Electrathon America Forum

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: UPDATE HANDBOOK


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
UPDATE HANDBOOK
Permalink  
 


I do not know if we need to rewrite the 2014-2015 handbook again or use it for another year and start upgrading every 3 years.  It always seems like we are under the gun to do this in the summer/fall each time we do it.  It usually takes a few months to get ideas together from the members/board and then more time to word them right.  After that we have to have the board vote on safety issues and the members on other items and figure out the results.  Then we need to rework the handbook and get it printed and uploaded on to the website.  So the process usually takes about 6 months.

If we have any major needed changes to the rules or rewording then I would be a good idea to do it as early as possible but if not then maybe we should start on it now, gathering input from the members and board and then put that into motion in the spring and have them ready in September 2016 for the 2017 + race season.  Then that handbook would be good for 2017, 18, & 19.

WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK OF THIS PROPOSAL?  IF YOU HAVE ANY CHANGES YOU FEEL SHOULD BE MADE TO THE HANDBOOK NOW OR NEXT YEAR, PLEASE POST THEM ON THIS THREAD.....THANK YOU, Mike Hodgert---president of EA.



__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

THIS IS THE ONLY IDEA I HAVE FROM THE OTHER WEB SITE AND I FEEL THAT THIS IS A GREAT IDEA AND FEEL LIKE IT SHOULD BE IN REQUIRED RULES FOR 2016 SEASON EVEN IF WE DO NOT GET A BOOK DONE....ADD TO THE ON LINE HANDBOOK FOR NOW!!!!

Mike
You might consider changing rule 4.4, driver's helmet must be below a straight line drawn from the top of the roll bar to the top of a front tire in the next rule change session. Should a car roll over and the front wheel is collapsed the driver's head is compromised. The line is changed from the top of the roll bar to the height of the body, thus reducing the safety zone for the helmet.
After talking with the operations manager at Lime Rock Park, it was suggested that the rule should be similar to that of race vehicles. For safety reasons, the driver's helmet must be below a straight line from the top of the roll bar to highest structural member on the front of the car. Thus insuring positive protection in a rollover.
We are cinsidering implementing this rule for the Spring of 2015. Safety is our priority.
Your thoughts are appreciated.
Mike Grella



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

Mike, I do know five years ago and a few afterwards my Mom has been getting photos to the races she has gone to (Aaron had mentioned it before, but school was getting in the way.) Maybe change out some of the older photos with some newer fresh ones?
I know cars change every year, but I wouldn't mind seeing some new pictures of cars in it. I can see what I can come up with, I know for sure we've got the most photos and videos of the races we've gone to over the past six years when I finally started to race.

I can see what I could bring with me next weekend if that works since we will be at your place for the night most likely.

Zaine

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

When we do the new hand book we would love to add as many new pictures as we possibly can. So if you could put a bunch on CD or flash drives that would be great. If you could go through and put ones on that are fairly closeups so they show cars with some detail and only a few of any one car that would be great. I have some as well to go through and narrow down as well. I hope we can get some more from others areas of the country that races.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

Rule 1.1 contradicts itself with whats on page 15 of the hybrid car, if I was making a hybrid then I would look at that rule and assume that the front and back track have to be between 2 and 4 feet but the hybrid design suggest that the rear track is inches so rule 1.1 can be reworded to "Minimum track must be at least 2 feet on at least one axle" this allows the rear axle to have any track but the front still be within rules.

I also believe there should be a rule on the shape of the roll bar. With a square roll bar (which mine has) during a flip the car could be upside down and if that were to happen then another car could hit the driver of the upside down car. So maybe a rule that the roll bar must have a rounded shape.

There is also another tricycle steering method that the first Tampa Electrathon car had, dual lever on a tricycle. If you look closely at this picture you can see the steering is the front wheel with levers directly next to the seat

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShIfuAR-1Xml6sZetUfV4-e0ljNNyM_KSTSLV21APYI7F74T97XA



__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 

Ron


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 52
Date:
Permalink  
 

Good point Ryan (especially roll bar)

 

I would have to ask Mike H. (the Pres.) but as a Tech. inspector my thought is that the picture on page 15 "is not to scale"

and that there are no statements on pg.15 that say the "Hybrid" rear width is less than 2 ft...

so I would read the rule (for a hybrid) as BOTH axles must be between the 2 and 4 ft dimensions...

HOWEVER being most cars are 3 wheeled I can see how "stupid" that might be seen as....

BUT....  "them be da rules"  (at least as written) but re-writing the rule to allow a narrower track on hybrids might be an idea...

 

Also a round roll bar may be better... but... rounded roll bars tend to leave a car upside down after a roll as well

(unless some thought has gone into the "height to width" ratio of the car)

most cars are wider than they are tall... and therefore tend to stay "turned turtle" if they roll.

 

as to the "push pull" steering on a trike... the Dave Cloud cars have been doing that for years... (over a decade)

but of course you might not have seen a "cloud car" being that I think the only one "out east" (that I know of)

is the #420fl car of the PHS electrathon club in florida

 

Ron J car #13 northwest region

but PLEASE folks comment on this... I could be WAYYYY off base in my beliefs here.

