Saturday, September 12, 2015

First meeting of 2015

A new year, a new batch of awesome freshman, and a lot of work to be done!

On the electrical side, the team is focusing its efforts on the development of several key components of the car architecture: driver interface, user interface, motor interface, throttle interface, low voltage system, gauges, and wheel velocity sensor. 

Alison (gauges):
"My group went through a small tutorial to introduce [freshman] to CAN - the communication protocol we'll be using in the Opel. Some of the topics we covered to get to this point included:

  • Microcontrollers
  •  How CAN works at the physical level
  • How CAN works at the software level
  • Sending messages over CAN
  • Checking if messages received over CAN contain specific data
  • General C syntax
  • Bitwise operations

Ultimately, we were able to get two microcontrollers (LPCLLCX4?) talking to each other over CAN, and sending each other messages that caused an LED to turn on or off. In the future, members will apply what they learned to focus on a specific component on the CAN bus - the user interface.

Skanda (driver interface):
"Our group started to flesh out the design for the electrical subsystem that accepts driver inputs (e.g. turning on headlights, blinkers, windshield wipers, etc.). We worked with our new members to make sure they understood the subsystem's basic architecture (switches -> LPC controller -> vehicle CAN bus and peripheral relays). After that, we took a look at Hugo's specs and decided on some of the relays that we should use, and the driver interface casing. We also thought about how to fit in our goal of having different car performance settings (sporty and non-sporty, with different throttle profiles). We indicate on the bus (with designated non-conflicting CAN ID x800) which setting our car currently is set to, after which the throttle subsystem should adjust its output accordingly."

Joey (batteries):
"Battery sub-team introduced perspective new members to the design considerations we are facing with weatherproofing the front cabin, cooling the batteries, and mounting the batteries. We came up with some preliminary solutions for the weatherproofing of the cabin and cooling the batteries. Next steps are to test the preliminary solution we came up with, and to research more about air flow to determine if there is a more optimal method of both cooling and waterproofing."

In addition to the Opel conversion, the team is kicking off a new motorcycle project, headed by Jimmy Handy, for the Pikes Peak competition:

We are currently working on creating some Matlab simulations that will allow us to choose the model of Zero that is the best starting point for us. We are looking at the initial cost of the bike, energy requirements for each of the bikes to complete the race, weight, and acceleration profiles. 
The current winner is the zero FX. This is zeros lightest and cheapest bike. We plan on switching the motor and controller from the fastest, heaviest, and most expensive zero to the lighter bike in hopes we can have the best of both worlds.