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Rule changes you'd like to see

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Waffles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/08/2009 at 6:20pm
Originally posted by thompm1 thompm1 wrote:

...  I think that a little common sense by the tech inspectors would have been appreciated.


What would you rather they have done?  If you could have cheated why would you have deserved only a partial penalty?  I'm assuming that's what you are getting after, that you wished you had had only a 15 pt penalty for incorrect tech sheets?  Again... common sense has nothing to do in racing, there is only legal and illegal as compared to the rules. 

If you are arguing that we should have the penalties/DQ for incorrect tech sheets spelled out in the rules, I completely agree - we need wayyy less penalties up to the tech inspectors, it shouldn't be their opinion at all...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thompm1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/08/2009 at 10:17pm
Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

Originally posted by thompm1 thompm1 wrote:

...  I think that a little common sense by the tech inspectors would have been appreciated.


we need wayyy less penalties up to the tech inspectors, it shouldn't be their opinion at all...


I think thats something everyone can agree on
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/10/2009 at 11:09am
One of my biggest gripes is along these lines.  I have a bit of a problem with rule changes that are sprung on us at the race.  i.e. components must be protected by frame tubes.  In the past the rule required everything to be inside the envelope of the frame, which makes perfect sense.  Honestly, having it all protected "within the frame" isn't a huge deal to me, but it becomes one when you tell me to fix it on site, instead of forcing me to design it that way.
 
I know I had to hack up our "hood" and move the brake fluid resevoirs inside the frame, and I saw TTU Adding members around their gas tank.  Is it that much to ask that they get the rules finalized before they release them? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/10/2009 at 2:51pm

I guess it depends on the definition of what a roll cage envelope is. Assuming you have some kind of bumper, is it the evelope along FBM, or from the end of the bend at point C to the bumper, D.



Edited by EAD Motorsports - Jun/10/2009 at 3:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/11/2009 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

 
What would you rather they have done?  If you could have cheated why would you have deserved only a partial penalty?  I'm assuming that's what you are getting after, that you wished you had had only a 15 pt penalty for incorrect tech sheets?  Again... common sense has nothing to do in racing, there is only legal and illegal as compared to the rules. 

If you are arguing that we should have the penalties/DQ for incorrect tech sheets spelled out in the rules, I completely agree - we need wayyy less penalties up to the tech inspectors, it shouldn't be their opinion at all...

1)  This was an arbitrary decision by the tech inspectors, at the point Auburn was penalized, there was no written penalty in the rules.

2) Now we do have a penalty in the rules, but a DQ is too extreme a penalty for these infractions.  A reasonable person would conclude that little if any advantage was gained in any of these cases, so why not a more reasonable penalty?  How about 50 points?  That's 30 minutes in endurance, there's no way changing anything in your drivetrain is worth even 15 minutes out on the track.

3)  Why have this rule at all?  In order to gain an advantage from switching out weights and springs, or changing drive ratios, a team is going to have to invest a lot of time in analysis and/or  testing.  Isn't this part of an engineering education?  It seems to me we would want to encourage this sort of experimentation.  It would provide an advantage to those teams that spend the time, but that would seem to be aligned with the objectives of the competition:

" learn the engineering design, fabrication and testing aspects that are necessary to produce a safe and competitive vehicle"


I don't buy the argument about disadvantaging teams with low funding, a set of weights for a P90 is $9.  Springs are $11.

4) I will admit, tires are probably a different deal.  Tires are more expensive, so I would not allow teams to change tires for different events as that advantages teams with more money.  But I would allow teams to replace flat tires in endurance with a different type spare if they don't have spares of the same type.  I'd let at team change out one tire without any oversight, because two different type tires on the front or rear are not going to result in an advantage.  I might want them to check with an official and show them they have a flat before changing out the second tire on an end to keep teams from gaming this.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Waffles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/12/2009 at 12:31am
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

1)  This was an arbitrary decision by the tech inspectors, at the point Auburn was penalized, there was no written penalty in the rules.


But if they had cheated, why should they deserve ANY points?  Everyone should be equal in that if they start with one configuration, they should end with it as well...

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2) Now we do have a penalty in the rules, but a DQ is too extreme a penalty for these infractions.  A reasonable person would conclude that little if any advantage was gained in any of these cases, so why not a more reasonable penalty?  How about 50 points?  That's 30 minutes in endurance, there's no way changing anything in your drivetrain is worth even 15 minutes out on the track.


It doesnt matter what is "reasonable."  You either finish with what you started with or you dont...  Why 50 pts... why not 50%... why not 25 pts...  you cannot apply such logic....  And what stops a team from modifying before endurance? doesnt penalize you any laps then...   I'm just trying to play the devils advocate here in that you are trying to put a quantitative association to something that is not numerical....  it is binary... your forms are either right or wrong... why is that so hard?

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3)  Why have this rule at all?  In order to gain an advantage from switching out weights and springs, or changing drive ratios, a team is going to have to invest a lot of time in analysis and/or  testing.  Isn't this part of an engineering education?  It seems to me we would want to encourage this sort of experimentation.  It would provide an advantage to those teams that spend the time, but that would seem to be aligned with the objectives of the competition:

" learn the engineering design, fabrication and testing aspects that are necessary to produce a safe and competitive vehicle"


I don't buy the argument about disadvantaging teams with low funding, a set of weights for a P90 is $9.  Springs are $11.


I thought the whole point of the competition was to race what you brought...  hell if we can start changing everything out, then I would have a different ratio for pulling, a different ratio for acceleration, a ratio for manuverability....  I mean I suppose if every team is cool with that, okay... but I thought the point was to have a design compeition for the car that you just pulled out of the trailer, not the car you just modified with gear ratios and tire chances...  When does it stop?  can you swap out the whole drivetrain style?  can you swap out shocks?

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4) I will admit, tires are probably a different deal.  Tires are more expensive, so I would not allow teams to change tires for different events as that advantages teams with more money.  But I would allow teams to replace flat tires in endurance with a different type spare if they don't have spares of the same type.  I'd let at team change out one tire without any oversight, because two different type tires on the front or rear are not going to result in an advantage.  I might want them to check with an official and show them they have a flat before changing out the second tire on an end to keep teams from gaming this.


i just don't know when what you are suggesting... when you draw the line?   so the AU team should have gotten a 50 point penalty?  how do you justify the 50 points?  personal opinion??  let teams swap out drivetrains?  okay fine with me...  just that you can't stop with ratios....  next thing its drivetrains and shocks...   at least that's my opinion...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/12/2009 at 8:44am

Unless I grossly misunderstand the whole reason we do this thing called BajaSAE, we are competing in an engineering DESIGN competition.  We DESIGN vehicles that in turn, will be raced.  The point of the race is to show which DESIGNS excell above others, not to show which school has the best drivetrain pit crew.  While things like this are very important, they aren't mean't to be part of the competition, hence the penalty.  Fixing a broken component is one thing, changing for advantage is another. 

