Each team is responsible for designing and building a solar powered race car. The kit your team purchases will contain a motor and solar panel; the chassis, wheels and transmission are made from any other materials that you choose. Cars are judged on design, innovation and performance. Each team’s effort is focused toward the final event – a 20 meter, wire-guided sprint race where the best design and construction techniques will pay off with the win!!
Teams will not be allowed to bolt the axles and wheels to the solar cell. Each vehicle must have a panel on the side which is large enough to display a 3cm x 3cm number decal, which will be provided by the race committee. Each entry begins construction with a kit containing:
The solar panel may not be modified. The motor may not be modified (i.e. rewound, lightened, etc.). The specific motor supplied with the panel (in the kit) must be used. If a replacement motor is needed, it must be purchased from the company who supplied the panel and be the model of motor originally supplied with the panel. One solar cell and motor are permitted per car. Any modification to the solar panel or motor will result in disqualification.
At least one wheel must be driven by the motor.
Each vehicle shall:
Each vehicle must include:
Each team, on their own, will provide the additional parts needed for the construction of the car:
Individual decals may be affixed, and the body may be decorated at the teams discretion, but a 3 cm. square space must be left free on each side and the bottom for the Sprint decal number.
The material for the body of the car can be any type of light material.
An eyelet (see examples below) must be attached to the bottom of the car (our example–bottom front of the chassis, however any placement on the vehicle is okay). A guide wire, 1 cm.(+/- .5cm) from the surface of the track, will go through the eyelet, serve as the steering mechanism, and keep the car in its lane. The vehicle must be easily removable from the guide wire, without disconnecting the guide wire. This is the only allowable method of steering the car. No radio control is permitted in Junior Solar Sprint cars. Lane changing/crossing will result in disqualification.
Front of Car (End View)
The vehicle must be safe to contestants and spectators (i.e. no sharp edges, projectiles, etc).
Any energy-enhancing devices, like mirrors, must be attached to the vehicle.
Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification.
A Team Log which includes a component list is required to be submitted with the vehicle for technical judging.
The Team Log should contain notes on the design process, important points of the car’s design and concrete decisions taken by the team to arrive at the final product. The Team Log should not be a finished, ‘polished’ document, but rather a collection of notes, sketches and test results of the design in progress. The purpose of this document is to help the design judges understand the decisions made during the design and construction process. These documents will not be returned to the teams, and parts of these documents may be published or disseminated to future participants. Failure to turn in a Team Log will result in loss of points in the design portion of judging.
The log document must include:
The log document might include:
Teams must submit their cars for initial inspection and complete a trial run on a guide wire before Design Judging. It is the team's responsibility to complete these steps prior to 9:15am. Cars arriving late will not be considered in the Design Judging.
The race will be conducted in two phases: time trials and a head-to-head competition for each division.
The Green Division is composed of teams where the member in the highest grade is in the 4th through 6th grade.
The Blue Division is composed of teams where the member in the highest grade is in the 7th or 8th grade.
During the time trial phase of the race, teams have the opportunity to attempt to have their vehicle drive down the track (a run) up to three times. After each run, the vehicle’s time will be recorded. A ‘DNF’ or ‘Did Not Finish’ will be recorded for vehicles that lose their table tennis ball, drive off the track, do not cross the finish line, or are otherwise disqualified.
Time trials will be offered every two minutes for a given period of time. Event times will be posted the day of the race; teams are encouraged to perform their runs as soon as possible. It is a team’s responsibility to line up and run their vehicle (up to three times) within the time allotted. Any teams in line when the end of the time trial event is called by the judges will not be allowed to run. When ‘Go’ is called, vehicles that do not start moving before the other vehicle reaches the finish will be given a DNF and must be removed from the track immediately. If neither vehicle moves, the teams will be given 30 seconds after ‘Go’ is called before DNF’s are given to both vehicles. Vehicles are then to be promptly removed.
The ten teams in each division with the fasted individual run times will move to the head-to-head competition.
The head-to-head competition is an ten-team, double elimination event. This means that a team must lose twice before being eliminated from the competition. Teams will race against other teams in their division to determine the first, second, and third place winners.
Decisions made by the racing officials are final.
Partially Cloudy - Because weather in Florida is changeable, the race will not be postponed for partly cloudy or mostly cloudy weather. Teams should be prepared to race in all moderate weather conditions.
Severely Overcast - If the solar irradiance (amount of sunlight) averages less than 500 Wm2 during a 15 minute period (as measured by equipment at the Florida Solar Energy Center) just prior to the start of either the Time Trials or one of the Head-to-Head Competitions, the race will be switched to a battery powered race. The Florida Solar Energy Center will loan the teams (2) AA rechargeable batteries that have been charged by solar and tested for charge level prior to distribution, as well as a ‘shade’ to cover the photovoltaic panel. Only the batteries supplied by FSEC may be used. From the time that the race is changed to batteries, it will remain battery powered and not switch back to solar, regardless of increasing irradiance levels. (Note: a typical full sun day at solar noon in Florida is usually 1000 Wm2)
Rain/Thunderstorms - If the solar irradiance averages less than 500 Wm2 during a 15 minute period plus the amount of rain occurring makes the track unusable or unsafe, the race will be canceled. If one division has already raced, then only the second division’s race will be canceled. If only the time trials have been run, those times will be used to award the race winners. If the time trial portion has not been completed, then only design awards will be given and no race will occur. The decision whether or not to cancel the race portion will be made by the JSS administrative team, and from the time that the race is canceled, it will not be reinstated even if the weather clears.
Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification.
The awards will be as follows for each division: