Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Presentation #1

Spring 2016 Update

Prior to the start of the 2016 spring semester, we became aware that the planned solar panel design would no longer be suitable for manufacturing. This was largely in part due to unsuccessful MiaSole donations and a more cost effective budget. So because of this, we quickly began designing new assemblies that would greatly consider our new factors and SoloPower panels. Considering cost, we decided to create the frames required for the panels from in-house material. This meant searching extra SSDC material and creating designs that would incorporate the excess material. Using wood as our main source of material, we began creating designs. After discussing the pros and cons of each design, we settled on a design that would use wooden ribs to flex the solar panels at a noticeable radius. The figure below shows the CAD design.
As seen in the figure, the ribs will be able to successfully allow a radius to a thin fiber board where panels will be attached. To ensure our CADed concept, we began prototyping concepts. This included flexing fiberboard and the use of dado joints. Becuase all concepts were able to be successfully tested, we felt that thew newly designed frames were more than suitable. With a successful frame, we then began testing new mounting designs that would allow rotation of the panels. We have created a total of 3 mounting designs, that each specialize in different categories. We plan to choose a suitable mount by 3/24/16. To take a closer look at our 3 mounting designs, images can be seen in the blog post above containing the first Spring presentation. At the start of the Spring semester, plans for Wayside on the 1/12 scale track were stopped. This means at the current moment, no Wayside will be implemented to the 1/12 track. However, because we wished to show more functionality of the on track solar panels, we will be attempting to add 2 charging stations. With help from the Wayside team, we been able to study theories and 1/12 Wayside design. While we are planning to implement Wayside to 2 stations, we will only be able to successfully achieve this goal with the help of the Electrical team and the Wayside team. This means all team will need to finish all tasks on schedule, which would hopefully allow ample time to implement a Wayside station. With most planning out of the way, we will now begin our manufacturing phase of the project. This means both purchasing materials in store and gathering materials from the SSDC. We plan to complete our manufacturing by the conclusion of Spring break.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nov. 17 Update

The goal of the 1/12th solar team is still and will always be to engineer a fully solarized system with functional and overhead track panels.  And with constant communication and weekly meetings, the small scale solar team has made sufficient progress since the second presentation.  For the most part, we have continued from our plans proposed in the last presentation.  However, some alterations have been made to better suit the project and to create more realistic goals.
In our last presentation, we stressed on manufacturing simple mounts with as minimum of components as possible.  The main reason we emphasised on this, is because we seek to create modular system that is simple to transport and can be assembled and disassembled easily and quickly.  We did however find that are presented mount designs had some problems.  The main problem we saw, was that the mounts would be difficult to reproduce and stay consistent with precision.  We are now designing new mounts that will best suit our requirements and preferences.
Secondly, we are manufacturing a manual solar tracker to test a solar panel.  We are constructing a "effortless" tracker so we can manually test different orientations and positions of a given panel.  With the data collected and aid from Ms. Munshi and Dr. Morki, we will be able distinguish the pros and cons of different installations.  With testing complete, we will decide which orientation and position we find most suitable.  When completing this decision voltage and current requirement, mounting, references, and testing data will all come into account.
We have also came into contact with MiaSole about the acquirement of additional solar panels.  We are talking with Cormac Wicklow (a MiaSole Contact), about the acquirement of solar panels.  Within the emails, we have also discussed the type and size that would best fit the 1/12 scale model.  In the presentation we discussed other companies we have contacted about the acquirement of solar panels.  However, after a few exchange in emails with some of the companies, we felt that MiaSole was are best option and wished to stay loyal to the company that has been severely generous with the Spartan SuperWay in the past.
Overall our project is coming along nicely and we are confident that we will meet all deadlines.