Day 7: The Loooooonnngggg Weekend

Rafael working on BMS with our new, awesome Toshiba laptop

Hi all,

Thank you parents, friends, and strangers for giving us so much positive feedback and support in the past few days!  We will keep up with the blogging as much as we can, and we are going to seriously miss internet so much after we head into the Outback…

We have been working on Impulse since we arrived.  There is lots of work that needs to be done, and the team is not wasting any time. We have also decided to stay in Port Augusta for the next two days to concentrate on getting the car up and running with the new system.

The first major task, our new Battery Monitoring System (BMS), requires us to set up Voltaire, the new battery box, and remaking all the relevant cables and connectors. We have combined our old cutoff with BPS and designed a new board that integrates the two systems into one to reduce long, running wires in the car and extra connectors that cause unnecessary power loss, increase a stable communication between the high-power electronics, and make everything safer in general.

Lily working on the new Dashboard

Our second major task, the new dashboard, also takes a good amount of time because there are lots of little pretty buttons and shiny LEDs on it; they take a little while to solder and there are a lot of pins/connectors to crimp. Our new dashboard has been physically reduced in size greatly and has a simpler interface. The PCB wiring has also been cleaned up nicely; check out the pictures if you don’t believe me!

Other than these two major changes, we have also made a few additional replacements and modifications around the car after our constant testing over the summer. Vibration, the evil cause of most of our problems, had revealed the vulnerability of our electrical system over time. We have been rebuilding our system with that in mind, sticking a good amount of foam to many parts of Impulse, reestablishing solid connections wherever possible, and going as far as replacing our fragile acrylic PCB box with a new composite box.

We still don't know how she is doing this, but Hilary is floating in the playground.

Elsewhere in the camp, and much to the chagrin of electrical members, other team members enjoyed the amenities of the caravan park we are staying at, including but not limited to a pool, a playground, and a rec-room. The mood here is getting pretty tense (as expected) and it isn’t helped by the fact that important tools and supplies failed to make it into the shipping container, hampering progress. In addition, as we mentioned earlier that today is Australian Labor Day, meaning most stores are closed in town (hence the Long Weekend as its called over here). But, the good news is that our team is pretty closely bonded and smart (if I may say so myself), so this is no big deal. The members have been being resourceful and finding new uses for old tools (like soldering with a heat gun) and helping out with each other when needed; overall, everything is going pretty smoothly and well.

Mr. Grumpy didn't seem to like us very much; I guess it doesn't help when we want to have him for dinner.

Just in the nick of time, our camp was randomly visited by a big thorny lizard (probably venomous), which gave the team the chance to take some funny photos and for Jessica and me to catch some dinner (OMNOMNOMNOMNOM).  I nicknamed him Mr. Grumpy, although his proper name is probably South Australian, Venomous Thorny Spider Snake (…probably).

As the sun sets in Port Agusta, it looks like work will continue into the night with the hope of getting in some battery tests soon. I have faith in our team, and believe we can get Impulse moving again soon.

And remember,

Don’t Messica, with…
Marc + Jessica