Charged system during inspection?

Hi guys, (hopefully) quick question. During inspection can we have our pneumatic loop charged to keep an arm or other extending device constrained with in the frame perimeter, or can it be empty and then we prove that it can stay inside the perimeter for the starting configuration?

Follow your RIs instruction on this. You will be allowed to demonstrate your starting configuration.

For inspection for frame perimeter your robot should be in the configuration you are going to start the game with. If you normally charge your air system before placing your robot on the field it is fine to have it charged.

At some point in your inspection you will be asked to demonstrate your pneumatic system for compliance. At that time you may be asked to vent it and refill it.

You may want to have a bungee cord or latch of some kind to hold it up without air at times. However, be careful to unlatch such a thing before matches.

Please note T18:

For the safety of all those involved, Inspections must take place with the ROBOT powered off, pneumatics unpressurized, and springs or other stored energy devices in their lowest potential energy states (e.g. battery removed).

So, start inspection with your pneumatics dumped. When the inspector looks at the frame perimeter, explain that the pneumatics holds arm in place, and your inspector will say “ok, we’ll double check that later”, and when they do the power-on check they will verify the frame perimeter as well.

Thanks everyone!

T18 is a guideline and can’t actually be carried out during an inspection because at some point you have to power up and also load your pneumatics so it is impossible to carry out this guideline for the entire inspection.

I generally will do sizing first… so I just ask that the robot be placed into its starting configuration. If that requires the robot to be pressurized I would ask that it be that way.

After that is finished, you would dump your pressure and disconnect everything else that had to be connected. I would always ask for your team to put the robot in its starting configuration as if you had just put it on the field. It is at that point in the competition that it has to fulfill the frame perimeter rule.

Just do what the inspector asks… we will work with you to make things safe.

If you are under pressure or any item on your robot has stored energy, make sure your inspector knows.

As a general safety rule. Do not assume a machine is in a low energy state unless you have verified that. In industry it is called lock out tag out. In FRC in is called “don’t stick your hands in a strange robot”

Sorry, let me quote the entire rule instead of just the part that was applicable here…

For the safety of all those involved, Inspections must take place with the ROBOT powered off, pneumatics unpressurized, and springs or other stored energy devices in their lowest potential energy states (e.g. battery removed).
Power and air pressure should only be enabled on the ROBOT during those portions of the Inspection process where it is absolutely required to validate certain system functionality and compliance with specific rules (firmware check, etc.). Inspectors may allow the ROBOT to be powered up beyond the parameters above if both criteria below are met.
A. The ROBOT design requires power or a charged stored energy device in order to confirm that the ROBOT meets volume requirements, and
B. The Team has included safety interlocks that mitigate unexpected release of such stored energy.

T18 makes specific exemption for the power on test. It also makes exemption in cases where it can be done safely… But rather than worry about that, as an inspector, it’s easier to just look at it during the power on test. I don’t want my head inside a robot with charged pneumatics or springs not at their lowest potential energy state.

Slightly off-topic but related cautionary comment:

Relying on a charged pneumatic system to keep your robot in its legal starting configuration can be risky. One extreme scenario has occurred when robots are on the field, ready for the first match of the day, and a visiting dignitary makes a longer-than-anticipated speech.*

I have seen teams DQ’d when their pneumatically constrained appendages sagged out of starting configuration after 20+ minutes sitting idle during opening ceremonies. A slow air leak that would not otherwise be a problem, became one.

*A 30 minute check for slow air leaks is sometimes called a Kamen Test. Dean is not the only visiting dignitary who waxes eloquent, but he does have the highest visibility.

That is sad if the FTA and Refs let it play out that way. If the robot lost enough air to fall out of dimensions, because it sat for 30min during ceremonies, then the team should be allowed to tether and charge their pneumatics. A team should not be penalized simply because they are in the first match after ceremonies.

Yes they should have checked their pneumatics for leaks to prevent that from occurring, but if it wouldn’t be a problem in a normal match then they shouldn’t be penalized.

Now if the fall out of dimensions between the time they place their robot on the field, during the normal team introductions and flag waving, before the MC says 1, 2, 3, RUSH, er I mean go, then yes they should be DQ’ed.

We had a similar problem some years ago. We use a piece of tape to hold the mechanism in place. The tape would pull away once the mechanism actuated.