R.J.

 

 



__________________
Ron


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 52
Date:
Permalink  
 

After some heated "discussions" with a couple of teams this year and last year about using "expanded metal" for the bottom of the cars,
I think that we need to "visit" rule 5.1 and the statement "provide a barrier between the driver and any contact with another vehicle or the ground"

I feel that we need to state some guidelines as to the "barrier" must be between driver and ground...

I don't believe that "spread steel" or "expanded steel" (however you choose to call "not solid" metal with holes in it)
is an adequate protection for the driver...
and neither is "duct tape" over expanded metal... (yes, I have run into that in a tech. inspection before)

maybe some statements as to differing materials AND thicknesses needed

in example..

barrier between driver and road surface MUST BE solid material...
of at LEAST 3/8" thick if plywood....at least 16ga if steel... at least 14ga if aluminum...at least 1/4 inch if u.m.d.h. plastic... etc.

(thicknesses and materials are not what I think are necessary.. just examples and guesses)

Or maybe we need to just state something like
"barrier between driver and ground MUST be solid (no expanded metals) of at least 16ga steel OR aluminum, OR at least 1/4" U.M.D.H. plastic"

or something like that...

any thoughts on this folks?



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

I like that idea on the barrier Ron, I have seen cars, my schools sister car, uses paper thin aluminum held together with aluminum tape. One time I got in it and put a hole in it, I can't imagine if the driver slipped a little and put a little to much weight on the floor what would happen during a race. And to regulate the thickness/material you could put it under a weight test, like a 50lb dumbbell must be dropped onto the floor from 1 inch. So if the driver slipped on the seat or hit a bump wrong and hit the floor it wouldn't break. As for the walls the same testing could be done. But like batteries that don't need to be tested you could add body materials such as 16ga steel will not have to be tested for sufficient strength.

__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 



teacher / board member

Status: Offline
Posts: 71
Date:
Permalink  
 

I like for roll bars to have rounded corners, even if there is a flat area between those corners. I have seen roll bars made from 3/4 inch square tubing with welded square corners and no triangulation in the bracing to keep it from collapsing sideways! A roll bar like that, if it didn't collapse, could hold the car completely inverted which makes driver exit slower and more difficult. If the roll bar is rounded, it will at least help the car come to rest on its side rather than completely inverted. Also, a rounded roll bar has less resistance to rolling sideways which makes it less likely to deform or collapse.

A rule I would like to see is: "Standard Battery class vehicles shall be limited to a maximum 24 volt systems. All higher voltage systems will compete in Experimental Battery class." Why do I think this is needed? Well, if it's supposed to be Standard battery, make them all run a "standard" voltage. It's no secret that higher voltage systems are more efficient and generally faster. The problem is they are also more expensive to build and maintain. With the rule left the way it is, eventually, higher volt systems could become necessary in order to remain competitive. Many schools already have trouble finding the money to compete in Electrathon, especially new teams just starting. They don't need to be saddled with more expense. Additionally, limiting the voltage would "level the playing field" between competitors. The batteries are our "fuel tanks"; making them all the same capacity would be similar to NASCAR making all the cars run the same size fuel cell.

__________________
Jim Robinson


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

meangreen wrote:

 A rule I would like to see is: "Standard Battery class vehicles shall be limited to a maximum 24 volt systems. All higher voltage systems will compete in Experimental Battery class." Why do I think this is needed? Well, if it's supposed to be Standard battery, make them all run a "standard" voltage. It's no secret that higher voltage systems are more efficient and generally faster. The problem is they are also more expensive to build and maintain. With the rule left the way it is, eventually, higher volt systems could become necessary in order to remain competitive. Many schools already have trouble finding the money to compete in Electrathon, especially new teams just starting. They don't need to be saddled with more expense. Additionally, limiting the voltage would "level the playing field" between competitors. The batteries are our "fuel tanks"; making them all the same capacity would be similar to NASCAR making all the cars run the same size fuel cell.


 I strongly disagree with this idea.  One of the things that makes EA great is that the rules are generally just safety oriented and therefore leave the competitors free to be innovative.  Two Optimas cost the same as three Interstate DCM0035 batteries so 36v can be done as cheaply as 24v.  Many of not most motor controllers can handle a range of voltages as can most of the motors we use.  This means that as it becomes necessary for teams to replace their 24v battery packs they can just as easily and cheaply choose to operate at higher voltage.  The current rules have already "leveled the playing field" in that we all have the same rules to follow.

And just in the spirit of full disclosure... I do compete with a car that runs a 36v pack and while I am competitive I have lost the last two races to teams running on 24v.  There is more to a winning car than operating voltage.  The more restrictions you impose, the more you stifle the creativity and innovation that is supposed to be the point of this competition.  In my opinion, too many cars on the track are purchased kits that are merely assembled by students without any real understanding of what is going on.  I once asked a college team how their motor controller functioned whether through pulse width modulation or variable voltage.  I got a blank look followed by a stammering reply of "it came with the kit".  If you want to encourage people to think, you can't make their decisions for them.

 

And NASCAR was a whole lot more interesting before all the regulations and restrictions. 

