Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday June 17



Wednesday evening after going through most of the last scrutineering checks, we blew up one of our motor controllers. The cause was likely due to stresses placed on the controllers while we were resolving battery problems, wiring errors and non-working pre-chargers. This incident blew our chances of being able to compete in the track race and the cross-country race. Nicholas and I went to talk to Paul Hirtz this morning to inform him that we would be unable to compete. He suggested we could bring our car along on the race route and display it at all of the check points and stage stops. That sounded like a good idea and the team set out to clean up the car and finish applying the sponsor decals. Everyone was in a good mood and looking forward to a more relaxing trip home to Michigan.
Then the Calgary team offered to let us use their spare motor controller and University of Michigan loaned us a camera for our rear vision system. We decided to take them up on their offer and try to get to the dynamic testing in time to qualify for the track event. We worked hard to get everything ready for the evening testing. We rolled the car out with Nick as the driver and took off for the testing area on the hill. The car sailed up the hill effortlessly and left the rest of the team running to catch up. The first test was the U turn to check for the ability to turn the required radius of 6 meters. No Problem! Next came the figure 8 in which the car must be able to negotiate each half of the figure 8 in less than nine seconds. The driver is allowed to drive the course multiple times to get familiar with it and gradually feel comfortable to negotiate it with confidence. The initial and the final results are shown below. Having passed the figure 8, we moved on to the slalom test which requires the driver to negotiate a line of cones placed 18 meters apart. Nick ran the course in the 11.5 seconds allotted. The last requirement was the braking test. The car must be moving at 30 mph arriving at a wet pavement area and come to a stop within 3 seconds without loss of control. This must be done several times to ensure the brakes are sized to handle the heat buildup from multiple stops. We discovered a little problem with the brakes in that they locked up for a while before the hydraulic pressure would bleed down and allow the car to be driven again. We returned to our pit area to solve the problem and to finish the wiring of the array connector and the installation of the rear vision camera.
On Friday we will attempt the brake test again to finish dynamics and get on the track to see if we can drive the required 100 laps in one day to qualify for the road race.
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