Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VRC 2020-2021: Change Up

Usage Guidelines All Questions

LED Lights with wireless transmitter functionality


Brendan McGuire (Event Partner)
9 months ago

<R13f> clarifies that small power internal power sources are permitted for powering nonfunctional decorations:

f. Internal power sources (e.g. for a small blinking light) are permitted, provided that no other rules are violated and this source only provides power to the non-functional decoration (e.g. does not directly or indirectly influence any functional portions of the Robot).

Additionally, past rulings (#698) have stated teams are permitted to power and control light strips via an externally accessible port on the V5, provided that teams do not violate <R13g> or other robot rules in the process.

g. Decorations which provide feedback to the Robot (e.g. by influencing legal sensors) or to Drive Team Members (e.g. status indicators) would be considered “functional” and are not permitted.

Some LED Light Strips additionally have a wireless IR receiver (built in) and remote which allows them to be remotely controlled (switching colors, blink configurations, etc.).

Are these light strips legal? Would it be legal to change these light strips during a Match?

Answered by Game Design Committee

No, this would not be legal. Wireless communication with a Robot of any kind, other than VEXnet, is explicitly prohibited by several rules.

R13, part c:

c. Small cameras are permitted as non-functional decorations, provided that any transmitting functions or wireless communications are disabled. Unusually large cameras being used as ballast are not permitted.

R14:

<R14> No Wi-Fi. The Vision Sensor must have its wireless transmitting functionality disabled.

R17:

<R17> Robots use VEXnet. Robots must ONLY utilize the VEXnet system for all Robot communication.

[...]

Teams are permitted to use the Bluetooth® capabilities of the V5 Robot Brain and/or V5 Controller in team pits or outside of Matches. However, VEXnet must be used for wireless communication during Matches.

R21, part b:

<R21> One or two controllers per Robot. No more than two (2) VEX wireless remotes may control a single Robot during the tournament.

[...]

b. No other methods of controlling the Robot (light, sound, etc) are permissible.