 

(merely my opinions, I welcome yours)



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

I would not like this rule to much mainly since my team runs 36v. But we didn't run 36v to be more effiecent we did it to save money, and we only have about 69lbs of batteries on the car which is the disadvantage of our system since we have less "juice." But the higher efficency does combat this. My batteries are about 55% CHEAPER then yellow tops, i can get 2 sets of batteries (6) for about $375, compared to 4 yellow tops at $200 each. But the controller is slightly more expensive.


__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 

Ron


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 52
Date:
Permalink  
 

Standard battery class is fine in my estimation....

73lbs of gel cel or agm battery is a simple and "not open to interpretation" rule... 73lbs is 73lbs...

listed "exempt" batteries are listed "exempt" batteries

Hard to argue with (and BOY!!! do competitors want to argue...) in tech inspection.

__________________
Ron


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 52
Date:
Permalink  
 

we might want to "visit" rule section 18, rule 18.2 in particular.

We had a car come through tech @ the April 23rd 2016 race @ Valley River Ctr. that had the seat belt tied into the car with small diameter cord (like bootlaces cord)
this would have "passed" 18.2 "capable of lifting entire vehicle from the ground" but was questionable for rule 18.5....

needless to say the inspectors involved did NOT pass the vehicle...
(other cars from this team passed, because seat belt was attached around frame as would be legal in scca, nhra, and other forms of racing)

I think we need some better definitions of how seat belts must be attached, (and materials used/methods for doing so)
of course this is the only time I have seen this in the 12 years of my involvement with electrathon,
but often that is how you learn to put a new rule in... hard experience.

Ron

tech inspector, corner worker, safety marshal, driver car 13. northwest division electrathon america

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:
Permalink  
 

One suggestion I have that might not be liked by some people is that cars that were bought from open class builders should not be considered in the high school class. It is a rare occurrence but I have seen some cars that were obviously bought from open class car builders. For a car to truly be considered a high school car I believe the students should be the ones who design and build the car. What does a student learn just from simply hooking up batteries and driving a car? It is also not fair to the students who build their cars themselves to have to compete with cars that were built by older more experienced adults. The few schools that have bought cars should still be allowed to participate but nonstudent built cars should be grouped with the open class for awards.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

I do have this problem with this but I wouldn't support it because are other things. We have 9 high school cars who regularly compete but most teams are unable to build a new car every few years. A few are 4-7 years old so are those really made the high school students? Of those 9 high school cars I race 4 are made by adults, 4 are over 4 years old and there is mine which is a year old. So this would limits my competition to maybe 3, which would not be as fun. One thing those 4 high school cars that were bought from adults have in common is one thing. All were new teams, as in less then a year of racing, this is good and bad. It lets them race a nice reliable car that that can work on and slowly learn from, 3 of these cars are owned by two teams and I have been talking to both and both really want to build a new car in the off season so by them having and racing adult cars they can expand there team and learn to build a car while still racing. But that forth car... it was given to a team who said they "want" to build a car but after over a year have been no where near starting to build one. So it would depend on the team and what they want to do in the future.

As of competitively racing these cars I think it helps everyone. Last year we had MAYBE 4 or 5 high school cars and we as a high school class were not the best. Adult teams DESTROYED us in lap count, speeds were low, 18ish MPH. Then this year. Adult cars came into the high school league and I think it helped us as a whole. It raised our speeds, our last race we averaged about 22mph, on a slower track! With this the high school class and our adult class have become very close. One race i beat every lead acid car, high school and adult. It also has beefed up the competition. It is tough to beat an adult made car with my 7 year old crooked frame that I remade from 4 wheels to 3, but it makes me really look over the car with our team, we make it better after EVERY race, the competition makes my team WANT to get better. When we say we can beat an adult made car and we get the blue ribbon we feel like true champions, in a way people who bought their cars will never feel.

Now while adult cars I think overall hinder the team who buys them as in they gain less experience I think it will help the league as a whole and everyone the race against.

While winning in nice I would rather get dead last every race in my own rolling turd that I know I was able to build where I can tell you every bolt with thread count on the car, every wire, every rivet. That feeling you get when you know you did something to the best of your ability is something more important than a empty trophy (or here a sticker for our car), I have something that those teams will never have until they make their own car.

This is only from my experience here, I don't know what it like in anywhere but here in Tampa but I would like to hear your opinion.

 

EDIT:

Competition is the start of innovation, no competition will lead to little innovation. When I race against very strong competition it makes me want to get better. Look at Tesla, they are probably the best consumer electric cars in the world. Imagine if they had competition. Tesla is actually TRYING to make competition for themselves so they will be forced to innovate and become even better!

This is a link explaining Tesla making all their patents public https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you



-- Edited by Nitoragro on Thursday 5th of May 2016 01:47:45 AM

__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

I share your pain on the whole "bought not built" topic, however I see no practical, fair way to separate them out. In most cases there is no way to know who built or bought what. I just try to up my game to stay ahead as best I can and be grateful for every competitor on the track. I would rather come in 4th in a crowd of 30 then 1st in a field of 10. So whatever gets people on the track.

