Group 23: Gate 1

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Project Planning

Work Proposal

Before blindly jumping into the physical aspects of our project, it is important to make a plan for disassembly and assembly. For the reverse engineering of our product, we plan to collaborate on the large tasks, such as the compilation of each gate, the disassembly of the product, and the reassembly of the product. The smaller tasks within each gate will be delineated by the team manager and worked on in each group meeting. At each group meeting, a group meeting form will be filled out to document the time of the meeting and what tasks were accomplished and assigned. Pictures will be taken at each phase of the process, including during dissection of the product. A more detailed plan of the dissection process was organized in a chart so as to estimate the time required to complete dissection and assembly (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Disassembly Process

While compiling this plan, it was apparent that there would be some challenges faced. Possible disassembly challenges include:

  • Tire removal - This may pose a challenge because the tire attachment system is unknown at this point of the analysis.
  • Accidental breakage - This may create a group challenge, because during the disassembly process, certain parts may break. Parts will be fixed to the best of the group’s ability with duct tape, super glue, or another adhesive.

The post-dissection phase of this project includes re-assembly of the Power Wheels product. The approach that will be taken for assembling the product after disassembly and analysis is complete is to take the reverse steps from the disassembly chart. Assembly will be the exact opposite of disassembly, although there may be more challenges. Possible assembly challenges include:

  • Rewiring the battery and radio - This may be difficult and take more time than disassembly, but the exact complexity cannot be seen from initial inspection.
  • Broken parts - There may be an issue with assembly if parts are broken during dissection, but these parts will be fixed to the best of the group’s ability
  • Unknown complexity - The motor package cannot be seen with initial inspection, so it is unknown exactly how complex it is. Putting the motor back together may be a challenge if it is complex. The best way to ease assembly would be to mark parts and connections during disassembly.

For both dissection and re-assembly, the following tools will be needed:

  • Philips Head Screwdriver
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Electrical Tape
  • Wrench
  • Needle Nose Pliers

Management Proposal

Work Management

The key to successfully and thoroughly completely any group projects lies within planning and forethought. Thus, the group developed the following Project Management Plan.

  • The group will meet at least twice a week. Meetings are set for Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:00 pm in the Ellicot Complex. If a change in location or time is necessary, the Communication Liaison is responsible for informing the other group members. Topics discussed in each meeting will include: what must be accomplished during the week, assignment of weekly tasks, the scheduling of additional meetings, as well as planning toward future meetings and deadlines.
  • Gates are to be completed or roughly completed three days prior to their due date. This will allow time for at least one, or both of the project managers to attend office hours and then have time for revisions.
  • All members will be required to attend machine shop certification within the next month. This will allow access to any power equipment or tools we may need.
  • In the case of a group disagreement on a specific part of the product, a group vote will be held. As there are an odd number of group members, the majority vote will win.
  • In the case of group conflicts involving time management, group members\' not completing assigned tasks, or other work management issues, the other group members will discuss a solution with the member(s) not working cohesively. Solutions may be have more group meetings or pairing up on specific tasks to make sure they are completed.

Time management of the various gates and their components was further broken down in a Gantt Chart (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Time Management Profile

Team Profile

An important learning component of any group project is learning to work with various personality types and skill sets. Before the project begins, defining these personality types, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each member, helps to create a smooth transition into teamwork. Assigning specific roles and tasks also ensures that each group member is aware of their responsibilities throughout the duration of the project.

The analysis of our team members can be seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Team Member Analysis and Task Assignment

The point-of-contact for the project is Jaclyn Bronner. To contact her, send an e-mail to

Initial Assessment

Development Profile

Figure 4. Barbie

This specific Power Wheels was developed in the mid-2000s. The overall design of the Power Wheels product line was originally seen in the early 1990s, but this specific model was developed in the 2000s. During the early 2000s, the American economy was in a state of prosperity allowing many parents to spend more money on their children. The price of these types of ride-on toys is usually around $300. The toy’s popularity will fluctuate with the current state of the economy because it is not a necessity. While this toy is not the most expensive motorized ride on toy, it is still significantly more expensive then it’s manual counterparts such as a bicycle.

This product was intended for sale in North America. Most sales we’re done in the United States, territories of the United States and Canada. The product is geared toward these areas because of the popularity of Barbie and Fisher Price in these areas. Barbie was originally released in the United States in 1959 and the spread internationally; however the United States is still one of the most popular supporters of Barbie.

This product was intended for recreational use by children allowing them to imitate the actions of their role models and giving them a sense of accomplishment while having fun. The toy is targeted for children three years old and up and the maximum weight constraint on the toy is 130 pounds, so there is a wide range of ages that can use the product.

Usage Profile

This product is intended to be used by children three years old and up. The main purpose of the product is to entertain children who use this toy. It also allows children to pretend that they are driving a car like their parents and other role models. They can get the feeling of driving a car in a safe environment because the toy is a low speed vehicle. The Barbie Power Wheels is designed for at home use under adult supervision. The ride on toy is designed to be used on level surface on grass, asphalt, concrete or other hard surfaces.

