As 2023 comes to a close, we are well on our way to having an improved solar car. We are hard at work, carrying out projects that we were not able to implement last year due to time constraints, and finding new ways to improve Sockeye’s performance. In this busy season, many of our new members are stepping up to the challenge, taking on difficult projects.
One of these projects is the design and development of a custom Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for both the steering wheel and control board of SOCKEYE. Designing these boards is a difficult task, but Freshman Caden rose to the occasion, quickly altering previous schematics and modeling new PCB boards. This streamlines the electrical system, making it more durable and simple to repair.
(Custom Printed PCB for steering wheel)
Another project currently underway is the modification of the car’s brakes. Last year, we used aluminum brake disks for the rear brakes. The rear brakes would have more stopping power than the front since they had a larger diameter. However, we knew that most of the braking would come from the front, so to improve handling and make the car slightly lighter we used aluminum brake disks in the rear of the car. During testing last year, though the brakes worked fine, they were harder to press than we would like. To make the car easier to drive, we are re-creating the rear brakes out of steel which will improve braking force. Overall, this should improve braking time and contribute to a smoother driving experience.
(Design for rear left brake disk in CAD software)
With the midpoint of the school year creeping up, many other projects are in full swing. Every member of the team is hard at work, modifying the car to both fit the rules and improve efficiency. This year, almost every new member has stepped out of their comfort zone, contributing greatly to the team and the car. Coming into 2024, we have big plans to continue polishing SOCKEYE, and hope to begin testing soon as the days get longer and the weather improves.