My 2 cents.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

To be honest, it really comes down to who has more knowledge on the track.  Be it kit built or home built, if someone can drive great, take care of their car, do maintenance, be team orientated, be able to problem solve and still do great that is a win in my book.  It might be annoying when over half of the cars seen in a race may be from the exact same build kit, but there may be reasons beyond explanation the team bought a kit.  The same can be said for a team who built a car from the ground up.  Either way, if the members of a team are learning what is going on and get a better understanding from learning from experience I'm all for the hands on approach.  Dare to fail is what my adviser at school always said when I was taking any of his classes.  You will make mistakes,  but learning from those mistakes and understanding how the mistake was made helps make you a better person in the end.  

Zaine 



-- Edited by Zaine Stapleton on Friday 6th of May 2016 07:48:32 PM

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:
Permalink  
 

I'm sorry I should have been more clear with my suggestion. I was not considering kit cars as bought cars. Although I personally do not like kit cars I would still consider them high school cars because they are assembled by the students. Actually for first year teams they are a good option for learning about the cars and being able to build one in a fast enough time period to be ready for races. I was more referring to more extreme examples where a school buys a fully running car from an open class builder. I do not think that not allowing bought cars to be considered part of the high school class would decrease race participation. In my suggested rule bought cars would still be allowed to race but would not be grouped with the high school cars for race standings. Right now it is an all too enticing of an option for some schools to try and quickly buy their way to the top. I feel that grouping bought cars in the open class would help foster more of a desire for schools to build their car themselves. I know if a rule like this was put in place there would be some teams who wouldn't be honest about it but the vast majority of the teams would be, sadly this is the case for most rules though.

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

I know 22+ years ago when we first started racing in the NW there was a team that bought two Cloud cars to race. The first year they wiped out nearly every one. The next year the cars started to fall apart since they were not maintained and the students did not know how to fix or repair anything. By the 3rd year that team was coming in near the middle or below in races against teams that built their own cars. They dropped out shortly after that since they had no idea how to build a car and they were no longer winning with the run down great cars they purchased. So as the old sayings go--You get what you deserve, Reap what you sow, etc.

As far as a new rule like you said it would be hard to prove that the car was not just a copy of a great car they found on line. The teams that want to get first at all costs will lie and deny that they purchased a car while those that purchased one since they don't have a lab to work in or just to get kids involved would be the one punished as they would be honest.

__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

Any chance of lowering the age to drive? 14 yrs old maybe?

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

No, to do that would raise the cost of insurance for races. If we go below 16 on drivers the cost is well over 2 times as high. About 3 years ago we were able to talk K & K insurance into letting 16 year old's without drivers licenses race without raising the insurance. Sorry

__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

Yeah, that's prohibitively expensive. Thanks anyway.

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

HI FELLOW ELECTRATHON PEOPLE
Aimee and I are going to sit down this summer and hash out a start on a new handbook. ZOnce we have a rough version and sort through the input from others we will have a board meeting for ideas and approval on all safety related issues....We will then go to the members for approval of the non safety items and input as well. If you have any ideas that are not expressed here that you would like to see in the handbook for teh 2017-1019 seasons. THIS IS YOU CHANCE TO HAVE INPUT INTO THE NEW HANDBOOK!!!!! PLEASE POST DIDEAS HERE OR SEND THEM DIRECTLY TO AIMEE OR ME.

From above:
---Look at rule 4.4--change the straight line rule and drop ..."the top of the front tire" ... from it so that the front point of the straight line is a structural part so that even if a wheel breaks or falls off there is still front support.

---We nee to add new pictures--this is very true. Are the drawings/graphic explanations still good or do they need to change, drop any, add more?

---Hybrid car drawing on page 15....Change rule 1.1 to read that at leas one axle must have a minimum track of 2 feet center to center. not both???

---Add a graphic of a trike car with dual lever steering coming off short 'bike handlebars' like Clouds have used for many years.

---Change the shape of the rollbar--require to be rounded, not square corners, etc. As far as square corners breaking if you follow rule 4.2 those welded corners need to be triangulated so they won't break.

---Make a do and do not list of materials for bottom pans. No expanded metal, not thin metal/plastic/ etc. I agree that it needs to be solid but I don't think it needs to be a thick as Ron's suggestion. The bottom pan is there to be sure all of the good things (hands/feet/etc.) stay inside the car and the bad things (stuff on track like lost parts/bolts, etc. stay out of the car. The purpose is not to be able to stand on it...most cars have some place to put you feet to get in or out of the car.. Mine has a thin Al. sheet curved just under my hammock seat with thin steel straps the full distance and so I can put my full weight on the thin Al. and it will support me and I will touch my actual bottom pan which is about 20 gauge Aluminum.

---Make all 'standard cars' use 24 volts...I see a lot of input that disagrees with this as I do.

---Do we need a list of good and non-acceptable ways to attach the seat belt? We may just say that they need to be attached to a frame member or solid bracket with appropriate bolts. and leave the rest alone. I like to thing that teacher, students, and open class drivers are smart enough to see the need for this a do it like this but maybe not....

---What to do with purchased adult cars and student built cars being in the same class just because they are driven by students....If we should do anything and if so what and how?

