Q&A Q26: PDB (and router and digital sidecar) location

Q&A has this question and answer:

Q.Rule R39 - what does “easily” mean? Does it mean that the PDB must be visible if the robot is in it’s
normal upright position, or is it OK to turn the robot on its side to look at the PDB? Is this during
inspection only, or does it have to be visible while the robot is on the field?

A.The Team must be able to put the ROBOT in a configuration where the PD Board and circuit breakers
are easily visible to the Robot Inspector. There is no requirement for the PD to be visible during a
MATCH. However, having the PD visible with the ROBOT in its “normal” position can aid in on-FIELD

Here’s some scenarios you need to think about when laying out the electronics on your robot.

  1. Your robot didn’t move during a match, stopped moving during a match, or parts of your control system have stopped working. Can you see the PDB and the Digital Sidecar and the cRIO well enough to see the indicator lights for troubleshooting purposes?

  2. Your robot is on the field, but the robot is not connecting to the FMS. Can you and the FTA/CSA easily see the indicator lights on the router?

Extra credit: explain why experienced teams generally mount the router higher up on the robot in a visible location, using sticky Velcro.

Inspector tip. Label your main breaker in addition to keeping it visible. Check to ensure still visible with bumpers on. During inspection with bumpers off it may look great, then bumpers on the breaker is hidden. Oppps.

End-goal is to prevent damage to your robot in the event of a ‘smoking’ failure. Having the main breaker labeled on the bot for the FTA or field support to quickly find may prevent further damage.

Again if failure with smoke, you may need to quickly replace wire or components. Easy access to PD will help a lot during post incident troubleshooting.