Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vacuum forming terminal covers

So, when you order from China, sometimes you do not get what you need.  When we originally ordered our Thundersky cells from the distributor, we did not get studs, washers or terminal covers.  After several failed attempts to contact the distributor, we finally decided to take matters in our own hands and make our own covers.
  This year, the EV Challenge officials have required that each cell in a battery pack must be covered.  A single cover over all batteries/cells will not suffice any longer....thus the need for cell terminal covers. A couple of students took it upon themselves to surprise me one day with their creation of a DIY vacuum forming machine.  Crude but effective, they are in the process of forming the needed 48 covers for our lithium cells.  We are using .62 thick thermoplastic from Professional Plastics, a vacuum form box made from 2x4's and a shop vac.  Works like a champ!

Spring break fun and sun?

  Well, normally, any right minded teen or teacher living in coastal North Carolina would have taken advantage of the beautiful weather during our recent spring break. You would think so....but not the Topsail Electric Vehicle Class! We worked Friday through Tuesday on the vehicles making changes and modifications needed to be ready to compete in the upcoming EV Challenge final event April 21-22.
  Up to eight team members showed up each day bright and early to help change out batteries, create new terminals, wire the BMS and remove a strut among other activities.  We had an epiphany of sorts when we looked at the calendar before srping break and relized that we only had 18 class periods before competition!  The students made a decision to dedicate a part of their vacation time to help work on the car and truck to insure that we are ready for competition.  Dedication and preparation breeds success.