Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goals Outline for Car Version 3.5

      With Car 3.0 through inspection at the 2012 competition, we kicked off the 2013 school year knowing we had a solid platform to work on. With much of the team's leadership and most experienced members having graduated just after the 2012 competition, we were also confident that the fully functional car 3.0 would provide an excellent learning tool for new and younger members. On car 3.0, these less experienced team members can see complete and working examples of the types of systems that need to be designed and improved upon in 2013 and the years to come.

      Shown below is a video taken during the team's Navigation Rensselaer and Beyond event, at which we demonstrated the race car to a group of incoming freshmen.
This video was taken shortly after the electric motor drive was converted from v-belt drive to chain drive. As seen at the beginning of the video the car was quite able to drive on electric-only power because of this. With the conversion complete, that made this driving session our first real session on full hybrid power. If compared to the videos taken at the 2012 competition and during testing in April 2012, it is easy to see that the car performs better in this video.

      However, throughout testing in the fall, new challenges were presented while issues we'd experienced before continued to haunt us. Considering the risk of damaging systems the we planned to reuse in 2013, we disassembled the car earlier than planned for and began work on a new bench-top dynamometer in early October. I hope to have another post up soon detailing progress on the dyno and engine-tuning.

      Aside from our work to overcome these unexpected challenges, work has also continued toward innovation on last year's systems, as planned out in our mission to spend two years on one car. During the fall semester a senior capstone team, consisting of several RPI hybrid team members as well as others, focused their design project on a new limited-slip differential for our car. Building on the internals of our LSD from Car 2.0, a new, lightweight housing was designed and fabricated to accommodate two sprockets in the same configuration as on our spool. At the end of the fall semester, the differential was being tested on a custom rig designed by the capstone team. I hope to have a post designated to the new differential up soon, and we all look forward to putting it in the car on February 3rd.

     With thanks to our awesome crew of new members and our new mechanical team leadership (Dave Golden and Dresdan Gordon), we have also seen a ton of progress on other systems, particularly the shifter, pedal box, battery box, dashboard, EFI, and CAN bus system among other things. There have been many exciting developments in these systems and fabrication is about to begin for all these projects, so we hope to have some photos and details coming soon! (I'd give you a sneak peak of the pedal box, but first some issue regarding my Solidworks licensing needs to be investigated further).

Sam'l Putney
RPI Hybrid President