Got Lemons? Make Lemonade!

Late nights, lots of testing, and some help from other teams finally got Duchess’ electronic brains working as designed, but ‘twas all for naught.
The rookie designers misinterpreted two critical rules involving the car’s battery pack. The high-voltage disconnect was downstream instead of upstream of the batteries, and battery temperature sensors weren’t properly fastened to the tabs. Either of those oversights alone would be enough to boot them from eTech, and neither could be redesigned in anything close to the time available. That barred the Miners from moving on to mechanical tech inspection and eventually to the track.

It didn’t take this group long to rally their spirits and say ”well, if we can’t do what we WANT to do, what’s here that we CAN take advantage of for next year?”

Since mechanical tech wasn’t an option they did the next best thing; they persuaded the ME inspectors to do a mock inspection as if it were the real thing. And the results were pretty encouraging.

The Mech inspectors tallied a small list of things that needed to be fixed. Had it been a “real” inspection it would have taken just 2-3 hours to knock out those items and the track would have been theirs.
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Second, they went back to the electrical inspectors with more questions about what they could do better. If you haven’t been to one of these events before you’d be surprised by the amount of down-to-earth teaching and learning that goes on in the garages.

S&T Formula Electric had already placed 2nd in weight, 3rd in cost, and 4th in design, tremendous feats all for a rookie team. There were about fifteen electric teams on site this week, maybe ten of which tackled the inspections. Other squads were far from finished but brought their cars along to see what it would take to meet the standards. Some were veteran teams who had been through the process before. Out of these 10-15 teams only four actually passed all inspections and just three recorded autocross track times.

Not bad, not bad at all!