Test Driving: Day 2!

Yesterday we went out again to test Chopper in a nearby parking lot, and us drivers had a lot of fun trying out some maneuvers like figure-eights and a slalom course. 

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Counting Down the Seconds

Sorry for the late blog post! Things have been getting pretty hectic around the shop in preparation for our first test drive. However, almost all the electrical and mechanical components are ready to go! We predict to take our first test drive later today or tomorrow.

One of our recently assembled electrical components is our shiny new steering wheel. Kai Cao, an MIT graduate student, designed and built it for electrical organization and driver compatibility. It now includes all the basic driver commands such as turning signals, emergency lights, speedometer, etc. Check it out below:

So shiny! And the handles have comfortable grips. 
All of the inside electrical components of the wheel.
A closer look at the main hardware. 

Chopper del Sol is almost complete thanks to these guys:

The electrical team works on the printed circuit boards.
George and Dillon are machining kevlar composites for body attachment pieces.

Dillon prepares to CNC machine canopy attachment pieces.
Kai analyzes some code on his laptop.

We also were shown on the ABC Chronicle tv show last Thursday night! The episode featured how people used alternative energy fuels and methods to efficiently power vehicles. Check out the video on their website here:

20 days left until ASC! LEZZ GOOOO

A Great Start

The basic mechanical system is complete and drives like a dream! We took the bottom half of the car outside today and pushed it manually to get a feel for the car. Although we only tested in the back alley of our shop, the steering was easy and the car rolled smoothly. We plan to test the entire car including the electrical system this coming Tuesday. Here are some pictures and a video!

Chopper del Sol’s mechanical system basking in the sun.

Bruce and Dillon bring out the car for some testing.

Dillon pushes Julia around in the car.

Go! Go! Go!
Dillon is focusing very intensely. 


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32 Days Left

The weather in Boston has been dreary and rainy all week, so we’ve decided to start testing early next week. Until then, we’ve been working on many details to improve Chopper del Sol. One of those details is the composite body. The body has all its components attached, but needs a lot of sanding to make its edges smoother. On the mechanical side, the suspension system is complete and the braking system is nearly done. The brake caliper mounts were CNC machined today and will be attached to the uprights soon. On the electrical side, the array board has been modified and its pcb (printed circuit board) came in the mail today. Its assembly is in the works. Below are some pictures of these processes:

Dillon is preparing to CNC machine the brake caliper mounts using HSMWorks.

The CNC mill is being prepped.
The CNC mill is doin its thang.    
Rose examines the pcb layout to determine which electrical components need to be assembled.

 Rose is picking out the correct surface-mount resistor.

Time to solder everything!

 Part of the array board CAN code.

 Rose is comparing codes on the shop computer.

Top half of Chopper del Sol.
The nose is currently being sanded after adding micro. 

 Only one more month until ASC! GET PUMPED.

ASC Update

Hi everyone,

We hope your summer has been going well! In preparation for ASC, we’ve been working around the clock and will have Chopper del Sol test driving in a couple of days. Here’s some pictures of what we’ve been working on:

Dillon and Rose are sanding the fairings for better aerodynamics! And for character building.

The suspension system is lookin sweeeet.
Our drivers are trying to fit into the chassis and discussing where to put the electrical switches.

We would also like to thank our new sponsor, Panasonic, for supplying us new batteries!

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New Sponsor: Cabot

We would like a give a big shout-out to one of our greatest new sponsors, Cabot! Cabot is a materials company headquartered in Boston that mainly supplies rubber, carbon black, inkjet colorants, and a variety of other industrial grade products. They have been a huge help in the process and we are grateful for their support!

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SEVT Newsletter

Hi everyone,

The team is busy preparing for ASC this summer, but we’ve put together a spiffy newsletter. It covers WSC, our challenges for ASC, a featured member, and a lot of other good stuff. Check it out here:


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World Solar Challenge 2011 Video

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New Sponsor: Dropbox

Thank you to to our newest sponsors, Dropbox, who have kindly sponsored us with a 10 TB Dropbox Team account. Dropbox’s seemless file-sharing application has been key in organizing and collaborating on our many projects.

Thank you Dropbox!

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SEVT update

Hey everyone, the blog has been a bit lacking as of late, so we wanted to update you as to whats going on in the SEVT world for the last couple months since the end of the race.

After a couple well deserved weeks of rest, and a new set of officers leading the team, we got right back to business. First off, I wanted to confirm that MIT will be attending the American Solar Challenge this summer!! We are really excited to get back to raycing, especially with Chopper del Sol. Even with our solid finish at WSC, we think we can do better. This is especially exciting, since its the first time in several years that SEVT is back on a yearly race schedule (WSC and ASC on alternate years) as opposed to our typical two-year race cycle. Also, we haven’t been to ASC for several years (since 2005), so it’ll be good to be racing on our home turf against our fellow universities.

The team is really excited, and with a fantastic new group of freshmen (no seriously, these guys are awesome) joining our ranks, we’re optimistic about our chances at ASC.

Since the end of WSC, we’ve been working hard to modify our vehicle for ASC. Although most of Chopper can remain unchanged, a few things do need to be addressed. Over IAP (Independent Activities Period – a month off in January to do anything, we choose to do solar car) we have been working nonstop. Our major achievement was doing a full layup of the lower body, which needed to be redone after our mediocre job last summer following our accident. It also gave us the opportunity to improve our manufacturing techniques and make an even higher quality composite structure. We are currently working on the body finish, prepping it for painting. We’re also redoing our fairings, making them wider so we can use wide Michelin tires, should we choose to run on them at the race.

Below are some pics of the layup. Enjoy!

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