Static Electricity Ruining Brains

My school has recently been having problems with our field building up large amounts of static electricity. We believe that this has been ghr cause of two brain failures after long practice times. Has anyonr else had this problem? If so what havr you done to fix it?

At our last tournament team 323Y- Flux Capacitors sprayed all the tiles and elements with anti-static spray 3 times throughout the day. I never heard any issues that day.

@1530RoboWarriors I was at the competition as well but my school is unable to afford static spray in the quantities we would need. Spraying once or twice every other day would become incredibly expensive.

At our tournament we paid for and sprayed anti-static spray 3 times (also). During first round of qualifications, before second round of qualifications and before finals. For four fields and 3x’s during the day it only cost us around $9.00 in spray. Other teams are also rubbing dryer sheets on the tiles instead of the spray. IMO it was a huge help and eliminated many control issues during the tournament.

I’m going to experiment at the competition we are going to this weekend, but we bought some cheaper tiles to use for our practice field and I thought that was causing our static. After driving around for a couple of days after we got them, I found that if you stand still and drive the robots around, you could touch them and not get shocked. If you walk around and then touch the robot you get shocked. So maybe we are killing our robots? We don’t have a field perimeter yet, so I want to figure out a way to discharge before we touch our robot, or at least touch metal that isn’t your Cortex first when turning it on or off.

Just my observations so far, we didn’t have any of a practice field last season.

This is a serious problem as our team has definitely ruined at least two brains due to static buildup and maybe even a third. Would zip tieing dryer sheets to the bot first be legal and second help at all??

If you’re having issues with static buildup when running your robot, check to make sure no part of your robot is dragging on the ground. Oftentimes that will be enough to avoid static buildup.

We designed our robot this way and have not had any perceptible static buildup, even after extensive practicing on the field.

yes, no part of the robot is dragging the ground. It is believed that the static is caused by the game objects this year being pushed around a lot this year instead of rolled like last year.

What symptoms are you observing to think the cortex has failed?

We have seen issue with the robot disconnecting from the the field controller during matches. This being at our practice field and at competitions. All of the ports work properly but the robot disconnects about every 5-10 seconds. When we put a new cortex on the robot the issue is resolved. After practicing on our field again for about a week the same issue arose. I doubt that we would have two faulty brains that would both break that quickly. The vex nets have been secured with tape to ensure that disconnection is not resulting from that.

Probably should mention that bwilfong and I are on the same team

Not convinced that would be a static issue. Did the robot touch the field perimeter at the same time as connection was lost? It is more likely you have a bad battery connector or something like that.

I don’t know how to test this further. We have used multiple different cortex with a multitude of batteries and still get the same result. Any ideas on how to test this

And no the robot was not touching the field perimeter. In many case it would not be during a jerky motion or when we ran into the fence to throw.

Lastly, many times when we go to move the robot out of the arena we will get shocked by the robot due to static discharge

Perhaps post a picture so we can see the robot and how the cortex is mounted.

Typically when static has affected the cortex it happens when touching the field perimeter, this causes a discharge that can cause the cpu to reset. There’s some discussion in this old thread.

1 Like

We have had issues with static electricity and the IMEs. With the IMEs in, after about 30 seconds or more into driving the robot, the robot would just start being out of control. Disconnecting from Vexnet would not stop the robot. Disconnecting the IMEs did resolve the problem so the team is now using shaft encoders.


the cortex is mounted vertically with the battery port on the bottom and the vender on the top. We are using imes but parts of the robot not using imes are disconnecting also. The entire robot disconnects from the field controller.

I didn’t realize I was talking with TC’s famous Wilfong and Reid!

JPearman, I believe it is a bigger problem than past years due to the constant friction created by dragging the cubes and stars around the field. We had minimal issues with connections, IME’s etc. in previous years, but this year we have had issues at each tournament we attended. That is what led me to invest in the static guard for the tournament we hosted, and teams that had experienced issues at previous tournaments Flux Capacitors, Pig Pen, Cerberus had minimal or no connection issues due in part to our attempt to reduce static buildup.

If there there is 0% chance that the connection issues are because of the field controllers (as stated by our regional manager), then either we all have faulty battery connections or friction is a big issue. Are any teams from other states having issues?

We 6840 & 6842 have not had problems with “Brain Failures” or Cortex’s, so I can’t speak to that. I’m going to guess the messed up cortex is because of something Cole did vs. static, but i’m not sure. :slight_smile:

This is an old issue, ROBOTC implements a watchdog timer that resets the cortex if this happens and also takes several other measures in the firmware to try and mitigate the problem. I don’t think PROS implements a watchdog so if static affects the user cpu and it crashes control can be lost.

I’m not saying that static is not an issue, it has been in the past, it is dependent on several factors including game objects (quite bad during sack attack) and environment. However, I have never experienced static actually damaging the cortex or connected sensors. To have that happen multiple times on a single robot just doesn’t seem statistically likely.