The start of the match

A team is ready to start their match. The emcee goes 3, 2, 1, GO!

On GO!, the students start driving. Unfortunately, the timer didn’t start on time.

In the driver’s meeting:

  • The students were told to wait for the buzzer, as it doesn’t always start as indicated. (I’m buying new tablets.)
  • The EMCEE was told to only say 3, 2, … and then just have the kids wait for the buzzer as it does sometimes act up.

The main violation would be a starting position violation, as they were not touching the wall at the start of the match.

The head ref opted to restart the match as they noticed that the timer didn’t start. The bots had only time to pick up a cube or two.

How would this be handled in your region? Restart? Warning? DQ??? There were students at the competition in the crowd that were shouting “DQ.” How should that be handled? This was also a finals match. Would that make a difference?

We do 3-2-1-Go. If the timer doesn’t start we stop, reset and go. Unless it’s 3-robot starts-2-1-Go not calling DQ.

YMMV, I’m working with 4th &5th graders, not blood thirsty middle school roboteers.

Hopefully this doesn’t become an issue, love IQ because I don’t need to mess with all the control systems mess.


When I emceed, I was encouraged to tell teams before each match to go on the buzzer. Then, I would go 3-2-1… And then the buzzer would sound. This eliminates the confusion of “go” but still provides the excitement.

Then, if a team went before the buzzer and scored points before the buzzer, like knocking down a red block, we would issue a DQ. This only happened twice in MS and ES. If the go before the buzzer and don’t score points, we issue a formal warning.

In a similar manner, we watch the supply zone carefully to ensure that parking robots are parked in time. If they park post-buzzer, we deem it a no-park.

I hope this helps!

(I really miss not being able to edit my posts)

I want to add that most of our matches are in cafeteria spaces, we let people cluster around the fields (need a path around for roboteers to reset robots). For the most part the noise level is pretty high (75+ roboteers and their siblings can make a LOT of noise). So we don’t rely on the sounds other than the referee/MC at the field to start / stop. (Referees also do a :“10…9…8…STOP, controllers down” )

If you really need that split second start reflexes, let me suggest

How to Get Started in NHRA Junior Drag racing

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This will not be an issue in the future as the 3-2-1-GO will be built into the timer. It’s an accommodation for deaf students but will make the match start easier to manage.

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It seems that this season our IQ teams have seen more start/stop issues than in prior years. On multiple occasions, the timer did not start. We’ve also had instances where the buzzer did not work as well as issues with endgame in venues with multiple games going concurrently. Indeed, we had one instance in which the buzzer on an adjacent field went off, our driver put down the controller with about 3 seconds remaining as the robot partial parked. The referee was, as you said, watching the supply zone carefully ( and not the timer) and ended the match on the “false” buzzer, not allowing the partial park. Glad to hear that the timer will be modified for accommodation. Perhaps the endgame notification could have similar mods?

Just a reminder based on experience that some wireless networks may have a delay in getting the sound out. I’ve seen it happen, which is why for VRC I hard wire my Pi field systems. As always your exact site environment may vary.