I think that is the full list of what is put on this website so far.

HOPEFULLY SOON OTHERS WILL POST MORE IDEAS IF THEY HAVE THEM. IF NOT DONE SOON IT WILL BE TOO LATE.

MIKE HODGERT
EA PRESIDENT UNTIL WE FIND A REPLACEMENT OR FOR 2 MORE YEARS WHICH EVER COMES FIRST.

---

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

Mike,

I know both my Mom and older sister have taken photo at the races over the years. This might be a good opportunity to get some new photos into the rule book.
Just need to know where I need to send them to. I'll see what I can get, there will be a lot of photos. But, any can be used.

Zaine

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

For any photos just sent to me or Aimee. I possible if you could cull them so that the pictures show a car fairly large and not just a small dot, also it would be great to have then so that they are not all of the same few cars but show a bunch of different cars for each collection. It would be wonderful if they were also sort of set to show things from the handbook like steering, body styles, wheels, brakes, etc. so that Aimee and I don't have to sort through tons of photos to find ones that will work.
Thanks,


__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

Had another 2 suggestions for the handbook.
1--When a car come up to be inspected it need to be race ready with all ballast and batteries installed as they will be when they race. If not using practice batteries and they only have race batteries then the batteries may be left off.
2--Add a 'test' in the back of the book that will make students look closely at all parts of the book and learn the rules.

IF YOU HAVE MORE IDEAS, THOUGHTS, OR COMMENTS ON ANY OF THESE PLEASE POST THEM HERE.
THANKS
Hodgert

__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

Since inspection frequently takes place more than an hour before the first race and batteries may have to be weighed anyway. Do we really want to require them to be already installed? I'm sure many teams like to keep their batteries on the charger up until the last minute. I like the idea of the test in the back of the book. Will teams be required to turn in a copy before each race?

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

I think only have the batteries not to check of they are legal but to check of they are safely strapped it, and if you have practice batteries you keep your race ones on the charger, if you dont then you just dont put them in. I like the idea, there was a new team last season and they needed about 30 pounds of ballest and they used twine to hold it in. Luckly the stewad saw it and stopped them.

 

As for the test what do you mean? When i read it i was thinking like a hidden rule, something you had to do to your car so the steward knows you read the rules like you have to have a dot on the top of your rollbar. What if the team did not pass this 'test' what would be the consequence, unable to race, start last in the line up or lose a lap?



__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

Nitoragro wrote:

For the test what do you mean? When i read it i was thinking like a hidden rule, something you had to do to your car so the steward knows you read the rules like you have to have a dot on the top of your rollbar. What if the team did not pass this 'test' what would be the consequence, unable to race, start last in the line up or lose a lap?


 Ooooo!  That's sneaky...and I kinda like it.  People who don't know the rules really bother me.  And when they don't get caught for having a non-compliant car it bothers me more.  However, unless the secret rule changes at every race it would only be effective for the first race of the season. But then again, maybe that's all it would take...

If a written test were included in the back of the manual, you could have teams be required to submit a copy with the rest of their paperwork for each race.  It might also prompt those doing the inspections to be more thorough and knowledgeable of the rules. (As is a problem sometimes when using volunteers)

 



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

Could a explanation / diagram of how to incorporate ankerman angle in a pivot arm steering system be included? Because right now the picture and explanation only would work for dual levers and rack and pinions.

__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 



EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

The way we do Pivot arm, Tiller, Joy stick and most Rack and Pinion are that we continue to have a Tie Rod like the Dual Levers and then just have a additional 'Steering Rod' going to ONE wheel or the other that attaches to the Steering Arm along with that end of the tie rod. So two rods to one wheel and only the tie rod to the other. That way we maintain the proper wheel alignment and have less tire scrub. With the Pivot arm done the way it is in the book we found that the wheel alignment changes slightly with the steering since as the wheel is turned sharply the height and so the angle of the dual tie rods/steering rods change slightly differently. For sweeping turns this is not noticeable but on tight corners with hard steering there is a fair amount of tire scrub. Since most of our tracks have at least on very tight 180 or at least 90 degree turn the two steering/tie rods seemed to make sense and works well for our cars. Maybe we can add some pictures of this system. Maybe it would be great to show a picture of each part and type of steering that we can in the handbook to help visualize each system in real life.

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 14
Date:
Permalink  
 

Ok. I hope it isn't too late! I would like to call for a vote on the 24 volt system rule in the event that it goes through to be applied to the rule book. Personally I'm against it...

Personal confession. I have never been to an electrathon race nor have I built an electrathon car. However, I am very interested in eventually joining the racing community and building my own car to race with. I believe I must say that the addition of this rule would be discouraging to me as someone outside of electrathon looking to get into it. I believe this rule would do nothing but stifle creativity and limit opportunities.

Here's why. I doubt that user safety is the primary concern in the application of this rule. It seems that most rules here are implemented for safety reasons. Is this the application of this rule any different? It seems to me that the party interested in implementing this rule feels that they have an unfair competition with their 24 volt systems against other 36 volt systems. Why don't they just improve their own systems? If the competition is pressuring them into a disadvantage because they have a lack of high voltage then what is stopping them from changing to 36 volt systems? Sure I understand that money and physical space in the car can be issues but don't teams regularly buy new batteries and make new cars? They can be more conservative with their funds and boost their competition by being patient and wise with the resources they have. Besides. It seems this isn't even an issue in some cases. I've read around the forum on this topic and it looks like good drivers in well designed 24 volt system cars can beat or at least come close to drivers in 36 volt system cars. This sounds quite competitively fair to me. (You get what you pay for.)

But wait! It doesn't stop there! There are many benefits of going into a 36 volt system weather you are a user of a 24 volt system or, like me, you want to design and build a new car with a 36 volt system.

Here is a run down of the possible benefits I have seen:

#1 It's cheaper. With careful research you can find cheaper batteries than the typical yellow-top ones. Battery replacement is cheaper. If you have one dead battery it is cheaper to replace than the usual yellow top. Even if you replace the whole battery assembly it would still be cheaper. For 24 volt system teams on a budget this should be an encouraging thing. They can possibly improve their system voltage while maintaining or even dropping their long term fund usage. FYI Interstate Batteries tend to be the way to go.

#2 It can provide more creativity with space management inside the car. Inside my car design sketches this is a very real issue I had/have to deal with. The 24 volt systems usually have 2 large batteries while 36 volt systems usually have 3 smaller batteries. Although the overall volume taken up is about the same I was able to shrink the size of my car design to reduce structure weight and aerodynamic drag through careful placement of my batteries. I was unable to do the same with the larger batteries even though their were only 2 of them. This of course will come down to the car design itself, but I still want to include it as a creative possibility.

#3 Since voltage is higher you can gain some efficiency benefits. This is where efficiency bonuses can play a role in improving your cars capabilities. With higher voltage you can use smaller gage wire. This won't reduce your weight by much but it may cost a little less. Because you are using higher voltage you will inherently have reduced current usage which also brings down the resistance of your system ultimately allowing you to save more power for winning the race.

That being said, there is a way to improve 24 volt systems to more closely match the performance of 36 volt systems. With an improperly designed system you can get a bad power factor. Many people may not know or even care to take this into account when designing their power systems. You can google it to learn about it, but I'll give the jist here. In an electric motor you can increase the efficiency by maintaining a power factor of 1. This is achieved by keeping the voltage and the current at the same value in order to insure that the AC wave forms do not lag or lead each other. Because electrathon tends to use around a 1000 watt hours in a race 36 volt systems will naturally have a better power factor. (E.G. [1000 Watts/36 Volts = 27.77...Amps] Both 36 volts and 28 amps are fairly close to each other so the power factor will be close to 1. [1000 Watts/24 Volts = 41.66...Amps] 24 volts and 42 amps will have a power factor that is further away from 1 than 36 volts and 28 amps.) For the believers in 24 volt systems all is not in vain! You can actually improve your power factor by using capacitors. (You'll have to research this more on your own and determine if the cost is worth it over just moving on to a 36 volt system...) So to get down to the crunch! A well designed 24 volt system may be able to achieve very close performance to an average designed 36 volt system. Be creative and as always K.I.S.S.

The summary of this post:

Please don't take away 36 volt systems!!! For now, just be creative and don't take away good things from good people because it suits you in the short run. People will adapt into 36 volt systems with time.



__________________
I Love Electric Vehicles!


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

I think there shouldn't be a limit on how much voltage a car's system has. The weight limits for the batteries is the deciding factor on how much you can put into the car.

Plus as Zahrack put it, they are only doing 36 volts because it's cheaper for them and it works for them. Everyone has their preference for what works and what doesn't work.
BUT, EA shouldn't ban anything above 24 volts just because anything higher than 24 volts is deemed "better." It takes away the creativity from anyone wanting to try something different.
I've heard of teams doing a 72 volt system with lead acid batteries using at least 10 or 12 smaller batteries (which is experimenting, which is a whole lesson and study in itself, which is exactly what I like to see. Being creative!)

The whole point of electrathon racing is to experiment and try out different combinations. The whole reason there is a battery weight limit is to keep someone from loading the car full of batteries and causing a car to be too dangerous to control. Hence the weight limit for lithium-ion batteries at 15 pounds only. Now if a car was loaded with 73 pounds of lithium batteries, THAT would be too dangerous to drive the car at a race.

One last thing to touch on. Back in 2010 when yellow tops were allowed for the first time in competition someone proposed to have every car geared the exact same way. There was 'concern' about yellow tops being more powerful compared to red tops (Ah rating for reds is 44, Ah rating for yellows is 48). AGAIN, this completely takes away from the learning aspect of electrathon. This is not soap box derby racing, but electrathon was meant to be a creative sport. Soap box derby is a kit car, everyone has to buy a kit. Electrathon is completely different from soap box , you don't have a kit (unless you buy one, or buy a previously built car). You build the car from the ground up and source materials yourself. Going back to the gearing idea, the gearing rule was pretty much dropped. Everyone has a preference for how they would like to gear the car. AND it would take way too long to check every car to see if everyone was actually using the same gearing or not.

That's all I have to say about the voltage thing. Let people do as they please as long as they are conforming to the weight limits for whichever battery system they might be using (lead acid, lithium, etc.)

Zaine


__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

Also, since Meangreen brought up the battery voltage idea for a standard class. Yeah, higher voltage might be more efficient but does it really make that much of a difference? The Clouds at PIR this year were actually doing worse than before when they were running Interstate batteries this time around. In the past (with Optima red tops) it was pretty difficult to win a race against them. This year however, they kept having one of their three batteries in all of their cars fail halfway through the race or die with fifteen minutes left. I had a set of Might Max batteries (similar to the Interstate batteries) that I actually swapped for a set of borrowed yellow tops. Day two for the short track was probably one of the best races I've done for a while. I was still moving pretty quick holding around 40-42 amps (960-1000 watts) the entire time, while everyone else was at a crawl. I ended up beating the entire field with no problems on day two including the Clouds two cars in that par

From a reliability stand point, I'd stick with the Optima batteries (they've been proven to work well). If I had more money to play around with then I might go back to a 36 volt system and be able to experiment/load test batteries (or higher voltage maybe). Plus the Optima yellows if taken care of outlast the red tops by at least three years compared to the one season of racing on reds.

There already is a standard; EA has different battery classes. The weight limit is what determines how much battery of one of the many types of batteries can go into the car. That weight limit is what makes it a challenge. Isn't a challenge the whole point? Work with what you've got to go as far and as fast as possible on a limited power supply.

Just saying!

Zaine

__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

I am wondering why there is a separation of the high school and open classes.
If we are all running on the same track at the same time by the same rules with cars adhereing to the same guidelines, what is the point to distinguishing between the ages of the participants?
Its a race isn't it?
Guy (or girl) who goes the farthest wins right?
Does it matter how old they are?


__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 131
Date:
Permalink  
 

I wouldn't say it is age but experience. People in the open class have the opportunity to become a lot more experienced, in high school we only have at max 4 years to learn about electrathon. While in the open class i race against people with 5x the experience. Rodney as you know has raced for over 20 years (longer than ive been alive). While i have been able to beat open class cars before it is not very common. Here in Tampa in the 3 years ive been racing ive noticed that the gap between HS and Open had dropped a lot. My first year it was nearly unheard of to beat an open class car, while last season the lap counts are very close. The reason i think this happened us because 2 open class cars were sold to a HS team. This set a new standard for the HS cars forcing everyone to speed up and go farther. At our 2nd race of the season we raced on a 1/4 school track for an hour. The winning HS speed was 20.25MPH, in a track where speeds could have been much higher. In our 8th race of the season we raced on a track with very tight corners, the winning speed was about 21.25 MPH, with a turn where you had to go less than half speed. The reason i bring this up is because in the 8th race the HS had its new Open class cars, while in the 2nd they didn't. So if the two classes, high school and open, were to merge i think it would increase competition and possibly raise the speeds. However it would be semi-unfair with a rookie high school team racing directly againt teams with 5+ years experience racing and building.

__________________

Former Middleton High School Electrathon Member

 



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

But shouldn't experience and knowledge be passed down within a team? Shouldn't the outgoing seniors be able to impart something of value to the incoming team members? Doesn't the advisor/mentor act as a buffer or accumulator of knowledge to be tapped upon request of the team? There's no reason a high school team should be starting from scratch every four years. Even if they were does that make it unfair that there would be high school teams that were on their 4th year of rotation while others were on their first?

Or perhaps I'm just cranky about winning my first race just to be told only the high school class would be awarded so nothing for me.

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

In some places like the NW we have about 15 to 20 adult cars (at least 2 past state champion cars that the graduates now own and still race) and 40 t0 60 students cars (was over 80 a few years back before budget crunch) and so there are trophies for both classes for the top 3 or 4 cars. Sorry they don't do that there. Maybe if you guys had enough open class then you could talk them into it.

I have been racing for over 20 years and know much more than my students no matter how much I teach and try to share my knowledge some of it is just that I have built many things and understand more of how they work. I am also a past physics teacher so have that on my side. I have built 4 cars for myself now and the one I currently drive works very well and all I have done to it the last 5/6 years is to modify it some and made minor adjustments and maintained it. My students though build all new cars every year. Yes each year the same students build better cars but they are only in the program for their junior and senior years. So all of our student cars are brand new each year. This year it looks like we will be building 15 new cars and have 3 adult and 2 aerodynamic ones that will be raced again from past years.

If students had to go up against the adults, including the Clouds, they would seldom have a chance to win. In the last 7 or 8 years of racing about 80 races I can only think of 5 or 6 that were won by students. That is why we have a student class. True some student cars nearly always beat some adult cars but the top adult cars are so much better and have more time to fine tune them that the top student cars don't have much of a chance of beating top adult cars.

__________________


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:
Permalink  
 

If a new set of rules will be coming out, when will they be made available?

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

That is a good question....I was hoping for mid September but obviously that has long past. I have not seen much on this site or heard much of anything that needs to be changed as far as the rules.. On June 23rd above I put out a list at that time and since have heard of only a couple of ideas so not much would change if anything as far as the actual rules. I do like the front support and not just the wheels and that the bottom pan needs to be solid but fairly thin aluminum sheeting is good I think...There are a couple others that would be good like seat belt attachment for the mentally challenged or ??

The main thing I would love to see are new pictures but so far the only one I have are the ones that I have of our team from parents/students etc. so not much to work with.

Aimee has been really busy this summer and fall so we have not gotten together to call a board meeting to look over the rule suggestions to see which 'safety' items we want to work on if any and if there are any general rules that the members should vote on.

So again for the 2nd (3rd) year we may not have a new handbook. I fought like crazy to get the last two together and had to drag out ideas and a few pix for Michael Lewis to work on when he did the last one.

Hopefully we will have one sometime in the near future and we can come up with any rules that are going to change very very quickly so teams have time to adapt to them before January and them taking effect. If not we will make it suggestions for next year
(2017) and mandatory for the 2018 race season.

AGAIN I WOULD LOVE FOR SOMEONE THAT IS GOING TO BE HERE FOR A WHILE TO STEP UP AND BECOME THE PRESIDENT.....I AM NOW RETIRED BUT STILL WORKING WITH WILLAMETTE'S ELECTRIC CAR PROGRAM BUT NEXT SPRING MIGHT BE MY LAST IF NOT THE NEXT SPRING WILL DEFINITELY BE IT!!! I DO NOT EVEN KNOW IF WE STILL HAVE A BOARD I HAVE SEEN SOME RETIREMENTS COME THROUGH BUT NO ONE HAS APPLIED TO TAKE THEIR PLACES.

HODGERT



__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

I agree with the making the new rules as suggestions for 2017. The forward structural support rule will require some cars to be heavily modified in order to implement. (I can't access the inside of the front of my car without cutting up the body) As far as needing board members, what is required of them and what sort of qualifications do they need?

__________________


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

To qualify to be on the board you need to be willing to help your area as well as the whole organization to improve and follwo our mission, etc. that is also on the web site. We want you to be an adult and someone that plans to stay with Electrathon for a number of yours. We prefer people that are already leaders in their areas but that is not a requirement. You will need to write a Bio. and state your interest and level of activity in Electrathon and send it to me or Aimee Hart the Secretary. When we have a board meeting we then discuss the Bio. and the need of new board members in an area. At this time Oregon is way over represented. I think this is because, this is where EA was revised after a near collapse 15 years ago and we used to have the largest number of members. At one race we had 72 student cars show up and race. Now the two board members, MArk and I, are both retired and hanging in there one year at a time until we decide to 'pull the plug' on teaching and Electrathon.

This if from the EA Web site:

THE ORGANIZATION
Electrathon America is a non-profit organization
Electrathon America
BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ORGANIZATION VOLUNTEERS
AS OF 02/10/2013

STATE MEMBER POSITION
Oregon Mike Hodgert President
Florida Jim Robinson Vice President
Oregon Aimee Hart Treasurer
Connecticut Mike Grella Board Member
Oregon Mark Bray Board Member
Georgia Don Morgan Board Member
Kansas Kevin Vering Board Member
Florida Ken Fiallos Board Member
New York William Gilmore Board Member
Rhode Island Henry Elliot Board Member

Become a Board Member!
If your state is not represented in Electrathon America, Please contact the President of EA. Many of our members and board members can help you develop an EA program in your area. EA is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation that is just trying to encourage technical development and advance the state of electric vehicles while having fun building and competing with electric vehicles.
We are looking for Electrathon leaders in all areas of the country
E-mail the President of EA


__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 91
Date:
Permalink  
 

Perhaps a new thread should be started informing people of the need for new board members and a new president.
Maybe people will express interest or nominate others.


On another note...after reading through some older posts, I think a rule clarifying the whole bump drafting/intentional contact topic should be included in the next iteration of the rulebook.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 302
Date:
Permalink  
 

Mike and anyone looking for stuff to do with the rule book.
I'd say add some new updated photos to it.
I just put SEVERAL into one of Archer's topics he put up not too long ago.
At least four races worth of photos for everyone viewing pleasure/photos that could be stuck into the rule book for this year.

If you need a drop box format instead I can do that as well. I just need to know exactly what the name is to put them in.
Contact me on this page or message me personally.

Zaine

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 20
Date:
Permalink  
 

If it's not too late, I have a rule suggestion. Mandate that all cars have a working brake light. This keeps cars from piling into each other especially on short tight tracks. My whole set up cost less than $10.00

__________________
Don Morgan


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 20
Date:
Permalink  
 

Almost forgot! Is there any way to change EA operating year to a fiscal year( July 1-June 30) instead of calendar year? Most of us are school teachers and budgets/permissions, etc run on school calendar. It would be so much more simple to be able to pay registration in August and be covered until the next summer. way too much stuff to contend with around Christmas. Plus some Admins question why this wasn't done at beginning of year.

__________________
Don Morgan


EA President

Status: Offline
Posts: 381
Date:
Permalink  
 

I usually register my team in Sept. or Oct. for the following year. This gives Aimee plenty of time to sort everything out before the crunch hits and like you said if you wait until the Christmas break then it is a rush to get done.


__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.