Can Non-Pneumatic Devices be Connected to a Pneumatic System?

QA 283 declared that a Falcon 500 is not a pneumatic device:

Q: We are looking for clarification to R79. Are we allowed to use an off-board compressor and tank system to cool motors? We would only plug the tubes from our off-board system into the ports on our Falcon 500s and release the air to cool them between matches
asked a day ago by FRC 3175

A:Provided that one or more set screw plugs are removed from the Falcon 500, the device is not considered a pneumatic device as it is not a sealed system capable of maintaining pressure. R79 and other pneumatic rules do not apply in this case (though other safety and event rules may apply).

How does this ruling fit into the idea of plumbing solenoid exhaust through Falcons? The solenoid blocks from VEX have threaded fittings for exhaust, so yo could attach tubing to them. Since the Falcon is not a pneumatic device, could it be legal to connect a random piece of metal (which happens to be a fitting) into the exhaust port of a solenoid then direct this exhaust, “non-pneumatic” air through the non-pneumatic device of a Falcon as it is vented to the atmosphere? Similarly, could the output of a pressure vent plug be directed through a set of Falcons to cool them, as long they are plumbed in parallel (or is series even legal). Could you apply this same logic to say that you can install a solenoid which, legally, just vents to the atmosphere (although it actually goes through a Falcon)?

1 Like

How does this ruling fit into the idea of plumbing solenoid exhaust through Falcons? … Similarly, could the output of a pressure vent plug be directed through a set of Falcons to cool them, as long they are plumbed in parallel (or is series even legal).

I certainly hope so, since we’re planning on doing both these things to cool our Falcons both during and after a match.

A283 clarifies that cooling a motor with air from a source other than the robot’s pneumatics is OK, but does not address your question; I think this agrees with your understanding as well.

R77. The only pneumatic system items permitted on ROBOTS include the items listed below.
[a list of things which are not motors]

The question then becomes something like “If the exhaust from a solenoid valve passes through a component for purposes of cooling that component, is that component then considered part of the pneumatic system and thus subject to R77?”

A few observations:
Bolting a falcon hard up against something like an aluminum gear box plate can obscure the vent holes.

I am not Q&A (DUH) but plumbing the falcon through the onboard pneumatic system could be seen as against the rules since the falcon is not a pneumatic component. Especially through the high pressure vent valve. Plumbing the valve vents through the falcons creates a restriction that might slow the actuator speed to an undesired level.

Frame it as recycling! FIRST loves recycling!

During the course of the competition the judging panel encounters teams whose unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition, yet do not fit into any of the existing award categories. Today the judges have defined the following such special award as a Judges’ Award, which for this event has been named the ‘Details Matter Award’. In a competitive world, sometimes it’s not the big idea, but attention to the details that differentiates you from the pack. In this team’s case, they recycled something that most other teams take for granted: air. Maybe that saved air only made a small difference, but this tugboat clearly pulled its own weight and more.

1 Like

I think this is a very good question… so I asked it on the Q&A for everyone:
https://frc-qa.firstinspires.org/qa/286

1 Like

Answer:

Items open to atmosphere (i.e. not capable of holding pressure) may be connected to the exhausts of pneumatic systems provided flow is not significantly impeded (i.e. no significant back pressure builds up).

So, you CAN exhaust through the Falcons or other devices. It would be up to the team to show that the flow isn’t significantly impeded (This should be as simple as showing one or more set screws are removed, or when doing the power-on test for inspection showing that the air exhausts in a reasonable amount of time), but that really shouldn’t be an issue for anyone!

4 Likes

A little surprised and happy for a clear answer to the question.

2 Likes