Braking With Bicycle Disc Brakes

Structures / Monday, December 10th, 2018

For the braking system, we are using  brake discs and calipers from bike brakes, including cable activation via lever. When thinking of brake design and the uniquely shaped chassis, we decided we should use the simplest braking method for a prototype.

The Solar Car Challenge requires a dual braking system, with separate pedals activating each one. In addition, each system must be able to independently stop the car. To meet this standard, we will be using two sets of disc brakes and calipers on each wheel. 

Our brakes consist of 203 mm brake discs, the largest biking brake discs, in order to generate the most stopping power possible with a cable activated system.

203 mm discs screwed to car wheel

The bike caliper will be mounted to the chassis. We are using a bike lever which pulls the cable to press the pads in the caliper together and apply pressure to stop the disc and the car. To pull the lever, we are manufacturing a unique pedal to place upon the lever. The lever will be bolted to the car itself so that it can act as a pedal. 

Drawing of the brake pedal and lever activation

Although we are using cable brakes for our first prototype of the solar car, we plan to advance to hydraulic or drum brakes. These braking methods are much stronger than cable brakes, but for now we are waiting to see the effectiveness of the cable brakes and what specifically we need to modify. Until the transition, we are researching which methods will best suit the car and which methods are the most compatible for the required dual braking system. 

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