Friday, October 7, 2016

Jonathan Bryant - This Is How I Work

In this week’s How I Work, we are going to look a little bit into the life of a familiar face from FIRST HQ. You might remember him as the guy who says “Bring out the dead!” in the FRC Stronghold Game reveal: Jonathan Bryant. When Jonathan joined FRC, he instantly became mesmerized by the regional atmosphere and years later became a FRC Kit of Parts Engineer. In this article, you can find out more about the amazing stories and advice Jonathan has to offer!

[Responses from September 21, 2016]

Name: Jonathan Bryant (JB)
CD Username: JB
Current Gig/Job: FRC Kit of Parts Engineer
Alma Mater/Degree: Drexel University BS in Mechanical Engineering
Current Team(s): 238 (2016-present)
Former Team(s): 1403 (2008-2014)
Location: Manchester, NH
Hobbies: Food, video games, sports, robotics, and spending time on the water. 

What inspired you to do what you do? Tell us a story.
FIRST® inspired me to do what I do. I know that sounds cheesy. My technology teacher, Mr. Leicht, convinced me to join the team during my junior year at high school. I will never forget the first time I walked into an official competition, it was the 2008 NJ regional and the game was Overdrive, it was like some kind of high. The buzz in the air, the scale of the competition, the elegance of the machines, I knew I was home. That was the defining moment when I said to myself, okay I want to keep doing this and I want to be an engineer. Without a mentor leading the way for me, I would not be an engineer, I would not be in my dream job working at FIRST, and I would not be trying to give the same experience to the students on the team I mentor.    

What is your day job, and how’d you get there?
I work for FIRST as the FIRST Robotics Competition Kit of Parts Engineer. Being the Kit of Parts engineer is a very interesting job and my roles and responsibilities are always changing, which I love. During the build season I work on team updates, q and a’s, and I also oversee the LRI and RI program here at FIRST. During the competition season I go out to events and FTA as well as LRI. During the off season I get to work on game design, manual development, and most importantly the kit of parts, which includes sourcing parts, logistics planning, testing items, and working with suppliers. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I get to hang out with amazing people while working. 

                                     (apparently I really like making that face)

What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?
I love to tell the story of the buttons that 238 brought to Asheville this year. The whole team is standing outside in the cold waiting for the doors to open for the first day of the competition. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the most alert person in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually I notice that some of the students are giggling and looking at me. I start to think do I have something on my face? Am I wearing the wrong outfit? What does my hair look like? Eventually I notice a button that one of the students is wearing.

For those of you who don’t get the joke, I am the bring out your dead guy. The entire team was wearing them, mentors, students, parents. It was kind of perfect. The team gave these buttons out at the event so they were everywhere. I would walk around and see my face everywhere it was very funny.

                                              What's your favorite robot that you didn't help build?
Barrage (254-2014) – The detail that went into every aspect of that robot, along with the simplicity and effectiveness of it, was astounding. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and like all magnificent things, it was very simple. Plus, it was fun to bring some skeleton of it to HQ.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without? (Work/Robotics/Home)
My cell phone. Everything I do is on my Nexus. Recently my phone stopped working for a day while I was traveling and I felt completely lost. I also use google applications extensively for home and robotics. In the robotics lab there is a locked cabinet, that the students do not have access to, with a complete multi tool set and a complete drill set that comes in handy during very stressful times. I really like to walk to and from work while listening to music and my QC35’s allows me to really wind up or shut down. The other tool that we use extensively in the robotics shop is post its. I am a very big fan of tracking progress via post-its. I feel that it really allows people to take ownership of projects while ensuring everything gets done. 

What's your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home)
All my workspaces are basically the same, computer with two big monitors and ample desk space so that I can clutter it up. I am obsessed with my Logitech mx master and have at least one at every workspace.

What do you listen to while you work?
Usually nothing, but when I do it is alternative rock (Blink-182, etc.)

