Daily Wrap: Monday 7 Oct
07 Oct 2019
The first day of Static Scrutineering for 2019 was a busy one, with 12 teams presenting to the scientific faculty.
Static Scrutineering is an official part of the process to qualify for the BWSC. Each team must undergo inspection of their vehicle by the BWSC Scientific Faculty, with a number of stations they must pass through to ensure their car is built to the regulations, and is safe and road worthy.
The mechanical station looks at three aspects of the vehicle; the brakes, steering and roll cage. The mechanisms must all be built correctly and safely, to ensure the safety of the driver if there is an accident.
The electrical station reviews the battery pack for the vehicle. Scrutineers ensure that the battery pack, which stores all of the energy the solar array collects, is built into the car safely. They also check that the lights (including indicator lights and headlights), and the horn are all in working order.
One of the most important parts of the Scrutineering process is ensuring that the teams and drivers are safe in all aspects. The Scrutineers ensure that all of the drivers have built their car to be safe for a person – or people – to travel inside of it, as well as make sure that the driver can lift the roof or open the doors of their cars themselves. Our safety officers also remind the teams about being safe while traveling and camping in the Australian outback, with various animals and insects, weather, and hydration very important parts of the journey.
After Day 1 of Static Scrutineering, some teams have aspects of their car to review before they can officially pass this part of the process. From fixing electrical issues such as side lights, to ensuring battery packs are built and stored correctly, the standards of our Scrutineers are the highest, and nothing gets overlooked.
“We have a few things we need to fix up, a few minor issues... Nothing fundamental or extremely wrong which is comforting to hear! We had a rough start – there were more issues early on – but once we started hitting electrical we were able to get past all the issues no problems” said Hubaab Hussain, Team Manager of Blue Sky Solar Racing from Canada.
“I’m relieved, honestly starting off the day there was a lot going on, tensions were high. We were the first team, so after that we were happy – everything was settled, and we were able to get past everything. We’re happy with how it turned out.”
Overall, the issues were consistent throughout the day, and all fixes possible over the coming days, as Assistant Chief Scrutineer Dr John K Ward told us.
“[There were] some issues with understanding of the electrical safety, and making sure that they’re compliant with electrical safety. There were a number of issues with making sure that the number plates were visible so we could identify the cars during the event.
Part of the changes for this specific event is we’ve got the smart grid interactive charging of the Cruiser Class cars, so we’ve been testing whether they’ve actually capable of doing that. Some have, some haven’t, so there’ll be a bit of work over the next few days to make sure they’re all compatible with that.”
Cruiser Class entrant University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project is familiar with the process, led by their Team Manager Erick Sipila.
“It was a little stressful at first, but once we started getting the car rolling we got a lot of green stickers. There was some mechanical issues with our steering system, but we just have to tighten things up and it should be good to go”.
Erick participated in the 2017 BWSC, and this year has stepped up to his Team Manager role, which has given him valuable experience and insight into the Static Scrutineering process.
“It definitely helps knowing what the environment is. I could tell everybody what everything looks like, what the stations look like… I didn’t know they were going to give us a bit of a questionnaire, but we passed anyway.”
Like most of the teams from today’s line-up, the team from Minnesota are heading back to Hidden Valley to continue work on their car, and head out onto Gunn Point Road for more testing.
Just one car received the official pass today – IVE Engineering Solar Car Team passed Static Scrutineering with their car Sophie 6S.
Battery Officer Kevin To was one of many excited and happy team members at the end of the day.
"We're very, very happy. I think overall it went smoothly - we had a little bit of concern with our battery for a while, but we did have double protection for the battery, and the Scrutineers were happy"
Despite passing Static Scrutineering, IVE won't be heading to the Darwin beaches to relax.
"We're going to try everything, and make the car even better for Sunday!"
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