Scrutineering Day 1 – Registration

Brian Graf // // No Comments
Sunset on the Hot Pavement at Monticello Motor Club

Sunset on the Hot Pavement at Monticello Motor Club

July 6 is coming to a close and that means day 1 of scrutineering has finished! Although for our team specifically all that entailed was registration and finding a place to work on the car for the afternoon. Our scheduled slots for examination are all for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday will have our electrical and driver scrutineering sessions. The electrical session will consist of tests on our critical systems on the vehicle. Basically they are making sure that our motor works, that our lights work properly, and that the system as a whole will be safe throughout the race. The driver session includes making sure that all of the drivers follow regulations correctly and will be safe when they drive the car.

All of the teams ended up in a freshly paved parking lot right next to the race track at Monticello Motor Club. We set up shade tents, unloaded the car, and began working on Impulse. Brake lights needed to be checked, the hatch array was being tested for proper power output, an old board needed to be remounted to remedy a recurring issue. We also helped out the Principia Solar Car Team with our welder and generator.

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The Heat, the Work, and the City

Brian Graf // // 2 Comments

We are concluding our third day of preparations in Monticello, New York and we are burning in the heat. It has been consistent 90 degree days with 50% humidity and when working outside on the car, the weather just saps the energy right from us.

CalSol Team Picture in Time Square

CalSol team photo in the center of Time Square

But all we can do is continue working on the car, fixing small glitches, soldering some replacement circuits, coordinating logistics for ASC, and fitting in food and sleep somewhere in there. But that clearly can’t continue forever. So…

We all decided to take a break on the night of July 3rd and travel to New York City because we were already so close. We drove to the outskirts, took the metro into the center of the city, walked through Rockefeller Center and Time Square, stopped at John’s for some wonderful pizza, and then headed on back to Monticello. It was a great night and gave us a hefty boost in team morale.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Brian Graf // // No Comments
Lake at Day 4 Campsite in Annawan, Illinois

Lake at Day 4 Campsite in Annawan, Illinois

We seem to be playing cat and mouse with a large storm for the past few days. Lots of rain, lots of thunder, lots of soggy sleeping bags…

Every time that we leave camp we speed past the dark, ominous clouds and get into the warm, humid sunlight. But as soon as we reach the next campsite, the clouds catch back up and throw torrents of water back down on us during the night.

The soggy feeling is starting to creep through a lot of our gear so hopefully we can get to either dryers at our next campsite or we will have to wait until New York so that we can be stationary and dry clothes outside.

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On the Road Again

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

Thousands of miles of open roads ahead of us

CalSol is back on the road again! Yesterday was our first day of six on our trip across the United States to our penultimate destination, Monticello, New York. The longest day of travel for us, we drove over 550 miles from Berkeley to our resting place for the night, a beautiful campground in Angel Lake National Forest, Angel Creek, in Wells, Nevada. It was an uneventful ride in the grand scheme of things. Would it be wrong to say I was a little bored?

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CalSol on CNET Always On

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

Recently CalSol was contacted by a group within CNET, and check out the results! We have been featured on CNETTV, as part of the pilot for their brand new show, Always On.

Racing with the Sun

Thanks to Molly and the crew at CNET!

Thank You to Sena Bluetooth!

Benjamin Chen // // No Comments

Here at CalSol, safety is our #1 priority. For several months now, we have had to make do with handheld walkie talkies for communications between Impulse and the accompanying safety caravan. This system has given us many a headache because of problematically low sound quality which had no chance competing against the noisy clicking and whirring of our NGM SCM150 motor at low speeds and the wind at high speeds. With clear communication being one of the best defenses against the possibility of unsafe situations, we started to search for new methods of relaying messages between Impulse and the caravan.

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ASC Here We Come!

Brian Graf // // 1 Comment

I don’t know if everyone has noticed the big countdown on our home page, but we have less than a month left until American Solar Challenge 2012! We are and have been diligently preparing for this 1,800 mile race for many months now and all of our work is truly beginning to fit together.

Impulse charging at sunset over bay

As the sun begins to set after a day of racing, we tilt the solar cells to maximize the collected power.

We have team members retrofitting the electrical system, modifying the braking system, creating an interactive steering wheel, and much more. We have also been working hard developing racing strategy as you can see here with us testing our solar array power in the setting sun at the edge of San Francisco Bay.

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Motor Team Check-in: Big Ideas Award, Motor Dissection, and Coast-Down Testing

Benjamin Chen // // 1 Comment

With the spring semester out of the way and a busy summer ahead, the motor team has finally gotten a chance to reflect on the many things it’s accomplished over the past two months since its previous blog post (“If We Had Cylinders, We’d Be Banging On All of Them”).

Rotors in Motion Poster

Firstly, we are proud to announce that Rotors in Motion, the motor team’s entry in the 2012 Berkeley Big Ideas contest, won 2nd place in the Energy Efficient Technologies category and a $4000 prize! A big thank you to the Big Ideas staff for making this accomplishment possible and a huge round of applause for Isaac Spiegel, who spearheaded the Big Ideas entry, and the other motor team members who worked tirelessly to draft, revise, and polish the 15-page proposal document. Go team!

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Maker Faire

Steven Rhodes // // 1 Comment

Maker Faire 2012
Hello everybody!

For the second year in a row, we’re at Maker Faire. This weekend event is always fun, and we meet tons of neat people with cool stories. It’s already the second day of Maker Faire, and it has been a blast. Whether it’s reconnecting with members of solar car teams from a decade ago, learning about cool technology from professionals, or telling smiling kids about the races we’ve done and are going to do, it’s a pleasure for all of our members to be here. Maker Faire is personally one of the most enjoyable outreach events for me because I get to talk to people that are genuinely interested in the technology and optimistic about the future. Plus, being around all of the other creations and seeing the sheer creativity of others is always a privilege. We hope to do this next year and keep up the annual tradition!

Cal Day 2012

CalSol // // No Comments

Cal Day is right around the corner, and CalSol is excited to celebrate the most wonderful day of the year!

Impulse is here!

Next Saturday, April 21 from 10AM-3PM, CalSol will be showcasing Impulse for the big event! Our team would like to extend an invitation to all. We will be located at the  Etcheverry Breezeway (between Etcheverry Hall and Soda Hall). Our team members have incredible stories to share, and Impulse will be ready to show off her new paint job. Feel free to drop by and and say hello if you are in the area!

Additionally, at 2pm Impulse will be making a grand exit to signal the start of a road trip up to Sacramento. We will be performing road testing to gain valuable data for the American Solar Challenge this summer, as well as to give new members some more experience in conditions similar to those we will experience during a rayce.

As always, Go Impulse, Go CalSol, and GO BEARS!