Do you believe the condition of Power Cells at events match your expectation based on Question 136 from the Q&A?

The answer to Question 136 from the Q&A states:

“FIELD STAFF will replace POWER CELLS when they are visibly damaged (i.e. significant tears, gouges, chunks missing etc.) and no longer suitable for play. Minor surface wear or marking is expected and will not result in POWER CELLS being replaced. Changes in non-visible behavior (such as compression) are not expected to be assessed by FIELD STAFF and will not result in the POWER CELL being replaced.

I have not personally gone to a FIRST event this year. However, the descriptions of others I am led to believe that the Power Cells in play have “significant tears, gouges, chunks missing etc.”

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If this is true, I do not believe FIRST is providing the quality of game pieces they committed to in the Q&A. FIRST has commented in regards to this issue in Team Update 16. While I am glad they have made an effort to comment on the issue, I don’t agree with their assessment of “significant tears, gouges, chunks missing etc.” depicted in the linked Power Cell Guide. I believe the Power Cells 3-5 in the guide have “significant tears, gouges, chunks missing etc”. Additionally, it sounds like at some regional events there are Power Cells in play that are in worst condition than allowed by the guide. It also does not sound like the Power Cell conditions improved for week 2 events.

Many have suggested that the reason we are playing with Power Cells that have significant tears, gouges, and chunks missing is because the yellow balls are out of stock/not available due to coronavirus. While I initially thought this was true, FIRST stated in the team update “we have ordered more game pieces so we can have more replacements available overall”. Thus, it seems to me, this may not be the issue. If sourcing yellow balls is the issue, I would like FIRST to consider using other color balls. Considering the financial and time investment put into this year’s game, it seems to me that 100 more Power Cells per regional would be a drop in the bucket and make the game far better. My hope is that FIRST provides more Power Cells at future events or provides some clarity as why they are not (and changes the answer to Question 136 in the Q&A to reflect real Power Cell conditions).


Unfortunately, no matter the condition of the PC’s, I think FIRST’s hands are tied. They don’t have any more PC’s, and have no way to replace them, so there’s not much they can do.

Lake Superior did just fine. We offered the refs a couple of pristine fuel cells and they said they were good. They had a case of new ones behind the practice field at least into Saturday morning.


Same thing at St. Joe. FIRST sent the promised one case of new fuel cells, and our local coordinators had an extra case on hand, which the refs did not use. Only a few robots damage cells to the point of taking them out of play. Refs called a few G26F tech fouls and only one G26 yellow card.

I think FIRST is in a real bind here, but it is clear to me that they are not matching expectations of Q136. Balls had ‘chunks missing’ and were still on the field. I also think the shortage of balls may be a canard; we had shrink wrapped new balls ready to offer, but they did not take them. Obviously, taking balls from teams creates a huge consistency problem, but I am still disappointed in FIRST for not having the courage to take teams up on that offer.
This may largely be the sour grapes of a team that made the ‘longshot’ a key strategic priority, and perhaps that’s just a poor choice on our part. But we engineered our shooter to be powerful enough to shoot balls without chunks just fine. But yeah, give us a ball with a huge gouge, and sure enough, it won’t make it in.

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They kept a few brand new balls for playoffs at Sherbrooke instead of replacing them per TU16. One of them had almost 1/3 of the ball torn off and hanging by a thread. Teams like 3996 were heavily affected

At the Bloomington, IN District event the teams and Inspectors were very diligent at keeping the bottom of the robots free of PC destroying projections.
This is not to say the balls didn’t suffer damage. I saw one PC that was torn in half :face_with_head_bandage:
In the finals we were shooting PC that had holes in them. They didn’t always fly true.
The field crew did an excellent job of gluing pieces back on.

I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the balls in play at Arkansas. Just after quals (before alliance selection), I went over and looked at the balls in the rack. While they all had spots where the cells had been zested to the white layer, I didn’t notice any gouges or major tears. This was week 2, and the inspectors did check robot undercarriages and ball pathways for bolt threads and other rough features.

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