Unclear Rules For The Boiler

“A BOILER processes FUEL in to steam at an average rate of five (5) FUEL per second per GOAL, but actual rate is dependent on the amount and packing of FUEL in the GOALS (i.e. the tighter the packing in a GOAL, the faster the FUEL processing rate).”

pg. 34

These are the rules on the boiler for FIRST Steamworks however I am a little confused on what they mean. I am mostly confused by the example in the parentheses at the very end. Can someone please help explain this part of the rules to me?

Very simply, each goal in the boiler can put 5 fuel through the scoring per second, give or take “conditions”. If there are a lot of fuel in the boiler, then maybe it’s a little faster. If not, then probably not.

Now, I should probably point out that the packing of fuel into the boiler isn’t something teams can necessarily control…

If you dump 50 FUELs into a GOAL, it will take about 10 seconds for them to be processed (and counted).

The parenthetical expression is what happens if you dump them in slower. I’m guessing the processing mechanism will pick up the next FUEL that it encounters - and if the BOILER is not topped up with FUEL, they may get to the processor somewhat slower.

This makes a little more sense if you watch the animation closely.

From what I can tell, when you insert a unit of fuel into the boiler, an LED light starts, and traces a path of lights (known as the STEAM PIPE) between the BOILER and the AIRSHIP’s STEAM TANK (this extends from the BOILER, across the tops of the driver station, and across that weird pole some MC is gonna hit). Once a light reaches the end of the path, the pressure is counted.

Keep in mind that if you dump 10 units of fuel at once, each unit must travel behind the other, single-file.

I’m assuming what this line means is that if you dump 50 units of fuel into the boiler, the rate the fuel moves through the STEAM PIPE is faster.

The lights in the steam pipe are just for show, the points are awarded when the fuel (ball) goes through the sensor.

Think of it like a conveyor belt (which seems to be pretty much exactly what it is).

If you dump the balls such that the belt can pick up ball after ball after ball, end to end, then it is processing balls as fast as it is able at a rate of about 5 per second. But it can only do that if there are balls being loaded in at least that fast. Otherwise, there would be small gaps between ball pickups and that would slow the rate.

But if it overflows, the team doesn’t receive points for the ones that fell out. How many balls can fit in the boiler without it spilling?

Does anyone know for the processing rate for the low goal and the high goal are:

  1. the same - 5 fuel balls per sec.
  2. independent or cumulative (Low+high processed 5 per sec or Low @ 5fps & high @ 5 fps)

Just wondering if its effective to dump into the low goal if it still will be counted as 5 fps. i.e. dump 100 balls, only count as 5?

Also, If I dump in lower goal, do I have to time it so that shots into the high goal is not impacted.


i believe the consensus is they are the same rate, independent counters. If you watch the loading lane video, you can see there are two outputs of the boiler into the loading bins.

Watch this video. They state that both counters average 5 fuel/second and to expect 8-10 fuel per second to be counted by each boiler. Also, there is a capacity limit where any excess fuel will overflow and spill onto the floor.

You can slightly see the mechanism that moves balls into the counter. From what I remember from a photo at the field unveil, it looked similar to a CNC mill umbrella tool change carousel. I’ll try to get the exact photo later.


Thanks for the quick answers and links.

Feeling a little dumb - watched that video multiple times and didn’t catch on to the information provided.

Thanks Engunneer and Protoserge for setting me in the right direction.

We still don’t really have an answer here. We know the rate balls are processed and the excess will spill back over to the field, but does anyone know how many balls the low goal will accept before any processing? In other words, if I dump 50 balls, will they stay in the goal for the 10 or so seconds for them to process or will some spill out?