Calling Penalties on Disabled/Disconnected Robot


What is/should be the official ruling on calling penalties on teams whose robots are disabled or disconnected? Watching some of Michigan and New England there are instances where refs will call penalties on robots who get disabled on the other side of the field, loose radio, battery, etc. 27 seemed to lose control over their arm and decided to play defense, good decision seeing as their arm cant move. Near the 40 second mark the lose comms and their arm falls out of their frame. I understand calling a penalty for that, but why would the continue to call penalties. This obviously isn’t the only time this has happened. But is there some official ruling on this? It’d be great to know seeing as champs is right around the corner. Thanks.


Fouls and Tech Fouls do not care if you are disabled or disconnected it sucks people lose matches because of this. Examples of this can be seen with robots being disabled after autonomous when they get stuck on the scale. The rules are rules no matter if your robot is dead or alive.

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I’m by no means an official source but that is consistent with what I’ve seen over the past few years. I do think it should be like that – while it’s unfortunate when a robot breaks, it can help prevent “strategic E-stopping” where a robot could be e-stopped in a location that would get in the way of the other alliance.


Yep Disabled or disconnected robot can incur penalties. Years ago there was a strategy of blocking a key area and e-stopping the robot. You can blame them.

A couple years ago an Einstein match was partially decided by a robot getting disabled in a bad place and continually incurring penalties.


If the field disconnects from you, then everyone looses coms. That’s a field fault. If it is just your robot loosing coms, I have to believe that you have bad connections in your electrics.

Moral of the story, if you can’t trust your electrical connections, don’t defend.


I don’t think this is true in all cases, your point is still valid - there are failure modes which count as field fault.

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The FMS is like a small child you have to keep it happy or else it will just…


Specifically Houston Einstein Finals M2 in 2017, if I remember correctly.


Unfortunately, if a robot disabled, it still can offten times be doing something that would be unfair for the other aliance to have to deal with. For example in one match I saw a robot disable info front of the hab, making it impossible for the other aliance to climb. Sure, it wasn’t on propose, but it certainly wouldn’t be fair to let us go unpenalized.


Not to mention last year the penalty high score match (not Einstein) came from a robot getting E-stopped by the referee during autonomous while hanging on the scale. (The referee got is due by having to the penalty chop the entire match.)


To add to that, I’ve seen robots die next to the rocket in the last 20 seconds of the match. Taking away time that should be more or less undefended. I’ve seen this prevent a rocket from being completed. That robot definitely deserves a G16 foul.

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If they are in the way, then wouldn’t a light push while attempting but failing to score make them touch the rocket and give you the G16 foul points and the associated ranking point?


That was the whole point. The thread is on whether or not it is correct/ethical to give fouls to disabled robots.

I was just giving an example of one that they definitely should be fouled. That being said, there have also been matches where the HR did not give that a G16 in the same situation.


Because the rule is “CONTACT” with the rocket. No touch, no foul. Also, bear in mind that C8 could apply to robots that are pushed into the rocket while disabled. I’ve seen that one happen.

On the “is it ethical” or “is it correct”–If disabled robots are immune from being penalized, I’m parking TWO of my robots in front of your loading stations and hitting the E-stop. I would expect that rather than complaining “That’s Not Fair”, you would immediately return the favor*. Now: Is that a Desired Match Outcome? Why or why not? Would the audience enjoy it? Why or why not?

I will note that the second-highest score this year was due to a robot that stopped responding to commands, while pinning an opponent against their own loading station. That got really ugly, really fast, and if you’re really observant it could have been even worse.

Because of the strategic impact of not penalizing disabled robots, I would not be in favor of any move to allow disabled robots to not be penalized. However, I would also say that there’s a limit to how much they should be penalized–it’s really frustrating to not be able to do anything about the penalties racking up against your robot, especially knowing that they’ll just keep coming.

*If you start said complaint, then the policy of penalizing disabled robots is 100% correct. If you play the same strategy, then it’s not necessarily correct–but go through the next couple of questions.


It’s only a C8 if you don’t have a game piece. Otherwise they are just in your way to the port or hatch.