The Kit Pit

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Please Be Advised: The answers to the questions below are consistent with the BRI rules in addition to Heartland BEST policy.  If you are visiting this website but attend another hub (welcome!), your hub may have slight variations to these answers.


HL BEST Kit KickOff Presentation (2009 .ppt)


Kit Related FAQ's

Electrical Questions

Where can I go for more sites like this one?


Kit Materials Related FAQ's

Q: Are we supposed to return consumable parts?

A: We expect that most of the consumable kit parts are, well, consumed!  But Heartland BEST does graciously take back unmodified consumable kit parts in addition to the returnable kit parts.  We save roughly $300 in annual costs by recycling unused consumable parts.


Q: Can we solder to the motors to improve electrical connections?

A: YES, And Please Do!  So long as you keep in mind this general rule: the only wire you can cut and solder is the long length of wire provided in the consumable kit.  Do not cut and solder servo wires, OEM extension cables, battery leads or charger wires.  This seems like a long list of don'ts, but the only soldering that should really be taking place is from wire to wire, or from wire to terminal (motors, micro switches).


Q: In the rules, it says returnable kit parts cannot be modified.  But we return the drive component parts and the rules state we can modify some of those . . . Help!--I'm confused!

A: Below is a list of items that can be modified from the "Returnable" and "Drive Components" inventory:

 Any of the servo horns (cut, drill, glue, bend, . . .)

 0.080 pitch, 1/4" wide belt stock, 3' long (cut, glue, sew, tie in a knot, . . .)


But please remember, the less material that is needlessly modified, the more $$ Heartland BEST saves when you return your kit parts--we work on a tight year-to-year budget, so every little bit that can be returned for another year's use helps!  For example, did you know that the large round servo horns are close to $5 a piece from some vendors?  At that cost per mass, they're worth more than 24k gold!


Q: I recall from the past that putting Velcro on returnables was allowed in some cases.  Is this still the case?

A: No.  In the distant past, the use of Velcro was permitted on speed controllers.  Since speed controllers are no longer part of the returnable kit, Velcro may not be used on returnable kit items (unless of course, we put it there before handing out the kits on KickOff).


Q: What do I do if a servo, motor, . . .etc. stops working?

A: Do not  throw it away.  Let Steve know ASAP so that an exchange can be set up.  Motors are scrapped for parts to repair other motors and other returnable kit parts are scrapped as well.  Heartland BEST saves money each year on recycling "broken" kit parts.


Q: Can we use our own NiCad batteries instead of the ones that come with the kit?

A: For practice at home, yes.  You should use your own charger for your own batteries though.  However, on Game Day practice batteries are not allowed.  Part of the competition is battery management; allowing extra batteries would be an unfair advantage for competition.  All of the batteries are reconditioned prior to Kickoff so that their performance is 2,000+ mAhr.  So they shouldn't have a problem maintaining a charge.  If they do, contact Steve.


Q: We have a charger that is much better than the one provided in the Returnable Kit.  Can we use it instead?

A: It's difficult to police what goes on in your workshop. . .  But on Game Day, only the charger provided in the Returnable Kit is allowed.


Electrical Questions

Q: How can I make sure my transmitter battery won't run out on me the next day?

A: Make sure the batteries are fully charged the night before.  Also, it would be prudent to have fresh new batteries on hand; for your own team or for another team who is in a battery crisis!  For you veteran BEST teams, this is different than in years past--the transmitters now require AAA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery pack.


Q: How can I tell if my transmitter battery is getting low?



Where can I go for more sites like this one?

Q: I have more questions that weren't answered here--where do I go for help?

A1: Tim can answer any general questions about Heartland BEST you might have.  If it's a technical/electrical question, try emailing Steve.  If it's a game, rule or material use question, you should really post it to the official BRI Q&A board (note that once the BEST season begins, this page will require a password until the final KickOff has taken place.  Passwords are provided at Kickoff.).  You might also try the BRI FAQ page for additional general information.  Heartland BEST's FAQ page is not intended to become a dynamic page; its main purpose is to be a source of information to teams as they brainstorm, troubleshoot, and work on their robot.

A2: Don't be bashful about browsing the websites of other hubs--there are a LOT of knowledgeable people in BEST whose hard work (a fraction of it, anyway) can be found on the web.  You might also get in touch with other teams: HL BEST teams, FT BEST teams or otherwise; get resourceful!