What’s your schedule like during build season?
Work from 0900 to 1800, then robotics with the team from 1800 to 2200ish, Monday to Friday. Saturdays are typically 0900 to 1600 with the team and Sundays are typical down time until about week 4, when the team will meet for a few hours.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I do not think I am better than anyone else at some everyday thing. There are almost 7.5 billion people on this planet, it would be absurd to think I am better at something then every one of those 7.5 billion people. Although who knows, maybe I am the best at hitting snooze on my alarm clock.
With that being said I think I excel at handling pressure, dealing with problems, and coordinating chaos.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
The only truly finite resource that we have is time, so ask yourself at the end of every day, did I use my time wisely?

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Cooking. The reason it is a guilty pleasure is because I spend way too much time and money on it. I will spend hours researching what I am going to cook, ensuring I have the best possible cooking apparatus, procuring the best possible ingredients, and prepping the meal, all for this short 30-minute experience. Basically every time I cook I try to make it the best meal I have ever had. 9 times out of 10 it is not the best but it is that 1 time that keeps me addicted.   

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see Adrienne Emerson 148  answer these same questions.

Anything else you want people to know about you?
I am always available to answer questions, provide feedback, or work through problems with people.

You can contact Jonathan at

“You may delay, but time will not.” - Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Versaplanetary Bolts

As we prepare for the upcoming season we realized we needed more bolts for mounting versaplanetaries and motors. We found most of them from, they often have 15-30% off coupons making buying from them even cheaper. The chart below shows all the bolts we believe we might need when using VPs and 775pros.

Versaplanetary and Motor Mounting Bolts
10-321/2LowBlack Oxide100$10.48$0.10Mounting to < 1/4"
10-323/4LowBlack Oxide100$10.93$0.11Mounting to ~1/4"
10-321LowBlack Oxide50$8.21$0.16Mounting to ~1/2"
Versaplaentary Assembly Bolts
8-320.5SocketBlack Oxide100$8.56$0.09Motor Plate to VP
8-320.875SocketBlack Oxide100$10.23$0.101:1 VP - No Stages
8-321.25SocketBlack Oxide100$13.58$0.141 Stage VP
8-321.75SocketBlack Oxide100$21.37$0.212 Stage VP
8-322.25SocketBlack Oxide25$9.89$0.403 Stage VP
8-322.5SocketBlack Oxide25$4.82$0.193 Stage VP
8-322.75SocketBlack Oxide25$6.42$0.264 Stage VP
775 pro mounting bolts
M4x0.710mmSocketMetric Blue50$4.33$0.09775pro Screws
Versaplaentary Set Screw
10-323/16Set ScrewAlloy Steel50$4.76$0.10Set Screw

- Spectrum

“Reduction of content can make all the difference in the outcome of a design.” - Josef Muller-Brockmann

Spectrum October News

Upcoming Events
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Upcoming Events

  • 10/11 - NRG FIRST Football Showcase at NRG Stadium
  • 10/22 - The Remix - Off-season Event - The Woodlands, no hotel stay. Optional Setup Day on Friday we will drive up. Sign Up -
  • 10/29 - Mock Kickoff - Brainstorming Training and Engineering Design Process. -
  • 11/5 - Canstruction - Building a sculpture out of Canned food. 
  • 11/5 - Barnes and Noble Maker Faire Demonstration
  • 11/12 - 11/13 - Maker Faire Demo at George R. Brown Sign Up -
  • 11/15-11/17 - SpaceCon Convention Demonstration at George R. Brown
  • 11/19 - Space City VEX Volunteering - Clear Lake -
  • 12/3 - FLL Qualifier - Hosted at Strake Jesuit - Volunteer Sign Up Students and Parents -

FLL Qualifier - Dec 3rd

We need team members, parents, teachers, and everyone else to volunteer at our FIRST Lego League qualifier on Dec 3rd.

This event is for teams of 4th - 8th grade students to compete in a robotics challenge.

We host the event in the Strake Jesuit Dining Hall and we are in charge of all aspects of the competition.

We especially need judges for the event. You don't need to have any experience or knowledge about robots to help us judges. You should need to enjoy talking to students and helping to promote STEM education.

Please sign up here:

The Remix, October 22

This is our last off-season event of the 2015 season. It will take place in The Woodlands at College Park High School and is hosted by our friends Texas Torque and CRyptonite.

