Pneumatic Layout (Does it work?)

If anyone could figure out if this verbal model will work, that would be great. If it won’t, please say why it wouldn’t power the pneumatic cylinder, or say if anything should be added or changed. I could not make a picture of this, so I am just stating all connections.

Compressor to a brass T fitting. The “stem” (vertical) part of the T runs to a pressure gauge, the other end is run to the resevoir. The resevoir runs out to another brass T where the stem runs to a quick connect fitting to run tubing to a double solenoid and the other end of the T runs to a pressure switch to shut off compressor. The tubing runs to the double solenoid and out of the d.s. to the pneumatic cylinder.

If more detail or more parts are needed, please tell me.


That setup would work fine on its own, but would not be FIRST-legal. To make it legal according to the 2001-2003 rules you would have to go through the regulator after the storage tank before going to the double solenoid.

you will want to put the release valve in there somewhere too, so you can depressurize the system after it has been used.

Thanks for the replies.

If we put the release valve after the second brass T on another brass T with the stem having the release valve and the pressure switch on the other extension, would that work fine??

Thanks again!

I think you can put the release valve anywhere - usually its on the high pressure side, next to the first pressure gauge.

I don’t believe the release valve was required by the rules (correct me if this is wrong). My team has left this valve off for weight concerns. I’m not suggesting you leave it off but it may not be necessary, depending on what you use pneumatics for.

Any other thoughts on this?


Matt and I are going to be using these pneumatics to make a design presentation that we will present to our team the week before kickoff.

Once again, thanks to everyone who’s given us some feedback.

Hmm… Quick connect? Is that so you can pressureize the thing b4 matches w/ a beefier compressor? good idea.

dont use a beefy compressor

you might end up with Mad Bot Disease!


It would work outside of FIRST, but I dont think it’s FIRST legal.

Heres how I would do it

Compressor to resevoir through the pressure switch (the pressure switch is on a “T” brass fitting) to gauge (also on a “T” fitting) to release/cutoff valve to solenoids.

Hope it helps

We just need this to be a working model. I believe that our model is FIRST-legal, but if there is a specific as to why it is not, please let us know.

Thanks to everyong for their input!

We just need this to be a working model. I believe that our model is FIRST-legal, but if there is a specific as to why it is not, please let us know.

Refer to post #2,

That is what you would have to do to make the setup FIRST-legal. Adding in a release valve would also not hurt. Under the past few years rules, the compressor has to be the one in the kit, the max pressure going through the lines to the pistons is 60psi, and the max storage in the 2 given tanks is 120psi. The solenoids would also have to be the SMC models given or the bosch model. Previous years were very strict on what pneumatics you could use, but don’t go buying anything till we see whats legal this year.

Looks like it will work. Look at the pneumatics manual and there is a photo of a typical layout.

Using a “beefier” compressor would be illegal. Unless, of course, you put a steak on the FIRST compressor to increase it’s beef level…

If you do not have the compressor on your robot (Pre-Pressurized for matches), you must use the compressor given by FIRST to pressurize your system. If need be, I’ll find and cite the exact rule.

You definitely have to have the “primary regulator” after the storage tanks, to limit your “working pressure” to 60 PSIG.

Here’s a little hint that we use to save compressor and battery wear and tear while testing:

Given a system similar to the diagram shown in the 2004 Pneumatics Manual where you have a “primary manifold” with the first gauge, sensor, purge valve, etc.:

  1. To the FAR side of the purging valve, we’ve added a standard air hose male barb fitting.
  2. We then dialed our shop air down to 120 PSIG.
  3. We created a pneumatics “extension cord” with a male and female hose barb quick disconnect fitting attached to a 100’ rubber air line hose.
  4. Make a few spare “hose stub plugs” using a SMC pushon fitting, a dual female 1/8" NPT fitting, and a 1/8 NPT male plug (this can also be made using only kit parts with a spare 1/8" NPT “T” fitting and TWO plugs).

Now while testing, we simply jack our system into SHOP AIR, and open the purge valve. The hose allows us to be set up ANYWHERE in the shop. The system now fills in reverse via the purge valve. The robot sensor detects the 120 PSIG pressure, and keeps the robot’s pump off. Since this is upstream of the primary regulator, NOTHING else changes. As long as your shop air exceeds the pressure switch’s turn off value, you now have a full pressure, infinite air supply for testing purposes. This is quickly removed in one second by turning off the valve and popping off the quick connect, and the robot instantly falls back to “auto refill mode”.

Given a small compressor and tank in your contest pit ALSO set up for 120 PSI max, this may also be used for a FAST air system “precharge” before your round without draining your robot battery nor requiring the umbilical and control board.

Ah yes, don’t forget… To comply with safety rule 5.2.1 rule <R01>, on page 2 of the Robot.PDF, the external compressor in the pit ALSO has to be a FIRST kit style Thomas Industries compressor, ALSO set up to limit system pressures to 120 PSIG.

BTW, We also used this setup on the bench BEFORE the robot was assembled, to COMPLETELY test our pneumatic concepts WITHOUT requiring the RC, Spikes, or even the COMPRESSOR to be included. We simply used one of the above plugs to “stub off” where the compressor resides in the system, and ran the valves with momentary on switches (mounted in a Radio Shack plastic box) and a spare robot battery. This GREATLY speeded up our pneumatics system’s development.

  • Keith