Titan Solar Car Attends Texas Motor Speedway and Barnes and Noble while continuing designing the car

The Titan Solar Car Team attended Texas Motor Speedway from November 4-6th during the Sprint Cup and the Plano Barnes and Noble from November 5-6th. The dedicated team demonstrated to the DFW community the value of alternative energy and the determination it takes to build a functioning road-worthy solar car. The team brought the 2016 solar car to Texas Motor Speedway and the 2015 chibikart (mini electric vehicle) to Barnes and Noble.

 

At the Fort Worth race, team members woke up early to meet and greet race watchers for the car races held on the weekend. Members of the public were inspired by the car and fielded numerous questions for rookie members to get them excited for the next Solar Car Challenge.

 

At Barnes and Noble, the Academy-based team ran a booth during the Plano Makerfaire to engage young learners in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. In the Titan Solar Car Team, learners apply theoretical concepts in engineering by building a car. Inspiring young learners about the process of sourcing and building a road-worthy vehicle will translate to future scientists and engineers.

 

Join our movement and donate on our crowdrise site at bit.ly/solarcarfundraise! Becoming a donor will raise money for parts as we build an innovative new car next year, so don’t hesitate to contribute today.

Electrical Week 2

This week in solar car club, we spent our time cleaning up the Fab Lab. It doesn’t sound very interesting, and I am not going to lie, it wasn’t super fun; however, it was useful for teaching the incoming members that it is important to clean up our messes, and that organization is the key to productivity. We learned that lesson while on the cross-country trip this past summer. During the trip we were very unorganized, and this made it difficult to find our tools, which extended the time it took to fix whatever was needed on the car. It is important to teach the incoming members of the solar car team that time is the biggest constraint that we have, well that and money, and organization had minimized the time it took to accomplish what problems we had. There was also an added bonus, we got a clean Fab Lab, and that is very helpful in the future. It is very important to teach the incoming solar car members about the tools, and the way to keep both the tools and materials in their best possible shape.

Last Thursday we changed up the schedule, we decided that the way to be most time efficient is that we should start the planning process for dates, and what needs to get done when. I agree, this is a very important step, and it needed to be done as soon as possible. The electrical team divided into two groups, The Solar Array group, and the Solar Car group. I was in the Solar Array group, and we planned out the schedule, so that we can have an idea on how long it will take to get this done, as well as what are the steps required to meet this schedule. I hope that the schedule we laid out will help us be more efficient in the long run.

 

The Action Plans From The Admin Team

This week admin focused on gathering the action items and goals for the fall semester. Administration, which works to provide the financial, marketing, and public relation actions, created action plans for each of the admin roles. The public relations and marketing team collaborated to design decals that will hopefully be produced as a fundraising opportunity. The public relations and marketing team also organized plans for social media posts and opportunities. The finance team communicated to set the first plans for a banquet, which the club hopes to host. This is one of the many action items for the finance team's action plan. Priorities have been decided as well as organizational roles. Admin has had a productive week and hopes such productivity for the rest of this semester.

The First Steps To Building A Solar Powered Car

As the Solar Car Club starts rolling into the ideation and designing process each of the different teams sat down and started brainstorming what needed to be done to ensure that everything can run smoothly for the next couple of months. The mechanical team split up into 2 sub-teams, the interior design and exterior design (which I am a part of). We decided to create a flowchart of our planning and modeling process, and from there we distributed a number of man hours to each section of the chart according to how long we predicted each section would take. After that we accumulated a list of skills that each member would need to acquire before we began the building process. I'm very excited to dive into the designing process and eventually the building process. As a new member of the Solar Car Club, I am very excited to learn from and alongside those who were on the team last year.

New Plan For Our New Team

Being our second week back at school, we’re facing the challenge of organizing the new club members and using our short time as effectively as possible. Creating a new structure in the club has also been a big focus of the leadership team.

Our current plan has been breaking up into the major departments in the club. The admin team manages the fundraising, communicates with booster club, and handles the paperwork to compete in the solar car challenge. I understand they’ve come up with a fundraising timeline and have plans to begin contacting potential sponsors very soon. It’s exciting to see them getting started so quickly; raising money for the engineering team as quickly as possible is a crucial step in making it to the race this year.

Engineering team which will typically split itself into sub groups to make the large number of people more manageable. I’m looking forward to working with our new programming team as they create various systems to automate processes like tracking the sun with our solar array, and monitoring our car’s performance.

Overall I’m very happy with how this year has begun, I’m seeing a lot of productivity from all areas of the club and can’t wait to begin designing this new car for the 2017 solar car challenge!

