Static Interference

Recently, our team has been running into a weird problem in which some motors (namely the intake motors for us) have just automatically been running as soon as you turn the robot on. However, it isn’t just on; it’s sort of pulsating between fast and slow at different random intervals. We think it’s static , especially since our IME wires are bundled together with the motor wires. However, we’ve had this problem before (in November). Somehow, the problem fixed itself without us doing anything. I think we pulled out the batteries and put them back, and that fixed it temporarily, but eventually it would start up again.

I’m asking this because our robot seems to be browning out a lot more than usual; ever since this problem became apparent, we brown out around every 20 seconds, not really doing anything power-intensive.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that once i touch a metal part on the robot, i get electric shocks, a clear sign of static…

Any solutions?

Can you post the code you’re using on the robot? A picture of the design could also be helpful.

May I suggest some Anti-Static Spray?

Spraying anti-static spray on your robot is not recommended. On the field, however, it is recommended. There are many threads regarding the static discharge, I would recommend searching the forums (there are too many to list all of the ones of importance). Here is a statement by an official VEX employee (JVN).

I was referring to spraying it on the field.

We have had this problem with IMEs (and so have some others on the forum). It is because of the daisy-chain method of wiring that static electricity is collected by the exposed plugs of the IMEs, and that is why other sensors don’t have this problem. There are a few known solutions to this:

  1. Anti-Static Spray on the field is known to reduce the likelihood of the problem, although you cannot control how much or how frequently they use the spray at Worlds, so I would look into a more “sure fix.”
  2. If you have space, Optical Shaft Encoders provide a good alternative, and they do not have exposed wiring, and as such will not have static problems.
  3. Team 24C solved their static issues by moving their motors further up and away from the floor, thus reducing their exposure to the static from the tiles. If you can do this on your intake, it would be a good idea.
  4. Mounting your cortex on those rubber mounts, or with antislip mesh or some other form of non-conductive material between the cortex and the metal might help you reduce the amount of static that goes from the metal components to the cortex.

Best solution. Come to New Zealand we have not let static into the country. Border security stops it!

Oh yes, fond memories of the nice lady from MAF coming onto the plane, walking to the back then moving forward spraying two cans of insecticide in the closed plane as she walked down the center isle.

Welcome to New Zealand right after we delouse you!!!
(That was the 90’s, they stopped soon after I was going, but I’ll guess its pumped into the air system so its not so apparent).

But since NZ is surrounded on 5 sides by water, I can see why static will be low. Yet another good reason to hold Worlds there.

(5th side? Look up mate, if it’s not raining now, wait some, it will. When I lived there, Wellington weather changed, for better or for worse, about every three hours.)

I would be THRILLED if they held Worlds in New Zealand next year. We would get passports, take the plane out there, and go see the Shire.

Imagine that week, with three or four thousand students all flying into the country. It would be fantastic for their economy, a great experience for American students, as well as a shorter flight for teams in Asia.

VEX, how about it?