Are compressors allowed in your pit for cooling motors/using pneumatic tools?

Our team is getting ready for our week 1 event and are considering what to have in the pit. We have a portable air compressor that we are thinking of using for cooling motors between matches and potentially using pneumatic tools such as a rivet gun. We saw another team with one at our most recent offseason event that was hosted by GA FIRST. We aren’t sure if this is legal or not in FIRST Official rules, if anyone knows what the ruling on portable compressors is that would be great to know.

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My team has always had one in our pit. I believe it’s legal so long as you don’t use it to pressurize your robot.


There is NO competition rules that prohibit compressors. some LRIs try to make the argument you can’t have it because you “MIGHT” use it to charge your robot. this is NOT a valid ruling and I recommend you politely escalate the issue to someone above them.

On the other hand venue rules are different. for example grits was run with a generator powering the pits. they may eliminate the compressor based on power requirements not being rated for the compressor, in this case if you are rather desperate I guess you could bring a portable precharged air tank.


Awesome, thanks!

Often, several pits are on the same 15 Amp or 20 Amp circuit. With all the battery chargers and other equipment teams use, the current surge from a compressor can trip the breaker. In some venues, the maintenance staff have to be called in to reset the breaker since it is often in a restricted access area.

This is the key part here. Most of the venues I’ve been at have prohibitions on it even if the FRC manual allows it. Compressors capable of running tools might be considered an OSHA violation for continuous sound exposure. Yes I know the pits and events are always loud but this is something that is above and beyond.

If you plan to run one do not be surprised if the safety folks or the people running the event tell you to take it outside, because this rapidly becomes a case of YTA for doing something inconsiderate to everyone else.

Definitely check with your district (Peachtree) about what they allow. Many districts do not allow compressors at events due to noise. My own NC District is like this. So the best policy before you go carting one off to an event is to be sure it’s allowed.

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Diaphragm compressors have significantly lower amp draw at the cost of cfm, so that may be an option at some venues. Worst case scenario you can recharge a portable air tank with a 12v car air compressor (just don’t use your bot batteries for peace of mind)

Wait, charging your robot’s pneumatics with an external compressor is illegal?


Very much so. But you’re not the only team that did not know that.


This is exactly why I read CD. Good thing we figured that out before our week 1 comp.

Thanks for the quick response!

I’ve flagged teams to the LRI on at least on occasion for having a connector that would allow their at-event compressor to feed their robot.

LRI had a discussion with the team.

I know i’m nitpicking now but i think its important to be specific about what’s a rule and what’s not. There is nothing illegal about filling it in your own shop and some of the automation direct dump valves have a fitting built in.

The fitting itself is not illegal, using it to fill your robot during a competition is.

Now if only we could get them to enforce the music being at a reasonable level during events for the exact same safety concern :roll_eyes:


R806 *Compressed air from ROBOT compressor only. Throughout an event, compressed air on the
ROBOT must be provided by its 1 onboard compressor only. Compressor specifications must not
exceed nominal 1.1 cfm (~519 cm3/s) flow rate @ 12VDC at any pressure.

[Blue box]
A ROBOT’S compressor may be substituted by another compressor, but a ROBOT
may only have 1 designated compressor at a time, and all compressed air on the
ROBOT must be sourced from a single compressor.
Note: Viair C-series compressors, which have a max working pressure of 120 PSI,
are rated for intermittent pressures greater than 125 PSI and therefore meet the
requirements of this rule.

I’m pretty sure the LRI’s discussion was something along the lines of “Remember not to fill your robot with this”.


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