October 24, 2007

Lake Testing

About a week and half ago, we packed up Nessie and traveled to Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park. We rented a gasoline powered boat to do some tow testing. The point of the tow testing (Recording the force required to tow Nessie at various speeds) was to find the drag coefficient of Nessie's hull. The testing went smoothly, despite some strong winds, and we were able to get some valuable data. We will be processing and incorporating the data in the design of the propulsion system (for the endurance event) and for future hulls.

We are currently neck deep in designing new systems and writing grant proposals. We're looking forward to finalizing designs and getting ready to build in January. I'll do my best to keep this blog current.

Here's some pictures from the lake testing. Enjoy!

The team get the boat ready for a busy day on the lake

Fredrick and Will set up the motor system

Andrew and Ryan in the tow boat getting ready to go

Tow test action shot

Tow test action shot II

RPM encoders to help us design a new propulsion system

September 24, 2007

We're at it again!

School is back in session and so is CMSS.
We are busy recruiting, fund raising, and planning for the coming months. We're excited for what lays ahead and I'll be sure to update this blog as more details arise!

For now, here are some misc. pictures of team members:

Mark and Will at the CMU Activities Fair

Mark, Ryan, Me, Mike, and Rhiddi trying to pose... maybe next time

Mike Kaufman and Gordo talking about a new solar array options

June 27, 2007

On the radio

As we continue to unwind for the summer, there will be updates showing pictures from the competition, media coverage, and other various topics. We are still sorting through hundreds of pictures, so there will be none today... But, we do have a neat radio link from Arkansas Public Radio. Quite a few CMSS members are featured in this program which is exciting. Follow this link to hear the segment.


Stay cool and think solar!

June 24, 2007


Yes, it has been a few days since the CMSS team has returned from Arkansas, and I'm terribly sorry to leave you in such suspense to how we did. Without further adiue...

Carnegie Mellon Solar Splash
------ 10th Place Overal!!
------ 2nd Place for Technical Report!
------ Award for BEST Hull Design!

We had a great time down in Arkansas and we couldn't have done it without the support of our sponsors (click here for a full list), family, friends, our adviser Susan Finger, and many others.

Please continue to check this blog and our website for picture updates and other news as we prepare to conquer the world yet again.

Thanks again for all of your support in the last two years.
-Andrew and the CMSS 2k7 team

(L to R: Andrew, Elizabeth, Mike, Bernie, Andrew, Lluis, Susan, Jen, Will, Mark, Joshua, Brian, Ming, Riddhi, Andrew, and Ryan)

June 16, 2007

Day 4 - Sprint Finals

Day four of Solar Splash was a long, but satisfying day. Everyone got an early start due to some uncertainty with the weather. The potential for thunderstorms drove organizers to postpone the endurance races until Sunday, and have the Sprints today. Being prepared for anything, we hooked up the boat in its sprint configuration and made certain to get the most charge in our batteries.

Our race time was at 1:40pm so we had plenty of time to unwind and have some time to mingle with other teams. We all set off to see what setups and advice other more experienced teams could offer. We will take this all back to Pittsburgh to help generate concepts for the 2008 competition.

The endurance heats will take place tomorrow beginning at 9:00am. Each heat is two hours long and is weighted the most. We feel confident in how the boat will perform during both heats. Our propulsion system is working just as we want, and the batteries/solar array is too. I will report on how Nessie fairs tomorrow in the endurance, and then how CMSS placed in Solar Splash 2007.

Just as a side note, another thank you goes out to the Rockwell and Wedler families who have taken incredible care of the team this week. They fed us (BBQ!) again at the same state park we went to last night. They have been wicked (this is a Maine term for excellent/awesome). Thanks needs to be extended to all of our supporters across the country. If not for your support, we would have not been in any position to accomplish all we've done thus far.

Mike making sure we get the sprint batteries charged to their maximum before the race

CMSS played a game of touch football from some of the Istanbul team members. It was great and I think there will be a rematch next year!

Mike and Ming work on the throttle to ensure it doesn't slip or over rotate during the spring race. Lluis noted that it was a huge improvement.

During the sprint, we raced against two other teams, ETS and USC. We were in the far lane.

The official Solar Splash 2007 logo and t-shirt color. Very nice

Gordo, Andrew, and some others getting ready to watch the sprint finals between Arkansas, Cedarville, and USC

Mark, Ryan, Jen, Riddhi, and Mumma Wedler awaiting the sprint finals too.

Mumma Rockwell, Curls (Paul), and Josh(ua) cooking up some tasty wings for dinner.

Lluis likes birthday cake.... maybe a little too much! He didn't win the mini eating contest however. Ryan was crowned as the current champion.

A movie of the sprint between ETS, USC, and CMU

Final note: We are currently in 7th place overall and 15 points above last year's total score. A lot will be riding on tomorrow's endurance performance. Wish us luck!


Day 3

Today, I'm afraid there are only a few pictures to show. It was a pretty busy day I'm afraid, and all I can say is that CMSS won it's first ever race! It was fantastic! But now I must rest, and leave you with some pictures!

CMSS on deck for the sprinting qualifying run.

Mark and Lluis holding Nessie before she unleashes on Lake Fayetteville.

Lluis at the starting line.

Nessie, Brian, and the solar panel enjoying the Arkansas sunlight outside the tent

Will working on the electrical/mechanical system before the sprint event

Stearn to bow view of Nessie ready to roar!!

