Electrostatic Discharge, referred to as ESD, is the buildup of an electrical charge on non-conductive surfaces and the eventual discharge, like lightning, to a grounded item. The effects of electrostatic shocks on electronics vary from processor resets to cumulative silicon component damage and to possible silicon component failure. ESD is significantly worse in the winter when low humidity reduces surface moisture and therefore the conductivity that dissipates static electric charges. Mobile robots are susceptible to electrostatic buildup caused by rolling friction of the wheels on non-conductive surfaces. VEX recommends the following safeguard to minimize ESD and possible component damage.
The use of anti-static spray on the EDR foam field tiles is a safe and effective method to eliminate static buildup.
- This is already done at VEX Robotics World Championship and other large events. This critically important step ensures ESD protection and a smooth, glitch-free robot operation.
- Spraying field tiles annually is very strongly recommended for all VEX EDR events. Foam tiles should be sprayed at the beginning of the winter season and again at any state championship or higher level event. This applies to only the VEX Robotics Competition foam tiles and not the plastic VEX IQ Competition field tiles.
- Apply static guard to your practice field tiles. Use Heavy Duty Staticide made by ACL Inc. As always, please follow the manufacturer's recommended instructions for use and safety precautions. A one-quart bottle treats four fields at a cost of approximately $5/field or less.
Watch this video to see how much staticide to spray on the field.
Anti-Static Field Tiles
Anti-static tiles were specifically designed to prevent Electrostatic Buildup. In our testing, Anti-Static Tiles consistently showed little to no static buildup at all! These tiles are also reversible, essentially doubling their lifetime, and allowing for much quicker field assembly. It should be noted that these Anti-Static tiles will NOT interlock with pre-existing Foam Tiles (278-1502), but otherwise are practically identical. They are functionally equivalent, and any minor differences that do exist (color, thickness, Coefficient of Friction, etc.) are extremely negligible, and should not impact robot-field interaction.