In my opinion, this whole competition is based around engineering design.  It is we the students and competitors that add a lot of the hubbub about the race that is really a secondary part of all this. 
 
But don't get me wrong... I like to go fast too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GT Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/12/2009 at 9:09am

The prevailing theme here seems to be that everything needs a little more common sense and a lot less left open to interpretation at the time of the event.  I'm still on the fence on the fixed drivetrain vs allowing teams to change things out, but leaning towards deregulation, and here's why:

Having the ability to change out CVT weights and springs at the event allows a percieved advantage, but I don't think would make the night and day type difference people think it would.  Your primary weights and springs are a function of your engine speed and CVT design(which is fixed and I think should remain so) so changing that gets you nothing, and the secondary is derived from your final reduction ratio, meaning if you change out the secondary spring, you need to change your final drive.  Ok fine.  But what does that get you??
 
A PROPERLY TUNED CVT and drivetrain puts max torque on the ground all the time, while aiming for a reasonable top speed.  Sure, you can put a taller rear end in to help you in pull or hill climb, but if its a time based event (which historically it has been), you pay for that extra torque with decreased speed, possibly hurting more than helping you.  Our car got stuck in 1st gear for hill climb out in South Dakota a few years back.  We made it to the top just fine, but were way back in the standings because we were slow.
 
My point here is that anyone who shows up with a properly built and tuned Baja car really has very little real incentive to modify the car during the competition (except for govenor speed, which is watched fairly closely and very easy to verify).  Is there a perception of an advantage, Hell Yes, but is it tangible... eh, probably not.
 
As Dr. Passach said, tires are another thing entierly.  Those should be regulated and not allowed to be changed, except to replace a flat througout the competition.  I also agree that you should get one free pass, becuse having a mis-matched pair of tires gives you no advantage. 
 
As to other parts of the car (shocks in particular), a car is typically designed with a particular set of shocks (or some other part) in mind, and so again I don't see any advantage in changing out shocks.  Spring rates and damping ratios are already unregulated, allowing you to modify those as you please, which is the majority of what you could ever want to do with a shock.
 
So whats the point of all this?  Changing parts and altering your drive train during the race most likely does not create a substantial advantage (as Dr. Passach also already said).  Auburn earned 2nd place at Ocala not because they had a misprint on thier tech sheet, but because they had a well designed, well built car.  The same goes for all the other teams that consistenly win... they do so because they have figured out a system that works, have a solid system for handing down knowledge, and they build good cars, NOT because they cheat.  Perhaps we should try to learn something from what they are doing rather than crucify them for doing well.  I know I tried to when I was a team leader.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/15/2009 at 3:38pm
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As to other parts of the car (shocks in particular), a car is typically designed with a particular set of shocks (or some other part) in mind, and so again I don't see any advantage in changing out shocks.  Spring rates and damping ratios are already unregulated, allowing you to modify those as you please, which is the majority of what you could ever want to do with a shock.
Nothing can be added/removed to a vehicle that has an effect on performance. That includes swapping out springs or adding/removing shims for damping. The point of the competition is for cars to bring a prototype vehicle for evaluation. If the technical inspectors were aware that teams were swapping springs and shims for an advantage between events, then they'd probably start having the specs inventoried during tech.
 
Quote
So whats the point of all this?  Changing parts and altering your drive train during the race most likely does not create a substantial advantage (as Dr. Passach also already said). 
Define substantial... Before the drivetrain sheets were introduced, I personally know of a few top teams that regularly swapped out rear end ratios, CVT settings, and tires to gain a performance advantage during dynamic events. They wouldn't have done so if they didn't think it was worth the point increase.
 
The overall difference between 1st and 2nd place overall at Wisconsin was 5.73 points. Had the 2nd place team pulled 7.5 ft further in the sled pull, they would have won the whole event. That outcome is substantial and in my opinion, achievable by drivetrain modifications. If a 3% performance increase was achieved for the 5 short events due to drivetrain modifications, the 5.73 points would also have been made up. 3% isn't even noticable, but would have drastic effects on the final place.
 
Regarding DQs for modified drivetrains:
The penalty is known. If what you have doesn't match what is written- you're DQ'd. As has been said earlier, if you put down a number that can't physically work with your setup, it doesn't prove you didn't cheat. It only proves you didn't reference your drivetrain sheet to what was on the car while knowing a DQ would result if they didn't match. It's a paperwork error and paperwork errors cause DQs (or thousands of dollars, or you getting fired) in the real world.
Also, people bitch and moan about the inconsistancy in tech, yet ask for a judgement call for this offense. Trying to decide whether or not a team meant to cheat and giving out an appropiate penalty because their tech sheet doesn't match is a recipe for a gigantic sh*tfest to occur.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/15/2009 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

Define substantial... Before the drivetrain sheets were introduced, I personally know of a few top teams that regularly swapped out rear end ratios, CVT settings, and tires to gain a performance advantage during dynamic events. They wouldn't have done so if they didn't think it was worth the point increase.
 

Our testing showed a CVT spring combo  that gave a 0.1 to 0.2 second advantage in acceleration over the combo we ran at competition, that's worth 1-2 points.   We didn't use it because it didn't backshift worth a darn.  If it was legal to swap springs, we probably would have done so. BUT... first our team has to do the work to find a better accelerating setup, and to know that it's not ideal for endurance.  Then our team has to have the confidence and organization to tear their CVT apart between events and swap springs without getting things mixed up, and without blowing their chances to get two runs in all the dynamic events.  They probably also need to have designed their car for quick CVT access.  Is that worth 1-2 points?  Maybe, maybe not.  

On the other hand, if we could swap drive ratios, maybe we don't design a two speed transaxle, and save $500 on cost.  That's worth about 5 points.  Naw, we'd still do two speeds. :^)

Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

The overall difference between 1st and 2nd place overall at Wisconsin was 5.73 points. Had the 2nd place team pulled 7.5 ft further in the sled pull, they would have won the whole event. That outcome is substantial and in my opinion, achievable by drivetrain modifications. If a 3% performance increase was achieved for the 5 short events due to drivetrain modifications, the 5.73 points would also have been made up. 3% isn't even noticable, but would have drastic effects on the final place.
 

From what I heard, FEI was traction limited in the pull, not power limited, so I doubt a ratio change would have helped them make a longer pull.  What they needed was a longer wheelbase and more rear weight bias, not easy to swap those out.

They did poorly in the mud bog cause of ground clearance.   Larger diameter tires would have helped them a lot, but I've already stated that tires shouldn't change.  

I doubt that CVT or ratio changes would have helped them in S&T or maneuverability, most teams have optimized for those events (and endurance) already.

