photos

Road Trip 2016: Ohio

The week following finals is usually a relaxing time to unwind, relax, and try to put those nasty tests in perspective. However, this is not true for solar car. Finals had barely finished, and the team was already abuzz with activity. The team was getting ready to leave on a road trip that Sunday for Ohio. Road trips are a strong tradition on the team, and for good reason; they offer a great chance to extensively test the solar car on public roads, get the team ready to perform in the upcoming solar challenges, and help train the next generation of drivers.

Photo Credit: Chris Pentacoff '06

Photo Credit: Chris Pentacoff ’06

This year’s road trip was during the last week of May in Columbus, Ohio. The main purpose of this road trip was to get more strategy data on Arcturus, and use Arcturus as a test bed for ideas for the next car. This included testing Arcturus with an off center center of mass to see how stable an asymmetric car would be. This road trip helped train new team members on how to work together during a solar challenge. From this road trip we now have two new solar car drivers who are both comfortable with driving at highway speeds. The data that we collected on our electrical system, brakes, balance, and stability will help improve the design for our 2017 car. The road trip helped with weeding out more issues that team can now address and prevent in future designs.

If you want to see more from the roadtrip check out our flickr

2016 Ohio Road Trip

By |ee, MechE, photography, photos, sevt, testing, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Road Trip 2016: Ohio

Battle of the cakes 2016

It is that time of year again: time for battle of the cakes. On our team we have a tradition that every year during a team potluck there is a cake baking competition between the freshmen/new members and the upperclassmen. The rules are simple as a team bake a cake based on our solar car and then a panel of third party judges will decide the winner based on taste and appearance. Last year the freshmen won in a land slide, as you can see below. So who won this year? The judges have their opinions, but before we tell you we want to know your opinion. Check out the two cakes (in no particular order), and then vote below.

Cake 1

Cake 1

Cake 2

Cake 2

2015-cakes.

Last year’s cake entries. The freshman cake is back.

All photos were taken by the author

By |food, just for fun, photos, team, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Battle of the cakes 2016

Post WSC Adventures

After crossing the finish line in Adelaide, the adventure continued. Myself and 4 other team members made an extended layover in New Zealand on our way back to the U.S. We spent five days driving around the south island of New Zealand. We started and ended in Christchurch and stopped every so often to take in the spectacular views we saw around every bend. We saw the unusually spherical Moeraki boulders on the Otago coast, played with frolicking alpacas, found the most southern point of the island, explored the busy city of Queenstown, enjoyed a flying lesson to Milford Sound, witnessed the wonders of a cave full of glowworms and took in breathtaking views of the Southern Alps. The last day of our trip, Nov 1 also happened to be when the final Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia was being played. This meant we were able to watch the game in Christchurch with the locals. It was an exciting and  unforgettable experience.

After landing at the airstrip in Milford Sound from left to right: Christopher P. ’06 , Kelly R. ’12, Michelle C. ’17, Trang D. ’15 and Micah G. ’18

a typical road side view

We went on a short tramp and were rewarded with a spectacular view of Mt. Cook

check out the early morning view from our hotel in Queenstown

Photo Credit: Michelle C. and Christopher P.

 

By |just for fun, photos|Comments Off on Post WSC Adventures

Road Trip to Detroit

As we previously mentioned, the team went to Detroit in July! Though the purpose of the trip was for wind tunnel testing, that activity only took one day, so we spent the rest of the week doing some serious road testing and practicing for the upcoming Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. This week of testing gave us valuable experience, allowed for design optimizations to be made, and gave us critical data on Arcturus’s power draw.

For those not familiar with Michigan, they have some very snowy, cold winters, which leads to many of their roads having pot holes. This was great for testing our suspension, but after proving our rugged design, it was time to allow the drivers to have some comfort in the form of a smooth road. We eventually found a suitable route in a rural town outside of Detroit. While driving out in the countryside, we noticed that there was a large thunderstorm forming on the Doppler RADAR. Fearing there might be hail, and with our trailer a few miles away, we sought the only feasible shelter, a gas station. This was definitely a good call, as, within a few minutes of parking Arcturus, a torrential downpour began.

Arcturus at a gas station

This testing was good, but we quickly became limited by the speed limit on our chosen route, so we graduated to testing Arcturus on rural highways. After speaking with the Superintendent, we were able to set up “camp” at a school along the highway we had chosen to test on. The route also had some good hills, which was great for testing.