All students, parents, supporters, etc. are invited to attend this event. It's a fun event and a good introduction to FRC for our new students.

Sign Up:

Mock Kickoff, October 29th

We will be hosting the 2015 FRC Mock Kickoff on Oct. 31 in the Strake Dining Hall. It's a event designed to give students an introduction to the FRC season and engineering design process.

All spectrum team members should plan on attending this event. It will end before 4 P.M. so people can enjoy their Halloween evening.

Sign Up:

FRC Lone Star Central Regional hosted at Strake Jesuit

We are holding the Lone Star Central Regional during spring brake March 15th-18th. Please save the date we want everyone to be there to give our team a home field advantage of cheering fans.

Parents and Supporters
If you would like to help at the event please sign up to volunteer here and we'll pass your information on to the volunteer coordinator for the event.


Social Media

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FRC Season and Competitions

Here is a presentation about the FRC build and competition season. It may give you a bit more insite into what is going to happen during the spring semester.

FRC Season and Competitions
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Houston, TX 77036

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Spectrum AV Case

 We built a new AV Case to help with make running events such as TRI easier. We have attached some photos below and also listed out what's all inside it.

The advantage of this box is much of the system is able to stay wired together between events. The microphones are already connected to the mixer. The PC is setup and ready to connect to the network cameras we use and start the streaming. This should dramatically reduce our setup time at events.

Front of the case (Starting from the top)
  1. Rugged Polyethylene Road Case - 10U
    • Inexpensive case for all this gear.
    • If we did it again, we might by the 12U version instead of the 10U

    • Allows us to input microphones, music, game sounds, etc and control all the volumes
    • Doesn't have push button mutes, but it's FX outputs let us easily send the MC and announcer audio to the stream without sending music.
  3. dbx266XL Compressor
    • Not required but can be useful for adjust microphone audio, etc.
    • We purchased ours off craigslist, used.
  4. GTD Audio G-787HL UHF Wireless Microphone System
    • 2 handheld, and 2 body microphones
    • Very good range and quality for the price
    • We noticed some feedback issues but that happens with more expensive units as well.
    • These are great upgrades over any cheap system. Battery meters, auto channel selection, and other features make these much nicer to use.
  5. 3U drawer for holding microphones, a laptop for music playing, etc
  6. A custom built PC to stream the event with

The Drawer
  1. Currently holds the microphones
  2. We also can put a laptop on top of them

The Back of the Case (Starting from the top)
  1. Tripp Lite Rackmount Network-Grade PDU Power Strip
  2. NETGEAR ProSAFE JGS516PE 16-Port Gigabit Rackmount PoE
    • Used to connect network cameras to the computer
    • cameras powered using the POE ports
  3. ASUS AC66W Wireless Router
    1. provides DHCP and NAT for the box, this lets us use a single internet connection and distribute to laptops, and other PCs
    2. Also keeps the network cameras at the same IP address every time we connect them.
  1. Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW 3MP Indoor IR Wifi Cube Camera 2.8mm
    • Work very well for our purposes and far cheaper than a pro quality SDI camera.
Additional stuff
  1. HDbaseT - HDMI extender
  2. Lots of cables from Amazon and Monoprice
Future Additions
  1. UPS power supply
  2. HDMI 1x8 splitter
  3. 4 port output graphics card
- Spectrum

"My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker." - Robert Wise

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Final TRI 2016 Team Update

Thank you to everyone that came out to TRI 2016. It's always fun to have so many great teams come and play robots for the day. I hope everyone had a good time and I hope to have you all back next year. Please take a moment to go through the links below to find the post event team survey, photos, videos, and more from the event.

Post TRI Survey (Help make this event even better)

Free FRC Mentor Workshop July 8th and 9th 
hosted by Scott Rippetoe(FRC#1477) and myself
please come out and join us.

TRI 2016 Photos

If your team took photos you would like everyone to have you can even join the album and upload them for others to use as well.

