I am the team leader for team 1200Z, and I also help with the younger 1200 teams as well, with some construction tips, competition advice, and other sorts of knowledge.
One thing I noticed with V5 is that static electricity really messes with connection from the controller to the brain. At all of our regional competitions, we had several disconnection problems, and most of the local teams agreed that the main issue with our robot was not a mechanical or programming thing, rather all of the DC’s we have during tournaments. One of the in state teams (will not state who it is just in case they don’t want to be “thrown under the bus”) showed us after a friendly pre-state scrimmage the grounding wire they had. Essentially, this is an old 2-wire cable that wont be used anymore in VEX with V5, and what they did was exposed both sides of the wire, and had one attach to the metal of the robot and the other touch the field tiles while they drove. Essentially, this grounds the robot so the amount of static electricity is reduced heavily. We quickly put this on after the shared with us that it works very well, and sure enough it did. Being who I am, I enlightened our other club teams about the exposed wire, and our first year 8th grade team put the ground wire on their robot as well.
At the Wisconsin VRC State tournament about a week and a half ago, we competed very well. I won’t use this as a bragging session right now, but we did very well. Throughout the tournament, the inspection table saw our wire and said nothing about it, we stated it in our engineering notebook and to a handful of judges that came to talk to us over the course of the two day competition. Everything went really well, and when state came to a conclusion, the middle school state tournament started right away.
With the middle school state tournament, our club team 1200C was ready to compete. At the inspection table was our regional support manager from RECF. He saw the grounding cable, and immeditely told our club team to chop it off. They did, as once he states something, not much can really be done unless explicitly being stated in the rule book (and if I racall correctly, there is nothing about grounding robots with cables).
He told our middle school team that modifying electrical components is illegal, which is definitely defined in the rule book. So oh well they were not able to use the grounding wire for their state tournament, even though right before their tournament, not only our team, but a couple more high school teams that competed well were using these wires and not being called out for it or being told to cut the wire off.
When we came back from the state tournament, I was able to talk to some of our club mentors. They and I all agreed we don’t see what is wrong with the grounding wire. We don’t see how it is modifying electrical components, if it is not being directly plugged into a cortex/V5 brain. Furthermore, we made it clear at state that we were using it, and no one chewed us out for having it.
My main question is, is having an exposed wire touching the field tiles legal? At one Wisconsin VRC state tournament it was all fine and dandy, and at the other VRC state tournament it was illegal. I hope this thread can strike a friendly discussion towards this, and I hope an official from VEX can help enlighten not only me, but our club, along with some of the local teams in our area. I also am wondering, is there a way around DC’s, or another method of this ground wire?
Here is a picure of the gorund wire we have on our robot, its not the best picture, but it shows how we were able to do it. Also, with the help of a mentor at the middle school state tournament, they were able to problem solve a new way to counter strike static electricity. Let me know what you think! Thank you all so much if you got through reading all of this!
(Left is the middle school quick solution, and the right is our ground wire)