Anticipated Problems with In the Zone

I feel that in this game teams will face the same challenges as last year. One major problem will be the consistent breakage of rule <R18>. Rule <R18> states,“Pneumatic devices may only be charged to a maximum of 100 psi.” Opponents will not always ask the referee to check the pressure of their opponent’s pneumatic robot so they will be playing will illegal robots at times. That is why you should always ask the referee to check the pressure of your opponent’s robot if it has a pneumatic device BEFORE THE MATCH BEGINS. Sure some may consider it rude or maybe even a hassle but it prevents the issue of playing with a team who broken this rule. I can say from personal experience that this rule was consistently broken in last year’s game Starstruck. A tip that I would highly recommend that you take is bringing your own tire gauge to the games as a tool to check the pressure. Referees may not always have one and it saves a lot of time when you have your own, especially if you plan on being the team that always asks for a pressure check before the match begins.

While this does not affect either of my teams, as neither are currently planning to use pneumatics, i am fundamentally against this.

  1. Checking the pressure allows air out and lowers the pressure, especially if the person checking it is not good at it. This goes in the same boat as the PTC checks right before matches. More harm than good.

  2. I have never had the fear of “Oh no, what if their tanks are at 150 PSI instead of 100 PSI!?” There has not been a single match that we have won or lost that i think that played a part in, or would have cared if it did. Again, i feel the same way about the PTC scandal. I could care less if the other team modifies their motors. They are doing so at their own risk, and i don’t believe it is going to pay off for them.

  3. It is hard enough for many tournaments to keep on schedule as it is. This nonsense would require more volunteers or additional time between matches. The occasional size check if a team looks suspiciously large, sure. Pressure checks EVERY TIME your opponent has pneumatics? No.

At this point, i am curious, how many people are really living in constant fear of some opposing team cheating? This, the PTC issue, overcharging batteries. None of these things have ever been a concern to me, the other mentors, or any of our teams.

As a counter point, i WOULD like to see VEX release a pressure gauge to be attached to the tank as part of the robot, which would make it easier for teams to charge their tanks properly, and a simple matter for anyone to verify in the event of a question.

+1. To sort of add on to that: If your constantly wanting other team’s pressure checked then it means you really don’t trust them. And you not trusting anyone is not going to help you at all in Vex as well as in the real world. I could probably add on to this for a bit longer but I should probably work on my robot…

At one of my events, you would get this once as a courtesy, then the referee would tell you “no” after that. Your paranoia is no reason to destroy my tournament’s schedule.

Perhaps it’s time for VEX to add a pressure gauge to the parts lineup and require its use on competition robots?


We did random tests last year at the Arizona State Championship, though it was not right before a match where it would delay things further. It actually ended up helping a team because their pump was saying 100PSI when it was actually putting out 60.

What were the results of your random tests? What percent were over, under, right on?

There was one team in VEXU about 2psi over one time but everyone else was under in HS and the rest of VEXU. We checked about twice for each team.

I don’t have data to back it up, but i suspect 2 PSI would have a negligible effect on over all match output. I would consider that to be within margin of error. I also know there have been suggestions in the past made to charge your tank a little over to account for what you lose when you disconnect the pump, which could easily account for that.

They also gladly let a little air out once that reading was taken. But yea I don’t believe it would do much.


People thought 100 PSI wasn’t enough… Somehow we made do with 60 all season until State.

To be clear. The year vex introduced the PTC checking at worlds they caught 30+ teams. It is something that a real percentage of teams were doing at the world championship. It was always illegal and is something that is impossible to do in accident.

Yes. Or why not just a cheap pressure relief valve set to crack open at 100 psi? That’s about ten bucks.

(Okay, then you’ll have people demanding to test those, too. Ha!)

I wish that weren’t actually true, but it is…

Tbh, itd be very easy to cheat with those, all you have to do is jb weld or similar it shut, meaning that it would never open

Let’s move the discussion away from cheating, please.

I think you could test them fairly easily, though. Some of them have a pull-ring feature, and if I’m not mistaken, you could pull on the ring with a cheap spring scale and see if it cracks at a specified force (= specified pressure).

Ultimately, after you go all the way down the line (PTC checks, pressure checks, etc.), nothing’s ever completely 100% fool-proof in terms of preventing cheating in VRC. It all comes down to trusting your opponents to play fair. It’s just like in the world of security; no security system is ever 100% crack-proof; there always is an element of trust involved.

Even with a few bad apples, at the end of the day, the vast majority of teams have respect for the rules. We already have enough hassles in running tournaments. We don’t need to add onto that out of paranoia.

I’ve seen teams with this attached to their pneumatic reservoirs occasionally, inspectors have let it pass even though strictly speaking it is not legal.

I’d be very pleased if Vex added that to the list of legal non-Vex parts. I see no reason why not too, and it’s not something that vex themselves needs to distribute. Kind of like how they don’t sell plastic, but it’s a legal part.