Tearing Up the Track – Formula Sun Grand Prix Day 2

Michael Vogel // // 4 Comments

Impulse of Monticello Motor Club's South Track

The picture says it all. Passing scrutineering yesterday and fixing the little glitches in our array left Impulse in 100% working order and ready to fly onto the track this morning. Today has been a wonderful day with beautiful weather and everyone’s spirits are high with Impulse out on the track. (more…)

Formula Sun Grand Prix Day 1 – Passed Scrutineering!

Brian Graf // // No Comments

The Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) has begun! Day one of racing is finished and you can see all of the teams’ progress here: http://americansolarchallenge.org/ at the bottom of the page

Impulse waiting for an all teams photo

Impulse waiting for an all teams photo

We have been working around the clock to solve issue after issue with both the regulations and performance of Impulse. Our biggest problems were the dynamic braking test and the horn test, that was all that was stopping us from racing.

Well after some deliberation with Oregon State University (Thank you so much for the help!) and the two mechanical scrutineers we came up with two solutions to the braking test and both worked! We took the better of the options and moved forward with the horn.


Scrutineering Day 2

Derek Chou // // No Comments


One of our local test runs with Impulse.

We arrived bright and early at 7AM this morning so that we could undergo our scheduled tests: the electrical system, battery protection system, and driver body/sizing. With the memories of the testing we’d done before this first day of inspection, there was a mixed air of both excitement and anxiety, as we would finally get an idea of what our hard work has come to.

What we didn’t expect was that a thunderstorm would blow in right after noon, right after we’d gone through our electrical systems inspection and come back with a list of things to do. Work slowed as everyone was drenched in the rain and solar cars disappeared under tarps. That didn’t stop the inspection process, however. Through the intermittent showers, the testing schedule continued right on, forcing everyone to make do with the protection gear that they brought. (more…)

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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.