Heads Up - R93 is a Hard Dimension (operator console)

I know this will effect the way that we have done our OPERATOR console so I want to make everyone else aware of it as well. In the previous years we would use a small aluminum toolbox to contain our laptop and components for the OPERATOR console. It was a really nice, small package that would let our team members tote the console without throwing out their back and would protect our valuable electronics. I know other teams do as well.

If your laptop is longer than 12 inches you can’t use it. If your aluminum carrying case is longer than 12 inches you can’t use it. All this is based on a Q&A we submitted 4 days ago that was finally answered.

Q283 Q. Is the intention of R93 to provide a hard dimension in the depth direction. In previous years our console carrying case was 13", and this years donated console laptop is 12.5", both now illegal under R93. If the console can be completely supported by the shelf and velcro can it be longer than 12"?
FRC2992 on 2013-01-21 | 9 Followers
A. Yes, the intent of [R93] is to provide hard dimensions for the OPERATOR CONSOLE.

Prior to asking this questions I had searched the entirety of the internet to try and find a small briefcase / suitcase / toolcase that was small enough to fit the shelf but deep enough to hold our components to no avail. I was hoping for a reasonable judgement that would allow a operator console up to 15 inches or so. I mean a 12 inch shelf can support a much longer console if the CG of it is within that 12 inches. We almost got burned on this last year but our regional inspector was reasonable, as long as it didn’t fall off the shelf we could play that weekend. I was aware of the issue and trying to make sure we didn’t screw ourself this year, so asked the question trying to open up the requirements.

Needless to say we are disappointed because it means that the laptop we had donated and was going to use is no longer useable, so I guess we’ll go back to the E09 classmate we have on our limited budget. It also means that we will have to build some conglomeration instead of using a nice briefcase, because I can’t find one that isn’t longer than 12 inches when opened but 6 inches deep when closed.

Does anyone have a COTS briefcase that meets this requirement they can share? I really didn’t want to build a console because we can’t seem to make one that doesn’t look bad that closes everything up.

I don’t have anything to help you about going about actually building a console, however I do have a thought regarding your laptop. What if you set the on a slope so that the DEPTH of it was shortened? If the laptop is only half an inch longer than the allowed depth then it probably wouldn’t need to be a very steep angle to make the console still under 12". Note that the rule nor the Q&A does not say that the LAPTOP cannot exceed 12" but that the OPERATOR CONSOLE cannot exceed 12".

Hope this helps.

wow, how big is that laptop? I just measured 3 of mine, the largest is about 10.5" deep. And it’s a cheap old full size Dell from 2008.

Thanks, that thought did occur to us, but the real kicker is I still can’t find a nice little briefcase to hold it in that fits the hard requirements. It is so much easier for the kids to tote around a briefcase with a handle and actual ergonomics then some of the operator consoles I see carried around.

Also a lot of teams build elaborate consoles and I wanted them to be aware that they better be careful of their depth dimension. I saw several really cool looking ones in the nice driver station thread that looked like they hung over the edge of the shelf a little. Trying to save some people a paniced rework at their regional over a rule that seems over restrictive to me.

What if you used a board that has a handle slot cut into it? The laptop could be set up on some sloped blocks to keep it under 12". You could then attach the controllers onto the board via velcro for them to be easily attached and reattached. (My team’s driver station last year was simply a piece of plexiglass with our Classmate and controllors Velcro-ed on. We carried it by the handle on the Classmate and it worked just fine.)

I’m thinking somthing like the attached for you. It is 12" x 30".

This rule isn’t all that much different from past years…


The Operator Console must not exceed 44 in. long by 12 in. deep (excluding any items that are held or worn by the Drivers during the Match).


The OPERATOR CONSOLE must not exceed 60 in. long by 12 in. deep (excluding any items that are held or worn by the DRIVERS during the match).

This really shouldn’t be a surprise for any veteran team.

It was a surprise last year when we were told we had to make our console shorter eventhough it easily was held up by the shelf. We were able to get a pass luckily so I kept an eye out for it this year so we wouldnt get burned again. I was hoping they would fix the rule like they did the arbitrary bumper number one color with no contrast rule last year.

When they didnt I pursued a search to try and keep my desired design approach to meet the rule.

When that did not work I tried to get the rule reevaluated through QA.

When that did not work I have now moved to a heads up to everyone to try and make sure people dont repeat our mistake from last year.

Prior to last year no one really cared how deep the console was as long as it didnt fall off the shelf. Some veteran teams were suggesting consoles that would not work on another thread and it took the GDC 4 days to answer the question when most questions are answered in a few hours. I felt it deserved a new topic and some discussion.


Elevate & Angle the laptop with a Laptop Stand. We made our own last year.

I am not on the rules committee, inspector, or ref. So my opinion is just an opinion.
The reason for the shorter operator console last year was because one of the stations was shorter. The reason for length/depth rule is so the operator console will sit firmly on the shelve. I do not recall an inspector ever really looking at our console other than to get the versions of software being run. We ended up using the programmers monster laptop because of code hog issues. It was deeper than 12 in & overhung the console but it all sat firmly on the shelve. Thankfully nobody said Boo to us. Does not mean that somewhere else some one might. Always good to be totally within the rules.

While true even last year teams (including ours) used a briefcase that stuck out over the 12in and it was fine. It is a pain because if you wanted to have a handle you need to make sure if fits within the 12in as well.