Tonight after school, our robotics was canceled due to illness. When a few of us were sitting in the shop to see if anyone showed up, we heard what sounded like water running. After about a minute or two, the fire alarms go off and we get pushed out of the building. When we turn to go out, there is about half an inch of water running out of the closet with all of our electronics and every other material we have. The water is just pouring out of the closet and out of the back door.

The fire department showed up, the janitor would not let us in, and the robot was getting soaked. After a lot of waiting in 0 degree weather for an hour or so, we were let in… about 1 or 2 inches of water was still flowing out the back door. Everything in the room was soaked in water.

Apparently, the pipe was to the sprinkler system upstairs and when water was flowing through it, the system said there was a fire upstairs and set off the alarms.

We are not sure what we are going to do at this point but right now we arn’t going to be turning on our electronics any time soon. As of now… the robot is wet in the back of a truck icing over.

We (1208) are O’Fallon Illinois, not too far from you. You are welcome to our spare parts. Let us know what you need and we will provide what ever we can.

I would call IFI, tell them of your situation, and hopefully they will fix your parts for free or for a low charge. I doubt anything was ruined unless your robot was on at the time. Electronics won’t ruin unless they are running when they get soaked. I would tell you to just open up the controller, victors, spikes, radio, and everything else to dry it off, but doing so voids the warranty. So you have a choice of calling IFI and paying them, or voiding your warranty and making the inspection go a lot worse if they find out that you tampered with your parts.

This actuallly happened in our robotics room my senior year. Fortunately it wasn’t during the build season though. We let everything dry out for a few weeks. As I recall everything ended up working fine. I think as long as none of the electronics or anything while they are wet, if they dry out it should be ok. Our main problem was a thick layer of rust on top of most of the metal.

This happened to us (water) last spring in the shop and where we store the robots.

I’m so sorry this is happening to you - hope it gets somewhere dry soon and the process of drying out can begin.

In our case as well, the robots dried out and were ‘fine’. It took a few days.
I would suggest you contact FIRST and/or IFI and find out your options.

Good luck with this,

Hmm… bad luck with water and robots? Pics are going up now… I think we are gonna try to talk to IFI and see what happens.

With previous experience in the area of cell phones and complete water submersion…
There still is a chance that they will work.
As RyanN said before, call IFI see what they say.

For reference, I have seen cell phones dropped into pools and lakes while still on. Battery removal as soon as possible and proper time to dry saved these devices.

We had a similar, but not nearly a severe situation happen to our robot the night before IRI 2005. It was a torrential downpour outside, and the tarp covering our trailer with the robot in it had developed several holes on the drive to Indiana. The next morning we found our robot soaking wet (with about an inch of standing water in the bottom of it) and covered in “tarp dust”. We spent several hours that morning going over our entire robot with paper towels, hair driers, compressed air, and WD40. Luckily our electronics board was removable, so it was removed from the rest of the robot, and dried carefully and with special attention. Thanks to some excellent help from Arefin Bari and Tytus Gerrish, we managed to get our robot running again in time for our first qualification match! The worst problems were a blown fuse and some rust on the gears. It never was quite the same robot, but at least it functioned.
Hopefully you can do the same with your robot, and hopefully you can still have a competitive season. Contact IFI and local teams to see what help they may be able to provide. Make sure all your electronics are COMPLETELY dry before powering them. Lubricate anything that can rust. Flush out and drain anything that might still have standing water in it. Be careful, and remember safety first.
If there is anything 116 can do to help you from Virginia, feel free to IM, PM, or e-mail me.

I used to fly RC planes at a field that had a pond nearby. Two or three times a year somebody would “land” in it. Luckily I only did so once.

When it did happen we’d flush the electronics with alcohol. The alcohol helps remove the water and dries faster. It worked for me anyway

I’ve seen people resurrect wet cell phones by letting them sit overnight in rubbing alcohol, so that might just be able to help.

Sorry about your luck, guys…
That stinks.

Watch out for alcohol + plastic though. I had an mp3 player go through the wash, and in my efforts to get the water out, I immersed it in alcohol. The alcohol completely fogged the front screen, so I imagine it could do equally nasty things to internal plastics as well.

I am sorry for your situation. Good luck and hopefully you can get everything together for competition!!

Wow, that is a tough blow to absorb during build season.

We are about 35 miles down the highway from you, just off Kingshighway near I-44, less than a mile from the St. Louis Science Center, where kickoff was held. If you need a place to test-drive your robot please come use our practice field. It is carpeted and has a full-size, low-cost rack. Contact Mr. Dressel (PM me for his email or phone) and let him know when you want to come – after school and 9-3 Saturdays are always OK. And if we can help with spares to get your robot going again please let me know. As others have suggested , please be very careful to dry electrical components thoroughly before powering up.

PM me here if you want to take us up on the offer. And good luck; I look forward to seeing your team at the St. Louis Regional.

Please let GRR know if you need any assistance, or spare parts!

Team 549 the Devil Dawgs would like to help as well. Please let us know what you think you may need and if we’re not using it, I’ll ship it out next day to you…

Email me directly at [email protected]

well the good news is part of IFI tests is to soak the controllers and vics in salt water. so with a bit of drying time not all of your electronics will be . . . a wash

Ouch… we had a sprinkler situation in our school this year, but luckily it was both before the build season and away from our rooms. A sprinkler was set off at 2am on the second floor. The water leaked between the floors and soaked the rooms below. All of the unfortunate teachers in those classrooms had to wait a week for repairs while they griped about their soaked gradebooks with bleeding ink!

Ouch… can you say that sucks? I’ll say that we’d love to help, but being all the way in NJ I’m not sure how much there is we can do… all the best in “recovering” from that, because you can’t really drive, test code, anything. Do you have any old chassis that you could test code on and practice drive, because that would be something.

Tough luck, particularly this late in build season.

Bring in the hairdryers!

Wow. So sorry that happened. My team is from Affton. We hope everything goes well, and look forward to seeing you at competition