TRI 2016 Match Video

TRI 2016 Offical Results

TRI 2016 Workshop Videos

TRI 2016 Team Interview Videos (More will be going up in the next week or so)
Thank you to all the teams that participated in this project.

Volunteers Needed for Texas Robot Roundup July 29th & 30th
Just a reminder that TRR needs volunteers
Sign Up Here:

Thank You,

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Free Robot Competition - TRI - Saturday June 25th

TRI is June 25th. Hope to see you there.
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June 25th 8 A.M. - 5 P.M.

8900 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX

Free Robotics Competition

Have you seen 120 pound robots shoot boulders, go over castle defenses, defend and scale a tower? If not, watch as 42 FIRST® Robotics Competition high school student teams from around the region compete on a specially designed castle themed field at the 3rd annual Texas Regional Invitational (T.R.I.).  This free family event is on Saturday, June 25th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory  located at 8900 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX, 77036. Come watch all the fast paced action! It is a video game come to life.

T.R.I. is organized by Spectrum #3847, a FIRST Robotics Team from Houston, Texas. T.R.I.’s goal is to introduce families to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and how much fun it can be. Spectrum #3847 is made up of high school students from St. Agnes Academy and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory two Catholic college preparatory schools in southwest Houston, Texas. 

For more information on the Texas Robotics Invitation (TRI), please visit or contact Allen Gregory at (360) 390-5244 or e-mail us at TRI@spectrum3847.o

FIRST® Robotics Competition

FIRST® is an acronym for: "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology". The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) is an annual extra curricular activity for High School students to design, build, and operate point-scoring robots with help from community mentors. The mission for FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get!

FIRST® FRC is a six-week competition program for high-school students to build 120 pound (54 kg) robots that can complete a task that changes every year using standard set of parts, plus any additional off-the-shelf or custom parts. The winning teams from those tournaments join the global competition at FIRST® Championship.

In 2017, Houston will be hosting the FIRST® Championships until 2020 at George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, and Minute Maid Park.

Team List

Team # Name School/Location
57 The Leopards Washington High School
118 Robonauts Clear Creek ISD
148 Robowranglers Greenville High School
231 High Voltage Pasadena Independent School District.
441 DEVIL DOGS Reagan H S
456 Siege Robotics Vicksburg, Mississippi
457 Grease Monkey Robotics South San Antonio High School
624 CRyptonite Cinco Ranch High School
1011 CRUSH Tucson, AZ
1296 Full Metal Jackets Rockwall High School
1477 Texas Torque The Woodlands, TX
1710 The Ravonics Revolution Olathe Northwest High School
2158 ausTIN CANs Anderson HS
2582 PantherBots Lufkin H S
2585 Impact Bellaire H S
2587 DiscoBots Lamar HS & Carnegie Vanguard H S
2721 Blue Mite Lasara H S
2789 TeXplosion Manor New Technology High
2881 Lady Cans Girl Scouts of Central Texas Troop 3993
2950 Devestators Harmony Science Acad
3005 RoboChargers Emmett J Conrad H S
3103 Iron Plaid Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
3335 CY-BORGS Cypress Ranch H S
3366 Roscoe Plowbots Central Fasteners & Roscoe Collegiate H S
3481 Bronc Botz Louis D. Brandeis High School
3735 Klein Bots Klein ISD
3847 Spectrum St Agnes Academy & Strake Jesuit
3991 KnightVision Episcopal High School, Baton Rouge, LA
3999 Shadetree Robotics Killeen, TX
4335 Metallic Clouds Waco, TX
4587 Jersey Voltage Jersey Village High School
4639 RoboSpartans Seven Lakes High School
5052 RoboLobos The Cedar Park High School
5261 Cyber Shock Humble ISD
5427 Steel Talons Tompkins High School
5414 Pearadox Pearland ISD
5431 Titan Robotics Plano ISD & Academy High School
5566 Sugar Rush Clements H S
5829 Awtybots Awty International School
5892 High Energy Energy Institute High School
5908 Spartans Stafford H S
5986 Iron Fangs Central Catholic HS & Providence Catholic
Copyright © 2016 Spectrum, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
9000 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

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