Robot Rules and Inspection Changes, 2023

I’ve been busy the last week and a half, so this topic is a bit later than in the past, but a review of CD topics indicates that it hasn’t been posted, so here I go again…
RAPID REACT has been replaced with CHARGED UP in various places, as well as various zone and game piece references. As I understanding such references to mean “this year’s game”, I shall leave these out. Also, I’m not going to reference things like adding a link which are welcome and helpful, bot don’t actually change the rules. My goal is to identify changes beyond game name that would make a robot compliant one year but non-compliant another. I shall use bold for insertions, italics for deletions. Anything in square brackets is my interpretation or comments. I also intend to make this a wiki so that it can be updated if (or more likely when) I missed anything, or as the rules develop due to team updates.

I will open with some ROBOT design related GAME rules, minimal commentary:

  • G106 Tall ROBOTS not allowed. ROBOT height, as measured when it’s resting normally on a flat floor, may not exceed 6 ft. 6 in. (~198 cm)) above the carpet during the MATCH.
  • G107 Don’t overextend yourself. ROBOTS may not extend beyond their FRAME PERIMETER in more than 48 in. (~122 cm). MOMENTARY and inconsequential extensions beyond 48 in. (~122 cm) are an exception to this rule.
  • G108 Opponent’s zone, no extension. A ROBOT whose BUMPERS are intersecting the opponent’s LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not extend beyond its FRAME PERIMETER. Extensions which are both MOMENTARY and inconsequential are an exception to this rule. [This does require that a robot MUST be able to retract any extensions if it is going to enter the Opponent’s Zone].
  • G109 Don’t extend in multiple directions. ROBOTS may not extend beyond their FRAME PERIMETER in more than one direction (i.e. over 1 side of the ROBOT) at a time. The extension may not reach outside the projection of that side of the FRAME PERIMETER. For the purposes of this rule, a round or circular section of FRAME PERIMETER is considered to have an infinite number of sides. Exceptions to this rule are:
    A. MOMENTARY and inconsequential extensions in multiple directions
    B. A ROBOT fully contained within its LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY.
    [Q&A 53 clarifies that “projection” as extend out perpendicularly to that edge, “like a drawer”.]
  • G403 1 GAME PIECE at a time (except in LOADING ZONE and COMMUNITY). ROBOTS completely outside their LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not have CONTROL of more than 1 GAME PIECE, either directly or transitively through other objects.
    A ROBOT is in CONTROL of a GAME PIECE if:
    A. the GAME PIECE is fully supported by the ROBOT, or
    B. the ROBOT is intentionally moving a GAME PIECE to a desired location or in a preferred direction
  • G404 Launching GAME PIECES is only okay in the COMMUNITY. A ROBOT may not launch GAME PIECES unless any part of the ROBOT is in its own COMMUNITY.

ROBOT Rules:
R104 STARTING CONFIGURATION – max size. A ROBOT’S STARTING CONFIGURATION may not have a FRAME PERIMETER greater than 120 in. (~304 cm) and may not be more than 4 ft. 6 in. (~137 cm) 4 ft 4 in, (132 cm) tall.

R105 ROBOT extension limit. ROBOTS may not extend more than 48 in. (~121 cm) 16 in., ~40 cm beyond their FRAME PERIMETER.

R202: aded the word “exposed” to the title of the “No sharp edges” rule. “Exposed” was already in the rule statement. Welcome and helpful, but it doesn’t appear to change what it means for a robot to be compliant.

R204: in TU11, the reference in the blue box was fixed to refer to H312.

R206 *Don’t damage GAME PIECES. ROBOT elements likely to come in contact with a GAME PIECE shall not pose a significant hazard to the GAME PIECE. [This is new as a robot rule, but was already a game rules requirement (G301F last year, G301G this year has “deforming” has been added to the things you can’t do to ARENA elements as item D). Its introduction into section R may mean that it will be an inspectable item this year, as it was (iirc) in 2020 with POWER CELLS.]

R302 *Custom parts, generally from this year only. [The rule itself hasn’t changed, but the blue box HAS. In particular, this was added as an exception: “Functionally equivalent items are items that closely resemble a COTS item in both form and function. Functional equivalents should be made using similar materials to the COTS equivalents.” This means that teams that make their own parts that are essentially the same as COTS items in form and function (e.g., 3-D printed plastic spacers) can now re-use those parts. I expect that more ambitious application of this rule will draw several Q&As].

R304 *During an event, only work during pit hours. Charging batteries has been explicitly added as an allowed exception in the stated rule. Running a 3-d printer or other automated manufacturing process overnight producing ROBOT parts during an event is now forbidden per the blue box.

R405b [in TU12, permitted BUMPER markings] hook-and-loop tape , or snap fasteners , or functional equivalents backed by the hard parts of the BUMPER,

R406 *Team number on BUMPER [The change here is to section A. Bottom line as I read it - team numbers must now be solid white, not just outlined in white.:]

  • [2023: Team numbers] consist of only white Arabic numerals at least 4 in. (~11 cm) high, at least ½ in. (~13 mm) in stroke width,
  • [2022: Team numbers] consist of only Arabic numerals at least 4 in. (~11 cm) high, at least ½ in. (~13 mm) in stroke width, and be either white in color or outlined in white with a minimum 1/16 in. (~2 mm) outline.

