Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
All the green stickers have aligned- CalSol has completed each section of scrutineering and will be excitedly moving onto the Circuit of the Americas (CotA) track tomorrow! The three days of Scrutineering progressed smoothly with minor fixes to Zephyr, including some items such as re-securing our emergency stop button and adjusting the angle on our front headlights.
CalSol is represented by a team of 22 members. They have been diligently working through the heat in Austin, Texas to get us through scrutineering. We have had a Formula 1 garage bay to work in as we prepare for the track. Along the way, we’ve made improvements to Zephyr, increased our knowledge of different aspects of the solar car, and most importantly- had fun along the way.
Members share some of their favorite parts about the scrutineering process:
- “I have loved the opportunity to learn about details on different aspects of vehicles from the organizers during inspections. During Mechanical Scrutineering, our inspector explained how different qualities of stitching on a seat belt correlates to different G forces drivers experience. We will definitely take small details like these to guide the design of our next car!” -Alyssa Scheske, Operations Director
- “It’s been awesome sharing this world class facility with professionals. Nissan has been using the track the past few days and it’s been really cool to watch their vehicle wiz by in the hot lanes from the garage!” - Chris Berthelet, Driver Interface
- “I think that the sharing culture between the teams has been amazing. Every team is willing to lend materials and thoughts to get their compeitiors through scruintneering. Everyone is really genuine- the solar car community is a small niche of some of the smartest and kindest people around.” - Neeka Mashouf, Driver and Battery Engineer
- “Team bonding!!! Meals have been so tasty, they are a great way to relax with the team.” - Nour Eldifrawy, Safety Officer
#FSGP2015 starts tomorrow and CalSol could not be more excited or more ready. Keep posted on our social media pages for updates as FSGP goes on!
Friday, July 17th, 2015
“The last 5% of the work takes 95% of the time.”
These words ring true to CalSol as we approach FSGP. We have nine days until competition starts with the time flying by. Zephyr has been in great shape since early 2015, but going through extensive road testing, debugging sessions, and minor hardware upgrades these past few months. This testing time has proved to be incredibly fruitful for CalSol.
Zephyr’s Fairing Doors has been one project absorbing a lot of attention. The design for Zephyr included fairings around each wheel to improve our drag; however, aerodynamics and maneuverability must be optimized for functionality. Fairing door structures are covers for gaps and spaces between parts of the exterior to reduce form drag and interference drag, in addition to improving appearance. Our design allows for the doors to be “shut” completely over the wheel-well while driving straight, but swing “open” as the driver turns the steering wheel and the wheels and tires turn. We trust that this design and hardware content will greatly improve performance. We are excited to unveil full functionality at FSGP.
Check out the pictures below of Zephyr’s fairing doors!
Rear view of fairing door
Top-down view of the fairing door wheel-well
CalSol members Stephen Lu, Ian Fisher, James McCay, and Danial Gay have put countless hours into this project- the whole team would like to commend them for their hard work!
Sunday, July 12th, 2015
With 2 weeks until Formula Sun Grand Prix, CalSol members have been excitedly pushing the pace of work in anticipation. This work has been happening full force in multiple disciplines of CalSol- engineering work, logistics work, and industry interaction. CalSol has just gained the partnership of No-Mar.
Not only has No-Mar Tire Changer donated a tire-changer to CalSol, they have also shared valuable industry insight. Via the phone and over e-mail, No-Mar’s knowledgable employees’s has opened crucial discussion points for materials CalSol uses. Their advise has opened CalSol to new ideas and opportunities never thought possible before due to higher quality tools and materials.
No-Mar has meet our needs and anticipated even more. They will be providing us with a Classic Tire Changer kit and a Balancer kit. It would take members of CalSol hours upon hours to physically change a full set of tires on Zephyr. Tires would be extremely tight on the wheel and take brute strengths. With No-Mar’s sponsored Tire Changer Kit, they will allow CalSol members to focus more on improving our engineering aspects of the car, improving efficiency for our team and even Zephyr.
CalSol would like to thank No-Mar Tire Changer for their assistance and contributions – we are looking forward to continually working together!
Their generous support will be returned by a sticker on our car and their company link on our website. We encourage you to please visit No-Mar’s website for more information at www.nomartirechanger.com.
Monday, July 6th, 2015
It’s just three weeks until the Formula Sun Gran Prix at the Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin, Texas, and the CalSol team is looking forward to driving with and competing against the rest of the solar car community! We haven’t posted in a while, and there haven’t been core design changes lately, but the excellent state of this car and this team has us feeling optimistic for FSGP. Addressing potential bugs (mechanical, electrical, and code), implementing optimizations to squeeze out every watt we can, and testing the systems has kept us plenty busy lately, so check out some photos of the work!
Tidying up the wires and securing connections in the all-important battery box
Reinstalling sturdy enclosures to hold up and protect the various boards on the underside of the top shell
Revising boards to include additional safeties (gotta love capacitors) and power routing optimizations. Shout out to Bay Area Circuits for all their help with the PCB’s!
Building the solar array for an off-site “electrical test bed”: a scaled-down version of the electrical system!
And with a mini solar array comes an equally adorable mini battery box
Mechanical folks contemplating life. CalSol is life.
Installing an improved hinged fairing door mechanism with a carbon-fiber axle
Road-testing Zephyr, which now has a few hundred miles on it, brings us admirers of all ages
We’ll be sending out updates during the race, or post another photo gallery at the very least. See you all then!
Monday, April 20th, 2015
CalDay is one day and a million stories. It is a momentous day of the Spring Semester at UC Berkeley where new admits have the opportunity to visit campus, view labs, ask questions, take tours, and very importantly- check out student groups. Yale blue and California gold surround you wherever you go. This past weekend, CalSol was thrilled to contribute our story to the mix!
This past Saturday, from 10AM to 3PM, CalSol tabled in front of both Etcheverry (the Mechanical Engineering building) and Bechtel (the general engineering building) on campus. It was spectacular to be able to have two of our vehicles on campus, both Zephyr and Impulse. We were able to reach more visitors and answer more questions. Members of CalSol both shared their personal experiences and answered technical questions about the car. It was nice to have the cars on campus so that we could host mini-work sessions; members were able to explain and demonstrate their pertinent project on the car this way. A few photos below capture events from the day. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were lively, and school spirit was roaring- we could not have asked for a better day!
We hope that this weekend inspired many future Cal students! Go Bears!
Zephyr from above
Zephyr with the top shell off
Monday, March 23rd, 2015
CalSol members at the first-ever Solar Car Conference. CalSol members in FXB on the North Campus of the University of Michigan. We were very happy to have attended!
CalSol visiting General Motors.
General Motors was a gracious host to CalSol, showing us great engineering facilities on our visit to the Technical Center in Warren, MI and their Proving Grounds in Milford, MI. Thank you for your hospitality!
Bowling with UT Austin. CalSol bowling at Maplewood Lanes with UT Austin after the end of the conference. Great way to strike up a bond between solar teams!
This past weekend five members of CalSol attended the first Solar Car Conference! The conference was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosted by the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team and organized by IEF.
We learned a lot and brought members that represented all crucial areas of the team. This made break-out sections highly effective for logistics, electrical knowledge, mechanical expertise, and project management. It was very lucky that this weekend overlapped with our Spring Break at UC Berkeley so that we could focus on absorbing as much of the information as possible!
We were most excited to hear about future regulations. CalSol was happy to participate in the discussion of what specifications may change so that our future vehicle designs may be optimized.
However, the best part was catching up with old friends and making new friends in the solar car community. It is always great sharing our passion for engineering and solar technology with others!