Also, if they could gain 3%, so could the rest of the top teams so nothing changes.  Jeez, if we'd got our cost report in on time, it would have been 15.73 points and a moot point. :^)

Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

Regarding DQs for modified drivetrains:
The penalty is known. If what you have doesn't match what is written- you're DQ'd. As has been said earlier, if you put down a number that can't physically work with your setup, it doesn't prove you didn't cheat. It only proves you didn't reference your drivetrain sheet to what was on the car while knowing a DQ would result if they didn't match. It's a paperwork error and paperwork errors cause DQs (or thousands of dollars, or you getting fired) in the real world.
Also, people bitch and moan about the inconsistancy in tech, yet ask for a judgement call for this offense. Trying to decide whether or not a team meant to cheat and giving out an appropiate penalty because their tech sheet doesn't match is a recipe for a gigantic sh*tfest to occur.

If a team wants to game the system, there are way more points to be gained by fudging on cost than there are from drivetrain mods, there's little probability of getting caught, and almost no penalty if you are caught.  Made for a nice ethics discussion in our SAE senior project class last fall.  But I think it's well known that my complaints about the way cost is done is what got me bumped off the Rules Committee. :^)

It almost like the argument for drug legalization.  The cost to the spirit of the competition of keeping these modifications illegal is worse than the consequences of making them legal.  Too many teams paranoid that they're going to make a typographic mistake, because the penalty is so high.  Too much power in the hands of the Tech Inspectors, who wield it with glee.  Too big an impact in the final standings, because instead of swapping 1st and 2nd like your example above, you're dropping from 2nd to 40th like ETS and USF at Oregon.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/15/2009 at 6:43pm
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

Our testing showed a CVT spring combo  that gave a 0.1 to 0.2 second advantage in acceleration over the combo we ran at competition, that's worth 1-2 points.   We didn't use it because it didn't backshift worth a darn.  If it was legal to swap springs, we probably would have done so. BUT... first our team has to do the work to find a better accelerating setup, and to know that it's not ideal for endurance.  Then our team has to have the confidence and organization to tear their CVT apart between events and swap springs without getting things mixed up, and without blowing their chances to get two runs in all the dynamic events.  They probably also need to have designed their car for quick CVT access.  Is that worth 1-2 points?  Maybe, maybe not.  
Or you bolt up a pre-built CVT setup in a few minutes and call it done. Points is points if you're going to bypass the rules Wink
 
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Also, if they could gain 3%, so could the rest of the top teams so nothing changes.  Jeez, if we'd got our cost report in on time, it would have been 15.73 points and a moot point. :^)
My point was that small cheats can make big changes, but I think you can Steve are saying the changes aren't that big so who gives a flip and let it go - the advantage over poorer/smaller teams is not big enough to worry about. I'd have to consult talk with some alumni to see how much a difference their 'creative' methods gave.
 
BajaSAE is meant to design and build a prototype off-road vehicle to be evaluated. It is a design competition, not a "race". When Motor Trend or Car and Driver evaluate a vehicle, they don't swap out parts between the 0-60 and skid-pad. The vehicle, as it came from the factory, is run through its paces. It is also meant to be an entry level competiton (both cost and effort). If you want to blow your monetary and membership load, join FSAE.
 
Now if SAE decides to place more emphasis on the race portion and less on evaluating a prototype and having an entry level series, then I wouldn't see any problem with opening up modifications of bits during the competition. Scope can change, and with scope change comes rule changes.
 
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It almost like the argument for drug legalization.  The cost to the spirit of the competition of keeping these modifications illegal is worse than the consequences of making them legal.  Too many teams paranoid that they're going to make a typographic mistake, because the penalty is so high
Welcome to the real world. You make a typo in your proposal and you lose your contract bid. Turn it in 2 minutes late, your bid goes in the trash. Miss a critical sentance in a contract discussion and is costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars and months in delays. Forget to convert lbf to N when you send over your propulsion code and your group becomes the core reason a $200M probe eats it.  This stuff actually happens when you graduate. From an educational standpoint, a DQ is not an overly aggresive penalty.
Quote Too much power in the hands of the Tech Inspectors, who wield it with glee.  
I somehow doubt the Tech Inspectors run around giving each other high fives and reach-arounds when ETS or USF get DQ'd. I think all of them are BajaSAE alum. They don't make the rules, they enforce them. If the DQ is such a problem, why don't the people on the rules committe kill it? Isn't the rule committe made up of SAE and Faculty Advisors?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/15/2009 at 8:24pm
Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

Welcome to the real world. You make a typo in your proposal and you lose your contract bid. Turn it in 2 minutes late, your bid goes in the trash. Miss a critical sentance in a contract discussion and is costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars and months in delays. Forget to convert lbf to N when you send over your propulsion code and your group becomes the core reason a $200M probe eats it.  This stuff actually happens when you graduate. From an educational standpoint, a DQ is not an overly aggresive penalty.

Then why don't you get a DQ if you make a mistake on your design report or spec sheet.  Why not a big zero for cost if your cost report isn't perfect?  You could completely "forget" that you have $3000 shocks on your car and get a couple point penalty, if you are even caught.  My experience, the cost judges don't check that close, and it makes a much bigger difference than if your spring has a 1 or a 7.

A 400 point penalty for a powertrain mismatch is harsh compared to the couple points that a team could gain, even if they were trying to cheat.  The 50 points I proposed in a previous post was based on my best estimate of advantage gained from powertrain changes (maybe 25 points max) and doubling it.  That's the same thing the cost judges do if they determine you under costed something.

Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

I somehow doubt the Tech Inspectors run around giving each other high fives and reach-arounds when ETS or USF get DQ'd. I think all of them are BajaSAE alum. 

The Tech Inspectors ARE the reason Baja, unlike Formula, has penalties for tech.  I've heard their arguments.  They don't believe students will try to pass tech without penalties.  They added that powertrain information requirement to the tech sheet.  The tech inspectors and SAE together determined that a powertrain mismatch warrants a dynamic DQ.  That penalty wasn't discussed in the Rules Committee when I was a member.  

Originally posted by EAD Motorsports EAD Motorsports wrote:

They don't make the rules, they enforce them. If the DQ is such a problem, why don't the people on the rules committe kill it? Isn't the rule committe made up of SAE and Faculty Advisors?

The National Tech Inspectors DO make the rules, and control most the votes on the Rule Committee.  Five years ago the Rules Committee was mostly faculty advisors.  The committee got "streamlined" after Ohio in 2005.  Now the faculty advisors on the rules committee are very much in the minority, and have little or no say in what rules are approved.   NONE of the faculty advisors I've talked to support penalties for tech.



Edited by paasch - Jun/15/2009 at 8:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Waffles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 12:41am
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

Then why don't you get a DQ if you make a mistake on your design report or spec sheet.  Why not a big zero for cost if your cost report isn't perfect?  You could completely "forget" that you have $3000 shocks on your car and get a couple point penalty, if you are even caught.  My experience, the cost judges don't check that close, and it makes a much bigger difference than if your spring has a 1 or a 7.


I think that would be a good idea, and would be way more fair.

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A 400 point penalty for a powertrain mismatch is harsh compared to the couple points that a team could gain, even if they were trying to cheat.  The 50 points I proposed in a previous post was based on my best estimate of advantage gained from powertrain changes (maybe 25 points max) and doubling it.  That's the same thing the cost judges do if they determine you under costed something.


Well, and the 50 point estimate would certainly drop teams out of the top 10, could you explain your methodology for your estimate - it seems like you put a lot of thought into it, can we make sure that 50 points would cover any teams possible cheating?

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The Tech Inspectors ARE the reason Baja, unlike Formula, has penalties for tech.  I've heard their arguments.  They don't believe students will try to pass tech without penalties.  They added that powertrain information requirement to the tech sheet.  The tech inspectors and SAE together determined that a powertrain mismatch warrants a dynamic DQ.  That penalty wasn't discussed in the Rules Committee when I was a member.


So this is what I heard at Wisconsin...  The techs had a couple of races some years ago with no penalties, and at those races, they had no cars to inspect for the first half of the day...  And then they struggled to get teams passed since everyone showed up late... So no penalty = no incentive to get through tech early.   If everyone shows up to tech an hour before they are scheduled to close, certainly they can't get everyone through before dynamic day, so some teams would miss dynamic events since everyone waited to get through...  Wouldn't we hold the tech's responsible for not being able to get through enough teams in time?  Maybe the organizer can force teams to get through tech early?

If SAE decides on a penalty, why shouldn't it be allowed, aren't they the overall organizers - I figured they could do whatever they wanted!

Quote
The National Tech Inspectors DO make the rules, and control most the votes on the Rule Committee.  Five years ago the Rules Committee was mostly faculty advisors.  The committee got "streamlined" after Ohio in 2005.  Now the faculty advisors on the rules committee are very much in the minority, and have little or no say in what rules are approved.   NONE of the faculty advisors I've talked to support penalties for tech.


Wow, I didn't know that...  So how much pull do the techs have compared to the faculty advisors?  What rules have the faculty advisors (you) made/approved?  I was really really happy when we stopped having to have steering stops and safety washers on the cars, was that the rules committe making sense of this whole thing?

So just a check, if the rules committee can overturn the penalties for tech, can everyone agree to not hold the inspectors accountable if only half the field gets to race?  (assuming that teams wait to get through tech - maybe that is hogwash!)


Edited by Waffles - Jun/16/2009 at 12:42am
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As I see our DQ in Oregon is making people talk so at least its making something good.

First I'd like to mentionned that we shut our mouth when we got DQ and kept our rage between each other (which is not the case for gray zone rules during tech day like in Auburn). We know about the rule and cant argue on site about the consequences. USF probably feels the same.
 
But as everybody at ETS and anywhere else involved in student competitions, I feel the complete DQ for a written error you can prove was not cheating is «extreme». Here are my thoughts on this as a 3rd year team captain at points brought by Dr Paasch and others:
 
- I completly understand that in real life a written error can be disastrous but I doubt perfection exists. In real life you get back checked and usually have time to test / simulate everything before, for example, launching an airplane with civilians in it. Which is not always the same when it gets to student involvment during exams and you are only 5 to prepare everything before crossing the country to Oregon. However, I know the others in the endurance's top 10 obviously did check, but we don't know about the other 55 teams. My guest is that there is 10% of mismatching sheets.
 
Having 7 years of experience full/part time in the aircraft and food industry learned me that even in these highly controlled environnements you get to see a sh** load of errors and you sometimes wonder why there is not more planes crashing... and the quality control staff will tell its experience. Having less than 10% of errors in an engineering work like a full car is probably impossible for any of us if you consider the structures, how your frame is straight, etc. When I'm doing errors I stand with them and learn.
 
- This brings me to the popular case of Cornell and their carbon DS. They did everything in their knowledge to make something original, tested them, etc. But it failed due to underestimating the dynamic loads (I think) without giving them a penalty (and I dont care). Our driveshaft are fully custom designed and made in house with various steels and manufacturing processes. They are also very light and make us save almost 500$ in cost (stock BRPs use to be 600$ minimum). They didn't break but still doesn't prove they are perfect. If you follow the idea that you cant be wrong, Cornell should have 0. We also should have 0 because we broke a custom upright in Rock crawl and a bad press fit ruined the steering in the Wisconsin endurance.
 
Ocala in 07 was the first ever comp for our team after all the dudes from 05 graduated together. We finished 3rd with a piece of crap just because Auburn got DQ for the reasons we know and Queens run out of fuel at the end. Their car was 10 times  better than our at this event because we broke loads of stupid things like the rear fenders. All caused by design and/or manufacturing errors. But we got no penalties. Sure we were happy with the results, but to be honest we didn't deserve it. We made a lot more errors (and major ones) than them.
 
- That kind of DQ destroys teams' spirit. Does someone know how you feel when your team looses 1500$, the second place for a 35th, all your chances for the Mike Schmidth award, the hard work of 10 people, the useless work to repair an upright overnight, the money of hard to find sponsor ? What do you tell to your sponsors ? 
 
«Why are you so far in the scoring ?»
«Heuuu, we were second but because I wrote down 1151-1015 instead of 1151-1011 on a sheet somewhere so we got DQ from a RACE.»
«What's the point, were you cheating ?»
«No, that serial number of a secondary spring in the CVT does't exists.»
«That's stupid»
«I know...»
«Who makes these rules ?»
...
And after you have to make the crew work even harder because the hardest event is quickly coming. Forget it. The car will just be ready, not better or more tuned.
 
- To the people who are suspecting us to always try to cheat, well I challenge you to be on top of every single event 3 times a year, year after year with all the inspections that this causes without mentionning that every teams watches you. In 05 and before ETS managed it, now Sherby and OSU do. If I add USF, TTU, Auburn, RIT,Cornell, Mich Tech,etc they will also tell you they dont need to cheat to win and that changing a spring for an event is useless, like Dr Paasch said.
 
I will conclude by agreeing with the suggestion to limit the DQ to a 50 points loss like in FSAE mostly because it may prevent you to win, but without the catastrophic effects. It makes Baja SAE look stupid compare to Formula and everybody here in competition with a FSAE team in the same school will tell you we don't need this extra negative comparison. If it was only for me, I would eliminate this rule completly except maybe for tires which is a true money issue for some teams.
 
By the way, I could have 10 springs custom make anytime with different rates, have them all paint the same color and print the same serial number and then change them between events. I'm already doing this for the suspension springs.
 
Jean-Martin Duhamel
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Edited by j-man - Jun/16/2009 at 7:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 11:50am
Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

Then why don't you get a DQ if you make a mistake on your design report or spec sheet.  Why not a big zero for cost if your cost report isn't perfect?  You could completely "forget" that you have $3000 shocks on your car and get a couple point penalty, if you are even caught.  My experience, the cost judges don't check that close, and it makes a much bigger difference than if your spring has a 1 or a 7.


I think that would be a good idea, and would be way more fair.


