Air Gages

I don’t see air gauges on the list of pneumatics. Could they be passed off as decorative? Building an gauge using a cylinder and rubber bands seems like a bother. What do other teams use? Are there any plans to add air gauges to the VEX approved list? Has anyone built an on board compressor using a 393 and cylinder with the flow controls set as check valves?

In past years, they were ruled to be a functional part, and not decorative. Of course, rulings could change, but I deem it unlikely.

When pumping it up, I tend to look at the gauge on the bike pump. :slight_smile:

This has been brought up before. I don’t think it’s very likely.

Not that I know of. If anyone does so, please post it on the forum! :slight_smile:

Your link has an apostrophe in it right before the http so the browser is getting confused. Could you possibly edit that out to help others?

On Topic: That would be incredibly cool haha. It would, however, be awfully annoying to hear the constant “compressor” noise coming from every robot.

No we are not allowed to use air gauges at a competition however you can make one from non legal parts that connects to the 4mm tubing for when you need to and then just make sure you remove it for a competition after you have calibrated your pressure regulator or to see if you have leaks… as for at the competition normally bike pumps have them built in

And for a compressor it would probably be more work than its worth and highly inefficient

I think it would be a cool idea (although not exactly 100% feasible for competition) to build a compressor that was powered by a wheel so it worked while the robot was moving.

I don’t really see the point in having an on board gauge anyway. Does whatever you pump with not have a built in gauge? It seems like unnecessary weight to me.

I have to disagree with you there. I feel like it would be good for allowing refs to make sure you have pumped your tanks to 100 psi. As of right now, it seems as though the 100 psi limit isn’t even there, and I over here many teams talking about pumping their tanks to 150 psi or higher. It seems to me as if it should even be manditory to have a gauge, if vexreally wanted to enforce their psi limit.

You could still mess with the gauge if you really wanted to. Aka use a remote valve directly connected to the gauge. If they really wanted to use a higher pressure they would find a way to do so. Like connecting a pressure regulator in line with the gauge.

But yes many teams do this. I did not which is the reason I used 9 air tanks on my robot :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe we can recommend a manometer sensor that will give you the pressure on the lcd display. Not likely that they would have enough demand to make it worth while, but it’s worth asking for. It could even see the competition template having something that disables over pressured robots to keep things fair.

I think a single acting cylinder wrapped in enough elastic tubing to require a full 100psi to get it to expand all of the way with a printed scale behind it might be worthy of an award. Don’t forget that at a lot of events the Design award will get you to worlds! There is not too many things nicer than hearing a judge say “Now that’s just flat out cool” or “That’s incredible”!

This is true, and a really cool idea, but it is a rather expensive approach to something that could be done with a much cheaper piece of plastic. However, it is still good (for teams with a little more money) to show judges that they can work with the parts they are given! I must say though, I don’t think it is really necessary for a team to have a gauge on the robot, it is more for the judges to be able to better enforce the rule. It would be neat to see a team use this design though!

I suppose it depends on the budget and what you are pursuing. When my wife questioned the amount I have planned to spend on parts for my son’s robot I pointed out that if your willing to spend thousands on a trip to worlds, you shouldn’t frown on another $1,000.00 in robot parts. And in this case a single acting cylinder is $59.00. I do realize that some schools have strict budgets and just a couple of items could cost money that would cover an entry fee for a competition.

But yes, I agree that a manometer is almost useless with pumps having gauges, you cannot refill tanks in the middle of a match so knowing you have 100psi to start with is the only thing you need to know.

With that being said, some of the coolest and most admired design elements I saw this past season had no real significant use, but were very creative in design and well executed. When we got our design award the judge had made a comment that some of our ideas were so simple it was hard to believe that nobody else had thought of them. When we received our excellence award the judges had stated our robot had unique features not seen on any other robot in the competition. So sometimes a nifty little gadget with limited use will end up being a big score.

While we hope to have an epic robot this year but know no matter how good it is there are teams with much better coaches and drivers so we are also focusing on areas where we may have the ability to excel. ** My advice is that if you think you could use something that VEX does not offer then figure out a way to make it with VEX parts.** Look at The Green Egg’s with their mecanum wheels before VEX offered mecanums. You might become a robot rock star…

Although some teams might find a way to pump their tanks higher than 100 psi, my impression is that some solenoids and other pneumatic parts have built-in protection that bleeds off excess pressure above 110 psi.

A gauge would obviously provide a way to enforce this, but a more important use would be to provide teams with the ability to check their levels before the start of a match, particularly when they have been forced to wait through announcements or a for another team to arrive–during which an ordinarily inconsequential leak can result in a significant pressure drop. Having a gauge would allow teams to double-check this (just like we do for connections) before giving a thumbs up.

Gauges are equally useful during development and provide a means of monitoring air consumption that can be fed back into the design process. They are also useful for monitoring the inevitable loss that occurs as the pump fitting is removed and for detecting very small leaks.

We have used the $8 SMC model listed below for this purpose. It tops out at 160 psi and has a male 1/8 NPT connection that allows it to be threaded directly into an air tank.

Personally, I think it would make sense to include an item such as this in the list of permissible parts as well as in the pneumatic kits.

I agree, for the life of me I cannot understand why VEX and GDC have been so unwilling to allow teams to use a pressure gauge like the one you linked (made by SMC for the pneumatics that we use, no less!) in competition. A gauge is not going to increase your robot’s performance on its own, all it does is allow teams, refs, and judges to know how much pressure is inside the pneumatics system. And if it’s threaded directly into the air tank, then it is very unlikely that a team would have a pressure regulator hidden somewhere that is faking the amount of pressure.

Sorry to rant, but the decision just makes no sense to me.