General Team Update

Featured, General

The team is hard at work since returning to school after Winter Break. Here’s what we’re up to! Cutting, welding, and more! We have started to cut parts for the suspension and chassis. Students are learning how to use different tools in the shop such as the horizontal band saw, table saw, and hand saws. […]

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Out With the Old and In With the New: Getting a Jump Start on the New Year

Featured, Structures

Over the week-long break, we made several leaps in progress on our way to a working solar car. Since we have not competed in this competition before, it is paramount that we iterate our design as much as possible in order to artificially boost our team’s experience. Over the course of the winter break, several […]

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Chassis Design: Prototype 2

Featured, Structures

Our new chassis design has taken a major shift in its compatibility with other parts and its aerodynamics. We have changed our chassis to be thinner to accommodate the change in the width of a human sitting down. At the bottom of the chassis, the inner width is 22 inches and its upper width is […]

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Suspending Belief with our Suspension

Featured, Structures

It can hardly be argued that some of the most important parts of a car are the wheels, it wouldn’t be much of a car without them. However, in order to comply with the rules of the Solar Car Competition (and protect the rear of the poor soul who has to drive the car), we […]

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Need For Speed: Solar Car Aerodynamics

Aerodynamics, Featured

The aerodynamics of our solar car are full steam ahead. A smooth body will ensure that the power from our motors is spent moving the car instead of opposing the drag. Essential elements of our aerodynamic body: Fairings around wheels Smooth airfoil shaped body surrounding chassis Aerodynamic solar panel frame and struts We connected with […]

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Generating Power: The Solar Cells

Electrical System, Featured

We have been assembling photovoltaic cells into arrays and laminating them with a variety of techniques in order to understand the impact on cell efficiency. We are experimenting with 156 mm x 156 mm Sunpower cells and are covering them with heat activated lamination plastic. Recently, we found that the best way to ensure good […]

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Powering the Car: Lithium-Ion Batteries

Electrical System, Featured

We decided to make our car for the Solar Car Challenge’s Advanced Division, so we are allowed to use other batteries, such as Lithium-Ion Batteries, in our car instead of deep-cycle Lead-Acid batteries. Though it does make the design more complicated, this different battery technology has many benefits for our car. Due to the Lithium-Ion […]

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Our Shockingly Good BMS


Electrical System

An integral part of dealing with lithium ion batteries is having a battery management system (BMS). The purpose of this is to balance the cells (or sets of cells) in series to ensure while charging/de-charging the load is consistent across the whole battery. We are using a BMS which includes an android app to monitor […]

December 14, 2018

Need For Speed: Solar Car Aerodynamics


Aerodynamics, Featured

The aerodynamics of our solar car are full steam ahead. A smooth body will ensure that the power from our motors is spent moving the car instead of opposing the drag. Essential elements of our aerodynamic body: Fairings around wheels Smooth airfoil shaped body surrounding chassis Aerodynamic solar panel frame and struts We connected with […]

December 13, 2018

Seating and Safety


Structures

While having a working and efficient car is important, it’s all for naught if our car doesn’t comply with the Solar Car Challenge’s safety standards.  It’s imperative that our car is safe for the driver and those around the car and so, acquiring our required 5-point harness and a good seat for our driver was […]

December 12, 2018

Building the Car: Metals and more


Structures

One of the most fundamental decisions guiding the construction of the car is the choice of materials.  The strength and weight of materials used decides the size and type of stock used to create components, as well as dictates in part what manufacturing techniques we can use.  This dependency also works in inverse, for example […]

December 11, 2018

Braking With Bicycle Disc Brakes


Structures

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 […]

December 10, 2018

Our Shift from Inventor to SOLIDWORKS


Structures

Just recently, we have shifted our Three-Dimensional Modeling software from Autodesk Inventor to Dassault Systems’ SOLIDWORKS. Between the program’s there have been many advantages in using SOLIDWORKS over Inventor, namely the real world application and use of the program allows us to make more critical design decisions without having to build anything. The featured image […]

December 7, 2018

Wheel you tell us a bit more about steering?


Structures

UNDERSTANDING AND PROTOTYPING For our initial steering design, we decided to use a rack and pinion connected to a U-joint, which would connect to the steering wheel. To come up with the design, students visited a golf-cart services shop where they looked at the steering components on golf carts to get a better understanding of […]

December 6, 2018

Generating Power: The Solar Cells


Electrical System, Featured

We have been assembling photovoltaic cells into arrays and laminating them with a variety of techniques in order to understand the impact on cell efficiency. We are experimenting with 156 mm x 156 mm Sunpower cells and are covering them with heat activated lamination plastic. Recently, we found that the best way to ensure good […]

December 5, 2018

Creating the Skeleton: Chassis Mock-up


Structures

One of the first design priorities was creating a fundamental chassis as a foundation for the rest of our car. This decision would guide the rest of the design process. Therefore, we began with the basics. We started by reviewing past designs to generate several ideas for the basic car geometry. From this preliminary brainstorming, we reached […]

December 4, 2018