This would be interesting.  There were only 4 perfect 15 point cost report scores at Wisconsin:
FEI
OSU
Iowa State
Wisconsin Platteville

So giving everyone else a zero for cost wouldn't have changed the top 2 scores.   But everyone else in the top 10 loses their cost points, and Iowa State moves into the top 10.

Double check every part on those four cars against their cost reports and I guarantee something somewhere won't match up.  


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Jean-Martin, why did you guys even write a serial number on the tech sheet? The sheet asks for a spring color only. Any more information is just giving yourself a better chance of getting DQ'd. It is a bit lame though that you would get the DQ based on information that isn't required on the sheet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 1:57pm
Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

A 400 point penalty for a powertrain mismatch is harsh compared to the couple points that a team could gain, even if they were trying to cheat.  The 50 points I proposed in a previous post was based on my best estimate of advantage gained from powertrain changes (maybe 25 points max) and doubling it.  That's the same thing the cost judges do if they determine you under costed something.


Well, and the 50 point estimate would certainly drop teams out of the top 10, could you explain your methodology for your estimate - it seems like you put a lot of thought into it, can we make sure that 50 points would cover any teams possible cheating?

50 points would have dropped ETS from 2nd to 4th overall.  They would have still had a chance at the Schmitt Award.

Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

So this is what I heard at Wisconsin...  The techs had a couple of races some years ago with no penalties, and at those races, they had no cars to inspect for the first half of the day...  And then they struggled to get teams passed since everyone showed up late... So no penalty = no incentive to get through tech early.   If everyone shows up to tech an hour before they are scheduled to close, certainly they can't get everyone through before dynamic day, so some teams would miss dynamic events since everyone waited to get through...  Wouldn't we hold the tech's responsible for not being able to get through enough teams in time?  Maybe the organizer can force teams to get through tech early?

I have not attended every Baja event of the last 10 years, we don't go to the water events.  But I never witnessed a big problem with teams waiting to enter tech.  Certainly we always try to get through tech as early as possible.

The tech inspector's argument is that teams won't try to get through tech early if the only penalty is they don't get to race in the dynamic events, that we need an additional penalty to motivate teams to tech.  My experience with Formula tells me this is bull droppings.

Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:

Wow, I didn't know that...  So how much pull do the techs have compared to the faculty advisors?  What rules have the faculty advisors (you) made/approved?  I was really really happy when we stopped having to have steering stops and safety washers on the cars, was that the rules committe making sense of this whole thing?

In 2005 I worked with Dr. Jones of Auburn to update design judging.  Previously, the design events were judged with checksheets: if you had a feature they deemed good, you got points, if you didn't have that feature, you didn't get the points.  For example, rear view mirrors used to be worth 2 points at midwest, but at the west organizers didn't care so they were worth 0.  We wanted design to be more like Formula, where the student's knowledge is tested, where students have a chance to talk about the engineering analysis and testing they put into the car.  Polaris picked that up in 2006, resulting in the design judging system we have today.  It is still far from perfect, but much better than checksheets.

In 2006, I proposed ~20 changes for the 2007 rules.  Lot's of cleanup, clarification, getting rid of contradictory rules.  Tim Giese of Polaris also proposed about 10 changes, including dropping the one on factory safety washers.  We were informed by Sam on July 10th that there would be a conference call July 12th to discuss the changes.  Then we voted.  A few of Tim's and my changes were approved.  Most were not, including dropping the safety washer rule.  We approved making Cost 75 points, with 25 for the report and 50 for the cost.  That vote was later rescinded, and we voted again a couple weeks later on making Cost 100 points, with no further discussion.  A week later, it was announced that cost would be 100 points.

In 2007 there was virtually no solicitation of 2008 rule changes, all proposed changes came from the National Tech Inspectors or the Cost Evaluators.  There was no discussion, just a vote, then an announcement that all the changes had been approved.

The safety washer rule was dropped last year.

I've not been a member of the Committee the last two years, so can't comment on how the Committee currently operates.  I certainly have seen no public solicitation of rule changes, other than the grassroots effort here on this forum. 

Originally posted by Waffles Waffles wrote:


So just a check, if the rules committee can overturn the penalties for tech, can everyone agree to not hold the inspectors accountable if only half the field gets to race?  (assuming that teams wait to get through tech - maybe that is hogwash!)

Are the tech inspectors accountable now?  Why would dropping penalties make them accountable?  It is the team's responsibility to get through tech, regardless of whether there are specific penalties for tech or not.


Edited by paasch - Jun/16/2009 at 1:59pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 2:15pm
Originally posted by j-man j-man wrote:

- This brings me to the popular case of Cornell and their carbon DS. They did everything in their knowledge to make something original, tested them, etc. But it failed due to underestimating the dynamic loads (I think) without giving them a penalty (and I dont care). Our driveshaft are fully custom designed and made in house with various steels and manufacturing processes. They are also very light and make us save almost 500$ in cost (stock BRPs use to be 600$ minimum). They didn't break but still doesn't prove they are perfect. If you follow the idea that you cant be wrong, Cornell should have 0. We also should have 0 because we broke a custom upright in Rock crawl and a bad press fit ruined the steering in the Wisconsin endurance.

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I don't think we'd ever want to give teams zero in design for breaking something in the dynamic events, and I'm not sure we should hold  the design finals after endurance like Formula (even though it would have been to our advantage this year).  I like finishing the competition with endurance.

I do find it curious that Cornell won design finals at Alabama, then finished little over half the laps in endurance.  Then they won won design finals at Oregon, and finished little over half the laps in endurance.  Then they're 2nd in the design finals at Wisconsin, then finished little over half the laps in endurance.  At some point you'd have to say their design had some major deficiencies...  Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by j-man j-man wrote:


- That kind of DQ destroys teams' spirit. Does someone know how you feel when your team looses 1500$, the second place for a 35th, all your chances for the Mike Schmidth award, the hard work of 10 people, the useless work to repair an upright overnight, the money of hard to find sponsor ? What do you tell to your sponsors ? 
 
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This is the point I keep coming back to.  The current system takes much of the fun out of BajaSAE.  Post race inspection is a MAJOR deal, with teams nervously awaiting the news that they've passed.  It builds an adversarial relationship between the teams and the tech inspectors.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 3:09pm
Originally posted by j-man j-man wrote:

But as everybody at ETS and anywhere else involved in student competitions, I feel the complete DQ for a written error you can prove was not cheating is «extreme». 
Much like Auburn and TTU's impossible sprockets, having a serial number that doesn't exist printed on your spring doesn't prove you didn't cheat. It only proves that the what you put down on your tech sheet doesn't match what you were running. If the techs allowed you to get off without a penalty, then everyone could just write down an impossible serial number on the spring and feign ignorance.
 
