Monday, April 27, 2009

Our run at banned technology

KERS: A regenerative brake mechanism that reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into another useful form of energy. ...

Motorauthority writes: "Following the problems encountered by teams in the development of KERS systems for 2009, it is now suggested the voluntary debut of the technology might need to be delayed."

Free Range Racing is READY NOW!

Ok... we do realize that KERS isn't BANNED from F1, but it is currently not being developed and adopted by some teams... and technically it is banned in most other forms of racing.

KERS essentially takes the energy dissipated during braking and stores it for later use (VERY high level description). We have taken a slightly different approach for the 24 Hours of Lemons 2009 season due mostly to the ENORMOUS costs associated with harnessing braking forces.

Free Range Racing is all about renewable resources! Since our car will be hurdling down the track at a top speed of about 100 (Thill 2008 when the second chicane was wide enough)... we figured we may as well utilize all that air we displace. What better way to convert air to energy than with a multimillion dollar windmill? Well we here at Free Range Racing think that an alternator painted white and plastic fins bolted to the old pully is a MUCH better plan. luckily Dave happened to have some bicycle brake cables sitting around to act as our guy wires. Currently tested at 70mph and about 12 amps @ 14 volts.... we have officially generated power!

Now what to do with our newly trapped energy? The F1 guys use a "hybrid system consisting of a combination of electric motor and generator, the requisite power electrics and an energy storage module". This sounds too complicated for lemons... I dont even know what that means.

We have power... we need horsepower... to ebay I go. Electric Supercharger?? Wow, people are really that stupid? It's PLASTIC!! Wait... this is Lemons... you mean I can install something that runs on electricity, can break in to millions of tiny pieces and essentially ruin my motor in a matter of seconds?? PERFECT!

Enter our electric supercharger (aka 2003 Mercruiser bilge pump, rated at 250 CFM). A few ABS fittings, a few POUNDS of epoxy, a cheap cone filter and a spare piece of tubing laying around... We have an electric powerhouse!

P.S. For those out there thinking there is NO way this is going to work. You're ABSOLUTLY right! But why not?

OK so to review, we have a windmill generating about 12 amps at full speed and a supercharger that takes about 12 amps to run... that doesnt give us enough power to keep the thing running through the whole race.. How do we get a few more amps out of this equation?

SOLAR! Luckily Harbor Freight has a POS solar panel that's rated at about 14 watts @ 12 volts. 14 / 12 = 1.16 amps. Meh, good enough. On it goes!

This is a picture of all of our "crap" attached to the back of the car.

Of course our beloved spotted owl mascot is making the 24 hour trip around the track with some additional material added to the wings (he was in pretty sorry shape after the first race).

The $20 question on your mind right now is probably "will all this crap stay on the car?".. the answer is umm.. probably?

See you all in Reno!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Throttle body and such and so forth

I'm officially claiming -Erik is done working on the race car-.

Yesterday I pulled the throttle body apart and figured out why our idle was so radically erratic. Then, strangest of strange, I fixed it. No our car idles at 800 smooth RPM.

We also took the car up the road to see if the windmill was going to implode. I was pushing as hard as I could on our ice-skate parts car tires and got up to 70. Dave followed lazily in his NSX and said it looked totally stable, even with me sliding around and braking/accelerating hard. So, win.

On the lose side, those tires we were counting on as spares are total, total garbage. So, more $$$ output.

But as I said at the beginning, everything on -ERIK'S- list is crossed off, so I"m done. Now if the rest of the team.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Paint

Erik's been busy.. sadly, I haven't done sh*t

New paint job... our last attempt at "flower power" meant cutting the wives loose with cans of pastel Krylon. While we scored many (much needed) points with them, we were a bit embarrassed to show up to the track. Who would have thought they would have taken "flower power" literally?

Our new application promised a more "menacing" look.... I'm not sure if this qualifies, but it's better than pastel in my book.

Also installed the windmill... Solar panel and supercharger are next

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reno Prep

So our entire team (ok, not really Erik) has had a case of the 'I don't really want to work on the car' for the last few weeks. We have a laundry list of item to address, but NONE of them correspond to actually making the car run. The car runs great! We've been out to a few local auto-x events and even managed to get kicked out of a Porsche track day at PIR. Apparently they look down on hoods that fly off at 100mph on the front straight.. who would have thought?

We are heavily focusing on how to make our car stand out... REALLY stand out. Sure we had an owl flying over our car, and had random bits of bamboo pasted to the car... but that's not REALLY what lemons is about. Our goal for the first race was to build a great car, with a mediacore theme. After returning from the madness, we were able to reflect back on our horrible driving, and horrible attempt at recognition. We did a lot of things well, but nothing we did was exceptional.

Enter Reno: We have some BIG plans for the car this year, and all of them revolve around the theme, and making our car stand out. Although, we are still reluctant to screw 200lbs of plywood in the shape of a train on the top of our car, but that's because we are too competitive in nature to completely forego our chance of winning.

  • New paint job
  • Lemon's approved KERS system
  • More 'environmentally friendly' power generation... who needs an alternator?
  • Improved bubble output
  • Crystal relocation to maximize glowing effect
  • Re-vamped Owl in a new-ish location
KERS teaser