FSGP Day 3

Posted on July 19, 2014 by Toni Carlstrom.


The final day of the Formula Sun Grand Prix began with us arriving to a wet pit. There had been a battery charging overnight which unfortunately caught fire. Circuit of the America’s track had excellent fire protection in their pits and the fire did not spread. We were lucky that Centaurus III was covered with a tarp, as that prevented it from getting wet. However, much of our supplies and some of our circuitry was out in the smoke and water, and was damaged. The officials delayed the start of the race, and teams unaffected by the fire helped us to move out, clean, and then move our supplies into another pit. We were very thankful for the help, as our pit was drenched. Things held in cardboard boxes had to be put into plastic ones.

We began charging, and plugged in a circuit board that had been in the fire and then had been cleaned. This board caused a lot of the circuitry on our car to malfunction. We still do not know the source of the issues, but managed to fix it in time to get on the track. Due to the delayed start, the officials decreased the number of laps necessary to qualify for ASC. However, due to a breakdown on the track in the last hour, we were unable to legitimately complete the required number of laps. Only three teams qualified legitimately. The officials met and discussed handicaps to apply to all of the teams. Overall, ten teams will be racing in ASC.

 Centaurus III is back on the straightaway after hours of electrical repair.

Centaurus III is back on the straightaway after hours of electrical repair.

 Aero team members Kee Onn Fong, Nick Sloan, and Luci Baker prep for layups on 3D printed parts from Stratasys on the third day of FSGP.

Aero team members Kee Onn Fong, Nick Sloan, and Luci Baker prep for layups on 3D printed parts from Stratasys on the third day of FSGP.

In the meantime, Aero team did lay-ups on parts for our fairings from Stratasys! They are lighter than the current parts and have holes in the proper places for the new parking brake calipers! We would like to thank Stratasys, our sponsor of the day, for their continued support by supplying 3D-printed parts, this time just in time for ASC! Stratasys also printed our ventilation ducts for the drivers and all of the battery holders and prototype parts to check fitting. Thank you Stratasys!

After FSGP, there was a dinner and awards ceremony on the Campus of the University of Texas. Our team tied for third overall with Western Michigan University. We were both affected by the fire, and are proud to have made it to the podium!

 Visitors to the third day of FSGP see the chassis and shell of our car as we are troubleshooting problems with the electrical system.

Visitors to the third day of FSGP see the chassis and shell of our car as we are troubleshooting problems with the electrical system.

 Rolls of 3M sandpaper dry out on our day of rest after being soaked by the sprinklers.

Rolls of 3M sandpaper dry out on our day of rest after being soaked by the sprinklers.

Team Highlights:

Though the team was saddened to find parts for the car and personal laptops, phones, and cameras soaked with water, everyone was impressed with the response of the officials, the track staff, and other teams for their quick, thoughtful, and thourough job cleaning up the pits after the sprinklers had gone off. We would like to thank them for their time and efforts, which also helped us get back on the track! We would like to thank PrISUm solar car team from Iowa State University for lending us their power sully and the use of their generator to debug our electrical system. Also, we would like to thank SIUE for the use of their tools and supplies to replace our secondary pack. Thank you everyone for the help! See you on the rayce!

We are proud to stand next to the University of Michigan, Oregon State University, and Western Michigan University on the podium! We put in our best efforts and it paid off. In addition, qualifying for the American Solar Challenge was a major highlight, because we did not make the official number of laps required.

Stay tuned for more updates, and wish us a sunny rayce!