Quote
- This brings me to the popular case of Cornell and their carbon DS. They did everything in their knowledge to make something original, tested them, etc. But it failed due to underestimating the dynamic loads (I think) without giving them a penalty (and I dont care). ... If you follow the idea that you cant be wrong, Cornell should have 0. We also should have 0 because we broke a custom upright in Rock crawl and a bad press fit ruined the steering in the Wisconsin endurance.
The point of the tech sheets is to prevent teams from gaining an advantage from swapping out bits. I don't think any of the teams in your example gained an advantage by having a piece break during the competition. BajaSAE is a design competition, breaking stuff is par for the course.
 
Quote
- That kind of DQ destroys teams' spirit. Does someone know how you feel when your team looses 1500$, the second place for a 35th, all your chances for the Mike Schmidth award, the hard work of 10 people, the useless work to repair an upright overnight, the money of hard to find sponsor ? What do you tell to your sponsors ?
Here is another version of that conversation:
«Why are you so far in the scoring ?»
«Heuuu, we were second but because I wrote down 1151-1015 instead of 1151-1011 on a sheet somewhere so we got DQ from an engineering competition.»
«What's the point, were you cheating ?»
«No, that serial number of a secondary spring in the CVT does't exists.»
«Could you have put down a nonexistant serial number on the spring and run whatever you wanted to?»
«Yeah, but we didn't!»
«Can you prove that to them?»
«No, but I told them we weren't cheating!»
«So you wrote down the wrong number on a tech sheet KNOWING that if it was wrong you'd lose $1500, drop out of the top 20, have no chance at the Mike Schmidt award, do useless repairs overnight, and blow your sponsorship money?»
«Basically»
«Might want to double check it next time...»
Quote
I will conclude by agreeing with the suggestion to limit the DQ to a 50 points loss like in FSAE mostly because it may prevent you to win, but without the catastrophic effects. It makes Baja SAE look stupid compare to Formula and everybody here in competition with a FSAE team in the same school will tell you we don't need this extra negative comparison. If it was only for me, I would eliminate this rule completly except maybe for tires which is a true money issue for some teams.
 
By the way, I could have 10 springs custom make anytime with different rates, have them all paint the same color and print the same serial number and then change them between events. I'm already doing this for the suspension springs.
I could actually see having a points deduction instead of a full DQ. One would have to come up with a reasonable estimate of how much an increase could be had by cheating.
 
The point of the BajaSAE competition is to evaluate a prototype vehicle for ficticious firm. A firm doesn't care about the various permutations that can be had by swapping out gear ratios or tires, or CVT springs/weights. You are evaluated on what would be put on the sales floor, nothing more. Even if swapping out such components doesn't create a substantial advantage, it is against the official SAE Program Objective.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote j-man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 3:17pm
We wrote the serial number of the springs because the new CVTech comes witout a color code and a serial number printed on it. Being lazy one of our major problem, we just wrote it fast without back checking.
 
In Wisconsin we decided to add a color code with Jason Rounds approuval to make official. Its obvious we could have put the same color on every possible springs that's why we made it official.
 
I also wish no one thinks I'm trying to argue against our DQ, as I said we acepted it because the rule is still for now written black on white..
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 3:21pm
It's not difficult to get the tech sheet right. That said, a DQ is too harsh. The 50 point penalty suggested is enough to knock a team out of contention for a high finish, while still allowing them something to reflect the effort they put in. 

Edited by adrive7 - Jun/16/2009 at 3:22pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 3:43pm
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

The tech inspector's argument is that teams won't try to get through tech early if the only penalty is they don't get to race in the dynamic events, that we need an additional penalty to motivate teams to tech.  My experience with Formula tells me this is bull droppings.
 
Are the tech inspectors accountable now?  Why would dropping penalties make them accountable?  It is the team's responsibility to get through tech, regardless of whether there are specific penalties for tech or not.
Baja is not Formula.
From what I have heard though the grape vine is that the tech inspectors in fact did eliminate penalties for a few years to see the affect. What happened was there were periods of time with nobody in line. This caused the inspectors to keep tech open for several hours after the official time and still have a bunch of teams not pass tech until midway through dynamic day.
 
Did the organizers blame the teams for taking their sweet time? No. The techs were blamed.
Did the teams/faculty advisors blame themselves for sitting around prettying up their car? No. The techs were blamed for not working until all the cars were finished. Sure, a few put partial blame on the organizers, but organizers are hard to come by so it isn't politically feasible to come down on them. All the blame comes back to the techs. I don't think it is fair to blame and punish (by working longer than they already do) the techs for team's laziness.
 
I don't see a problem eliminating the points deduction for tech. But an agreement would have to be reach between SAE/Rule's Committe/Techs that there is a set time for tech, you don't finish before dynamic day- deal with it.
 
 


Edited by EAD Motorsports - Jun/16/2009 at 3:44pm
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I don't like the cost event. The report is dull to do and I can't understand how a team having parts more expensive than ours costs less than us.
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Edited by JHrdy724 - Jun/17/2009 at 1:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 6:45pm
Originally posted by JHrdy724 JHrdy724 wrote:


he firmly believes that the only issue lies with faculty advisors (the same ones who have the educational interest of the program at stake). 


Auburn, TTU, OSU.  Ya, those teams just don't do very well in these competitions.  Us faculty advisors are ganging together to get our teams an advantage, so that we can see the top 10 once in a while. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TerpsRacing-Dan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2009 at 7:43pm
Honestly I don't care about tech penalties at all, we've always made it and never got dinged for more then one or two minor things (while some of them I felt were BS, rules are rules).   You know them ahead of time, there is no reason that you can't go through the rule book ahead of time and "tech" your own car.  Its what we do, and we've only been caught by little items, such as saftey wire not filling 70% of a hole.    If I order a valve, pump, motor whatever at work and its not up to spec, I'm damn sure sending it back to the company to be reworked at their cost.

I heard a story at Wisconsin about a team that had to cut apart their frame at comp to pass weld checks.  Does anyone know the full story?  I know the weld checks are covered in another thread but I'm just curious.  


Edited by TerpsRacing-Dan - Jun/16/2009 at 7:50pm
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Btw, there's info available on the SAE forum describing the Rules Committee, the distribution of votes, and the process by which rule changes occur...

http://forums.sae.org/access/dispatch.cgi/bajasae_pf/showFolder/103131/def/def/3495005
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/17/2009 at 3:21pm
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:

The National Tech Inspectors DO make the rules, and control most the votes on the Rule Committee.  Five years ago the Rules Committee was mostly faculty advisors.  The committee got "streamlined" after Ohio in 2005.  Now the faculty advisors on the rules committee are very much in the minority, and have little or no say in what rules are approved.   NONE of the faculty advisors I've talked to support penalties for tech.
It looks like there are 12 people on the rules committee. 1 is a tech. 4 are advisors/organizers. You could be generous and say the Honda vote is controlled by the techs since Honda sponsors them - the means there are 2 tech votes.

Looks like you should be complaining about the organizers, they have the most votes.
 
