Group 21 - Jeep® Wrangler Power Wheels 1 - Gate 1
The reverse engineering of the Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler will take place on October 4th, 2010 (subject to change). We estimate the dissection should take no longer than two and a half hours. To reverse engineer the Jeep the following tools are necessary, but not limited to:
− Screwdriver (Slotted and Phillips)
− Power drill with multiple bits
− Wrenches of multiple sizes
- Note - the owner’s manual says the screwdrivers and safety scissors and an included assembly tool are all needed for assembly. We will not need scissors as they were only needed for use during the initial assembly of the product. The assembly tool is used to tighten the nuts, however a conventional wrench may be easier to use on the bolts. *
The major challenge we plan to face during the disassembly process is the fact that this product is not meant to be disassembled. Due to the fact this product is made for small children it is not designed to be easily taken apart and put back together. Of the different sub systems of the product we will concentrate on the translational motion and the steering sub systems during the disassembly.
We may find it necessary to use additional tools, and will do so accordingly, as we continue to dissect the Jeep. We will begin by unplugging the battery power source to ensure no one is harmed when removing wires. We will then remove all of the wiring along with the electric motor. After all of the electric and motor components are removed we will the focus on the steering wheel and axle components of the Jeep. Through our limited observations we could not determine other possible internal components that exist within the jeep, so adjustments in procedure may be necessary to insure that the dissection will run smoothly.
Table 1: Strengths and Weaknesses
Our group, overall must improve on our time management and organizational skills. This can be accomplished by strong group leadership and following a well made group calender.
Our group plans to manage our work by staying on top of all due dates and completing the work in an efficient amount of time. The group leader will be Matt Thogersen who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our group will meet once or twice a week depending on the work load for that week, for a least an hour and no more than two and a half. We will meet at Capen Library on Mondays at five p.m., following MAE 277. This meeting time will allow all of our members to be present. During meetings the group will discuss the division of work for the week as well as reviewing the work done so far. Group conflicts will be resolved by taking a group vote, and the group leader will be the overruling vote. Also we will avoid group conflicts by dividing the working equally and making sure everything is completed on time. If a group member is failing to preform adequately, a log will be taken down of failed tasks and reported to Professor Cormier for corrective action. Our group titles are as follows:
Figure 1: Gantt Chart
Matt Thogersen - Team Leader
- Keep everyone on task.
- Resolve group conflicts.
- Make sure work will be completed by due date.
Jamie Wasielewski – Editor in Chief
- Edit all technical writing.
- Make sure all work is done up to par.
Conner Klein – Tools Expert
- Leader in dissecting product.
- Inform other group members on how to dissect product.
Pat Harrington – Computer Expert
- Main user of the wiki.
- Leader in the CAD and solid modeling work.
Nick Ruth - Development Chief
- Keeps track of the dissecting process.
- Becomes expert with product.
- Leader of reassembling of product.
Wai Ken Mo – Group Planner
- Plans all meetings.
- Takes note of what was completed at meetings.
- Plans all lab days.
The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler was developed prior to 2009 when it was released to the consumer. A key economic concern at the time of development was that many Americans were experiencing economic hardships and did not have much extra money to spend on toys. This product was released with a suggested retail value of $80 (Power Wheels). Many similar products were much more expensive at this time. This product was designed exclusively for sale by Wal-Mart. This is a key global concern because Wal-Mart products are only manufactured overseas. This causes the oversea manufacturing plants to follow the regulatory standards of The United States and Canada. The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler is one product that used outsourcing most likely as a way to keep the price down so economically troubled Americans could afford it. The product is intended for sale in the United States and Canada. There are two different model numbers - one for the Canadian and one for the American version. The intended impact on the consumer was to allow children to do things in which adults are able to do freely. This empowers children by making them feel independent. In addition to allowing children to drive, this product teaches safety. This particular ride-on battery powered car is more geared towards male children; however there is a large market for ride on cars geared towards female children.
