Prior to the start of the American Solar Challenge 2018, we had a critical failure in our new motors, which were constructed using a Halbach array configuration. This layout maximizes torque output while keeping the motor size relatively small, but it also increases the possibility of failure. The breakdown of our motors happened only a week before we left for the race.

We were very lucky when the Principia Solar Car Team came to our aid, lending us two of their Mitsuba motors and a spare motor controller. While we weren't able to compete in the race, we are grateful that our friends helped us when we were in need.

 

Whether you are a current member on a solar car team, an alumni of a team, or just interested in solar car racing, you've probably heard some details about the upcoming 2018 American Solar Challenge race route.

The race will begin in Omaha, Nebraska and finish ~1,780 miles (2,864 meters) later in Bend, Oregon, somewhat following the Oregon Trail.
The route was chosen by ASC officials in-part due to the drier climate that these western states provide, since most of the 2016 American Solar Challenge was troubled with rain and clouds.

This route will take us through some stunning scenery, but will not be an easy race.
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Recently, our team stumbled upon a hidden gem inside our archive. The documentary, filmed by KY3 News (Springfield, MO), begins with the 1999 Sunrayce (Washington, D.C. -> Orlando, FL) and then details our first trip to the World Solar Challenge, the team placed 1st and 3rd in our class (22nd overall) respectively.

Watching the documentary is a great look at just how much solar racing has changed in under two decades. We hope you enjoy it!

EDIT: Happy April Fools Day!

 

The 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is quickly approaching, and we've been hard at work since arriving back in Rolla from the 2016 American Solar Challenge to design and build the most revolutionary solar car the world has ever seen.

We've been following the development of other teams, and reached the conclusion that none of them pose a threat to us in the upcoming race. Our new car is just that good!
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In the fall of 2016 we set our sights on the largest solar car race in the world: the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. BWSC consists of a 3,000 km, North to South trek across the Australian Outback, the dry, remote interior of the continent. Since our team’s “Recharge” in 2014 we have been working towards our goal of competing in Australia and now we are ready to return to solar car racing’s largest stage.

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EDIT: As some of you may have noticed, this blog post originally erroneously referred to the car pictured here as Solar Miner IV. In a funny turn of events, we mistakenly thought that this car was IV, not III, but were corrected by alumni on our social media pages. This article has been updated to reflect more accurate information!

 

At the start of this semester, Solar Miner III, our 2001 race vehicle, was donated to the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center in downtown Rolla, Missouri.

Solar Miner III finished second in the 2001 American Solar Challenge, a 2,300 mile road race that followed Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Later that year, the team fitted the car with a sleeker upper body and higher efficiency solar cells and took it to Australia for the World Solar Challenge, where it finished in 4th place. At the turn of the century and in subsequent years, our team (then known as the University of Missouri - Rolla Solar Car Team) was riding hot on the trails of national success for many years, creating a legacy that is still remembered today.
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For our previous car (Solar Miner) I rewrote and redesigned the telemetry software that was used in support vehicles for viewing data coming from the car. It worked well, and gave us all the information we needed at the time, but it suffered in some areas. One of these was that data was never stored anywhere except a plain-text log file, which proved slow and unreliable. With this in mind, our new telemetry system will store information in a database for further review.

This post is a discussion of data gathered during week long tests performed on two popular database systems.

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It is a sad day for the Missouri S&T Solar Car Team as we hand off Solar Miner VIII to Anderson University. After many years, Solar Miner VIII has proved herself trusty and reliable, many of our team members have story-worthy memories of this car, so it is not easy saying goodbye.
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Today, Solar Miner returned from vinyl wrapping. We want to thank all of our sponsors who helped make this car a reality! Stay tuned for more photos over the coming weeks as we prepare for the 2016 American Solar Challenge!
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