 
 
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I would like to see the roll cage padding rule modified.  Currently we are told to use pipe insulation or pool toy foam.  This foam does noting to protect the driver or spectator in a crash situation.  If padding is required for the safety of the driver there is no reason why standard SFI rated padding should not be required.  Any other thoughts or any known reasons for the foam padding and it purpose?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob71zilla Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/17/2009 at 4:32pm
I heard a story at Wisconsin about a team that had to cut apart their frame at comp to pass weld checks.  Does anyone know the full story?  I know the weld checks are covered in another thread but I'm just curious.  
[/QUOTE]
 
Not sure if this is the right story but you may be talking about Alfred (first year team out of lower central NY)  They were right next to us and said they had to redo part of their frame because their material didn't pass the strength calc.  They used 1' 4130 .090" wall and it didnt pass the EI calculation.  They also had to redo their weld sample because their 90 degree test was only done to permanent deformation, not until it broke. 
 
Sounds like someone took both their redos and combined them into one, but their could have been more than one team in this situation.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TerpsRacing-Dan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/17/2009 at 6:33pm
Originally posted by Rob71zilla Rob71zilla wrote:

I heard a story at Wisconsin about a team that had to cut apart their frame at comp to pass weld checks.  Does anyone know the full story?  I know the weld checks are covered in another thread but I'm just curious.  
 
Not sure if this is the right story but you may be talking about Alfred (first year team out of lower central NY)  They were right next to us and said they had to redo part of their frame because their material didn't pass the strength calc.  They used 1' 4130 .090" wall and it didnt pass the EI calculation.  They also had to redo their weld sample because their 90 degree test was only done to permanent deformation, not until it broke. 
 
Sounds like someone took both their redos and combined them into one, but their could have been more than one team in this situation.  
[/QUOTE]
Sounds quite possible.  The story I heard was that someone had to cut a section of their cage as a weld sample.  Wasn't even sure if the story was from Alabama, Oregon or Wisconsin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote j-man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/17/2009 at 10:55pm
I know the roll cage padding does nothing structurally good during a crash, but I do prefer to bang my legs/knees/elbows, whatever the reason or intensity of the impact is, on foam rather than steel.
 
The SFI pads are probably better because I guess they use something that gets harder as the impact frequency raises... (soft when you touch it but fu'''' hard when you punch it).
 
Isn't it what is inside an HANS device ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeremy_H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/18/2009 at 2:26pm
Originally posted by j-man j-man wrote:

Isn't it what is inside an HANS device ?

Clarify "inside a HANS device"?  The structure of a hans is different depending on the model (they are now offered with a couple different materials, not just carbon).  They are available with harness pads of 2 styles, a SFI 3.3 equivalent foam (the same material regular harness pads are made from) and a gel pack.  They also have a helmet pad, which I couldn't find material for, but would probably be the same SFI 3.3 material.  

That pad wouldn't be designed to absorb a helmet impact like SFI 45.1 (Roll cage padding) and SFI 45.2 (Impact padding) padding would be, because the device itself isn't designed to stop head motion in that direction.  In fact, certain restraint systems that fall under the same certifications as the HANS (such as the Hutchens Hybrid Pro and R3) don't have a head rest portion at all.

Just to let those who have never used it know, SFI 45.1 padding is not soft.  Quite the opposite, getting wacked with a stick of it will certainly wake you up (it's been rumored to be used as punishment around certain shops Wink).  It's designed to be used in constricted space roll cages with helmet halos MUCH smaller than Baja, and is perfect for helmet to cage impacts during a crash (think lateral motion), something that is not likely in a baja car with the current rules.  

A better alternative would be SFI 45.2 padding, which is used as cockpit padding around legs, in headrests, and arms.  However, I've only seen it in sheet form, not tube wrap.  Also, you'd be paying for the spec more than the foam.

As a segway to something that interests me:

Speaking of the HANS device, I believe some consideration should be given to allowing it's use in baja.  Note, I didn't say REQUIRING it's use, even the low level Sport HANS run around 500-600 dollars with only one set of helmet hardware.  Requiring teams to purchase a device that costs the same as a competition entry is not in the cards when certifications allow for a cheaper alternative.

However, for those teams and drivers that have the resources and desire to use the system (some drivers will even have their own, they are fast becoming standard racing equipment in many racing levels, not just pro), the HANS device is a fantastic, better alternative to a collar style restraint (for those interested, HANS themselves state the device can be used with a collar as well, the collar being used as a comfort item in that case).

I'm going to step away from certs and science for a second, because no one has performed a study on our usage here.  In my experience and opinion, the use of the collar style device and a moto-x style helmet is not consistant enough to allow the use of a neck collar based on certification alone, and this system should be given additional evaluation.  The sizing and shape of both a rated neck restraint and moto-x chin are too varied to insure the function of the neck restraint.  Neck restraints thicknesses and shapes vary greatly between manufacturers, and helmet chin lengths, depths, and thicknesses vary MUCH more than those of tradition closed face helmet chins.  What's more, the use of velcro as a fastener has been shown to be poorly "bajable", with many neck restraints popping loose due to poor fitment, mud, and other baja elements.

That said, a HANS device performs the same function, does a MUCH better job, and can be used with any properly mounted shoulder harness system.  In fact, the newer Hutchens R3 is designed to work independant of the harnesses, allowing for inconsistant mounting, different body size and shape, and seat style to be removed from the equation.  Of course, the R3 also costs a cool $1000.

Despite the cost drawbacks, I think the faculty advisors and rules commitee should give some serious consideration to allowing the use of these newer technology restraint systems in the coming years.  While it seems to be a small matter, the speeds of these vehicles is consistantly increasing through the years, and serious head and neck injuries such as basilar fractures have been reported at speeds as low as 25-30 mph, easily achievable by your modern baja car.

That's all I've got...

Jeremy H


Edited by Jeremy_H - Jun/18/2009 at 2:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GT Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/18/2009 at 3:50pm

I have always wondered about the effectivness of the moto-x style helmets and neck collars... but I am not nearly experneiced enough in the world of motor racing gear to be familiar with all the research behind the specs.  I think it would be an excellent idea to allow the option to use other neck restaint systems as long as they exceed the intent of the helmet + neck collar.

" Also, you'd be paying for the spec more than the foam."
 
I think this would be the case, and why we are currently using pipe insulation instead of the rated stuff.  I know we deal with a lot of government specs here at work, and you pay WAY more for the piece of paper than the actual material.  And people wonder why government contracts are so expensive...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeremy_H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/18/2009 at 3:57pm
One of my friends brought up a fantastic counter point to my thoughts - Due to the "inconsistant" nature of baja modification and fabrication, the alternate restraint systems could only be allowed on helmets that come from the manufacturer with mounting in place.  No helmet modifications would be allowed AT ALL, even if these modfications are permissable in other series where the systems are used.

The systems would need some extensive evaluation before use, I think the soonest this could be in place would be 2 years.


Edited by Jeremy_H - Jun/18/2009 at 4:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/18/2009 at 4:00pm
Can you use a head and neck restraint system with a motocross helmet?
 