The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler, by Fisher Price, is a children’s toy version of the actual Jeep Wrangler. It has a small electric motor powered by a six Volt rechargeable battery. This product allows the child to feel like he/she is driving an actual car. The car has a forward and reverse setting and only one speed setting so the child can move freely and safely. Also, stickers are included to allow the child to customize the Jeep using his imagination. Being a child’s toy, the Jeep is naturally intended for use at home and some professional means such as daycare services. The Jeep is intended for use outside because it has treaded tires that may damage floors inside the home. The main function of the Jeep is to entertain the child while still allowing him or her to get outside, which can be beneficial to the child’s health.
The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler uses electrical, mechanical, and human energy in order to operate. It is powered by a conventional 6 Volt (4.0 amp/hour) battery. The battery creates energy by using an electrochemical reaction within the confines of the container. The reaction produces electrons that flow across a wire as a current, delivering electrical power to the system . Wiring is also connected to a pedal that acts as an accelerator. The vehicle requires a passenger to apply pressure to the pedal using his/her foot. In doing so, the circuit is completed and electric current is transferred to the small electric motor on the back-right wheel of the vehicle .
Figure 2: Diagram of Electric Motor
As current enters the motor it travels across many coils of wire surrounded by a permanent magnet. The magnet produces a magnetic field on the charged wire and creates a force that spins the wire, creating mechanical energy. This in turn turns the axle that leads to the back-right wheel. The Jeep also gives the option of moving in reverse. The driver must push the white button under the seat. This button reverses the direction of the current flow to the electric motor. Doing this spins the motor in the opposite direction, turning the wheel in reverse. Human energy is required to steer the Jeep. As the steering wheel is turned in either direction, the axle is shifted, changing the angle of the wheels .
Figure 3: Exploded View of Power Wheels Jeep
2. Windshield Frame
4. Steering Column
5. Control Switch – Switches the Jeep from forward to reverse.
6. .354 Retainer (4)
8. Front Axle (2)
11. Traction Band (4)
12. Wheel (4)
13. Axle Post Support (2)
14. Wheel Bushing/Retainer (6)
15. Center Hub (4)
16. Footboard Assembly – Includes foot pedal.
17. Dash Assembly (2 parts)
18. Wiring Harness
19. Motor Gearbox Assembly
20. Motor Pinion Assembly
22. Rear Axle (2)
23. Steering Linkage
26. Round Bushing
27. Rear Axle Spacer
29. Steering Wheel Assembly (3 parts)
There is also the main vehicle component, which is the base part of the vehicle. It is the part where the child sits while driving it. Also, not shown in the figure are the “spark plugs,” two 3/16th inch lock nuts, eleven #6x1/2” screws, ten #8x1” screws, and two label sheets, totaling at 74 components.
Complexity is defined as the state or quality of being intricate or complicated. Thus the more complex parts of the Jeep are those associated with the driving and powering of the jeep. Most of the components are just made of plastic. Some components, like the lever and buttons on the dashboard, are just there for decoration. The battery and the motor are the most complicated individual parts, because they have processes going on inside of them that the user cannot see. There are many small components that make up the Jeep. They are not meant to be taken off the Jeep, since they could be a choking hazard or make the Jeep unsafe to drive if they fall off. This will make disassembly more difficult. Some of the component interactions are complex because they involve many parts working together. To steer the Jeep, the steering wheel turns the steering column, which turns the steering linkage, which turns the wheels. To drive the Jeep, the child must push the control switch button so the car moves forward, and then press down on the foot pedal. The pedal is connected with wires to the battery, which is connected to the motor by more wires, and the motor causes the back-left wheel to rotate, moving the Jeep forward.
