2013 Western Canadian FRC Regional Pit Power

Received last night from the Western Canadian FRC Regional folks:

“However, we are extremely limited in power at the venue. Be sure to charge your cell phones and personal devices at home (you will not be permitted to do so at the competition). Ensure your laptops and batteries are fully charged prior to entering the Oval. Battery and game laptops will be permitted to juice up, anything outside of this will not be permitted. Tools with low power consumption will be allowed - use the machine shop for larger tools. Only 10 Watts per team is allocated - respect it or you will have to be the one resetting the breaker every 10 minutes.”

10 watts??? Battery charging will take vastly more than that! Then there’s pit lighting, corded power tools, etc.

Doing some simple math on this means that the plan is to power all 30 teams at 10 watts each 30 x 10 = 300 watts total!

Most laptops draw at least 65 watts. I think they forgot a zero, but even so, 300 watts is incredibly small. A dremel pulls more than that.

Maybe they meant 10 Amps (after all breakers are measured in Amps, not Watts)? Charging a battery 12V @6A pulls less than 1A of current at 120V. It’s reasonable to charge a few batteries plus a laptop within 10A. Start tossing on additional laptops, cell phones, and power tools and it’ll rapidly get up there, though!

Unfortunately, FIRST is stuck with whatever power system is available at the venue. If power turns out to be a huge issue, hopefully they’ll look at alternative nearby venues for next year!

This might be a dumb question but isn’t “available electrical power capacity” one of the items on some kind of standardized Venue Selection Requirements Checklist (along with things like floor space, seating capacity, parking, etc)???

I’ve experienced some issues like this at various off-season events but you shouldn’t expect to see this at an official regional event (given the prices we pay).

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…The Eh Team.

A singular typical household North American AC outlet can push ~1500W. There’s just no way that they actually meant 10W/team. A 2A trickle charge @ 12VDC is 24W.

I would estimate a typical FRC team’s pit power needs as follows:

6x 6A battery chargers @12VDC = 6x72W = 432W
2x Laptop power supplies (programming/driver station) @ 75W = 150W

Corded Drill @ ~350W
Benchtop Bandsaw @ ~300W
Benchtop Drillpress @ ~400W
Incandescent Worklight @ 60-100W

Peak usage: 432 + 150 + 350 + 300 + 400 + 100 = 1732W, or just a bit more than a regular 15A circuit could provide, if they wanted to use everything at once.

I just had some correspondence with people involved in the planning of the Western Canadian Regional. The email that was sent out was from the event CSA, who was doing a great job of prepping the teams for the event. There was a slight typo in the message that was sent out. The event will have a 10 Amp max or a 1100 Watt power limit. I hope this eases the confusion and concerns brought up here.

That sounds better, and really, I suspect that many events have power limitations of this sort, even though we never hear about them.

Thank you Karthik.

FIRST standard is 10 Amps of power per team. We know we have 10 amps available - we have a technician who is working with the venue to see if it is possible to increase that to 15 amps of power per team.

Regional Director

So The Eh Team was on the case after all. Hannibal gave you this one for free. The next one will cost you. :rolleyes: