Lights to help aim

I have seen several teams using a light to help them aim when taking a shot. Could anyone recommend a light to use and any tips to using a light.

Most people are using LED rings from here:

I have seen them advertised as both “halo” and “accent” lights.

we use a Maglite® ML100™ LED Flashlight Black

Is the maglite a focused beam of light because we are looking for a light that is focused so we can hit shot from the back of courtyard.

Take a look for yourself:

Although we’re not using the system this year, we used an LED alignment system in 2014. Feel free to PM me or Billbo911 if you want to learn about how we set it up.

Are you using the two-cell or three-cell version? Did you have to use a voltage regulator to drop the voltage to 3 V or 4.5 V?

973 was very effective with a focused flashlight for aiming. They just lined up made the light reflect off the chains and boom in. Wish we thought of that rather than wasting time on auto-aim with LED

Fair warning, our team used a flashlight to aim our shot with incredible success throughout all of our qualifications matches, however, in Eliminations, our opponents said that our flashlight was distracting/blinding them during the match. We were forced to unplug the flashlight, significantly dropping our accuracy. Be careful about relying on a flashlight to aim, I highly recommend you have some sort of fallback solution.

Controlling your light via a relay should avoid this complaint. I’ve seen several teams (oursleves included) that turn their light on as part of their firing sequence. We tend to already be turned towards the tower by then, so we don’t shine in anyone’s eyes.

Did your light have a lens to focus or was it just a light?

Does anyone referee the validity of the claims of distraction from opposing teams? You definitely don’t want to legitimately distract people with bright lights, but at the same time, I could see saying “hey, that’s distracting! make them disable it!” as a way to gain strategic advantage.

We have the same head referee at Tech Valley that we did at Pittsburgh, so if he suddenly disallowed our flashlight at Tech Valley because of some team’s bogus claims, that would be a fun discussion indeed.

Did you leave your light on all the time or turn it on only when the shooter was on? Is your flashlight very large/bright?

We used China’s finest Cree LED $6 specials from Cheap, light, bright, effective. And not overpoweringly so. I remember seeing the light sweep through the opposing driver stations at Pittsburgh on the way to aiming, but the hardy Ohio and Western PA types must have less sensitive eyes than those in New York City, cuz no complaints were lodged.

I remember 25’s ridiculously large and bright lightzooka from 2012 being on all the time. I was standing behind the driver’s glass watching matches at CMP and I remember the thing practically blinding me. I’m fairly sure it could induce migraines in people. I don’t believe anyone asked for that to be turned off.

If you are pointing the light at the opposing drivers for an extended period in an attempt to intentionally distract them, that’s one thing. If you are merely using the light for its intended purpose of aiming and shooting, that should be TOTALLY acceptable by ANY head referee. Running the light off a relay will certainly help matters.

If this becomes a thing, you can rest assured I will wage war against all those annoyingly bright green LED rings that are on 24/7/365 during a match. Those are CLEARLY meant to distract and annoy, right? They don’t serve any other useful purpose in a match, do they? [/sarcasm]

#teamflashlight #allyourvisionledbelongtous

That is absolutely absurd those bright green led rings are and have always been crucial structural elements on a robot.

What height was the beam at? I could maybe see their point if it was pointed at eye level. We aimed our beam to hit the very top of the tower, but that was more out of convenience for mounting than anything else.


The keystone of any rock solid robot frame is welded-on Green LED rings, to be sure.

@jijiglobe what flashlight were y’all using at NYC?

We were never asked to turn off our light in 2012 because we did so ourselves. It was only ever turned on for a few seconds at a time while lining up the shot.

OK then, exactly what we do this year. Precedent established. Use a relay. It’s more than those vision teams usually bother to do. :wink:


We are using the 2 C-cell version. We use a to give us 3.3V at 3.5 amps. IT works like a charm. The one downside is that the switch defaults to the off position. A Relay will not work so it has to be on for the entire match. You have to manually turn it on before each match. We are looking at alternate solutions.