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.
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
Middleton High School, Tampa
"If you ain't first, you're last" -Reese Bobby
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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?
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?
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)
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.