Energy Profile

Figure 5. Battery of Barbie Dune Buggy Power Wheels

This product employs the use of direct current electrical energy. The energy used by the system comes from a 12-volt rechargeable battery. The rechargeable battery attains its energy by means of electricity that is generated from local power plants and sent to outlets where this product is located. The system has many different types of energy within it. The battery stores power in the form of electrochemical energy. Usually made of lead-acid, rechargeable batteries attain free electrons when plugged into an outlet. These electrons are released and sent to an electrical motor. From the motor, rotational energy is created by the motor, which is then transferred to the motor pinion and motor shaft. The connection of the motor pinion to the gear box transfers the rotational energy generated by the motor to each individual gear in the gear box. From here the rotational energy is transferred to the wheels by a transmission system. Afterward, it is then converted into translational energy by means of friction between the wheels and the surface the product is riding on.

Complexity Profile

There are many components used for this product to operate. There are 54 individual components and about 7 main subsystem components. The battery is the supply of power for the system. With this, the system also has a chassis, four wheels, steering wheel, two seats, and music playing device with speakers, and a pedal for speed control. This product includes both very intricate and noncomplex parts. The most complex part of this system would be the electrical components involved in creating the power to move the vehicle. From the braking system to proper distribution of energy from the battery, the electronic system controls vital aspects of the system.

Materials Profile

There are a variety of materials that create this product, which are both visible and hidden by the exterior for aesthetic and safety purposes. These materials were explored and compiled in a list prior to dissection.

Visible Materials:

  • Hard plastic - the chassis of the car is made of this material as are the wheels and steering wheel
  • Steel - the steering system is composed of this as are many of the screws
  • Lead - the battery is lead based

Unseen Materials:

  • Copper - wires made of copper run from the battery to the transmission and continue onto the motor
  • Metal - the system that translates the energy generated by the motor to the wheels is probably composed of metal. The gear system may also be made out of metal.

User Interaction Profile

Figure 6. User Interface of Product

The Barbie Dune Beetle is designed to look similar to that of an interface of a real automobile. The Barbie Dune Beetle has an acceleration pedal on the front of the floor of the car. Once the pedal is pushed the car will move until the pedal is released. This pedal is easy to press for any individual that can reach it. Unlike a full sized vehicle there is a constant braking system, so no brake pedal is needed. The riding toy also comes with a steering wheel that is mimics a steering wheel of a full sized car. The steering system does not have power steering therefore the force applied by the passenger is what turns the car. Therefore if there was a large child or weak child, they may not be able to turn the vehicle easily. There is also a lever underneath the seat which allows the rider to choose if they want to go in reverse or forward. Finally, the Barbie Dune Beetle is equipped with a sound system. This system has buttons in the front of the car next to the steering wheel, which allow the user to play two different songs, beep the horn, and “rev” the engine.

The interface of the given riding toy is fairly intuitive and the product is easy to use. If the child has witnessed an adult driving a full-sized automobile they will most likely have the basic idea of how to use the toy. If the user turns the steering wheel to the left the car will turn to the left and if they move the steering wheel to the right, the car will turn to the right. If the gas pedal is pushed down the toy will move. A minor setback to how easy this toy is to use, is that the buttons for the sound system and directions on the lever for direction of motion are not clearly labeled. The user has to try all the different buttons and memorize their function. However, this is a used product and the labels could have been removed.

Some maintenance is necessary while using the Barbie Dune Beetle. The product comes unassembled, so the buyer must put the product together before it is ready for use. The main necessary maintenance is for the battery. Before the first use the battery should charge for 18 hours. After that, the battery should charge for about 14 hours every time it dies. The battery life depends on the size of the rider and the terrain that the toy is being used on. There may be some instances where the thermal fuse in the car or other parts of the gear box needs to be replaced. Overall the Barbie Dune Beetle by Powerwheels is a user friendly toy that has a simple and intuitive interface that won’t create frustration or confusion for the target user.

Product Alternative Profile

There are many product alternatives to the Power Wheels Barbie Dune Buggy. The main entertainment value of this toy comes from the fact that it acts as a mode of transportation for the user. There are a variety of toys such as bikes, rollerblades, scooters, and other motorized ride on toys that can serve the same purpose. These alternatives all come with advantages and disadvantages when compared to the Barbie Dune Buggy. Some of these advantages include lower costs, promotion of athleticism, portability, and adjustable features to accommodate child growth. The disadvantages to the alternative products range from children being emotionally upset not owning a vehicle, the fact that high speeds cannot attained with the easy push of a pedal, and many times, a physical sense of balance is required or injury will be induced. Figure 7 below highlights these variables.

Figure 7. Product Alternatives


[1] Barbie dune beetle. (2003). Retrieved from
[2] Barbie learn to inline skates. (2011). Retrieved from
[3] Barbie switchboard: pink. (2011). Retrieve from
[4] Bellis, M. (2011). The history of barbie dolls. Retrieved from
[5] Fisher-price power wheels. (2011). Retrieved from
[6] Huffy disney princess 16" girl bike. (2011). Retrieved from
[7] Power wheels fisher-price barbie smart car. (2011). Retrieved from
[8] Power wheels kawasaki brute force. (2011). Retrieved from