Robot Inspector Certification

Hello, I signed up for Robot Inspector for the first time today and was assigned to the position on firstinspires and did some looking around to see if there was anything I needed to do to fully qualify myself other than having experience with robots. I did see FIRST mention the applicant has to pass a robot inspection certification at least one week prior to the event, where do I find the test? Does it come out after the season is revealed? Also do I order a robot inspection hat to keep?


The test is usually available around the 5th week of build season. It’s based on the current year’s game rules (most of which are evergreen now!). The test is untimed, open book. usually 20 questions long, multiple choice (some of them can get a little tricky - I always have to read twice when it asks “which of the following are legal motors?” and each option has a list of 5 or more motors!

As for the hat, your LRI or VC should have that for you at your event - you get to keep it from there for all the other times you inspect. And please don’t lose it, paying for the hats comes out of the regional budget, i believe.


Ok, that’s nice, is there anything else I should know doing this? Do I need to bring anything that might help?

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On the “Top 5 Things that help” list for me personally:
-Tailor’s tape measure (it’s fabric, goes around corners nicely).
-Knowledge of the robot rules----read 'em, love 'em, and know which ones aren’t really covered on the checklist.
-Multimeter, for checking resistance to frame
-A cheerful demeanor
-Knowing when to call the LRI over to check your work.


The biggest requirements are:

  • A smile
  • Being friendly
  • Being willing to get the LRI if a team disagrees with you
  • Being as versed as you can in the robot rules and the Q&A - and knowing that you don’t know it all!

After that, there’s plenty of “nice to have” items, but none of them are required for an inspector.

  • Tape measure (there should be 1-2 at the inspection table if needed, otherwise you can just ask the team you’re inspecting for one)
  • DMM (again, 1-2 available at the inspection table, and most teams have one available as well)
  • Flashlight - it can be dark in some pits, especially if they have a tent.
  • Paperclip or sim card removal tool - that mode button on the new pneumatics hub is tiny, but needed for testing the system!

Ryan, thank you for volunteering to help with inspections. I hope you enjoy the experience. As Jon noted you will get a link to the RI test later in the build season. It is typically a 20 question multiple choice test. It’s open book and unlimited time. If you don’t pass the first time you can take it again. It’s simply designed to make sure RIs have read the Section 9 robot rules and Section 10 inspection rules and can reference them if needed. The inspection checklist will be your “cheat sheet” as you go through the inspections with teams. You will get your yellow hat at your event. Until then just study the robot rules when they come out in January and you should have a look through my post that initiated this thread: Dear LRIs & RIs, please read

If you have any further questions or concerns don’t hesitate to message me.


Oh, I forgot one thing:

Bring at least 2 writing implements, and a clipboard. (May be supplied at event, but helps to have your own available.)


If you have any electronic test leads with small aligator clips at both ends, bring them along. Alternatively, bring a small screwdriver, like the tool used to operate the WAGO connectors on the PDP from CTRE. They are sometimes useful for tesing the pressure switch in the pneumatic system.

Use your training to help ensure your team sails through inspection quickly.


Having RI’ed at several events I want to echo all of the above. But I want to highlight what I think is the most important item:

You are there to help the team compete safely and legally and provide a positive experience even if their robot is falling apart. As an RI you have a lot of power to make or ruin an entire team’s experience at an event. Some specific examples:

  • If you notice something major and aren’t sure if it’s legal try, “I need to check on [something/that], we’ll come back to it.” And go ask your LRI.
  • If you see something minor that will help the team and isn’t a violation go ahead and say, “I noticed your battery lugs aren’t as tight as they could be, it’s not a violation and doesn’t affect my inspection at all but if you have some time, in my experience it may prevent problems for you later if you tighten them before using them.” Be clear you’re trying to help, and it’s not a violation.
  • Please know your core inspection rules. (The ones on the checklist) If you don’t, are aren’t 100% sure, go look it up (keep the rules on your phone), or check with your LRI.
  • IT IS OK TO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. In fact, you probably share that in common with the students. It’s also ok to share that – we’re not perfect, they’re not perfect, the robot probably isn’t perfect.
  • Finally, students put a lot of work into their robot. While inspecting point out some of the positives, be it really good wire management, clean designs, etc. Likewise if you see something new, tell them you’re curious and ask them about it while you inspect their robot - I’ve found they love to tell you about what they’ve done.

I just wanna add here in case any Ri’s see. The best inspector I ever had brought surgical gloves. They put them on and felt for any sharp objects. If anything was sharp the gloves would show, and easily point to where something need to be corrected. It was by far the best robot inspection I’ve ever had, and the gracious professionalism they showed left me calm and ready for the craziest event I would experience.

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Thank you! I’ll try that out!

Thank you very much!