Registration & Rules

There is a $5 registration fee for the Buffalo JSS due by May 26, 2018


School Name:_______________________________            Grade:______________


City:________________________    State: _____    Zip:__________

Phone:______________________     Email:_______________________________________

Adult Team Leader:_______________________      Teacher:_________________________

Student Team Members: Team/Car Name:________________________________________

Leader:______________________________            2.______________________________

3.___________________________________           4.______________________________

Please complete form and return with a $5 registration fee by May 26, 2018 to:

Buffalo Area Junior Solar Sprint

c/o Kenneth Welton

40 Cricket Lane

East Amherst, NY 14051


Buffalo Area Junior Solar Sprint Rules for 2018


Spirit of the Sprint


The Junior Solar Sprint offers students an opportunity to learn by means of a friendly competition against their peers where students take responsibility for the design, construction, and performance of a model solar-electric vehicle. The role of the adult is to nurture the spirit of excitement and the joy of discovery and learning that awaits students. Adults should let students assume the responsibility for design decisions, construction, and maintenance of their vehicle, performance at a race, and winning or losing.


Participants are awarded trophies based primarily on design and construction. The top 3 race winners do receive trophies for the race, but an additional 11 trophies are also awarded, 3 for Technical Merit, 3 for Craftsmanship, 3 for Innovation, 1 for Design Process (new in 2015), and the last 1 for Student Choice. Please review this information with your students, a well designed and built car has more opportunities to win a trophy than a car built just for speed. Buffalo JSS is a design competition and encompasses more than just the main racing event.


In keeping with the Spirit of the event, trophies are distributed to encompass as many teams as possible to reward the work of all participants. Therefore each car may only win 1 trophy with the exception of the student choice award decided by all participants. The final decision for trophies are made by Buffalo JSS and its volunteers.


Materials and vehicle specifications


  1. The Ray Catcher solar panel sold by Pitsco and the JSS Solar Panel sold by Solar Made may be used. Panels cannot be shaved, drilled or delaminated. The motors supplied with these panels (Mabuchi #280-2865 and Mabuchi #260-18130) may be used. Motors may not be re-wound or disassembled. Any other panels and motors may not be used in the competition. All parts mentioned here must be used without modification. One solar panel and one motor allowed per car. The remainder of the vehicle can be made from any other materials.
  2. The vehicle, including any attachments, may not be larger than 30 cm. (12 in.) wide by 60 cm, (24 in.) long by 30 cm. (12 in.) high.
  3. The vehicle, including the panel support system, must be structurally sound without the solar panel or payload. The payload may not support the solar panel or function as any other component of the vehicle’s structure. The panel must be able to be easily disconnected from the motor and removed from the vehicle.
  4. Two 2 cm x 2 cm surfaces must be available for the car number, which should be easily visible from either side when the vehicle is in the ready to race position.
  5.  The payload: The vehicle must carry a payload of one empty 12 oz. Conventional aluminum soda can, to be supplied by the competition organizers during vehicle inspection. The can must not be altered in anyway, and application of adhesives or other materials is not allowed. It must be returned to the competition organizers following the race if requested. Think of the payload as a person or cargo. It must remain with the vehicle at all times, and must be easily and rapidly removed or reinserted.
  6. The compartment: The vehicle must be designed with a compartment that secures the payload even in the case of a roll-over “accident.” The compartment, including all components required to secure the payload, must retain its shape with or without the payload.
  7. The vehicle with its solar panel, must be powered solely by the sun’s energy. No energy storage devices (e.g. flywheel battery, etc.) may be used in conjunction with the solar panel.
  8. If the sun’s energy is judged insufficient, a battery pack and elastic bands will be furnished for each race to be attached on the top of the vehicle’s solar panel. Motor power leads should be readily accessible for easy attachment.
  9. The vehicle will be attached to a guide wire in the center of the lane that runs the length of the track, with no free end. The attachment device must not be potentially damaging to the line. The wire will be a small diameter line such as 60# fishing line. The wire will be no higher than 1.5 cm above the track surface.
  10. The vehicle must be of students own design and manufacturer from current school year. No car or major component thereof from a previous year shall be allowed to compete. Each team from a given school must have a unique car design. A Design Process work sheet, journal or portfolio demonstrating progress and originality is optional (see 10b). Team members present their vehicle to judges without adult assistance and make their own car repairs and adjustments. Adult work on a vehicle at the event may subject it to disqualification.
    1. No school, teacher, or advisor shall bring more than 10 teams to the Buffalo Area JSS Competition. We encourage schools or groups with many JSS teams to hold a competition within their school or group and send the 10 best to the Buffalo Area JSS Competition.
    2. For 2015 a new trophy for Design Process has been added. We encourage participants to download the Design Process worksheet available on the Buffalo JSS website to complete as they are working on their project. They can modify or submit their own version of design documentation to the Judges on the day of the event to be
  11. The Race Track: The race lane is 60 cm. wide and 20 meters long. The track is a hard flat surface such as an asphalt tennis court or running track. The track can be oriented in any direction (e.g. North-South, East-West, etc.)Conduct of the Race
  12.  The races will be run in a double elimination format. Thus you will have a minimum of two opportunities to race before you are eliminated from competition.
  13.  Only two members of the race team will be allowed on the track during the race: one at the starting line and one at the finish line. A non-team member may act as a catcher if necessary. Student non-team members will be chosen over adult non-team members if possible.
  14.  No team shall consist of more than four students.
  15.  The vehicle will start from behind the starting line with all wheels touching the track. The solar panel will be completely shaded by a supplied opaque material cover held above the panel sheet by a member of the team. At this time, the vehicle should not be touched by the cover or by any member of the team. When the line judge gives the signal to start the race the team member will remove the sheet so the panel will be exposed to the sunlight.
  16. There will be a 5 minute time limit to prepare your vehicle to race in your lane. This should be sufficient time to attach the vehicle to the guide wire. The race will start at the end of this time limit regardless of whether your vehicle is ready to compete.
  17. Once the race has begun team members are not allowed to touch their vehicle or be on the race lanes until their vehicle has crossed the finish line and the judges have determined the heat completed. Pushing the vehicle after the race has begun may result in disqualification or a re-run of the race.
  18. Any car that leaves its lane will be disqualified from the heat in question, but may compete in its second trial if it has not done so already. If the car leaving its lane interferes with any other cars, those cars whose run was interfered with will be allowed an additional opportunity to run.
  19. Loss of payload during a race will result in disqualification from the heat in question. However, the offending vehicle may compete in its second trial if not having done so already. If the loss of payload interferes with any other cars those cars whose run was interfered with will be allowed an additional opportunity to run.
  20. Winner of a heat will be the first vehicle to break the finish line or the vehicle to travel the furthest down the track. Generally speaking one finisher will advance to the next heat. In the event of a tie, the judges may determine multiple winners, and admit additional cars to advance to the next round of competition.

Good luck and we will see Saturday June 2, 2018 at Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School

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