Velcro for electrical components

We are looking to use velcro to secure all of our electrical components to our drive base. This would help to increase accesiblity, and to make it easier to replace components. However, with all the difficult terrain this year, there might be an issue with components being knocked loose. Which method would be more effective?

Try zip ties…quick removal and installation.

Don’t use Velcro, use this instead:

It also goes by the brand name ‘Dual Lock’.

It has the advantage of not being ‘sided’ (there’s no hook and loop, it’s all the same thing), and it also snaps together, not at all like Velcro’s mushy connection. We use it on most of our electrical components. It’s expensive, but great stuff.

That said, with the rough terrain you might want some suspenders to go with your belts.

Velcro works just fine. We’ve used it for many years.

If you are very concerned then zipties work well too.

If you have the weight and want to go to the extreme then use bolts.

Try attaching some (old) components on a sample panel and beat the panel on something to see if they come loose. We used Velcro to attach all the electrical components (PDP, Talons, Spike, VR) on our electronics panels for Aerial Assault and nothing came loose.

You may also want to try using the heavy duty 3M/Scotch DuoLock. I find that the 10 lb. rated stuff holds better and is not as “squishy” as the Velcro is so the mounted item does not rock slightly as when attached with Velcro. It also only has one type (not hook and loop) so it is not possible to screw up and install hook opposite hook and loop opposite loop. It is on the racks next to the big rolls of Velcro at Home Depot.


Belt and suspenders in one would be waxed lace cord:

A good tutorial from this site will get you going:

Watch a few Youtube videos on cable lacing to get the technique down and it will NEVER come undone without cutting it apart. As you tighten, the friction melts a little of the wax which solidifies in the knot, keeping it in place so that you can cut the free ends 1/4" away without worry of them pulling back through. As a bonus, you don’t have the sharp edges that come with zip ties that are improperly cut and it just looks awesome when implemented. I would do it as a final dressing up of the wiring once no changes are to be done as it does take some time, but well worth it in my opinion.

This image shows the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA’s Curiosity rover with all of the wiring stitched up using waxed lace.

Anyone planning on going into the telecommunication industry dealing with equipment installation directly, particularly sites (POPs, COs, even self-respecting wiring closets), will become very familiar with the “No Zip Ties/Tie Wraps Allowed!” Waxed Lace, or much less frequently if not permanent Velcro/Hook & Loop/Dual Lock, is all that is allowed. I’ve sometimes stood there and marveled at the lacing skills of some of the cabling installations that were 80+ years old and how beautiful they look and then trying to live up to the same standards in my new cabling for modern gear. We’ve even left some of the old stuff in place just to show how it should be done.

As JCharlton has said, I do believe that our team normally uses Duel Lock along with zip ties to keep our electronics down and to keep out wires clean.

We usually use wood screws…since Velcro doesn’t stick well to wood, and zip ties are kind of difficult to use in blind holes…

Same here, although we’ve been known to use a couple of zipties for heavier and more “in the way” components. I do not recommend “fuzzy” Velcro for mounting electronics.

We’ve used “industrial strength” hook-and-loop (Velcro) for mounting all of our pneumatics since at least 2010 and never had a single issue. Why wouldn’t you recommend it?

We personally stick to zip ties except on the radio where we use Duralock.

As far as I can recall, we have bolted down nearly all our electronics, with the exception of last minute gadgets.
If you cannot drill into the surface, VHB is one of the most annoyingly powerful adhesives I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Which, coincidentally, is included in the KoP this year.

Nice, we’ve used this stuff before but our mentor that got it for us left the team a few years back and we never figured out where to get it. Guess I should have figured McMaster would have it.

A word of warning to teams considering it for the first time though: Be careful when using “Industrial strength” variants of dual lock, in our experience, the lock is so strong that the adhesive fails before the lock does. We’ve actually resorted to using crowbars to remove electrical components that were secured this way in the past. :rolleyes:

From what I’ve observed, the cheap, “fuzzy” Velcro keeps things from falling off, but doesn’t keep them from moving/flexing. Since robots are expected to go over bumps and traverse rough terrain this year, I would worry about the Velcro failing and a connector coming in contact with the robot frame.

In addition, the more electrical components are allowed to move/shake, the more likely they are to disconnect. Added strain on wires and connectors can make a bad crimp fail or a spring-loaded connector release a wire.

If I were inspecting robots, I would not pass anyone who used only “fuzzy” Velcro to attach their electronics. If “industrial” Velcro was used, I would spot check the components and make sure that nothing was in danger of failure.

Other places have this stuff way cheaper than McMaster (Amazon is your friend). I’ve found that the 10lb stuff is pretty good at keeping routers and switches on walls. When I first started, I bought the industrial stuff. The first time I removed the equipment with a sharp tug, I pulled the wallboard off. Granted it was badly installed with only three screws …

On the other hand, the adhesive comes in temp ranges. So if you are putting it on something that may get hot, you might want to look at things other than the 110F degree versions.

3M Dual Lock site with different part numbers

I’ve never done FRC inspecting but from my ftc inspecting experience you can not just fail someone for a poor design choice. For instance this weekend I had a team who used fuzzy Velcro to vertically mount their ZTE phone. Would I ever do this no… But I couldn’t fail them for it. I did recommend zip ties for the day and for them to build a more permanent solution. After I found out they had a 3d printer I pointed them towards some files I found on grab cad. But, those were only suggestions if their phone falls off mid match and gets destroyed it was their fault.

We’ve used fuzzy (industrial strength hook and loop) Velcro for years, and have played some absolutely ridiculously aggressive defense, and never had an issue. Failing inspection for using a proven method that isn’t against the rules would be infuriating.

One year we held the battery in with Velcro (actually hook & loop, but Velcro is shorter to type). No issues with them coming loose even with the robot upside down. They where difficult to change. I wouldn’t recommend it. We continue to use a Velcro strap to secure the battery. We use Velcro to hold the radio. No issues ever even with inspectors.

I do perform FRC inspections. You don’t fail robots for poor design choices except for where that design choice violates a specific rule. Like using hook & loop tape on bumpers. Using Velcro for securing things may or not be a good design choice depending on the application.

Gosh Nate, I thought I was the only one that did that. I use the example at the bottom of the page for audio patchbay cabling using the flat waxed lacing.

WildStang used velcro for many years but migrated to a better solution. We use perforated aluminum sheet now and ty-wrap everything to the perf stock. That way you only need one tool, wire cutters, to replace components. Perf stock also makes tieing wires in place much easier as well as pneumatic hose, valves and manifolds.

Somehow I missed the lacing twine post…and I have a tiny bit about it on my web page! From the olden days when I worked for the Army, in the satellite communications field. Our installers used zip ties, but they were still being trained to tie things up with string in the 1980s.