Battlebot builders always says YES to a postponement.  Well they said NO so the opponent chose to fight with the problem other than taking a loss.  The crowd booed "Slap em Silly" very loudly.  Well the  "Slap Em Silly"  multi-bot lost anyway and the whole crowd cheered wildly.  The little boy from  "Slap em Silly"  team was upset and was crying and flipped off the crowd.  They seem to be disliked among the builders in the pits.  The team is a little boy and his father.  They realize they made a mistake and regret what they did according to what they told me.

 "Slap Em Silly" original bot made it to the final 8 last year.  They bought the bot they competed with off of E-bay.  I was bidding on the bot for target practice for RAMBITE but failed to get a last bid in before the bid was closed.   The original builder is a Purdue Fresh ME major named George Roach.  The Patriot was the original name  "Slap Em Silly".  George built a new and tougher version also named the Patriot and has made the TV round with his new bot.  The New Patriot fight Sallad tomorrow 3 fights before our fight.  It will be a good RAMBOT (SALLAD) against a very good WEDGEBOT (The Patriot). This years  "Slap em Silly"  is completely rebuilt and is supposed to be much tougher than the one that made the final 8 last year.   They are a very tough wedge bot ranked 11 by Battlebots, the Same ranking Herr Gupounden was last year when we defeated him in our first TV round fight.  It will be a tough fight against a tough competitor.   Come back tomorrow to find out the results.


We have been doing a lot of testing over the last few days with RAMBITE.  Trying to get the right combination of blades and weights to be as stable as possible.   We found out in our testing that RAMBITE can self right itself without the mast.  It spins upside down and then goes onto its side like a spinning coin and eventually self rights.  It was an amazing thing to see in the test box at battlebots.   RAMBITE spins so fast with so much power it is very scary to watch.   I hope we can stay stable and be able to dish out multiple hits.  We are hoping the  "Slap Em Silly"  can not handle but a few big hits from RAMBITE but we have to be prepared to go the distance in case he can.  As long as we don't stop spinning we should be able to win a decision in the event he can handle everything we can dish out.  --John

Thursday 5-23-2002

The Fight

We fought "Heart of Gold" today.  We started the fight out strong with about 3 big hits from our spinner destroying his right rear wheel, destroying his lexan shield and cutting into his front armour.  After the 3rd big hit our Whyachi motor controller stopped working and we had to fight the rest of the fight without our weapon. 

"Heart of Gold" was a very sturdy bot that had redundant wheels.  Losing his one wheel did not stop him.  He also had put on a secret weapon (See Picture below) to his rear to absorb our first hit.  His idea was to take the big hit and stop our spinner.  It did take the first hit and a lot less damage was caused to his bot because of his ingenious idea.  It would not have stopped our blades, but it did possibly win him the fight by avoiding most of the 1st big hit, which caused him to withstand the next two before we stopped spinning.   What stopped our blades was the motor controller we were using went onto some sort of failsafe mode and stopped working.  It is very hard in Battlebots for a spinner to win a decision if he fights half of the fight without his spinner working.  Even though we had inflicted a lot of damage to "Heart of Gold", his wedge was able to get under us and push us around..  "Heart of Gold" won a close split decision but we did WAY more damage to him that he did to us.  After the fight the motor controller worked fine and you could not even tell MEGABITE was in a fight at all.  We will be rooting for "Heart of Gold in his next fight.  If he wins he will be in the TV rounds for Battlebot season 5.0.  His next match is against Crab Meat who would have been a much more easy fight for MEGABITE.   We hope he can repair his damage in time to defeat Crab Meat.

The  Good News

Everything we designed worked as planned.  The bot was completely stable with all hits, even when we hit the front of his sturdy wedge.  It spun up very fast and hit very hard.  There are not many bots out there that will be able to withstand many hits from Megabite.  Every hit does massive damage. None of the batteries or wires were even warm, and no connection came loose.  We believe that once we get more testing in with a more robust motor controller (Pro Controller) MEGABITE will be a force to recon with in Season 6.0.  --John



Megabite After Fight.



The "Heart of Gold" Team

They were very good sports and gave us a piece of his 3/8" Lexan that we knocked off as a souvenir.

Heart of Gold's Secret Weapon  He put layer of Lexan with bundled rope sticking out the back of his bot.  This contraption went flying all over the floor on the first big hit.


Front rails destroyed and front wheel damaged

Front Rail and 3/8" Lexan Destroyed


Back Wheel Destroyed and Back 3/8" Lexan destroyed.  Notice the wheel sitting up inside the robot.  That is where it was when the fight ended.




We signed up for safety on Sunday and it's Tuesday morning and we still have not been called into safety for our safety check for MEGABITE.  We fight "Heart of Gold" at 2:00PM later today.  Battlebots are way behind and are checking some bot just hours before their fights.   We had to take MEGABITE off the Island in order to spin it up for the first time.  MEGABITE spun up much faster and smoother than we expected.   No wobble or unbalance at all.  The safety check should be a cake walk.  We were very happy with what we saw when we spun it up.

Heart of Gold is a very solid Wedge bot with a row of saws design to pull bots over it's wedge.  We like our chances against this mostly Lexan armoured bot.  Check back later tonight or tomorrow morning to find out the results and a blow by blow of this fight.  If we defeat "Heart of Gold" we will face the winner of "Crab Meat" and "Botknocker".  The winner of our second fight will be in the TV rounds.


The picture is Mark Hamilton a good friend who is putting us up while we are in the Bay Area. That is his dog Hercules, notice what is in his right hand (Dog Poop).  Ha ha ha.

So far, as of 5/22/02, bot Rambite and Megabite are passed their visual safety inspection. Rambite will compete on Saturday, and Megabite's first battle will be Thursday afternoon. Both bots are looking good with their new lettering, and are running well. For megabite, this has meant lots of wiring changes, and a severe weight loss diet, since with the new Whyatchi motor controller and fifth battery pack, we were already 15 pounds over our 220# weight limit.

Carl trimmed down Megabite's fat by hawging out holes in the weapon in and removing the back side of the weapon weights with his portable band-saw. Tomorrow, the plan is to get into the dynamic safety bull-pen and spin her up to make sure she's actually stable with all the new components and changed weights.

Apparently at today's finals a super heavyweight a design similar to our x-bite bots did very well. This is encouraging.

The weather is beautiful, and all are enjoying the tremendously creative energy here. Rambite and Megabite are in their best shape ever to kick some bot butt. Best Regards.  --svm


Thanks for your interest.  Needless to say, we're looking forward to the next battle series.  We have moved several things into the forefront of our priorities:
  • Bringing up the Ascendco / Procontroller Ultimate Robot Motor Controller to deliver power to our motors without needing the San Francisco Fire Department to intervene
  • Finding a safe place for us to Practice / Test-drive our bots.  Someplace where the bots won't take out cars, or stray dogs: Perhaps an outdoor handball court at a nearby park.

See you at 6.0