Bernie constantly reading on how to increase the CMSS funds

Some 'war' tunes before the sprint event really gave Lluis and Nessie the power to WIN (by 1.5 boat lengths) the heat!

Although it may look otherwise, we actually are winning this event! Awesome driving and such really helped out!

Mark's family was extremely kind to feed the whole team a wonderful dinner at an official Arkansas state park. We had a great time, and thank you very much Rockwells!


June 14, 2007

Day 2

Today we prepared and completed almost all of the on water testing required before racing tomorrow, saturday, and sunday. Nessie felt the smooth Arkansas water and went through it quite nicely. Our final qualification time for the maneuverability event was comfortably in the middle of the 18 team pack. We were not driving at 100% because the real race doesn't start until saturday and sunday.

Three more team members arrived today, 3/4 of the fab-four. They drove in from Houston and met us for dinner (perfect timing!). Only one more member is due to arrive, and he will be touching down tomorrow afternoon.

More to report tomorrow, I must get the aloe going on my sun burns!

But first enjoy your daily does of CMSS pics:

Lluis headed to the starting line for the first qualifying event.

Josh(ua) resting with the boat while Judges make sure we have followed the rules.

Lluis in the boat, and the three musketeers keeping him steady. For the record, Lluis took 2.9 seconds to egress from Ness.

G'night from A-Kansas

We're Here! (Solar Splash 2007: Day

Well, 11 CMSS members are here in partly sunny fayetteville, arkansas ready to show our stuff at the world champion ship of solar boating. Everyone had safe travels and stories about truck stop, long airport layovers, and other shenanigans.
This morning we drove the truck from our hotel to the competition site a few miles down the road. Everyone did their part to get everything safely unpacked. Having such a large team here at competition will certainly be fantastic both in getting work done and having a great time.
As the morning wore one, we finished unpacking/organizing all of our equipment and began preparing for the mechanical and electrical safety inspections. With only a few minor fixes (sanding some 'sharp' edges and adding wire ties), we were given the green light to continue with the water testing tomorrow.
After a long day we were shuttled to the University of Arkansas campus for a lecture by one of Wal-mart's Energy Sustainability executives. It gave us a different perspective of how/why Wal-mart choses to make it's business as 'green' or reduce it's carbon footprint. Even the companies harsh critics remained relatively silent after all was said and done.
The big news of the day is that Carnegie Mellon University's entrant in the 2007 World Championship of Solar/Electric Boating received incredibly high marks in the technical report, submitted approximately one (1) month prior to the competition's beginning. Well done to everyone who worked on this 80 page dossier!!
Day 2 begins at 8am tomorrow with a Skipper's meeting followed by the on water qualifiying events. Stay tuned to read how it goes!

And now, pictures!

The cockpit, cabin, galley (minus stove) of Nessie lying outside PA for the first time since it's birth.

Our paddock/home for the next week.

We are boat 14, no questions

Josh and Mike answering questions for the electrical inspection.

Our second place award for the technical report! Ain't it perty?

Mark accepting the award. Thank goodness there were no required speeches...

June 7, 2007

Long Overdue UPDATE

It has been quite some time since we at CMSS have updated this blog. Like always, the last month has been very exciting and consequently, very busy. We have completed the hull, propulsion, and electrical systems. We have field tested the boat at Lake Arthur where those who went got to drive the wild beast. We also were able to show off our research to the entire university at Meeting of the Minds, an event displaying various topics students have researched throughout the semester/year. After a long (but successful) day of presenting our work, we held a BBQ for both the team members, but more importantly to the sponsors, moral supporters, friends, and family of CMSS. It was a great time had by all and the food hit the spot. Hat's off to Bernie and his Business/Marketing team.

After finals, those who were still around campus took the boat north for a second round of testing. We crossed our fingers for a dry day... and later realized some extra fingers would have been nice. It was a sometimes wet, but always brisk day, but nothing short of a hurricane was going to stop Nessie nor her team! We spent the whole day on the lake testing how the boat performed as well as giving people the chance to drive. It was a good day and we were able to find some bugs in the system that needed to be worked out.

Next week, we will be headed to the competition. We are VERY excited to see how we stack up against the other competitors. Also exciting is the percentage of the team able to travel to Arkansas. It's going to be a great week of solar boating excitement!

And now for some pictures!

Meeting of the Minds

A panoramic shot of the boat, the many posters, and a tired team after an intense day of presenting.

CMSS members in action - spreading the good word of Nessie and her potential to rule the world!

Lluis explaining to two Ford ambassadors what the hull group researched before deciding on the final hull design.

A group photo of most everyone during the first annual CMSS post MoM BBQ. (FACMSSPMoMBBQ for short)

Some fine looking gentlemen all anxious to taste what they smell cooking on the grill

Lake Testing

Will looks over the propulsion system before the boat is put in the water.

Nessie's front end glistening in the water

Lluis heading off to do some official testing.

When the rain came, we just worked under this tarp. It was a good team building experience!

A bird's eye view of the boat's power system.

A closer look at some of the electrical components that powers the propulsion system.

The gearing, complete with belt tensioner in the propulsion system.


Yours truly in the boat!! If this isn't shameless self indulgence, i don't know what is!


Writer's Note: There will be frequent updates while we are in Arkansas. We will be keeping our supporters up to speed on the happenings in the deep south.