NTREG Meeting about Winston Solar Car Race June 2012

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I (Paul S.) attended the NTREG meeting yesterday. Bob was also in there. The topic was the Winston Solar Car Race. Unfortunately, Dr. Marks was injured (I think they said rib injury) and not able to attend. However there was a group and a car from Liberty Christian Academy. The school has a class “applied engineering” centered on the car that is offered for seniors. The cost of the car for the low entry “classic” division is around $11,000.

The cars are limited to a solar panel area of 5M X 1.8M using 17 % or less efficiency solar panels. Electrically the cars are very basic. This example used a PM brushed motor (Lymco?) with an Alltrax controller and chain drive. System voltage was 48 volts in two strings of 35 ah batteries. The “classic” division is limited to lead acid batteries with a 500 ah size limit. Liberty has found that running a smaller battery size with reduced weight is more successful.

There are two other divisions “open” and “advanced”. The open division allows use of any battery type and hub motors. The advance division allows any solar cell.  The racers battery packs are sealed after inspection (fully charged).  They are allowed to solar charge for two hours in the morning, then run around the track from 9-12, solar charge from 12-2, and do another track session from 2-5, solar charging again from 5-7.

They do this for seven racing sessions and the car with the most laps is the winner.   Liberty expects to average around 30-35 MPH with a top speed in the 60’s. This is the third car Liberty has built and raced. I’ve attached some photos of the car. My concern was lack of heat sinking on the controller. Track surface temperatures have been recorded at 160 F during the race!

Paul S.

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