Game Manual 5.5.6 TIMEOUT and BACKUP TEAM Rules T17
If an ALLIANCE wishes to call a TIMEOUT, they must submit their TIMEOUT coupon to the Head Referee within two (2) minutes of the ARENA reset signal preceding their MATCH.
Once a TIMEOUT coupon is submitted and accepted by the Head Referee, the TIMEOUT coupon may not be withdrawn by the ALLIANCE.
If during a TIMEOUT an ALLIANCE CAPTAIN determines that they need to call up a BACKUP TEAM, they must submit their BACKUP [strike]TEAM[/strike] coupon to the Head Referee while there are still at least two (2) minutes remaining on the ARENA Timer. After that point, they will not be allowed to utilize the BACKUP TEAM.
Alternatively, an ALLIANCE CAPTAIN may choose to call up a BACKUP TEAM without using their TIMEOUT by informing the Head Referee, through the use of the BACKUP coupon, directly within two (2) minutes of the Head Referee issuing the ARENA reset signal preceding their MATCH.
The ALLIANCE CAPTAIN must indicate on the BACKUP coupon which TEAM’S ROBOT will no longer be participating in MATCHES and initial the BACKUP coupon before it will be accepted by the Head Referee.
In the case where the ALLIANCE CAPTAIN’S ROBOT is replaced by a BACKUP TEAM, the ALLIANCE CAPTAIN is allowed in the ALLIANCE STATION as a thirteenth ALLIANCE member so they can serve in an advisory role to their ALLIANCE.
Once a BACKUP coupon is submitted and accepted by the Head Referee, the BACKUP coupon may not be withdrawn by the ALLIANCE.
In every case it’s 2 min after the lights go green after the end of the match before the one you are supposed to play in. Examples:
You play in Quarterfinal 1-1 and a robot breaks. a few matches go by, Quarterfinal 4-1 ends and the lights go green to reset the field. You now have 2 min. to turn in your timeout card to the Head Ref.
You play in Quarterfinal 3-2 (intentionally different example from example 1). A robot breaks. Quarterfinal 4-2 ends and the three other Quarterfinals were decided in 2 matches so your match (QF3-3) is up next. You have 2 min. from the the green lights coming on after QF4-2 ended.
Does that help?
Figure 5-3 of the manual shows the various timelines with the Y-axis line being the time the lights go green after the match preceding the one you are in (in some cases, “the match preceding” is also a match you played in such as in Finals).
In fact you are required to. In all cases, you must submit the timeout coupon within 2 minutes of the Arena Reset signal, whether those 2 minutes are field timeout or normal reset or whatever. cf. T18 Blue Box
In at least one event, we were told that even if you gave it early, they would wait until the two minutes was up and then start your 6 minute time. Not sure if this is consistent across FRC, but would be great if it was so that way the student isn’t concerned about being too early, and potentially missing the window.
Per the rules, any existing time delay (field reset or field timeout, etc) immediately ends, and the 6 minute team timeout begins. It behooves the student to let the ref know the timeout is coming and stand next to the ref to hand it over at the right moment, though I think most refs will give you the maximum possible legal time, I wouldn’t count on it.