Design and Consultation
We do a variety of work that helps team achieve their goals. This has generally fallen into two categories: electrical system design and data based vehicle development.
Electrical System Design
The approach to harness design is as varied as our customers: Le Mans Prototype teams to weekend warriors. For our most typical semi-pro, endurance customer, the goals include: the reliablity to minimize distraction on a race weekend, the data tools to maximize what is learned during every session and the tools for economic success.
Poor reliability may show up during a race with obvious consequences: failure of a fuel pump connection could result in a DNF. But a glitch early in a race weekend can cause loose the team a place or two during the race by reducing the amount of time available for practice. We would address this in the design process in a few ways: proven components, proven techniques and a design approach based on years of vehicle engineering and avionics experience. The components we specify may not be the flashiest but they have stood the test of time on the track. Before being tested on the track, most of the harnessing techniques have been tested in isolation. Our rack of dumbbells has gotten more use applying a reproducable load in a product test than than they have building muscles. We understand the major causes of crimp failure. We understand how to create a flexible harness that will be trouble free without blowing the budget. Even the best of harnesses is not likely to prevent things like fuel cell deterioration due to aggressive modern fuels. Our goal is to minimize the impact on your race weekend. This is where things like Power Distribution Modules, data and creative software come into play. A fuel pump that is stalling will draw more current than normal. A fuel pump that is freewheeling will draw less current than normal. A PDM allows us to monitor that. A data system allows us to analyze that. And PDM configuration allows us to automatically switch to a different pump or warn the driver before low fuel pressure and engine damage occur. The data can help pinpoint which of the pumps and the likely issue even before the team opens the fuel cell.
Data Based Vehicle Development
Data Based Development can reduce the guess work allow you improve your performance or simply create a more enjoyable weekend. This example is from a team that was punching above their weight. We used a MoTeC dash and a simple set of damper position sensors to dynamically calculate the suspension loads. This allowed us to partner with our vendors and home in on appropriate chassis improvements. Data based development partnerships can provide vendors with feedback that helps shrink their R&D budget freeing up funding for them to help your budget. This is example is from a team that had a problem lurking in their fuel cell. We were using a PDM to report the current consumption of critical parts. With this data we spotted the issue before the fuel level got low enough to cause a loss of fuel pressure. They were able to gather the supplies and address the problem when it fit their schedule. For most of our customers, catching problems early and preventing one engine build pays for the data system. We contend that a good data system is expensive in the short run but can easily pay for itself in the long run. The success may be indicated by the bank balance at the end of the season or by the number of smiles seen in the paddock.