Potential <R68> Issues?

<R68> Reads:

<R68> The Robot Controller must be positioned within the ROBOT so that its indicator lights can be seen during inspection and when standing three feet in front of the ROBOT while the ROBOT is in the STARTING CONFIGURATION at the beginning of a match. This will greatly facilitate analysis in case of problems.

The part that concerns me is the last part, many teams put their RC so that it is visible, but not 3 feet in front of the robot.

Is this a concern of anyone else?

It doesn’t seem that the “front” of the robot is defined in this rule. If the front of the robot isn’t towards the center of the field at the start of a match is this a problem? What if a bot has multiple starting orientations?


I think this rule is in place simply to keep from wasting time having the IFI guys try to dig through your robots wirey nest to see what lights are on the RC. Help them out so they can help u out.


Put yourself in the position of a field referee. A match is about to start and he/she has 8 robots on the field. He/she needs to look quickly at all 8 robots and make sure that all 8 are ON and that they have communication established with the player’s station and with the field controller.

If your robot has multiple starting positions, common sense dictates that you should install your light somewhere on your robot (perhaps the top of your robot) so that it is easily visible to the field referee before the start of the match in all of those starting positions.

This is your responsibility as a robot designer and it is GP to make the field team’s job easier.

You also have a vested interest in making it easy to view before the start of a match. The robot whose competition plug is discovered to be loose may be your own…



I think the rule quoted above is talking about the robot controller and the signal lights on its top face, not the yellow diagnostic light. I would have great reservations about any team installing their robot controller high up on their machine. It is easy to position the yellow diagnostic light to be seen from any angle, it is not so easy to do with the robot controller lights.


My apologies, I was confusing <R68> with <R16>…

Regarding <R68>, I would just insure that the RC is easily visible (don’t bury it) from a standing position in front of the robot. “Front” is an arbitrary term here and I agree that multiple starting positions pose unavoidable issues.

Once again, put yourself in the position of the field personnel and do the best that you can.

As I said, it is in your best interests to make it easy for them to help your team…



We were worried about this issue as well, and got this response from the GDC for starting configurations:

Please refer to the definition of STARTING CONFIGURATION provided in Section 8.2 of the manual. When the robot is in this configuration, the indicator lights must be visible when a person is standing three feet in front of the robot. “In front” means the person is standing between the robot and the Rack.


We’re mounting ours at an angle so it’s easier to see from far away.

My understanding is that “front” is considered to be the side of the robot facing the middle of the field in its starting position. It might be a good idea for someone to post this question to the Q&A so that all teams might get the official definition.

As a robot inspector and referee for the past few years, I would have settled for “visible”, from somewhere. Many robots had their controllers buried. On the other hand, of the ones who did a good job of displaying the controller, very few had them facing the front. They had good reason not to face the electronics forward; that’s where most contact occurs. The smart ones had them facing the rear.

In any event, if they choose to define “front” for us when enforcing this rule. Then we’ll start the match facing backward (our backward-their forward). It’s no big deal.

Thanks for posting that link. I guess FIRST has put the axe down on strategies that might involve multiple starting positions.


This is just what we have done–we’ll be starting “backward” so our controller faces the field. In some cases that might slow teams down, but our current autonomous strategy shouldn’t be affected by this orientation.

I don’t think this will hamper too many teams, as a large majority of the teams have always started the match facing the same way.

I wonder if anyone will have their controller on a swivel piece in case they did want to start different ways though?

Item #24 on the Robot Inspection Checklist Rev B1 indicates that inspectors will be checking for compliance with <R68>. The verbiage of that checklist item may cause some confusion because it simply says “120A main circuit breaker, distribution circuit breakers and Robot Controller are all accessible for inspection (including lights on RC)”. However, the rule itself is clear and the guidance provided by the Q&A response that Donut posted above should resolve any confusion.

Please be kind to your inspectors, referees, and IFI people. Don’t make them strain their eyes or their backs to get a look at your RC. :slight_smile:

does this rule imply that things can be mounted on the robot controller that do not block the leds,

for example, the infrared sensor board?

This rule doesn’t…2007 was last year. Check the manual for this year’s rules on this topic.

(Oh, and could a mod close this thread?)

Yeah i had to reverse a vast majority of the wiring and robot mechanics to abide by this rule >:-