“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill

FTC must be near perfect by now!

The new Game Manual part 1 is out.

Some changes I discovered, which is not to say they are completely new but only that I was unaware of them, in the new GAME 1 manual:

This is not new, but somehow we went 3 sessions and several Think Awards without noticing it-

” Attach a “summary page” to the front cover of your Engineering notebook. Your summary should be a brief, one page narrative about your team, your school or organization, and an overview of the highlights of your season. Your summary page should also include your team number and point the Judges to the pages in your Engineering Notebook that you would most like the Judges to consider.”

It was pointed out to me by FTC Team 3595, the  new manual had excluded it’s old terminology of “Tasks and Reflections” for the Engineering notebook. But look at the example given by FTC as s shining sample of the Think Award, and you can decide for your team if you want to include it or not.

(This stuff below is all new to the game manual 2015-2016, and often deals with the new wifi system coming in place this season.)

<T3>No Team, Team Member, or event attendee is allowed to set up their own Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz or 5GHz) wireless communication in the venue. Non-allowed wireless communications include, but are not limited to:

  • a. Cellular Hotspots (e.g. cell phones, tablets, MiFi).
  • b. Ad-hoc networks.
  • c. Nintendo DS peer-to-peer.
  • d. Bluetooth communication with Robots in the Competition Area.
  • No Team, Team Member, or event attendee shall interfere with a Team’s Wi-Fi Direct® communication with their own Robot. The Penalty for violating rule is disqualification of the entire Team from the Event and their removal from the venue property. Teams may not appeal the penalty and no refunds will be given for registration fees, prepaid meals, etc. FIRST may conduct a post-Event review and determine if any additional penalties are to be imposed upon the offending Team.
  • Teams are encouraged to report wireless security vulnerabilities to the Field Tech Advisor at an Event. Teams should always keep in mind Gracious Professionalism™, and therefore only report valid and verifiable violations of this rule. After the FTA is alerted of a potential rule violation, he/she will confer with the Head Referee. The FTA and Head Referee will further investigate the potential violation of this rule. The final decision will be made by the Head Referee if rule has been violated, and to disqualify the offending Team.

<T4>Wi-Fi Direct® connectivity between the Android devices used as the Robot Controller and the Drivers Station is allowed. No other wireless communication is allowed.

<T5> Team members may be asked by the Event Director to use a specific Wi-Fi channel on the Event day. It is the intent of this rule that Teams must comply with the request of the Event Director if asked to use a specific Wi-Fi Channel.

5.2 Robot Control System – New for the 2015-2016 Season (Just read all of this. It was long, so check it out in the manual.)

<RG07>The Driver’s Station must comply with the following constraints:

  • a. The Driver’s Station must consist only of:
  • i. One (1) Android device ii. One (1) OTG Cable
  • iii. No more than one (1) non-powered USB hub
  • iv. No more than two (2) gamepads
  • b. The touch display screen of the Driver Station must be accessible and visible by competition personnel.
  • c. Teams are responsible for providing their own gamepads and non-powered USB hub as part of their Driver Station at a Match.
  • d. The Driver’s Station must be set to airplane mode, and Bluetooth must be turned off.

(p.27-30) 5.3.3 Robot Electrical Parts and Materials Rules (just read this whole section. Also completely different because of the new wifi system.)

(p.31) 5.3.4 Robot Software Rules

All TETRIX parts are allowed except for the following: (new parts that aren’t allowed)

  • i. 2.4 GHZ 4 Channel Wireless Joystick Receiver (Product Id 40377)
  • j. 2.4 GHZ 4 Channel Wireless Joystick Gamepad (Product Id 40377)
  • k. 3.6 to 7.2 Volt NIMH Charger (Product Id 40378)
  • l. TXP Prime Gripper Kit (Product Id 40234)
  • m. TXP Battery pack 5AA cell 1500mAh 6 Volt NIMH (Product Id 40235)

(p.26) 6.2.2 Robot Parts and Materials Rules  <R10>Robot wiring is constrained as follows: (This whole section is new)

  • a. LEGO-Approved NXT Mindstorm cables are allowed. Approved cables are currently only available from LEGO and HiTechnic. NXT implementation limits cable lengths to 0.9 meter maximum length. NXT Mindstorm cables cannot be modified in any way.
  • b. LEGO-Approved NXT Conversion Cables to connect RCX sensors or Power Function Motors to the NXT (LEGO Part #s W770323, W778886, or W778871) are allowed.
  • c. Anderson PowerPole, and similar crimp or quick connect style connectors for joining electrical wires are allowed. Power distribution splitters may also be used (and are strongly recommended) to make wiring easier. All connectors/distribution splitters should be appropriately insulated.
  • d. Non-NXT power, motor control, servo, and encoder wires and their connectors may be extended, custom made, or COTS subject to the following constraints: i. Battery wires are 16 AWG or larger ii. Samantha power wires are 18 AWG or larger iii. Motor control wires are 22 AWG or larger iv. PWM wires are 20 AWG or 22 AWG
  • e. Power and motor control wires are strongly recommended to use consistent color coding with different colors used for the Positive (red, white, brown, or black with a stripe are recommended) and Negative/Common (black or blue are recommended) wires. Wire and cable management products of any type are permitted (e.g. cable ties, cord clips, sleeving, etc.).
  • f. Wire insulation materials of any type are permitted when used to insulate electrical wires or secure motor control wires to motors (e.g. electrical tape, heat shrink, etc.).
  • g. The connectors on the TETRIX and MATRIX battery packs may be replaced or augmented with any compatible connector described in above.


Add this to your collective memory, but Remember team captains and coaches! ALWAYS bring a printed Game  manual 1 with you to tournaments- and print out any exceptions or new guidelines from the forum posts if you utilize those in your robot design.  In 2015, we were sent away from a field challenge, not because we weren’t correct in our challenge, but because the judge said he wanted to see it in print.  Maybe the head ref truly was unaware that Samantha control center incorrectly routing the robots so our alliance controlled each other’s partner robot, and not our own robot, was cause for a rematch, but none the less, he requested a Game Manual rule citing and we were denied our rematch 😦  Which, to FTC’s credit, will NEVER happen again since we do not have the S.F.C anymore!  But be aware of the rules, they will all matter!  For or against you, they will all matter.


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