Empowering Student Innovation for a Clean Energy Future

Division: JSS Green (4-6)
School: NSU University School Team Size: 3

The 3-Speeds

Team Information

Speed Racer
Car Name: Speed Racer
Team Name: The 3-Speeds
School Name: NSU University School
Team Members Names: Joseph S. , Evan L. and Mason S.

Design Documentation

Top View without Solar Panel
Side View
Side View
Front View with Solar Panel up
Front with Solar Panel down
DateHoursTasks WorkedObstacles EncounteredModifications to Car
9/71We sketched our car. 
9/141We decided to make our car body a 3D print using Tinkercad. We did really get very far on the design.Added the base to the design.
9/211We worked on the 3D print. We also thought about how to make a moving panel so that we could maximize the amount of sun hitting the panel.We tried to add parts and designs to the 3D print but nothing worked except the pieces that would hold up the solar panel.Added holder for solar panel holder to 3D printed body.
9/281We added a ball holder for the ping pong ball to the 3D print. We named our ping pong ball Kevin.We are having trouble agreeing on what to put where and what size to make things.Added 3D ball holder.
10/51We put together the axels and wheels. We made decisions about wheel types and what our gear ratio would be. We took a break from Tinkercad.
10/261Today we worked on the eyelit of our 3D print. Added eyelit.
11/21Added two spots for the car number (For example, G-8). We decided where we were going to put our motor. We did a sample 3D print.Added spots for car numbers.
11/161The sample 3D print is not good. We worked on it some more.We are having trouble agreeing what to do with the 3D print.
11/301We decided not to 3D print the car. We started over. We had to restart our car. We decided getting the 3D print just right was difficult so we started over and made a wood body.
12/71We decided to work on two cars together and the best one will represent us in the competition if we win the school competition. I chose the size and cut the shape of by car body.We are having trouble working together.Cut our balsa wood bodies.
12/141Created Kevin’s seat (ping pong ball holder) and added it to the car body. Cut the hole where the gear will go.Added ping pong ball holder (Kevin’s seat)
1/111Decided on wheel types and a gear ratio. Put the larger gear onto the back axle. Hammered the wheels onto the axel, and placed them on using pieces of thick straw for bearings. We bent one of the axles when we hammered on the wheels.Trying not the bend the axel with the hammer. We bent the first one.Added wheels.
1/181Added small gear to motor. Worked on placement of motor and added battery pack.A lot of attempts to get the motor straight. Added the motor and battery pack
1/251Decided to use a coiled wire to hold the solar panel so that it can be adjusted in any direction. Figured out today how to attach that to the car and to the solar panel. Decided to put a balsa wood platform on top of the wire coil and velcro the panel to it. Got the wire on the car today.It was not easy attaching the wire to the car.Added battery pack. Attached wire to the car so that the panel can be adjusted to face the sun.
2/11Added the alligator clips to the wires and attached the wires and alligator clips to the motor. Put on balsa wood platform and velcro.It would have been easier if we had put on the wires before we glued on the motor.Added alligator clips and wires to the motor.
Added balsa wood platform for solar panel and velcro.
2/8.5Ran our car for the first time. It was cloudy so we ran on battery. It was not very fast and is turning. Our time was 10.03 seconds and the other car with the best time was 7.25 seconds. Our car was slow. The motor fell off when we caught the car.Our car ran slowly. The black binder eyelit and motor came off. We had to glue them again.
The motor fell off when we caught it.
Our car is not going straight.
We tried to fix the wires. We fixed the guidewire.
2/151We had to reglue the motor. The gear ratio seems good so we left it.Glued the motor back on.
2/22.5Everyone else tried to run their cars today. Ours is not ready yet.
3/151Car is not ready to race. We decided to try to straighten the axles and replace the wheels. We chose smaller diameter wheels.We did not know the reason why it would not go.We redid the wheels. Added smaller diameter wheels and they are fast.
3/221We tried to run our car again today. It still wouldn’t finish. It is turning right and it is not running on solar panel. It runs when we hold it up but not when we put it on the ground.Car is turning right. It won’t run on solar panel at all even in the bright sun.Tried to straighten the front axle and wheels.
3/26.5Today our car turned bad. We have to straighten our car axle and wheels again. At least it finished today but was really slow. There was bright sun today but our car still wouldn’t run on solar panel.Still turning right. Not running on solar panel. It might be bad.Tried straightening the front axle and wheels again. I changed my solar panel.
3/27Figured out that we have to replace alligator clips. They did not make a good connection, so we had to redo it. We think this may be why it is so slow.The alligator clips were attached more to the plastic coating than to the metal wire ends.We removed the old alligator clips and added new ones.
3/28Today my car went straight and faster. Straightening the axle helped. My wire that connects to the motor broke.Had to fix broken wire. The wires were thin and broke where it was soldered to the motor. We think the wire was breaking and that is what was causing the car to run slowly. Replaced bad wires on motor.
3/292Today my car went straight when I tested it. The solar panel worked! I changed my wires from thin to a little thicker and it made my connection to the motor stronger and now my car goes much faster and runs on solar panel. We think that wires going to the solar panel were bad. Our times were really good. We are able to adjust the solar panel so that the sun hits it. The sun was bright today. I had 6.91 seconds on solar panel and 7.5 seconds on battery.The smaller wheels and new wire are allowing the car to run faster and on solar panel. It also could have been a bad solar panel.
3/302Raced my car to get times again today. Tried to adjust the wire that tilts my solar panel so that the most sun hits it. I had good times on the solar panel. It even ran in low light. My best time on solar panel was 6.65 seconds and on battery was 8.47 seconds.
3/311I came in second place at my school’s competition in a race off and I am going to the state-wide race. My car is going into the next lane. I have to figure out how to stop that before the state competition. I’m not sure what to do because it is not turning it is floating left and right while it is running straight. I have to finish the website so will work on the floating issue next week.
4/10.5I tried to make my car more aerodynamic by shaping the front of the car. We decided just to point the front so that it would be a little less air resistant but did not at anything to the front so because we want to be able to point the panel all the way down if we run on battery. Renamed our ping pong ball Speed Racer (formerly known as Kevin).My car was not too aerodynamic. Changed shape of the front of my car to make it more aerodynamic.
4/11.5Took photos of the car and worked on the website.
4/122We drew on the car and made it colorful. We worked a lot on the website.
4/13.5Worked on website.
4/142Worked on website.
4/15.5Worked on website. Plan to use a multimeter next week to see how it is best to tilt the solar panel for maximum sun.Since we can adjust our panel to any angle, we need to figure out what angle to the sun is best.

