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Week 9 (July 31 - August 4)

One of the collector shoe guides have been built and installed to an end of the track.  The installed collector shoe guide is shown in Figure 1.  The collector shoes slide between the wheels and into the wayside power rails.  Wires connecting to the battery have also been installed to the rails.  Wires from the previous Wayside Power Team are reused.  The ends of the wires are repaired where needed and zip ties are used to keep the wires organized on the track.  A multimeter is placed at the other end of the rails to ensure that the transfer of electricity through the wayside power rails is successful.  We have also finished the final report this week.
Figure 1:  Installed collector shoe guide. (Photo by Kevin Leong)

Figure 2:  Fixing and organizing wires. (Photo by Kevin Leong)
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Week 8 (July 24-28)

The design for the collector shoe guides had been changed slightly.  The outer lip, or wall, on the guide is not needed.  We realized that the collector shoes do not hang lower than the guide.  In addition,  the curves on the guide that push the collector shoes into position are difficult to create.  Instead, extra wheels that the bogie team no longer needed were used in place of the curves.  We also spent this week writing the majority of the final report.

Week 7 (July 17-21)

By the end of this week, all of the wayside power rails have been installed for the half-scale track.  Guides for the collector shoes need to be installed at the ends of the wayside power rails.  The purpose of a guide to gently feed a freely dangling pair of collector shoes back into a pair of wayside power rails.  This occurs during a track change, in which a pair of collector shoes derails from the wayside power rails on one side of the track.  Another pair of collector shoes needs to be guided back into the wayside power rails on the other track.  We brainstormed ideas for how the collector shoe guides should be made.  Tan was able for draw out a model of the guide using SolidWorks, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1:  Model of a collector shoe guide. (Drawn by Tan Ho)

Week 6 (July 10-14)

We continued to install wayside power rails for the other half of the track.  However, we were unable to finish the installation because we realized that there were some errors when measuring the small rectangular copper pieces that serve as the rail connectors at the joints.  As a result, many of the holes on the pieces had to be redrilled and new pieces had to be cut.  48V need to be provided to the wayside power rails.  We have not yet heard back from the manufacturer of the 48V LiFeO4 GMET TS116 batteries about why they are not outputting 48V.  A few weeks ago, we charged up both batteries using three SoloPower SFX1-I70 solar panels connected to an Anada PV60 charge controller.  We also charged it up using the IP53 48V-30A charger connected to an outlet.  Regardless of how the batteries were charged, we were unable to get an output of 48V.

Figure 1:  48V LiFeO4 GMET TS116 batteries. (Photo by Andrew Lu)

Week 5 (July 3-7)

The wayside power rails for half of the half-scale track have been installed successfully.   Initially, we planned to carve the inner lining of the PVC pipe to make room for the small rectangular copper piece that is used to hold two sections of rail together at each joint.  However, we decided this is too time-consuming and there is an easier way to solve the problem.  Instead of carving the PVC pipe, we simply placed copper piece behind the PVC pipe, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1:  Copper rail connector piece placed behind PVC pipe. (Photo by Andrew Lu)
The front of the joint is shown in Figure 2:  The modified collector shoes have been tested to be able to easily glide across the joint.  There is no more overlapping of copper rails and the screws are flush with the surface of the copper rail.

Figure 2:  Two sections of copper rail joined together. (Photo by Andrew Lu)

Week 4 (June 26-30)

The process of renovating the rails continued into the beginning of this week.  However, plans had to be change.  Keeping the original design of overlapping the rails would save time, but it is not the best solution to the problem.  Overlapping copper rails according to the direction of the movement of the collector shoes would still be too rough for the collector shoes to glide through each joint.  Having the collector shoes glide from a higher copper rail to a lower rail meant that the collector shoe would have to face an abrupt drop at each joint.  This unnecessarily enhances the wear and tear on the copper collector shoe and the wayside power rails.  A new design for the wayside power rails is to make a diagonal cut at each end of the copper rails and also drill one hold at each end for screws.  A model of the new design is shown in Figure 1.  The ends of two sections of copper rail would fit together like a puzzle piece.  The purpose of the diagonal cut is to decrease the amount …

Week 3 (June 19-23)

The process of renovating  the wayside power rails began this week.  The previous way of connected the copper wayside power rails is shown in Figure 1.  One of the problems is that the position of the overlapping is not consistent throughout each joint on the half-scale model.  Therefore, the collector shoe could glide from a higher rail to a lower rail at one joint, but glide from a lower to higher rail at another joint.  The collector shoe is unable to glide from a lower to higher copper rail because the shoe would crash into the joint and prevent it from gliding.  In addition, the screw at each joint sticks out just enough to get the shoe caught on the screw even with the modified collector shoes.

Figure 1:  Original way of joining together the copper rails.  (Drawn by Tan Ho)

The original design of the wayside power rails is retained as much as possible to decrease the amount of time needed to renovate the power rails.  The prior design that consisted of overlapping the copper rai…