VENDOR definition: Sections C and D from last year [regarding delivery level and maintenance of stock/production capacity] have been merged to section C, and section E is reindexed as D. The only real change I notice is that the requirement for a VENDOR to fill an order within 1 week is removed - but ability to ship within 5 days under normal circumstances is retained. [This streamlines the rules and is less likely to disqualify VENDORs for shipping delays over which they have little or no control. +1]

R408 *BUMPER construction. BUMPERS must be constructed as follows (see Figure 9-7): [Changes in multiple TUs through TU10, most of which canceled each other out. Net changes are marked with -deletion- and +addition+]

  • 2022: Small clearance pockets and/or access holes in the wood backing are permitted, as long as they do not significantly affect the structural integrity of the BUMPER.
  • 2023: Small clearance pockets to accommodate minor protrusions permitted per R101 and/or access holes needed to access +or recess+ mounting hardware in the wood backing are permitted, as long as they do not significantly affect the structural integrity of the BUMPER. [See Q102 for “access”]

[There appears to have been a case last year where “clearance pockets” were used other than to accommodate minor protrusions that the rules are closing.]

  • 2023: use a stacked pair of approximately 2½ in. (nominal, ~63mm) round, petal, or hex “pool noodles” …
  • 2022: use a stacked pair of 2½ in. (~63 mm) round, petal, or hex “pool noodles”

The blue box did not expand on this in 2022. In 2023, it includes the following [welcome] addition:
“2½ in. (~63 mm) pool noodles” are pool noodles either sold as 2½ in. (~63 mm) diameter or that measure between 2¼ in. (~57 mm) pool noodles and 2¾ in. (~70 mm) diameter.

  • 2023: Per R409 cushion material may extend beyond the end of the plywood
  • 2022: Cushion material may extend beyond the end of the plywood

[This appears to be a simple clarification/reference, but perhaps someone went too far last year?]

  • be covered with a rugged, smooth cloth with no additional coating applied by the team +except for BUMPER markings permitted per R405+

[Pretty obvious, I think - you can’t grease or wax your bumpers, though I thought this was already out by R205. Maybe someone was trying to increase friction with a coating?]

R409: figure was updated to relocate leader lines.

R501 [legal motors]:
⦁ [REV Robotics NEO Brushless has additional legal part numbers] am-4258 am-4258a
⦁ [REV Robotics NEO 550 has additional part number] am-4259
⦁ Electrical solenoid actuators, no greater than 1 in. (nominal) stroke and rated electrical input power no greater than 10 watts (W) continuous duty at 12 volts (VDC) (if qualifying actuator is then used at 24V, it must be approved by the manufacturer for use at 24V)
⦁ Fans, no greater than 120mm (nominal) size and rated electrical input power no greater than 10 watts (W) continuous duty at 12 volts (VDC) (if qualifying actuator is then used at 24V, it must be approved by the manufacturer for use at 24V)
Linear actuators rated for 12V and wired downstream of a breaker 20A or less

R503 (motor controllers)
⦁ Ae: [SPARK motor controller has an additional part number] am-4261

R504 (How to control electric actuators)
Linear Actuator [Motor Controller]Yes (20A braker max) [Relay Module] Yes (20A breaker max) [Pneumatics Controller] No

R602 [Other batteries for cameras or computers only. The rule has not changed, but a blue box has been added:] A COTS computing device is a non-roboRIO device used to process or collect sensor information (e.g. a “smart flashlight” is not a COTS computing device). [Lights and such not part of a sensor system need to be powered from the robot battery or a legal USB battery.]

R609 [Connect main power safely]: [Additional main breaker part numbers] CB285-120 CB285F-120, CB285120F

R611 [The ROBOT frame is not a wire]. [Compliance resistance has decreased by two orders of magnitude!] > 120ohm >3kohm

R622 [Use appropriately sized wire] Between the PDH and PCM/PH: 18 AWG [Apparently not addressed in 2022]

R701 Control the ROBOT with a roboRIO [new software version] 2022_v4.0 2023_v3.1

R709 Robots must have a signal light. [Additional legal part number] am-3583
⦁ [Also, RSL mounting, part A]: mounted on the ROBOT such that it is easily visible while standing 3 ft. (~ 100 cm) away from at least one side in front of the ROBOT,

R710 TU07 added PDP/PDH breakers to the list of items which cannot be modified. Added insulating these breakers to the exceptions. [From Q128]
TU15 added “functional equivalents to the CONTROL SYSTEMS power terminal blocks” as item S. This is intended to allow functionally equivalent RIO power blocks and RSL blocks per Chuck Dickerson.

R714 Control CAN motor controllers from the roboRIO [added to blue box] “Wired directly” includes via any series of PASSIVE CONDUCTORS (i.e. star or hub configurations using only PASSIVE CONDUCTORS are permitted.)

R715 “and Servo Hubs” was dropped from the title. [This is a PCM/PCH rule. Servo Hubs are not mentioned in the body of the rule in either year.]

