PPIHC 2017 - Update 1

It’s been quite the eventful week here in Colorado since the first group of six team members got here last Wednesday. I’ll try to go over a little bit of the last week in this post, and I’ll also try to post frequent updates over the next two weeks to help keep everyone in the loop!

The most pressing task once arriving was getting our new inverter, a custom PM150-DZR from Rinehart Motion Systems, fully constructed and working. We had worked earlier this year to design our own custom enclosure that was both lighter and more integrated with the overall vehicle, but we encountered numerous issues trying to outsource the complex machining for our custom enclosure. We had been working with a 3D printed enclosure to test fit all of the components and run tests on CAR’s dynamometer, and had just received the machined aluminum enclosure the morning before we left.

After putting together the new inverter on Thursday, the team spent the following day and a half working on getting the bike fully up and running in order to participate at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb sponsored tire testing event this past Saturday and Sunday. Both days the team encountered difficulties in shaking down the newly integrated system. On Saturday’s test day, an issue with a failure on the team’s DC/DC converter kept the vehicle from running on the mountain. After swapping to a spare unit that night, Sunday’s testing began. At first, the team had issues with the inverter cooling system. A flush of coolant and upgrade in pump size with a quick swap in the pits solved the issue, and Rob was able to complete a practice lap up the mountain. On the way down from his lap, strange behavior in the 12V system pointed to another problem with the team’s DCDC. The team swapped out the faulty unit with an external 12V battery to alleviate the issue.

To follow-up tire testing this weekend, the team had planned on spending all of yesterday at a test track to continue testing and troubleshooting the bike, but got waylaid by a damaged wire on the motor resolver. After an attempt at a fix, it was determined that the resolver problem was unfixable. Since the bike can’t run without this resolver, the team is waiting now for a replacement part coming tomorrow morning, and in the meantime is continuing to test and refine numerous systems on the bike, from the cooling loops to the BMS.

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