Most teams know the wrath of static, what it can do to your robot, and how bad it can be during a match. If you don’t know what it does, here is the easiest way to describe it.
When there is a lot of static on the field it can cause trouble for the robots. It can be triggered simply by two robots touching, or a robot bumping into an object on the field. It affects your robot by sparking the main power system, which causes your robot and phone to go into a loop, and you are unable to fix it unless you do a hard reset at the end of the match. Long story short, it disables your robot for the rest of your match!
Of course, when building your robot, you should go through the process of zip tying all your wires down, mounting your electronics on plastic instead of the metal frame, and insulating your wires to reduce static, but those are harder to do and more time-consuming. We do highly recommend that you do all of these above first to minimize your static risk.
But now, there is a simple solution to help reduce static, and just about everyone has them in their home.
It might sound weird, but let me explain how it works. When you are driving around, your robot wheels are collecting electricity from the floor mats, the beacons, the corner vortex or even other robots. When your robot collects too much static energy, it gets hard to control what happens and when it discharges. It usually discharges when it hits another robot because they also have a lot of electricity built up. When your robot and another robot collide, they have a battle to see who can give off the most static, and the robot who earns more static suffers the consequences.
The spots that collect the most electricity are your side walls if you have plexiglass, or if you place your phone in the middle of your robot.
Dryer sheets are easy to use! All you need to do is take a dryer sheet and wipe down pretty much everything on your robot, from the wheels to the modules, to the side walls, and even the motors and battery. Dryer sheets are an easy way to reduce the static by evening out the amount of positive and negative charge from the robots.
We used these in our last tournament, and we wiped our robot down every other match and found out that it worked for us. We noticed that when we wiped down our robot, the static seemed to be a lot less than for other robots.
Also if you need to reduce static before a match, make sure to place part of your robot that has metal against the wall that has some metal on it. This helps dissipate any charge buildup.
Our team wanted to share this information with other teams because we have noticed that static can be a major problem, and this is an easier solution than making the anti-static spray.