Electrical Design Plans

This past team meeting we went over the potential directions that we are wanting to take the electrical systems of our car. We would like to enable it for IoT, where all of the stats for the car are available online. In addition, where last year we designed all of the electrical systems in 2D, we would now like to use a 3D CAD program to help design the wire runs and placement of the wires. This should prove to be much better than using a full sized 2D drawing of the car, and laying wires on top of it to make the wiring harness. Last year this resulted in that when the car was ready for wiring, almost all of the wires had to be spliced and extended, which led to many of the problems that we had with an unreliable secondary electronic system. To reduce squared R power losses, we would also like to design part of the electrical system to boost the voltage after the batteries in order to reduce the amperage flowing through most of our primary system.

Week 1 with the Admin team

This week was the first week for clubs to start for the school year. On Tuesday we got to meet all the new people interested in solar car and it was really cool to see how much interest there was. The leadership team gave a presentation with super cool videos and graphics to the people to explain who we are and what solar car is all about. On Wednesday we split into groups with a couple of learners from each grade level and discussed the rules and some ideas that we had for the car and the team this year. On Thursday we split off into teams based on the interests of people. I was one of the few people that chose to join the finance team, our meeting time was used to decide which person was going to do certain roles on the team. We also talked about fundraiser ideas for this years trip and for building the car.

Mechanical Introductory Week

This past week was the first time we had time for clubs during school, and we had a great turn out for our first week. We have many new and promising members joining the team. On Tuesday, the Leadership Team gave a presentation introducing the new members to the solar car challenge and gave some of the expectations for being a part of the race team. Then on Wednesday, we printed out the new rules to give everyone a chance to read them, and we did some brainstorming. The ideation sessions consisted of two seniors, one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen each. This served to get ideas flowing, while everyone had the rules in front of them and for everyone to begin to get to know each other. Then everyone was instructed to take their rule packets home and read them. The next day on Thursday we broke up into groups based on new members' interests. I lead one of the two mechanical groups in discussion about the pros and cons of a vast array of different designs of different parts of solar and electric vehicles. I look forward to next week when we will begin developing skills in all the new team members, as well as reinforcing and growing new skills in veteran members. We will also begin to start the design on the car for this year next week.

2016 Solar Car Challenge

The 2016 Solar Car Challenge was a fantastic experience for our team. It was inspiring to see our team pull together and overcome roadblocks. The Titan Solar Car Team was a very different group by the time we crossed the finish line. Throughout the 9 days of the challenge in July, the team matured into a more productive, knowledgeable, and efficient group.

This was a daunting project for a team of high schoolers to approach. For many years, I have been fascinated by the capability of teams that participate in the Solar Car Challenge. Our team started last year by setting goals, and those were as follows:

  • Build a full-size road worthy solar-powered car
  • Learn as much as possible throughout the process
  • Drive our solar-powered car at least 1 mile in the Solar Car Challenge

Getting our car to pass scrutineering was an extremely intense process for our unprepared first year team. With the patience of several Judges, we managed to qualify for the 2016 Solar Car Challenge. Early in the challenge, after driving more than 1 mile, our team began to realize that we had accomplished everything that we set out to achieve. This was a huge milestone for our team, as we then needed to determine goals that would push us further in this year’s event. We were inspired by a rival team’s Walnut Solar Car philosophy to compete with themselves, and so we took on the challenge to outperform ourselves. Each day we began to improve our distance, our urgency, and to collect fewer penalties.

The Solar Car Challenge is a cooperative challenge where “competing” teams work together to obtain an invaluable experience. This organization provides high school students with the opportunity of a lifetime. Voltech, the other competing team in our division, was unbelievably kind and supportive of our team throughout the event. Our team won 1st place in our division, by 0.3 miles with 229.6 total miles. While it is satisfying to claim the Solar EV National Championship, the trophy is not what this unique Challenge is about. Rather, what makes the challenge special is the real-world problems and experiences that instill a collaborative engineering mindset in high school students across the country.

This invaluable opportunity would not have been possible without the exceptional support of our numerous sponsors. Firstly, I would like to thank Toyota for generously being the founding sponsor for our team. The Plano ISD Academy High School is a very special place, that allowed our team to accomplish this incredible feat. A huge thank you to the Solar Car Challenge and Dr. Lehman Marks, who support high school students by providing a remarkable opportunity. Kevin Ng was the advisor to our team and generously sacrificed hundreds of hours to provide this tremendous experience to his students. Additionally I would like to thank all the parents that not only allowed their kids to participate, but involved themselves to make this project possible. Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow students, who stuck together when times got tough, and stayed true to the spirit of the Solar Car Challenge, our school, and our team.