COTS - Modification - Removal of parts?

If I remove something from a COTS item, is that considered “modified”? For instance:

  1. What if I remove a DVD drive from a laptop to save weight is that ok?
  2. What if I remove the screen (to save weight)?
  3. What if I replaced the Hard Disk with an SSD drive (SSD drives can take the shocks of traversing the bridge, being hit, tipping over, etc).

I think the normal problem with something being considered “fabricated” is the ability to use it in the future. For “COTS Computing devices”, it is their ability to have their own battery. So, if it is considered “fabricated” then it would not be a COTS, and not be allowed to have its own battery.

What is the proper way to ask for a rule change to allow computing devices (of the notebook computer type), to have their own battery.

You’ll probably want to ask the official FRC Q&A for clarification or for a potential rule change.

Check R36:

Batteries integral to and part of a COTS computing device are also permitted (i.e. laptop batteries), provided they’re only used to power the COTS computing device.

Also, please make sure you note R14:

No individual item shall have a value that exceeds $400.00. The total cost of Components purchased in bulk may exceed $400.00 USD as long as the cost of an individual Component does not exceed $400.00.

I agree that this is one for FIRST Q&A.

But I’d think that 1 and 3 are OK, because they’re just optional configurations of a COTS item, while 2 is ‘fabricating’ something non-COTS.