What is going to be done about this?

We had 3 separate matches (out of 9 today) in which game pieces got stuck in our loading station. Of course per the rules, the human player cannot reach in to push it through, and cannot bang on the alliance station wall to coax it out. We tried to weigh it down with a second cargo but just ended up with multiple stuck cargo.

As a non-student coach, I sent the human player to the question box, and in every instance the students reported to me that according to the FTA, “the warmer air in the gym is causing the balls to expand”. Whatever the reason may be, is something going to be done about this?
In every case the outcome of the match didn’t change so we didn’t further argue it, but I did quietly point it out to the refs every time I went out to retrieve our bot.


Is your robot unable to grab the Cargo that is sitting free in the depot? If so, something may want to be revised or iterated in your design so the robot can pick up from the ground. This will almost eliminate any chance for an instance like this hurting your score. However if it works most of the time, just ask volunteers to check the ball size so they are to spec.

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If the balls are expanding, you should point this out to the field reset personnel before the match so they can relieve a little air.


That’s not even remotely the point here. It shouldn’t matter if a team can pickup from the Depot. FIRST’s field should operate as intended or it should be a field fault. Make sure the Cargo Pods are the correct size, give Human Players a ram rod/stick to free the stuck Cargo or find another solution to this problem. I’ve been on the wrong end of a non-called field fault before and it sucks. I’d hate to see this field fault cost any alliance a match.


The Cargo is measured by field personnel. As for cargo or hatches getting stuck yes it can happen as anything can. There are plenty of both that go through just fine as evidenced this in weeks matches.

Sometimes the field will flex and that can unstick a hatch, as for Cargo another might save a foul if it works or perhaps takes the foul is another option as that part is harder to flex.
Things happen.

That being said yes field fault request is another option.

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This did not affect our results, as yes we did collect balls from the ground. Sometimes the cargo is easier to retrieve because of that corral lip where the cargo is stored next to the hab. I’m just posting this as a way to inform before it does affect the results, as we have certainly run out of cargo in other matches (when, for example, our cargo gets bumped to the opposite side of the field and our intake mechanism passes the frame perimeter)

I may have not explained well. It sucks that it happened that way, so the first thing that pops into my head is a solution to prevent that from impacting my teams play.

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There are only 12 cargo pre-staged on the field. How does your solution deal with running out of cargo? Our bot easily scores 5+ cargo per match, and with 3 alliance members this will run out quickly

12 cargo is filling the cargo ship and a full rocket/2 half rockets. From my experience at Montreal this weekend, it seems like that will only be happening towards the higher levels of play such as elims, where there is more coordination and detailed strategy

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“the warmer air in the gym is causing the balls to expand”

It was approximately 1 million degrees in the gym at the Mt Vernon PNW District event today and I did not witness similar behavior (but I’m also not sure I saw anyone try to human load cargo).

This seems like it should be a pretty obvious field fault if it affected the outcome of the match.


Speaking of uncalled field faults, my FTC team’s rookie year (and mine) they gave our score to the other alliance and we lost our first 3 matches before it was realised. (For those that don’t know, we get 5 matches.) We won our next 2 matches (after they fixed it) and ranked almost dead last as opposed to first seed.

Storal of the mory: FIRST event volunteers and staff should fix field faults when noticed. And scout your own team. (If we didn’t scout ourselves, we never would have noticed)

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At Montreal they had a special tool that was basically a frisbee with a diameter of 13in with which they put the balls through and change the diameter of the ball accordingly. it’s a long process but if there were something to be done, it would most likely be this.

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5690 built a mechanism to measure the cargo early in weeks 1 or 2. It seems that FIRST would have this type of mechanism on hand to measure cargo.

They do, its a set of three rings that vary in inside diameter, 12.5", 13.0", 13.5". There should be a set with every field.

That is great. Not like a regional based in Duluth would have to worry too much as we are still going to be colder than usual for the two regionals.

Kudos to the volunteers at The Gibraltar FIM district this weekend. They used the FIRST provided gauge to frequently check the pod diameter during the competition. We did not have a single pod get stuck in the loading zone.

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I believe the rules state it is up to the teams to identify oversize balls. After the first oversize ball got wedged in our ball pickup at Gibraltar, we made an aluminum jig you can drag along the ground to instantly check. Didn’t happen again. Many balls were deflated. At one point 30% of the balls on the floor had some air released.

My concern in Duluth is that the balls will arrive frozen and will need to be warmed significantly before we can inflate them. We could experience this exact same issue, inflating a ball to 13" at 30 degrees would take more pressure than at 70 degrees. So if we inflate them, then let them warm, they may all end up oversized.

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If the balls really are expanded, they need to be resized to at least 13.5" diameter. The pressure is not specified, the diameter is, possibly for this exact reason

There was one instance of stuck cargo that I saw at Palmetto.

The simplest solution I can think of is a pokey-pokey stick, which can be mounted in the loading station to encourage the ball out. PVC pipe is cheap and abundant, and any event’s machine shop should be able to hole-saw the back piece of polycarbonate.