R812 Pressure Switch Requirements: Both switches have had “(wired as described)” added to their titles. Also, the words “roboRIO or” have been removed from the blue box. [This appears to allow roboRIO control based on the REV Robotics Analog Pressure Sensor. Good for teams, but how does one inspect this safety item?]

R901 With TU16, the Driver Station version required is at least 23.1.

Inpection Rules:
As there are no one-day events scheduled, the following has been removed from the inspection rules preamble blue box:
Teams attending Single-Day Events are strongly encouraged to use the Inspection Checklist before their event. They are required to self-inspect using the Inspection Checklist before an INSPECTOR will do their official inspection using the Abbreviated Inspection Checklist
+The inspection checklist is now availalbe+

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This was a reference sepecifically for single day events, which had a different inspection process than 2 or 3 days events. I don’t believe there are any single day events anymore, so it seems appropriate to remove it to help avoid confusion in the process for teams.

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At the LRI training this past weekend, it was stated that there will not be any one day events due to the negative feedback about them.

Thanks, Jon and Phil, that explains it! I’ve updated the entry. OBTW, yes, I made this a wiki so we can make corrections and updates throughout the season.

I’ve added changes through Team Update 11. Mostly tweaks to R405 (bumper construction) which canceled each other out, a clarifications to figures and blue boxes, and forbidding modifying breakers except for insulation.

Also, a neat find for inspecting robots, a retractable fiberglass tape measure that’s (just) long enough, and costs a bit under $10:

I purchased a few of these, and one has replaced both the 12’ plastic tape I kept folded in a 5" long piece of polycarb Versaframe square tube, and a shorter metal tape in my daily carry. 5/5 definitely recommend.

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Great find. Most retractable cloth measuring tapes for body measurements are only 60" long.

The non-retractable cloth measuring tapes are more common in 120" lengths, but these become cumbersome when trying to inspect 50 robots in an hour and a half. This is one of several non-retracting cloth measuring tapes I found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6ZMMMH/ref=emc_b_5_t?th=1.

Oh this looks like quite the find, likely will get a few myself - thanks for the info!

That looks very handy. Is the tape material stretchy? I recall seeing a post here showing several tape measures with significant differences at the 120 inch point.

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Over 60"/120" they can be a bit stretchy and add bit, which is why I wouldn’t recommend them to teams. For inspection, if it gets close to that 120" mark on the cloth tape, it’s a good rule to use a tape measure and math to verify.

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This tape is sold as fiberglass (though I suspect it is actually fiberglass reinforced), which definitely reduces the stretch based on plastic or most fabric tapes. At a few ounces to a pound of tension, it reads true against my metal tape. At about ten pounds of tension (not measured, just several times what I would use in an inspection, the 119 7/8" mark on this tape doesn’t quite reach the 120" mark on the metal tape. This is definitely less stretchy than most string and many tapes I’ve borrowed from the RI table. I’ve only inspected at four events so far, but this certainly seems to be good enough to have handled all the robots I’ve seen as far as putting them squarely above or below 120". If it conveniently gets me through 95% of the inspections I do this year (4 events), it’s money well spent.

The biggest downside is that the coil spring gets a bit reluctant to let out the last 3", and there does not appear to be anything past 120" without risking breaking something.

A nice upside is that the inch markings are on one face of the tape and go from edge to edge, and the metric markings are on the other face and go from edge to edge. The inch face is marked in 1/8", the metric in millimeters. There is also a clear “zero” mark on both faces which is slightly offset from the pull tab.

Also, I went through the original post and cleaned up a few things; some typos, and some cases where I listed the same text as both removed and added. Nothing of real substance, just cleaner to read.

I think the idea was to decrease friction as your robot’s bumpers contact the slope of the CHARGING STATION.

Any reason they don’t just use a premeasured piece of string/rope?

Pre-measured non-stretch pieces of string , likely a bit longer than the FP allowance but with knots, would be adequate to ensure compliance. However, the inspection checklist wants an actual measurement, which means you should use some sort of tape, or putting a string against a really long ruler. @Al_Skierkiewicz, @ChuckDickerson, an idea to consider, probably for next year.

OK, makes sense to reiterate a rule when there’s additional game incentive to do what it forbids.

  • G108 Opponent’s zone, no extension. A ROBOT whose BUMPERS are intersecting the opponent’s LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not extend beyond its FRAME PERIMETER. Extensions which are both MOMENTARY and inconsequential are an exception to this rule. [This does require that a robot MUST be able to retract any extensions if it is going to enter the Opponent’s Zone].

What is the punishment for this rule being broken? I could see this rule being broken a lot by accident.

I’ve had good experiences with this retractable 120" tape measure as well: https://www.amazon.com/Fons-Porter-7780-Retractable-120-Inch/dp/B000J380QO

Gee,
Ted Hood puts new tape measures in the inspection box.

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TU12 had one change. R405 now allows “functional equivalents” to hook-and-loop tape and snap fasteners to be visible where backed by hard parts of the BUMPER.

+1! This also makes me glad I took out the black and gold sharpies yesterday to write G2 on each side!

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No R&I changes in TU13!