She’ll go, Eh?


Early this morning we got up, enjoyed a breakfast taco or two, and got to the morning orientation and safety sessions. After registering and going through a safety briefing we were finally ready to get to work on the car – but first: pictures. All of the teams were congregated on the front lawn of the convention center for a big group photo. Even though it was only 8:30 am the sun was sweltering.

The MecE todo list for the day.
The MecE todo list for the day.

After the picture taking we came back inside and got straight to work: we had alot to do. A number of things had to be finalized for the mechanical side of things, in addition to a good deal of testing and fixing on the electrical team. The goal: passing tech inspection before the end of the day.

20140425_111038With everyone together work progressed quickly. During debugging the jovial atmosphere was interrupted only by the sound of the gas and biodiesel teams testing their engines.


Tech Inspection

Our driver (Brandon Riches) prepping for the tech inspection.
Our driver (Brandon Riches) prepping for the tech inspection.

Tech inspection is a series of tests performed on your car in order to make sure it meets the specifications and safety requirements of the competition. It involves things such as parking the vehicle on an inclined ramp (to tests your brakes), or a frame you have to pass through to confirm you meet the size requirements of your class.

At about 4:30 we lined up for tech inspection — 15 minutes before the queue closed for the evening. The first thing: the hydrogen tank. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the mounting of the hydrogen tank in back of the car and we were unable to do the driving parts of the tech inspection.

The rest of the inspection went well. We passed everything up until the final test: the bulkhead seal. The test ensures that there is a sufficient seal between the front of the car and the back of the car in the event of a fuel leak — the fuel is contained within the back. Our seal had a couple small gaps.

Surprises in the lines

After a filling supper we returned to the paddock with the goal of being ready for tech inspection first thing in the morning. We quickly started on a more secure method to mount the hydrogen tank in the car. Things were going well until our MecE lead – Connor – noticed his shoes were wet.

A few minutes of investigation revealed a crack in the rear-left brake line that was slowly leaking fluid.

 A few hours later…

After a good deal of work, an amount of improvisation, and an interesting bike ride we managed to get all of the issues we were aware of patched up. We’re looking forward to trying again tomorrow!

A view of the track from the convention centre balcony.
A view of the track from the convention centre balcony.

About Mike Blouin

Michael is the Electrical Team Lead on the University of Alberta Eco-Car team. This is his second year on the team, after taking the position of Sensors Team Lead in summer 2013. He is in his fourth year of Computer Engineering.