Design Drawings

Design Drawing: Top View
Design Drawing: Side View

Finished Car Specifications

Car Size with PanelLength: 26.4 cmWidth: 15.25 cmHeight: 16.5 cm
Weight with Panel10.320 g
Wheel sizeFront wheels: 3.5 cmBack wheels: 3.5 cm
Gear Ratiomotor gear: axle gear
12 : 56 =
3 : 14

Materials Used

Approx. Cost
Pitsco Ray Catcher solar panel38.25
wheels, tires, 2 axles, axel gears, gear for motor – Solar Made accessory bag3.99
balsa wood (2)4.62
spacers for bearings (4)0.26
battery pack with switch3.85
alligator clips (2)0.14
velcro (11)0.20
Consumables from our Innovation Lab:
duct tape
hot glue
Recycled lid

Test Results / Trial Runs

Test Runs 1 – date: 2/15/2023
Weather conditions: Partly cloudy and really cloudy
When the sun was out we ran on panel but none of the cars ran on panel.

Observations of results: Our car ran slowly. The eyelit for the guidewire came off so I could only run our car once.
Any recommendations for improvements: I’m not sure what to do yet.
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – battery10.0319.451.94
2 – did not finish
3 – did not finish

Test Runs 2 – date: 3/15/2023
Weather conditions: sunny
We ran on both solar panel and battery.

Observations of results: Our car didn’t run.
Any recommendations for improvements:
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – batterydid not finish19.45
2 – solar paneldid not finish19.45

Test Runs 3 – date: 3/26/2023
Weather conditions: Sunny
Ran on battery and solar panel.

Observations of results: Our car is turning right a lot. We weren’t able to finish.
Any recommendations for improvements: We have to figure out why it is turning right and why it is not running on solar panel.
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – batterydid not finish19.45

Test Runs 4 – date: 3/27/2023
Weather conditions: Bright sun
We ran on battery

Observations of results: My car ran well on battery but not on solar panel. It is really still turning right which makes it slow.
Any recommendations for improvements: We have to figure out why our car is not running on solar panel.
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – battery11.6919.451.66
2 – battery10.8419.451.79
3 – battery12.6619.451.57
4 – battery11.8719.451.64
5 – battery11.7819.451.65
Test Runs 5 – date: 3/29/2023
Weather conditions: bright sun
Ran on solar panel and battery

Observations of results: My car ran really well. It ran better on solar panel than on battery, especially when the sun was really bright.
Any recommendations for improvements: We need to figure out the best way to place our solar panel since it is easy to adjust. We also need to remember to make the panel more aerodynamic, especially when running it on battery.
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – solar7.019.452.78
2 – solar7.4719.452,60
3 – solar6.9119.452.81
4 – battery8.1019.452.40
5 – battery7.9119.452.46
6 – battery7.5019.452.59
Test Runs 6 – date: 3/30/2022
Weather conditions: really cloudy and a little bit of bright sun
Ran on battery

Observations of results: My car ran well but is now moving from left to right while going straight
Any recommendations for improvements: We have to figure out why the car is drifting left and right while going straight
AttemptTime, sDistance, mSpeed, m/s
1 – solar7.1519.452.72
2 – solar7.0319.452.77
3 – solar, low light8.6219.452.26
4 – solar6.6519.452.92
5 – solar6.9719.452.79
6 – battery7.8419.452.48
7 – battery8.4719,452.30

Vehicle Features Video

If you cannot see the video go to:

Additional Information

This is what I thought my solar car would look like when I first started

At first we tried to print our 3D body. This is what it looked like. It didn’t work that well so we changed to balsa wood.

Diagram of Electrical Schematics

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