Gate 1 - Group 17

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Jeep HurricaneGate 1 - Group 17
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The Jeep Hurricane, piloted by two unknown children }}
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Cost $449
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 [[[|v]]  [[|d]]] 

Contents

Introduction

We have chosen to dissect a Power-Wheels Jeep Hurricane for our product this semester in MAE277. We chose this product for several reasons. Jamie Asbach's father, an employee of Fisher-Price, was the senior engineer on the Jeep Hurricane project during its production. Through his connections, we were able to secure one for free. The complexity of the mechanics involved in a battery powered vehicle was also an aspect that interested us a group. This includes concerns such as safety, performance, and making sure the product serves in main purpose: being fun for the user.

The purpose of the first gate is solely planning ahead. Before we dissect the product, it is important we have an approach. Especially with products of higher complexity, planning is vital to proper reassembly. Another purpose of the first gate is to record our hypotheses. Is is likely many of our assumptions about he product (taken from exterior observation) will be wrong, so the learning process will clearly be seem in comparison of our initial assessment compared to our hands-on assessment.

Product Management

Work Proposal

In order to make an accurate and complete analysis of our product we must disassemble it and learn what components it comprises of. To disassembling our power wheels Jeep we seemingly only require a simple Phillips-head screwdriver. Upon initial inspection of the product, without taking any of it apart, there is no need for another tool; however, we may need a wrench to completely disassemble internal parts that are not yet visible. The assembly will require no additional tools to those needed for the dis-assembly. Since there are numerous screws in the Jeep, all differing in diameter and length, we will make special note of their positions and place them in separate zip-lock bags. A challenge is likely to arise in the dis-assembly process because some of the internal parts are brittle. Caution will be taken while removing the gearbox, which we assume is in the Jeep. Our group is greatly capable of succeeding in the dis-assembly and assembly processes. One of our members has worked in a mechanics garage and assembled new lawn mowers, another member has built many mechanical structures in his shop, and all members have experience working with tools whether in school or around the house. There are no foreseen shortcomings in our group that would prevent us from completing our task effectively.

Management Proposal

Roles of Each Member

Name Role Responsibilities Areas of Expertise Weaknesses
Jamie Asbach Project Manager Organizing meetings/Assigning Project Roles Problem Solving Poor Technical Experience
Jon Salas Labor Aiding in Disassembly of Product . Example
Liam Flynn Head Engineer Electrical wiring, mechanical systems, robotics Circuits
Josh Bastian Mechanic yes he is Dinosaurs Arms too big
Justin Canazzi Labor Aiding in Disassembly of Product Dissection No Experience with Vehicles

Meeting Plan

As a group, we have decided to meet weekly for the hour proceeding class. We are all free from 3-4, so we will plan on meeting every Friday to work on the project together as a group. The location for these meeting is still to be determined. We are somewhat limited by the rather large size of our product, so further research into on-campus possibilities must be pursued. Outside of this, we also plan on adding additional pre-lecture meetings as needed by the upcoming deadlines. These are our current plans for physical meeting, but we also plan to maintain constant communication through email and google docs. Ideally, we hope to come together weekly to observe the product firsthand, and write up observations/ideas throughout the week.

Conflict Resolution

Should a situation arise in which there is conflict among our group, our obvious first reaction will be to talk it out in person. The most likely conflict would be about distribution of workload or attendance at group meetings. If the majority of the group (3/5) agree that any member is slacking or avoiding work, we will discuss the concerns in person with the group member. If this person is unperceptive to the opinions of the group and is unwilling to change, we will see the guidance of our professors.

Product Archaeology

Development profile

Power Wheels have been in the market for more than two decades, dating back to its first appearance in 1984. They were first introduced when Kransco, a San-Francisco based toy company, merged with Pines of America, a company whom already had begun manufacturing the scaled down cars. In 1986, the name “Power Wheels” became the official term determined by Kransco, and within four years of its first appearance, the brand was selling one million Power Wheels per year. In 1994, Mattel had bought the company out and the product immediately became (and remains) a part of Fisher-Price toys.

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A preview of one of the first Power Wheels released in 1984.


Fisher Prices’ Power Wheels have become such a popular icon for its target age group (12 months to 7 years of age) that the company still remains at the top of production of identical/similar electronic products. In fact, at the beginning of its era in 1984, the United States (primary manufacturing country) was only decades out the great depression. In the following years later when production levels hit millions per year, the economy was actually deep in turmoil under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the US was in the height of the Cold war with Russia. Regardless, Power Wheels hit the market accelerating, and the demand increased stretching internationally, from the Americas to Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific region.

Usage profile

The Products Initially intentions are what seem pretty obvious; they were intended to target a younger age group in hope to provide entertainment through a toy in a different experience. Some benefits, although moving slower than an actual car, is that children can begin to get the feel of how an automobile works and the possible dangers associated with not being cautious and reckless. It gives them an idea of how rules of the road should be followed and helps with problem solving and reaction timing. It simply encourages kids to be outside. The products main purpose served is entertainment but also has provided with some models more realistic features such as a working FM radio, doors and hood that can be opened and closed, and of course the opportunity to improve the nature of the product and increase its performance. Advancements on the product can be made to make increase total ergonomics, durability, endurance, and speed. Although different types and models are assigned to different genders and age groups, the right adjustments can make the ride appropriate for kids wanting to make their car a little more extreme or parents that want to make the car more safety oriented.

The Following is as link to a video of a parent that enhances the performance of his son's Power Wheels:

Pimp My Power Wheel: Dad Upgrades His 5-Year-Old Son, Evan's Lightning McQueen Power Wheel Car (VIDEO)

Energy profile

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Electric Motor


The product is entirely battery powered. Energy is imported into the rechargeable 12 Volt battery which powers the vehicle. The initial charge time takes about 18-30 hours, and the car will run for 1-3 hours on full battery charge. There are also four “C” type batteries used to power the radio system in the dashboard of the vehicle.

The energy is converted using an electric motor. The motor works by sending a current through a coil (although the diagram shows one wire, there are actually many turns in the coil) with a perpendicular magnetic field. This creates a force up on the north side and a force down on the south side because the current is going in opposite directions in the coil.





Complexity profile

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Diagram of parts

There are about 28 different parts that are included in the packaging of the power wheels toy. These range from the main section of the vehicle – to the wheels – to the battery and everything in between These parts are listed to the right in the diagram. The product would take the average adult about 1 hour to assemble after opening the manufacturer’s packaging.

However, these 28 parts are not the only components of the vehicle. Part 1, which is just listed as “vehicle” includes most of the other main components. This part would likely include a motor in order to get the front wheels spinning and drive the toy car. It also includes the radio, axels that connect to the wheels and the steering column, and wires that connect to the battery.

The individual components have a range of complexity, but overall are not that complex. The motor is the most complex, and one of the most important components. The wheels have specific ruts to give the rider great traction and safety in all drivable terrains. Many of the other parts are just complex enough to serve their purpose well. The way the individual components work together is what makes the vehicle complex. How the steering wheel is used to direct the car, the battery giving the car energy, and the wheels turning the move the vehicle all contribute to the complexity of the whole. There is also an electronic braking system that is put into effect once the child lifts their foot off the pedal. The main complexity of the vehicle comes from the parts working together, not the mere individual components.

Material profile

Visible Materials

  • Plastic – the main material of the vehicle body. This is due to the safety and durability of plastic and it is used in most children’s toys.
  • Rubber – For the wheels, with plastic hub caps.
  • Polyester - seatbelts
  • Glass – mirrors and windshield
  • Fabric – seats

Assumed Materials (Not Visible)

  • Sulfuric acid – battery
  • Copper and an insulating material – wiring
  • Magnets – Motor

User interaction profile

From basic visual and physical analysis we have concluded that the surfaces are fairly intuitive, aside from the radio which may require some adult assistance. Some other aspects such as the gas pedal and brakes may require some practice for novice users as well as other minor adjustments to the seats and steering wheels. AS the product's target audience in young children, the coordination involved with pushing a pedal to move forward might prove slightly difficult, depending on the child. The acceleration of the vehicle may also make keeping one's foot on the pedal a slight challenge for some of the younger users.

The product has very few components to control for its operation, providing a simple or otherwise un-overwhelming experience for the young operators. The main components included are the gas pedal, pedal brake or hand brake, steering wheel, and in some cases additional accessories specific to the product.

As for maintenance, that can be determined by how well the vehicle is taken care of as well as the craftsmanship originally vested in the product. There are hundreds on variables involved in customer usage that would determine what parts would wear before others, but out initial assessment would yield the following basic maintenance.

Maintenance may include:

  • Recharging of the batteries
  • Tightening components every once in a while
  • Cleaning various components (especially if the Jeep is being used in muddy conditions)
  • Tire Replacement
  • Battery replacement

The difficulty of this maintenance would also vary. Something more advanced, such as exchanging our the tired, would likely prove a more involving process, whereas simply switching out the battery would be effortless.

Create a product alternative profile:

There are a few alternatives to our product that are similar, but due to their designs bring with them different advantages and disadvantages. For example there is the Razor Dirt Quad which offers a faster product meant for a new type of thrill, whereas the Enzo Ferrari replica ride on vehicles bring with themselves much more realism and a more sporty look. Moe similarly related are the John Deere Gator XUV Ride-On and Power Wheels Ford F150 Raptor Ride-On which are very close to our products capabilities and design. The table below depicts the alternative products along with basic specifications and their advantages and disadvantages, making comparison easy.


Product Cost Max Speed Voltage Battery run-time Advantages Disadvantages
Enzo Ferrari Ride On Car
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$599.99

8 mph

12 Volt
  • 1.5hours
  • Looks like a real car
  • Built in lights and horn
  • Alloy wheels
  • Rubber tires for extra traction
  • Relatively fast
  • Adjustable steering wheel
  • Only seats one passenger
  • On-road usage only
  • Expensive replica
Razor Dirt Quad
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$398.00

10 mph

24 Volt
  • .4 hours
  • Rugged
  • Very fast
  • Exceptional for off-road
  • Rubber wheels
  • Only seats one passenger
  • Ages 8+
  • Short run-time
John Deere Gator XUV Ride-On
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$388.00

4.5 mph

12 Volt
  • N/A
  • All-terrain
  • Adjustable seats
  • Automatic brakes
  • Working dump bed
  • Plastic wheels
  • Ages 3-8 years old
  • Long assembly time
Power Wheels Ford F150 Raptor Ride-On
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$319.00 5 mph 12 Volt
  • 1-3 hours
  • All-terrain
  • Ages 3 years+
  • High-speed lockout for beginners
  • Real FM radio
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Real working tailgate
  • Requires 4 C batteries for radio (not included)

In some situations it may be necessary to use an alternative product, such as for example when the product requirement depends on your environment. This global influence could lead you to a straight and narrow path between the choice of either on-road or off-road, depending on your climate.

Societal factors such as what is seen as popular in this day and age may be taken into consideration when making a product choice. Your child may want to fit in with his friends by showing up on an Audi R8 replica rather than a Ford Model-T.

A large influence on product selection relies heavily upon economical influences, or in other terms; whats the best bang for my buck? From the products listed you may want to stray from officially licensed replicas and stick with the basic ride-on vehicles.

And last but not least, you may or may not want to take into consideration the environmental influences. Some important ones would be whether the vehicle was made in china which could possibly contain lead in its plastic, something all parents may be terrified of if in the wrong hands.

Gallery

JeepH.JPG
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References

[1] http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4331489&cp=2255956.2273442.2255961.3242302.2256631&parentPage=search

[2] http://www.toysrus.com/buy/bikes-scooters-ride-ons/powered-riding-toys/powered-riding-toys/razor-dirt-quad-2402424

[3] http://www.walmart.com/ip/John-Deere-Gator-XUV-Battery-Powered-Ride-On/19765501

[4] http://www.walmart.com/ip/Fisher-Price-Power-Wheels-Red-Ford-F150-Raptor-12-Volt-Battery-Powered-Ride-On/26094900

[5] http://www.toysrus.com/buy/bikes-scooters-ride-ons/powered-riding-toys/powered-riding-toys/power-wheels-fisher-price-monster-traction-jeep-hurricane-2310848

External Links

[1] [1]