CHAPTER 11 MASTER PROGRAMS
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bumped, the variable Number 1 will be incremented by 1. Then, the file where we are saving our state value is deleted so that we can re-create the file by writing the new value to the file. Before the loop starts over, we close the file. The reading, writing, deleting, and closing are all done with the NXT File Access block.
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Figure 11 17. Sample NXT-G code for saving the state of a counter value Adding logic such as this to the master program would not require much effort. It might not be necessary to do so, but if you find yourself needing to save the state of your sequence, a process such as this will work well.
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A master program is not a requirement for any team, but most winning teams at the higher levels will have some type of master program. It not only gives teams an advantage in using time effectively, it shows the technical judges that your team understands advanced programming concepts. If you use such a program, be sure you understand why you re using it and how it works. The examples I have shown in this chapter are strictly to get you started. There are many different ways to build successful master programs, so don t limit yourself to the ideas that have been given in this chapter. All of the examples given can be expanded into full-function sequencers with lots of nice, userfriendly messages and instructions for quick use.
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CHAPTER 11 MASTER PROGRAMS
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C H A P T E R 12
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Now, your winning robot is built, and you ve started writing the programs to run it. How do you keep your NXT programs under control When working as a team, everyone has their ideas of where the programs should be saved or how they should be named. What about when one team member needs to change another team member s code How do you do keep track of who is making changes, and what if some code gets deleted that you later realize you needed to keep Also what about software upgrades and firmware upgrades The NXT-G program is updated every so often, and it s important that your team work with the latest version. This is true for the firmware that your NXT brick runs as well. Keeping your robot s firmware updated is very important to make sure you avoid dealing with unnecessary software issues with your robot s programming.
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Having the latest firmware in your NXT brick is very important. New firmware is often available on the Internet, and it contains fixes for bugs and implements new algorithms for optimizing program space and execution.
Note Firmware is the software stored in the read-only memory of your NXT brick. The firmware is the software that tells the NXT how to behave and interact with the hardware and any loaded programs. For example, it tells the NXT how to display information on the screen or how to talk to a computer via the USB wire things that you take for granted when using the NXT brick.
To download the latest drivers for NXT-G, you will need to install the NXT-G software onto your computer. When the application is loaded, from the Tools menu, select Update NXT Firmware, as shown in Figure 12 1. The resulting screen (see Figure 12 2) will display the current firmware versions available and allow you to connect with the Lego Education web site to check for more recent versions.
CHAPTER 12 PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Figure 12 1. The Update NXT Firmware menu item in NXT-G
Figure 12 2. The Update NXT Firmware dialog
Tip It is always a good idea update firmware at the beginning of the season and stay with that update until you are finished, unless there is a known bug with that version of the firmware. Firmware updates have been known to change robot behavior, which can be devastating the day before the regional or state championship. In addition, if you use multiple robots, be sure all your robots have the same version of firmware.