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Junior Solar Sprint

 

 

 

 

Junior Solar Sprint – Introduction & Overview

Each team is responsible for designing and building a solar powered race car. The kit your team purchases will contain a motor and solar panel; the chassis, wheels and transmission are made from any other materials that you choose. Cars are judged on design, innovation and performance. Each team’s effort is focused toward the final event – a 20 meter, wire-guided sprint race where the best design and construction techniques will pay off with the win!!

Car Parameters

 

The dimensions of a Junior Solar Sprint car cannot exceed:
  • 30 cm. in width
  • 60 cm. in length
  • 30 cm in height

Teams will not be allowed to bolt the axles and wheels to the solar cell.  Each vehicle must have a panel on the side which is large enough to display a 3cm x 3cm number decal, which will be provided by the race committee. Each entry begins construction with a kit containing:

  • a 3V photovoltaic panel (Solar Made or Pitsco)
  • a motor matched to the PV panel

The  solar panel may not be modified.  The motor may not be modified (i.e. rewound, lightened, etc.). The specific motor supplied with the panel (in the kit) must be used.  If a replacement motor is needed, it must be purchased from the company who supplied the panel and be the model of motor originally supplied with the panel. One solar cell and motor are  permitted per car. Any modification to the solar panel or motor will result in disqualification. 

At least one wheel must be driven by the motor.

Each vehicle shall:

  • carry a standard, unmodified table tennis ball (aka ping-pong ball) of approximately 40mm in diameter,
  • NOT glue, tape, or otherwise permanently affix the ball to the vehicle,
  • NOT wedge the ball between the chassis and solar panel (using only those two things to hold the ball in),
  • be designed to allow for the purposeful removal of the ball with minimal effort,
  • transport the ball (without losing it) down the entire track.

Construction

Each team, on their own, will provide the additional parts needed for the construction of the car:

  • wheels
  • car body/chassis
  • axles
  • wiring
  • connectors
  • gears
  • brackets

Individual decals may be affixed, and the body may be decorated at the teams discretion, but a 3 cm. square space must be left free on each side and the bottom for the Sprint decal number. 

The material for the body of the car can be any type of light material.

Steering

An eyelet (see examples below) must be attached to the bottom of the car (our example–bottom front of the chassis). A guide wire, 1 cm.(+/- .5cm) from the surface of the track, will go through the eyelet, serve as the steering mechanism, and keep the car in its lane. The vehicle must be easily removable from the guide wire, without disconnecting the guide wire.  This is the only allowable method of steering the car.  No radio control is permitted in Junior Solar Sprint cars.  Lane changing/crossing will result in disqualification.

Drawings of the eyelet from the left, right and end.

Eyelet Examples

 

Drawing of eyelet placement

Front of Car (End View)

The vehicle must be safe to contestants and spectators (i.e. no sharp edges, projectiles, etc). 
Any energy-enhancing devices, like mirrors, must be attached to the vehicle. 

Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification.

Team Log/Journal

A Team Log which includes a component list is required to be submitted with the vehicle for technical judging. 

The Team Log should contain notes on the design process, important points of the car’s design and concrete decisions taken by the team to arrive at the final product.  The Team Log should not be a finished, ‘polished’ document, but rather a collection of notes, sketches and test results of the design in progress.   The purpose of this document is to help the design judges understand the decisions made during the design and construction process.  These documents will not be returned to the teams, and parts of these documents may be published or disseminated to future participants.  Failure to turn in a Team Log will result in loss of points in the design portion of judging.

The log document must include:

  • team member names and roles/strengths
  • amount of time spent on the vehicle
  • specifications of final vehicle (size, weight, wheel size, gear ratio, etc.)
  • component list--all parts purchased for your vehicle
    (including the name of the supplier and the price of the part)
  • design and assembly process
  • greatest obstacles (issues and problems encountered and modifications made)

The log document might include:

  • design drawings
  • electrical schematics
  • formulas and calculations used
  • photos taken periodically during construction process
  • anything else the team wants to include for the design judges

 

Design Judging

Teams must submit their cars for initial inspection and complete a trial run on a guide wire before Design Judging.  It is the team's responsibility to complete these steps prior to 9:15am.  Cars arriving late will not be considered in the Design Judging.

 

Race Parameters

Race Divisions:

The race will be conducted in two phases: time trials and a head-to-head competition for each division.

The Green Division is composed of teams where the member in the highest grade is in the 4th through 6th grade.

The Blue Division is composed of teams where the member in the highest grade is in the 7th or 8th grade.

Time Trials:

During the time trial phase of the race, teams have the opportunity to attempt to have their vehicle drive down the track (a run) up to three times.  After each run, the vehicle’s time will be recorded.  A ‘DNF’ or ‘Did Not Finish’ will be recorded for vehicles that lose their table tennis ball, drive off the track, do not cross the finish line, or are otherwise disqualified.

Time trials will be offered every two minutes for a given period of time.  Event times will be posted the day of the race; teams are encouraged to perform their runs as soon as possible.  It is a team’s responsibility to line up and run their vehicle (up to three times) within the time allotted.  Any teams in line when the end of the time trial event is called by the judges will not be allowed to run.  When ‘Go’ is called, vehicles that do not start moving before the other vehicle reaches the finish will be given a DNF and must be removed from the track immediately.  If neither vehicle moves, the teams will be given 30 seconds after ‘Go’ is called before DNF’s are given to both vehicles.  Vehicles are then to be promptly removed.

The ten teams in each division with the fasted individual run times will move to the head-to-head competition.

Head-to-Head Competition:

The head-to-head competition is an ten-team, double elimination event.  This means that a team must lose twice before being eliminated from the competition.  Teams will race against other teams in their division to determine the first, second, and third place winners.

The Track:

  • The racetrack is 20 meters long and 60 centimeters wide
  • The track is set up on a hard, flat, smooth surface such as a tennis court. 
    For the Florida EnergyWhiz Expos and the EnergyWhiz olympic event, a non-slick vinyl surface will be used for the track lanes.

The Starting Line:

  • One team member will hold a piece of cardboard or other shading device over the panel, and remove it when the start signal is given. 
  • Team members may not push a vehicle to start it.
  • Team members may not accompany the vehicle in its lane during the race.

During the Heat:

  • One team member may free the vehicle from wire binding or track imperfections should such problems occur.
  • Team members may not push the vehicle or give any other physical assistance.
  • Team members may not change the vehicle's mechanical or electrical characteristics (e.g. shift a transmission) after the start of the heat.

Between Heats:

  • Repairs may be made to vehicles as necessary between heats. 
    However, no extra time will be given for repairs, and the race will not be paused for repairs to be completed.

The Finish Line:

  • One team member must be present at the finish line to stop the vehicle, preventing any damage to it.
  • The vehicle must remain in its lane at the finish line until the order of the race vehicles has been established.

Rain Date: 

In the event that the weather is so inclement that we are unable to hold the race portion of the Junior Solar Sprint, the rain date will be the following Saturday, at noon. The decision whether or not to postpone the race portion will be made by the JSS administrative team at noon on race day. Only those teams who are in attendance and have passed technical inspection and design judging will be permitted to race on the rain date. Because weather in Florida is changeable, the race will not be postponed for partly cloudy or mostly cloudy weather. The teams should be prepared to race in all weather conditions except rain.

Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification.

 

Junior Solar Sprint Awards

The awards will be as follows for each division:

  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place, Race
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place, Best Design
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place, Most Innovative