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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leeming SHS: Day 3: 17 October

Early down to the pits.

Well, not really: we were all tired from the day before.

On the drive to the track, I try to persuade my phone company to accept money from me. I ask their voice prompt system to give me $30 of credit for $30, but fail, though I eventually get a human to accidentally charge me $50 instead of $30, in apology for which she gives me $70 of credit. Nice people, but competence-challenged.

We set up headlights, fans, and similar minor electronical bits. I very very carefully repair the broken cell on the front of the car, excavating away some backing panel and soldering on some copper strips. The cell makes nasty creaking noises whenever I apply any force whatsoever, but I am reassured by the fact that it is already broken, and almost nothing I can do will make it worse.

Some large holes get drilled in the car, for air ducting: we need to bring air into the battery packs (and exhaust it out the back) to cool them, and we need to bring air in in front of the driver and passenger (and exhaust it out the back) to cool them, too. NACA, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (the predecessor to NASA) long ago published a series of aerodynamic shapes. We used one for Sungroper 1's cross-section, and now we're using another for the duct that pulls air into the batteries.

Bob The Official comes by. (We can tell he's an official because he wears a fluoro yellow shirt saying "OFFICIAL".) He's looking for a team willing to swap spots with a Japanese team who are supposed to be at scrutineering this afternoon, but their manager isn't in the country yet. Our scrutineering spot is tomorrow arvo, and we don't think we'd do well if we suddenly got bumped up a day. Judging by the amount of work going on up and down pit lane, Bob will have a hard time finding someone willing to trade.

The battery fills. Steve Morgan goes for a lap, to see if the tweaks he's done to the brakes and steering have improved handling. They have.

James from Tritium comes by. Tritium are the people who make our motor controller (and the motor controllers of more than half the cars in the Challenge). They're popular because they're excellent, and James is able to answer all our little questions.

Two student drivers get a couple of laps each, interspersed with me climbing under the car and checking the motor temperature with a pyrometer (a thermometer-at-a-distance).

Then it's Sika time: we leave all the day's gluing of various bits to the end of the day so it can cure overnight.

Back to the hotel, and curry for dinner.

Tomorrow: scrutineering, and laser tag.

-- Doug, Leeming Hammerhead