Cold Cathode Lights Legal???

Hey, I just want to clarify, but are cold cathode lights on the robot legal or illegal?

Well, let’s take a look at the Parts Use flowchart in the manual.

Safety hazard? No.
Non-functional decoration? Yes.
Violates <R92-R95>? No.
Violates any other rule? That’s up to you. Look at the custom circuit rules, and make sure that you fulfill all of the wiring requirements. If you do, then the flowchart indicates that the part may be used.

Awesome thanks a lot.

Just be aware of R26, which says that your robot cannot change color in order to confuse the other alliance’s cameras. However, an always-on cold cathode should be no problem.

Ya, we’re actually planning on using red and blue cathode lights, so before each competition, we can just flip a switch and we can change colors, to which ever team we’re on. It looks a lot nicer than the lights that they give us.

Just dont forget you NEED to have 2 of the LED clusters on your bot, and they are weighed in with the robot. According to the Q&A system, they weigh 0.15 pounds each x 2 LED’s. (ID #1079)

I think it might violate a rule because there is a gas in cold cathods, which is flammable. I think thats a question to ask the Q & A

They’re not flammable. They aren’t exactly pleasant when broken, given that a shattered tube would expose the high-voltage electrodes. Protect them well, and run them from a separate power supply (to avoid dealing with the fluctuations in battery output), and you should be fine.

as long as its conected to a spike for power you can use it. but with these cameras i would think about putting spotlights on your robot first

Technically, this violates the “non-functional” part of non-functional decoration. We considered doing this as well, but we see the rule as I have described. Perhapse you forget to change the color? This is probablly just something FIRST dosn’t want to have to deal with. I would suggest putting a question up in Q&A.


What if you had 2 sets of lights. One set blue and one set red and you changed it to whatever alliance you were on?

Something else to consider: we used a couple of these on our driver’s controls a few years ago and found out that they can really interfere with the radio modems. It was bad enough that we didn’t dare leave them on during a match and instead just had them on when we were transporting the robot. You’d hate to have your robot lose communications with your OI in the middle of a match just because of a fancy decoration!

easy solution to this problem, hardwire them on the robot and forget the controller, you can have a switch on the robot and set it before the match so when you know what color you are.

I dont think that is what Dave was saying. He meant, the cathode ray tube interferes with the radio signal transmitted by our controllers, and you could possibly lose connection with your robot.

Team 20 has used cold cathodes without a problem in past years.

I second that. I have some CCFL around and occasionally when I use them I get static amongst my other electronic things. I would more suggest someone use LEDs or simply not use anything but the required LEDs. Why waste the weight.


That seems to me to be making the robot change color… I’m not sure how someone else would see it. I don’t have a problem with what your using them for, because its not trying to effect the other teams camera… Which is the “spirit” of the rule, but the “letter” of the rule seems to state otherwise.

I would hope its legal, because that would be pretty cool, and easy to see.

Ya that’s exactly what we were planning on doing.

The reason they interfere is that the inverters that power the cathodes are poorly shielded. This can be fixed by making shielding of your own, I’ve used tin foil to shield them before with no problems.

yeah, i remember you telling us this.