This is the first post of the 2015 race
A beautiful start and a chill summer wind began our first day of scrutineering as the panic button of a car screeches us awake at 6:30 AM. Having rolled out of bed at the break of dawn, we hurried over to the Texas Motor Speedway and worked at a feverish pace, setting up our station, reattaching our solar panels, and securing everything on the car with one of the most important parts of our solar car, the notorious ziptie. We packed our snazzy new batteries into the car, and helped Mary Ann powder her nose by spritzing her down with hot Windex™. We were ready for scrutineering, a made up word signifying the horrifying gauntlet of six examinations standing between the Devon Panel and the Texas Motor Speedway. We were ready.
The first trial was the braking test, which was basically a test of being able to come to a stop from a set speed. After only two tries, the judges signed our success quickly. SUCCESS!
Next came the Slalom (not a town in Oregon), the second trial. To prove that a.) our car will not spontaneously combust in burning inferno of searing hellfire , b.) our driver are able to explode out of the car in a blaze of blinding glory in the event of an emergency, and c.) that we know fire safety. After a couple mistakes, both Soham and Albert successfully weaved around the traffic cones without running them over and perform proper emergency fire protocol. OTHERS WERE NOT SO LUCKY.
The third trial was an electrical checkup, a yearly ordeal for all solar car teams. Despite our wishes for an uneventful examination, the judges always find issue, as always. We had to repair several loose wires, and since our fuse was too powerful, we were forced to forage for a weaker fuse (thank you Coppell for your 150 amp fuse). In the end, we had to return to the garage to make adjustments. OUR NEW ARRAY DISCONNECT SWITCH IS GLORIOUS.
Another slot opened up, so we went to our fourth test, the tilt and turn. Oh, yeah an easy test right? All you have to do is turn within a 15 ft. radius. Think not so quickly young padawan, Mary Ann is a cruel and enigmatic mistress, testing you wherever you least expect it. After the ordeal of lifting the car 20 degrees (which is much higher than you think and half the distance we had to use the sweat of our brows and the strength of our backs), we attempted the turn test. Despite our success on the left turn test, our car could not complete the right turn test. In attempting to fix it, we succeeded the right turn test but failed the left turn test as a result. After a dozen different reparation attempts, our steering tire rod died fully disconnecting from the steering system. 18 ATTEMPTS IN THE HOT SUN BEFORE AN OVERWHELMING VICTORY!
Then we moved on the mechanical station, the source of troubadour sagas and epics over minutiae so infinitesimally insignificant. Judges descended upon our car and picked it apart for each and every detail, meticulously inspecting for anything, even the slightest violation, no rule evasion would slip past their all seeing eyes. From the too-thin rollbar to the array being a millimeter too long, there were many edits required, necessitating a return to the garage Just remember, when in need, Gorilla tape will always save you a millimeter or two.
Returning to garage, we slowly wound down as we split up, some gathering the remaining materials for the endurance test tomorrow and the others fixing up all electrical issues and finishing inspection. At the final minute, a judged signed our scrutineering packet and marked our fourth completed station. With only one ad a half more stations, we packed up and left to rest for the next day of scrutineering.
Later that night after relaxing at the hotel we went to Freebirds, a Chipotle-esque fast food joint not found in our area. However, this joint has one small twist. The burritos come in four sizes (the second smallest being the same size as a Chipotle burrito). After enjoying our burritos, we went back to the hotel, ready to finish scrutineering tomorrow.Next Post Previous Post