Need Help: Ground Strap Legal?


our team is expecting to have problems with static build up within our robot, which may interfere with our electrical connections. We were wondering if using a ground strap on our robot is legal for competitions.

Many thanks.

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Is there a rule that would make a ground strap illegal?

If there is not, then you’re fine.

Hint: I have yet to see such a rule exist at all.

To clarify - this is talking about dragging a strap from the robot frame down to the carpet, correct? A strap from the ground connection to the frame is illegal (per R42).

Regarding legality of a connection to the carpet, R7/8 might be relevant.

As a general point of reference, in 2009, issues with static buildup were significant. One of the solutions included adding a chain to the “trailers” (along with staticide application).

Yes it is illegal to ground your frame check the inspection checklist for frame grounding allowances and how it is tested. Also check R.42

We had static buildup issues at Worlds last year, and it cost us quite a few matches. Don’t worry about the static as long as you don’t have any wires that are just dangling around. We specifically forgot to take off magnetic limit switches, and static buildup triggered the limit switches, and we failed level 3 hab climbs on 4 separate occasions.

They’re talking about STATIC electricity. You know, the type that builds up on a balloon when you rub it on our hair? Not something that goes through your regular electrical wire, or anything else like that.

I can’t find a rule saying that having a way to dissipate static to the floor is illegal.

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In Lunacy (shudders) we had nasty static build-up in our frame–I think everyone did–and we used a series of small chains dangling from our chassis to help, and it helped. They barely touched the ground, so you wouldn’t notice them unless you were looking under the robot.

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Ancedotally, we got through inspection twice last weekend with a grounding strap, constructed from 6 inches of bare stranded wire in contact with the ground.

How is dragging a grounding strap different from dragging a chain? What about R42 makes a grounding strap illegal? Note that this does not mean a connection between the return (black) wire to the battery and the frame.

Edit: I suspect the OP meant to say “grounding strap” instead of “ground strap”.

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R42 says the robot electrical needs to be isolated from the frame. Nothing about it says you cannot ground the frame or the electrical system. R42 will prevent you from doing both at the same time. You would probably irritate your RI and I don’t recommend you actually “ground” the electrical system.

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They’re not different in effect. I was clarifying that a battery ground-to-frame connection is illegal (as opposed to a carpet/field to frame connection), in case anyone got confused by the terminology. FrankJ above explains the same. The aside about chain was intended to support the idea that it would be effective.

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