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Thank You Patz Materials and Technologies!

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Patz Materials and Technologies manufactures cutting-edge composite materials for a wide range of applications, and has been a generous sponsor of CalSol throughout Zephyr’s build cycle. Their carbon fiber prepreg was an essential part of Zephyr’s success and forms the structure of our lightweight aerodynamic shell. Their high-performance materials were a great improvement over our previous composite processes in both performance and ease of use, and we can’t thank them enough for their help! We look forward to continuing our partnership through Tachyon’s build cycle and beyond.

In addition to material support, Patz Materials and Technologies also gives us valuable advice in material selection and layup practices, and has offered to validate our layup samples with their ASTM-standard testing equipment. Finally, Patz Materials and Technologies led us on a tour of their manufacturing facilities in January. They showed us their impressive core and prepreg-manufacturing facilities, and taught us a lot about the manufacture and processing of these cutting-edge materials.

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Spools of carbon fiber being made into unidirectional prepreg

 

 

Patz_06_Weave_Done   Patz_08_Joseph

Finished roll of woven carbon fiber prepreg and Joseph Talosig, our wonderful guide

 

The Patz Materials and Technologies logo is proudly blazoned on Zephyr and our website, and we look forward to representing them on Tachyon as well. We encourage you to visit their website at patzmandt.com for more information on the amazing work that they do.

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…And We’re Back!

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It’s been a while since we’ve posted on this blog, but let’s get things started again. A lot has happened in the past year: we’ve competed in the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) and American Solar Challenge (ASC) 2016 with a 9th-place finish, and have also begun development of our 9th generation solar vehicle, Tachyon! We’d like to extend a huge thanks to our team members, sponsors, and supporters for making all of the progress in the past year possible.

Looking forward, we are now preparing to compete in FSGP 2017, which will be held from July 3-7 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas! We will be bringing our 8th generation vehicle, Zephyr, to compete in its final race.

See what we’re up to on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

https://www.instagram.com/berkeleycalsol/

https://www.facebook.com/BerkeleyCalSol

https://twitter.com/berkeleycalsol?lang=en

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Thank You and Happy Holidays

It’s that time of year again. There is a distinct lack of holiday decorations, not nearly enough presents, and no one appears to be caroling. Yet, everyone seems to be bubbling with glee and excitement.

It’s a different type of festivity — it’s Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving weekend is quickly approaching, and the team is looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends, away from exams and assignments.

The entire CalSol team would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, one hopefully with endless servings of turkey, laughter, and a re-instilled sense of gratitude.

 

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FSGP Scrutineering Success

Part of the FSGP Rayce Crew around Zephyr

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!

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Mid-Summer Update – Powering Up and Strapping In for FSGP 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
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
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
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!
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
And with a mini solar array comes an equally adorable mini battery box
Mechanical folks contemplating life. CalSol is life.
Mechanical folks contemplating life. CalSol is life.
Installing an improved hinged fairing door mechanism
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
Road-testing Zephyr, which now has a few hundred miles on it, brings us admirers of all ages
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We’ll be sending out updates during the race, or post another photo gallery at the very least. See you all then!
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The Team’s Snapshots from FSGP 2014!

Although everything couldn’t quite come together this time, the team certainly had a memorable experience these past two weeks. The mechanical team put in a truly incredible amount of work into Zephyr (I am personally on the electrical team, so I think I can say this without bragging, haha). So much of the car you see is handmade, from the sleek carbon-fiber shell to the welded aluminum chassis, with little tolerance and deviation from the models. Even the current electrical issues are only a temporary speed bump for  Zephyr; we simply didn’t have the resources and time to fix them when they arose unexpectedly last Friday. I am still very proud to be part of this team, and know how much work went into designing and building Zephyr. There will be races ahead for our latest vehicle, but until then, check out some photos from FSGP 2014!

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Zephyr and friends, ready to rayce (despite the clouds)!
The truck space was heavily optimized, significantly reducing mileage
The truck space was heavily optimized, significantly reducing mileage
resizing blargh
Getting ready to load Zephyr into the trailer, departing from Berkeley at sunset
The rather picturesque spot in the Mojave Desert where the trailer's wheel blew out
The rather picturesque spot in the Mojave Desert where the trailer’s wheel blew out
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Switching out the chewed up wheel and what remains of the tire rubber
Sunset in the desert with CalSol
Zephyr being rolled out at the Circuit of the America, not yet adorned with decals
Demonstrating the suspension system to the inspectors, naturally by standing on it
Demonstrating the suspension system to the inspectors, naturally by standing on it
You could say we all had a few bugs in our cars
You could say we all had a few bugs in our cars

 

A lot of mechanical fine-tuning and touch-ups were done at FSGP, to say the least
A lot of mechanical fine-tuning and touch-ups were done at FSGP, to say the least

 

The glorious prototype telemetry box deserved a spot here
The glorious prototype telemetry box deserved a spot here

 

Securing temperature sensors inside the battery box
Securing temperature sensors inside the battery box

 

Zephyr's drivers studying the race track via simulation, mentally noting the turns and optimal speeds
Zephyr’s drivers studying the race track via simulation, mentally noting the turns and optimal speeds

 

Adjusting the rear-view camera placement
Adjusting the rear-view camera placement

 

Doing some late-night work on the power distribution box, the night of a record thunderstorm
Doing some late-night work on the power distribution box, the night of a record thunderstorm
Zephyr showing off its handling during dynamic scrutineering, with an especially impressive slalom run
Zephyr showing off its handling during dynamic scrutineering, with an especially impressive slalom run

We hope you’ll continue to join us in Zephyr’s future adventures, and see you next time!

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break Approaches

Spring Break is almost here.  We’ll be having worksessions almost every day to get the car done.  The campus shuttle runs between RFS and campus Monday thru Thursday from 8am to 6pm or so if you want to get out there.  There is also a bit of machining left to do if you want to stay on campus…