I believe the reason motocross helmets are used is because full face helmets had fogging issues back in the day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeremy_H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/18/2009 at 4:12pm
You can, it will work with any helmet (closed face is obviously preferred).  There is also an off-road system called LEATT that provides more motion control, and just a few minutes ago I found out they came out with a version that works with harness style seating.  Previously they were only used for ATV, Moto-X, and SUMO riders, but now can be used by everyone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/22/2009 at 3:18am
Seeing how the Baja rules have been changing, it honestly seems to me that all the cars are going to have the same, rule restricted chassis in a few years. I would love it if BajaSAE would turn into something like the Trophy Lite class, where restrictions are limited to wheelbase and engine displacement. Then we could produce a vehicle that could be used in event other then for SAE, just how Formula teams race in SCCA events. Sadly, it will probably never happen.

In regards to the LEATT, I've used them before and they work great... for ATVs and dirtbikes. I have never tried one in seating down, but I think for that application a HANS would work better. Still, I think that the HANS devices should not only be allowed, but encouraged. I have had a couple tip overs where I couldn't move my neck for a few day because it was so sore. And those were low speed. I feel for the guys that rolled on that second double at Wisconsin.

Also just the Nomex top seems kinda weird. I guess according to the rules, my legs are fire proof. I think fire-suits might be a good idea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/22/2009 at 5:16pm
I agree that the fire protection we are required to wear is a little questionable.  I do however feel that mandating a HANS device would cripple new teams like mine.  I'm all for safety, but that's a lot of coin to dish out for something that to my knowing isn't really necessary.  How many people died/broke necks/are paralyzed from mini baja accidents?  I mean this isn't Dale Earnhardt, 185 mph into concrete...  Yeah I do get a little sore after a violent roll, and God forbid anybody does get seriously hurt, but Chris walked away from his nosedive off the jump at Auburn... that's about the worst it can get in one of our cars.  There must be a step somewhere between a neck roll and the HANS that's safe and affordable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLReedy21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/22/2009 at 6:24pm
An optional system would be cool I guess, but from a drivers' standpoint I don't think I'd care much for not having full range of motion of my head.  Vision sucks bad enough as it is, however an optional system would be nice.

I messed up about as bad as you can in Auburn, ~30mph to stopped real fast.  I'm not gonna lie I was hurtin some afterwords, but I was fine and finished the race.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TMXONR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/22/2009 at 9:44pm
I crashed on the second double at Wisconson, like the picture above. I had bruises on my shoulders and my neck was a little stiff the next morning, but not that bad. I would like to see the five point harnes rule removed more than having some type of neck restraint device added. My balls hurt pretty bad after my nose dive. When the tech was making sure I was alright, he said that one of the guys who crashed before me had to go get checked out at the ambulance because he racked himself so bad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/22/2009 at 9:55pm
Yeah I pulled the same thing on the logs at Wisconsin. I hit the triple stack fast enough so the nose came down hard, straight into the second log. 30-0, no give. Ouch. 

We ran our 5th point a little loose so it fit everybody, and didn't rack your nuts constantly. Some cars, like ours, have seats that you really don't need it. But cars that just have foam on the floor it's more of a necesity. You could always just run a 6 point to reduce the pain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 9:29am
Whoever took that picture is the freaking man... well except missing the giant yellow schoolbus that I was driving right behind Chris.
 
+1 on the visibility too.
 
There has to be something better than the universal neck doughnut though
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 11:52am
Again this is kinda going back to the formula rules thing. They have the option of running a HANS device, but are not required. And while we do not have the speed to need one, there have been times I wish I had one. Also the reason that they are so expensive right now is the company HANS is the only one that makes them, so they can get away with charging a ton. There are a couple companies that are trying to make them also, except cheaper. But then again with how BajaSAE is, the first time someone gets hurt to the point that they need a HANS, we're probably going to be done.

Of course on the times a feel brave and want to jump something, I usually just cram two neck donuts in. Works pretty well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 11:59am
Originally posted by TMXONR TMXONR wrote:

I crashed on the second double at Wisconson, like the picture above. I had bruises on my shoulders and my neck was a little stiff the next morning, but not that bad. I would like to see the five point harnes rule removed more than having some type of neck restraint device added. My balls hurt pretty bad after my nose dive. When the tech was making sure I was alright, he said that one of the guys who crashed before me had to go get checked out at the ambulance because he racked himself so bad.

See, I love our the fifth point. You set that anti-submarine belt up right, it'll stay out of your personal space almost all of the time. The advantage to it though is that it keeps the lap belts from pulling up due to the shoulder restraints, which means that the belt latch doesnt end up above your belly button, which could do some damage if that were to happen in a crash. I think if Baja were to use a 6th point, they would have to let us use cam locks (another stupid rule).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dillon_b12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 12:53pm
Not sure if anyone has seen this, but Jason Rounds seems to be doing a bit of Q&A on the SAE forum regarding tech, cost, scoring, and other grievances from this years events.  It would probably be a good idea for any of you that have some complaints to take it over on that forum so you can hopefully get some satisfaction/make your issue known.

"Student Feedback Requested for Tech, Cost, Scoring":
http://forums.sae.org/access/dispatch.cgi/bajasae_pf/docProfile/103129/d20090615193606/No/t103129.htm




Edited by dillon_b12 - Jun/23/2009 at 12:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EAD Motorsports Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 1:01pm
Originally posted by tp tp wrote:

I think if Baja were to use a 6th point, they would have to let us use cam locks (another stupid rule).
Actually, allowing cam locks would be stpuid. Those things get junked up with mud/grime and become impossible to unlatch/latch after a while.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dillon_b12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 1:22pm
^^^Agreed.  I've seen some of our latch style harnesses get sticky with mud and dirt.  Apart from safety concerns, I don't want to lose time in the pits messing with getting a sticky harness to latch.

The 5-point rule was just added this year, as of last year it was still only a 4-point requirement.  I've had a few nasty wrecks myself and never had an issue with the sub belt hurting me.

One thing I wish would happen is for a "Changes" chapter to be included in the rules.  To truly know what rules have changed, you must read both the previous year and the current years rule books.  Every team and every member should be doing that anyway, but it would be really nice to have a section that showed just the rules that had changed from the previous year.  I think this would prevent a lot of confusion and missed items during tech inspection.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kenneth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/23/2009 at 1:41pm
Originally posted by dillon_b12 dillon_b12 wrote:

One thing I wish would happen is for a "Changes" chapter to be included in the rules.  To truly know what rules have changed, you must read both the previous year and the current years rule books.  Every team and every member should be doing that anyway, but it would be really nice to have a section that showed just the rules that had changed from the previous year.  I think this would prevent a lot of confusion and missed items during tech inspection.


I talked to Jason Rounds about this in Auburn, and he said that they don't want to make a list of changes because then if they accidentally leave one out, they'll catch flak for it. I think that's a lame answer. The rules committee should know exactly what changes from revision to revision, and it should be no trouble at all to share that with the teams.
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