FRC Horror Stories

Our CAN bus broke in 2016, rendering us immobile for 3 games.

  1. thats my horror story

Michigan State Championship, 2016. We were first pick by the 4th seed alliance captain, 5150. Then we selected team 2137 to be our second pick.
The alliance had worked our way up all the way to the finals, against legendary teams, 67 and 27. We had thought we had won our first match, but the refs made a call after the match, giving the win to the other alliance. To our surprise, we took the second match, so it was down to the tie breaker. Holding on to a small lead, we only needed the climb to secure the win. But as we went to fire our final boulder of the match we deployed the climber at the worst possible moment, tangling the two together. This disabled their movement, allowing for no climb. We lost the match by 8 points (our climb would have given us 10 points). Congrats to the winning alliance though, it was a well fought match!

Here is the video


We ejected a battery and dragged it a short distance…

does video exist of this

Amateurs. :wink:


Top 3:

  1. Einstein 2012
  2. Dallas 2015
  3. Einstein Houston 2017.

Haven’t heard about #2.

I’ve heard that Israel 2010 was pretty bad… but I wasn’t there so I can’t comment.

I have a few, but I don’t think I really want to go into them right now.

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In 2017, our technical team captain stuck his finger into a fan that his nail almost fell off and started bleeding. As a result of that, we didn’t receive the safety award we were confident to get before competition.

That’s team 2659’s horror story

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I remember hearing about someone dying of a massive heart attack at the side of the field one year but I’m not sure if it was 2010. It may have been a previous year.
Honorable mention in the 2008 finger incident at the Florida regional.

Our entire 2017 season.


It’s hard to top the 2012 Championships, specifically the Saturday.

We ended up having to Load-Out to our bus in the Parking Lot over a mile away through the terrential downpour and thunderstorm. Once it escalated to hail and tornados, we were stuck inside to wait it out. Then, amidst all of the confusion of the Einstein shenanegans, we ended up missing the Finale at the St. Louis Science Centre and had bagged lunches in America Center instead.

The one consolation was an amazing group photo that we took, all of us completely drenched and exhausted, but still happy becuase we were all together. I still have it hanging on my wall.

  1. We didnt move more than a foot for the entire 2016 season.
  2. Our closet with all our robots and COTS stuff had a fire in it and then was drowned in the sprinkler system.

For Dallas are you referring to the snow or the finals matches? Or maybe something else?

Oh boy, story time! :rolleyes:

Team 703 - 2007 West Michigan Regional - Finals Match 2/3

We played as a primarily defensive bot this year (ramp bot, so not much to do during the match), our objective was basically to shut down the most effective scoring bot on the opposing alliance starting in Auto all the way up to ~30 seconds left in the match. In previous years we had built “Tank Tread” robots but this was the first year we had come up with a 14-wheeled tank drive as an alternative to treads, trying to keep the advantages of treads without all the drawbacks.

In any case, we managed to seed high at the West Michigan Regional and with the help of our alliance partners, 469 and 494, got all the way into the finals. Per our role, during the Finals we were tasked with shutting down 111 for as long as possible. Throughout the finals we opted to use 469s ramps instead of ours due to their size and ease of use, allowing us to play defense longer. This worked well for us throughout the elims until the last ~50 seconds of Finals Match #2, when a small bearing on the first idler gear of the right side of our drive system broke, allowing the idler gear to pop out of the gear chain, effectively disabling it. The nature of the drive system still allowed for some limited control as the gear would occasionally still engage under limited load scenarios, however it prevented consistent controlled driving and we ended up missing our climb in match 2, taking us to a 3rd match.

Finals Match 2 video:

After the match we quickly realized the problem was worse than we though, as the bearing was nested in the drive system in such a way that it required not only the side panel of the drive system to be removed (something like 30+ bolts, plus 13 shafts that had to stay aligned), but also required entirely removing the gearbox in order to get to a snap ring that held the shaft in place. It was literally the hardest part to get to on the entire robot. Needless to say, we did not have enough time to actually resolve the issue, and being too late to call a sub we put the robot back on the field and hoped for the best. This leads us to Finals Match #3

Match 3 started out bad, as we realized we had forgotten to disable our autonomous, which resulted in our robot driving 3 circles around our partners, 469 (and somehow not actually hitting them until the very end of auto), at this point, I (the driver, in case it wasn’t obvious) assumed the robot had basically no control on the right side of the robot, but through some quick trial end error, I figured out a few seconds into the match that the robot WAS controllable when driven in reverse. As it turned out, driving the robot in reverse caused the disabled idler gear to be pulled down into the geartrain and stay engaged, as a result, we were able to stay somewhat effective during the rest of the match, and coupled with a few well timed penalties from the other alliance, our alliance managed to pull off the win.

Finals Match 3 video:

Needless to say, after that event we replaced the bearing with a bushing, reprogrammed the robot to reverse the “forward” direction, and, in subsequent iterations of the drive years later, corrected the design flaw that lead to the issue.

Sorry for all the bad dreams Ed.

I also wasn’t there, but I’ve heard all of the stories and it sounds terrible. 2010 was the first year of laptops as driver stations (2009 was the first year of cRIOs, but they used those weird blue boxes). Apparently there was a problem with wireless laws in Israel that made it very difficult to connect the laptops to the robots. The FTAs and FTAAs stayed up all night for two night in a row to try to completely rebuild the FMS so it would work. By the end of the competition, each team officially got about 4 matches, and in each match it was a miracle if 3 of the 6 robots moved. It’s still known locally as “the year that never happened.”


All of it. The whole event was off.

I felt bad for you guys and happy that you at least walked away with a Chairman’s award.

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…And this is why FMS has “Simple Network mode”, aka “Israel mode”. In scorekeeper training I have always heard about it (“that’s only for Israel, don’t touch it!”), but I didn’t know the backstory behind it. Go figure.