Materials That Are Not Visible:
− Aluminum/copper wire
− Materials inside the battery
− Materials inside the motor
Hard plastic, that is durable and has a high melting point, is used for the main part of the Jeep and most of the parts that attach to this main part, such as the wheels. The screws and bars connecting the wheels are made out of metal. Wires are used to connect the foot pedal to the battery and then to the motor. Wires are commonly made of aluminum or copper covered by rubber. Plastic and metal are probably used for the gears and other parts inside the motor. A magnet and coils of wire are most likely used inside the battery.
User Interaction Profile
The user, specifically a child between the ages of one-and-a-half and four, sits in the Jeep and presses the foot pedal and steers to drive around. There are two buttons that need to be pressed; one allows the Jeep to move forward, and the other allows it to move in reverse. The child also uses the steering wheel to turn while driving. To stop, the child simply removes his/her foot from the pedal (Owner’s Manual). There are also various knobs and levers on the dashboard of the Jeep, which do not do anything except allow the driver to play with them.
This product is easy to use once the child learns how to use it. A child that young will probably know to press buttons and turn the steering wheel, but will not understand how to make the Jeep move in the direction he/she wants. The Owner’s Manual suggests that a parent teaches the child how to drive the Jeep, and always supervises the child. The interfaces are easy enough to understand for a child that has prior driving experience from a similar toy. Although to new operators a brief tutorial from a parent may be necessary due to the young target age of the product.
The Jeep comes disassembled, and the Owner’s Manual states it takes about forty-five minutes to put together. Most toddlers cannot use a screwdriver, especially because screws are small parts that toddlers could choke on, so an adult needs to put the Jeep together. An adult also needs to charge the battery for about fourteen hours after each time the Jeep is used. The hood and “engine cover” need to be removed and the battery needs to be plugged into the charger, and the charger into an outlet. The Owner’s Manual suggests that parts of the Jeep, especially the battery, be checked for damage regularly, as cracked or otherwise damaged parts could pose safety issues. The screws in the wheels may also need to be tightened every once in a while. With just simple checks of the parts, the maintenance aspect of owning the power wheels is not very intensive or difficult.
Product Alternative Profile
The Power Wheels Jeep Lil Wrangler is marketed directly toward male children. The decals say Hot Wheels and have flames on them, and the Jeep is mostly black. A closely related product is the Power Wheels Barbie Jammin’ Jeep Wrangler (see Fig. 4), which has alternate coloring to market towards girls .
− Allows for two passengers
− Changes the market to young girls
− larger battery
− Gender specific models
− Small age range for intended use
− Price increase
Both products are comparable in most ways, except for the color and price. The same parts are used to build each one, so they have the same life span and durability. However, the Barbie Jammin’ Jeep Wrangler is made to hold two children, so it is more expensive. The Jeep Lil Wrangler cost $88.00 when it was on sale at Wal-Mart . The Barbie Jeep is priced in the 250-300 dollar range .
Figure 4: Barbie Jammin' Jeep Wrangler
Another comparable children’s toy is a Pocket Quad Off-Road ATV (fig.5). This toy is designed for slightly older children. It is powered by a 49 cc 2 stroke gasoline engine, so this toy is much more powerful and requires adult supervision.
− Appeals to older children
− Chain drive transmission giving much more power
− Can support a weight of up to 200 pounds
− Small size makes difficult ride for older / heavier children
− Chance for injury
The pocket quad offers a fun and enjoyable ride for all ages but is not recommended for young children without very close adult supervision. The pocket quad is priced at $899.99 but is on sale for $549.99, making it quite a bit more expensive than the Jeep Lil Wrangler.
Figure 5: Pocket Quad Off-Road ATV
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7. "Pocket Quad |ATV Quads | Mini Quads 49cc 2 Stroke EPA Approved in Orlando Florida| ATG49." Wholesale Kids ATV Dealer, Youth Mini Kazuma ATV, Kids ATVS, Kid Quad, Youth Dirt Bike, Youth 4 Wheeler Helmets, Kids Chinese ATV Parts. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.extrememotorsales.com/pocketquad.htm>.
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