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First Analysis | Ss2, the electronic gearshift on the steering wheel for karts

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SS2, THE ELECTRONIC GEARSHIFT ON THE STEERING WHEEL FOR KARTS

The Italian company The Lab Europe proposes an evolution of its kit that allows you to eliminate the gear lever on “Shifter” karts to switch to paddles placed behind the steering wheel. The electro-actuated system does not have an electronic control unit. Let’s see why and how it works

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THE SS2 CHANGE KIT
THE SS2 CHANGE KIT
INSTALLATION
INSTALLATION
USE AND MAINTENANCE
USE AND MAINTENANCE
THE OPINION
THE FACTORY
TECH SHEET

The physical effort to drive a KZ kart is much higher than that required to drive a single-speed kart: you often find yourself having to handle the steering wheel with only your left hand while changing gears with the other, even in demanding situations such as getting away from other karts or coming out of a bend. This is why systems such as The Lab S22 (about 600 Euros) were developed, an electro-actuated gearbox that is placed on the market among other comparable products precisely because they are not purely mechanical, but equipped with an electrical/electronic component, such as the Mechatron Me Shifter F1 (about 1,100 Euros) and the My power shift (from 1,220 Euros). The fact that it is electro-implemented prevents it from being used in competitions in practically 99% of the national and international classes recognised by the Federations belonging to the FIA, except for KZ1. Therefore, it is mainly used by hobbyists or “gentlemen” drivers who train in karts to prepare for racing in cars with gearboxes at the wheel. The SS2 consists of 4 main elements. First of all, the [1] paddles unit on the steering wheel, laser cut from a stainless-steel sheet, finished with a carbon-like adhesive film. It consists of a [1.1] universal rectangular support which is positioned between the hub and the steering wheel. To this are connected [1.2] two levers (the right one to go up a gear, the left one to downshift) mounted on [1.3] hinges in sturdy PETG (plastic for 3D printing) which incorporate the microswitches that send the impulse to shift. The electrical system is plug & play and offers an IP67 degree of protection (therefore it is watertight in case it rains). [2] The wiring that connects to the paddles, at the opposite end connects to the [3] relay box that controls [4] the planetary actuator connected to the gearshift rod with the extensions included in the kit.

THE SS2 CHANGE KIT
THE SS2 CHANGE KIT
INSTALLATION
INSTALLATION
USE AND MAINTENANCE
USE AND MAINTENANCE
THE OPINION
THE FACTORY
TECH SHEET

For correct assembly, two sizes of the [5] actuator supports are available depending on whether the kart chassis has 30 or 32 mm diameter tubes. In addition, an optional [6] fastening plate is available at a price of approximately 15 Euros (we explain in which cases it is necessary) to correctly align the actuator to the gearshift rod. The Lab also supplies a second version of the kit called [7] “Carbon”, a kit identical to the Standard one in terms of functionality, but which uses carbon fiber (3 mm thick, water-cut) instead of steel and anticorodal aluminium from which some components are made ([7.1] the paddles and the relative fastening plate, [7.2] the cover of the actuator and [7.3] of the relay box. Costing about 800 Euros (therefore 200 Euros more than the Standard kit), it gives a weight saving of about 235 gr, according to the manufacturer’s indications. On the other hand, for reasons related to shipping regulations, the power battery is sold separately, of which there are two versions: the standard one and the [8] racing one. Upon request, the company develops [9] kits for disabled pilots, using the SS2 base adapted to specific needs.

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