This is the last kind post we ever wanted to make on this blog. Unfortunately, our car, SC6, will not be able to participate in this month’s Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, TX.
While testing some new temperature sensor boards in June, we shorted four controllers on our Battery Protection System (BPS). We quickly reached out to company that manufactures them to purchase more, but did not receive a response for three weeks. This was an unexpected delay.
Based on previous experience with this company’s shipping process, by the time we finally contacted the company, we knew we could not count on getting the parts we needed by the time of FSGP. On July 3rd, our project manager, Spencer Williams, made the decision to cancel our participation in the 2015 race.
Needless to say, this is a big disappointment for our team. All of our members put in a lot of work this year preparing the car for the race. Some who were planning to attend the race are now making plans to attend with teams at other universities, so that our members can still have “race experience.”
The issues which caused the BPS to short have been fixed, and we have already established contact with the company to purchase more control units. Members of the team will start heading back to NU in early September so that the car can be ready to drive by the time the Class of 2019 starts to arrive on campus. For more information, please contact us at gro.r1438710714alosu1438710714n@reg1438710714anam-1438710714tcejo1438710714rp1438710714.
Medill Student Hangda Zhang put together a nice multi-media report on one of our recent testing trips. You can read her article here.
NUsolar is a very eclectic team, and we really enjoy being able to reach out across schools and interact with other students. That wouldn’t be possible without the great school that is Northwestern. Shout out to NU!
This winter NUsolar will be hosting several outreach events in local Chicgo-area schools. Later this February we will be traveling to Orrington Elementary school to talk to give a hour-long presentation on the solar car. This is a really exciting opportunity to get young children interested in STEM and talk with them about solar vehicles — something the’ve probably never even thought of before.
We are also partnering with a FUSE program run by the Northwestern Office of STEM Education Partnerships. The FUSE program encourages kids to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics by providing mini-challenges and competitions for the kids to participate in. Participants work on their projects for several weeks and then upload a video or report to the FUSE website, where they are assessed and given coments by mentors.
One of the new FUSE challenges is to construct a small cardboard “solar car” and design it to travel as fast as possible. We will be visiting one of the schools participating in this contest with SC6 sometime in May. Kids really love solar cars (see right), so this will be an exciting opportunity for them.
We also have been working on fancy new publicity materials, including an acryllic-embeded logo (no picture, sorry), and new 3D-printed models of the solar car:
This one still needs to be glued, but once complete, these models will hopefully allow us to give people a lot better idea of what our solar car is when we’re attending winter outreach events (like the ones mentioned above).
Last Quarter, NUSolar hit 80% of its project milestones, surpassed its expectation of grant funding, and found a new sponsor.
This quarter, we aim to work on the SC6’s Steering Wheel Board, Driver Control board, among other items. So far, the SC6 is turning out to be promising!
Sunlight may be free, but solar cars are not!
Designing, building and racing solar-powered vehicles is an expensive yet worthwhile endeavor. We rely on the support of sponsors and donors to make our vision a reality. Please consider supporting the team as a donor, or getting your company involved as a sponsor.