Astra Summer 2021 Update
Written by Raymond Lesmana and Davis Nguyen
The motto of Kansas, "Ad Astra per Aspera" is Latin for "to the stars through difficulties." Even with an unexpected summer, we will still shine bright. Unfortunately, this Summer, we were not able to race after preparing for 2 years.
Prior to July 27th, we were hours away from completing a car. Mechanical finished welding and attached the a arms and swing arms to the chassis with the motors. Electrical got all the PCBs with the BMS attached to the chassis and wired up to the battery. Meanwhile, Aeroshell completed all the manufacturing with everything wrapped in vinyl. Solar was ready to attach solar arrays onto the Aeroshell once we got the fiberglass parts back from the Vinyl Wrap Shop.
Unfortunately we were unable to go to the competition with our vehicle. Our school had liability concerns they wanted us to address before they felt comfortable supporting us at this event. Since 2019, we have been operating as a non-profit (501c). To compete as Formula Solar Grand Prix under the University of Kansas, we couldn't operate as a non-profit.
With the given time of the news, we were not able to clear everything with the school in time for the race. We have since worked on solutions to those concerns and we will have their support for our next race as long as we follow their additional guidelines. However, we still got to watch the race as a team.
The bad news didn't stop us from going to the Race in Topeka—everyone had a blast meeting with other solar car teams. The Solar Car community has been a tremendous help to everyone no matter the experience. Without the community, KU Solar Car wouldn't have been able to research and develop a car in under 4 years! KU Solar Car was glad to be in Topeka to cheer our brothers and sisters there! We look forward to finishing up Astra and racing her this year
The Mechanical Team finished the chassis with all the suspension and arms attached to the vehicle. After getting the collar block back from Browns and Burgers Engineering—one of our sponsors that helps us machine parts for our vehicle—the team got the motors onto the vehicle. In addition, the Mechanical team got the wheels onto suspension and we were able to roll the car around!
The Aeroshell Team finished manufacturing the canopy, topshell, and bottom shell. Straight after pulling the shell out of the mold, the team cut everything into the desired shapes. Once we had the right pieces, we took it to “Wrap It Up! Vehicle Wraps” to make the car look pretty. Right now the team is ready to attach everything together!
Power Distribution and Control Systems
Power Distribution and Control Systems completed most of their share and were able to start integrating with other teams. We finished routing all the wires to the various PCBs and BMS on the Astra and she can run without an external power source. After, we have been testing the MPPTs with the Solar Arrays produced from Solar.
The Solar Team finished manufacturing Arrays this summer and has been testing the Solar Arrays with the MPPTs ever since. After a few tests, they refine the MPPTs to be optimized to the Arrays. In addition, they finished the IC curve to measure the current and started applying it to their setup.
The Telemetry Team finished most of our coding projects by the time ASC 2021 came by. Two big projects we got done were the 4G hotspot to send data and driver HUD screen to display the information through the battery pack. Near the end, we started testing sending fake data to the 4G hotspot.