February 13, 2008

Bulkheads and Solar Panels

An update of mostly pictures:

This past weekend, we worked on a few projects.

The motors group is finishing up the endurance design and is still awaiting aluminum to arrive here in Pittsburgh. They took apart last year's motor mount to investigate the welds, both intact and broke, to see what kind of repairs are needed. We are waiting on suppliers for a new electric motor, an Etek-R (http://www.thunderstruck-ev.com/etek-r.htm). The motor is very popular and back ordered until March across the continent.

The hull group is still working on the hull interior. The foam came out of the hull nicely and we are now carving out foam to install bulkheads. The bulkhead will provide the boat with ample stiffness while opening up the bow for flotation materials, electronic components, and better access to the solar panels. Like the motors group, the hull team is awaiting building materials and will begin just as soon as it arrives.

The power management group met to work on a test panel. We bought 4 cells from SiliconSolar.com and have begun soldering them together to make a small array. We will be smoothing out the manufacturing process as well as the structural aspect of the solar panel. There are a few goals in making our own panels. We will be using a more efficient cell, which means we'll need less surface area to achieve the governed 480Watts. With less surface area along with a different structural makeup, we aim to achieve the goal of reducing the array's weight.

One last note before I run to class. Solar Splash is currently raising money for the purchase of a towable trailer. The trailer will be approx 20' in length and be able to carry our hull, panels, motors, and other equipment. It will ease the financial burden of traveling to our testing location at Moraine State Park as well as to the competition in Fayetteville, AR. If you would like to read more about this and help our organization, please click here.

And now for some pictures!

The first of 3 ribs to be added to Nessie's bow. The foam you see, both blue and yellow, will be covered with fiberglass to both stiffen and seal the members.

Two solar cells which are being used to create a test panel. After creating a test panel, we will go ahead and manufacture a 480Watt solar panel array

Dave and Winston working on soldering conductive tabs to the solar cells. The tabs are necessary to connect the cells.

A close up of the soldering process

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