Beyond testing the car and training our drivers, the road trip was great for meeting people and doing some informal outreach. Almost all of the people we met in Michigan were very kind and intrigued by the car. In fact, one of the teachers we happened to talk to ended up tweeting about us:

We left Michigan at the end of the week. Everyone was exhausted from seven long days of testing and fixing. This week provided great practice and road time to prepare for the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. We even managed to get back to Boston in time to get the people who flew in for the week to the airport for their flights out. Check out the pictures from the road trip.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge PRIMARY LOGO

Test Driving at Palmer Motorsport Park

This Monday (13 July) we had a great day of testing at Palmer Motorsport Park, a new 2.3 mile track located less than two hours from the shop in the hills of Massachusetts. Palmer Motorsport Park was generous enough to donate to us this track time making them one of our newest sponsors. This track testing was extremely helpful for, as it allowed us to stress test the dynamics and handling of the car, while not having to worry about other cars on the road. We were able to push the car at high speeds through the course’s steep hills and tight turns safely. The drivers gained valuable experience with the car in these conditions and learned to drive the solar car efficiently to conserve battery energy.

DSC_1328

The day began rather early at our shop. We quickly loaded our gear into the truck and chase car, and headed west for Palmer, MA. Along the way there we were able to practice driving as and chase and lead for the solar car; although Arcturus was in the trailer, so some imagination was required. Once we arrived we were graciously greeted by the Owner and Caretaker, and we are able to quickly unload with their help.

DSC_1025

In the first few laps of testing we found a few minor improvements that could be made. Once we had implemented these Arcturus was running even better than before. We were then able to focus more on getting the drivers more comfortable with Arcturus, and the track. Each driver did a few slow starting laps to get used to the course’s tight turns and hills. Then each successive lap was bumped up to a higher speed. By the end of the day each driver was driving at high speeds, while also managing to be very energy efficient. They were able to better understand how to drive Arcturus at high speeds with minimal power draw, and practiced coasting and using regenerative breaking on the many downhill parts.

At the end of the day we had gotten in a good 7 hours of testing, had gathered valuable data for strategy, and even more important driver experience.

Check out some of the pictures from the day:

By |Arcturus, body, ee, MechE, photography, photos, World Solar Challenge, wsc15|Comments Off on Test Driving at Palmer Motorsport Park

Thanks Genasun and EMA Services!

Now that things have settled down a bit and Chopper is back in Boston, we would like to thank Genasun and EMA Services for all the invaluable help they gave us in constructing our battery pack.

First, a huge thanks to Genasun! Alex MeVay and Alexander Hayman of Genasun ( also alums of the team) designed our pack and battery protection system. They were also kind enough to offer us a place to construct the pack as well, and we spent several long days putting together all the batteries, PCBs, and wire cabling. Check out some pictures from the assembly party below!

David screws hardware into some of the PCBs 

 Kelly checks the alignment of the battery tabs before placing the top PCB 
Close-up of the batteries

Julia cuts zip ties holding the two PCB panels together. Almost done!


And of course, another huge thanks to EMA Services. who assembled our BMS boards free of charge. Thanks for helping us out, even during your vacation time!



The team is ready to get started designing again, and we look forward to working with Genasun and EMA Services, as well as all our other sponsors, for our next build cycle. Keep checking the blog, as we’ll be posting updates about our progress. 

More Race Photos

A couple more race photos! Photo credit: Simon Calcutt (our awesome British Electrical Engineer).  Simon had worked with the team when he had been at MIT as an exchange student from Cambridge University. It was wonderful to have him join us in Australia this year.

The team at the finish line: Victoria Square in Adelaide.
Chopper in the Australian outback. 

Epic sunset picture.
Chopper + Trailer under the night sky.
Driving through the rain. Rain-X and Silicone sealant go a long way.
Kelly cruising along.

Team paparazzi taking pictures of our lead car followed by the solar car and chase. 

By |chopper del sol, photography, photos, wsc11|Comments Off on More Race Photos

Our not-so-secret secret…

So if you’ve been looking closely at some of the pictures we’ve posted, you may have noticed something unusual…
…our red tires!
It’s about time we disclose our secret as rumours have been buzzing around WSC about these.
Adam is interviewed by Japanese TV.
These are custom-made solid polyurethane tires mounted on specially-machined anodized aluminium wheels. Dimensions are: 1 3/8” x 20 3/4”. We have been working all summer with our wonderful and enthusiastic sponsors HSMWorks, Spracher Engineering, and TWT Group to develop these new solar car tires . Special thanks to Anthony Graves, Aidan Bradley, and Bill Spracher for all their hard work with making these possible.
They have a low rolling resistance and thus help make our car highly efficient. We’ve been test driving them around and so far the numbers are looking good. This morning they passed dynamic scrutineering and we ran our time trial on these.
After the race we plan to continue working with Spracher and TWT Group to further develop these with the hopes of producing a new solar car tire for the open market. Look to see more of these in future races!
[Post-Race Edit]:  As you can read in later blog posts we ended up not running the full race on these tires. We swapped them out Day 1 for moped tires. There were a couple issues with these tires causing them to fail. We will continue testing and developing these over the next couple months to resolve the issue. Stay tuned.
By |photos, sponsors, tires, tyres|Comments Off on Our not-so-secret secret…