Port Augusta: Swapping Systems

Of the two nights we spent in Port Augusta, we worked through most of both. The day we arrived, we had had a team meeting and decided that we would attempt to adopt what we were calling the “new” electrical system in place of the one we had used throughout most of the summer.
A lot of people may not know what this means, so let’s take a step back.

A.K.A. Voltaire
The new battery box assembled and ready for testing

As we started to test over the summer, we discovered various issues with the old system that initially prevented the car from running consistently. Through a series of tweaks and hacks (like the installation of what we call the CAN Bridge, used for forward data from one subset of the system to another) we were able to get a well running car. However, it was obvious that even though this was a probably useable solution for WSC, it was far from ideal. Several of our members began designing proper replacements for the components with issues, but by the time we had  actually finished the designs and fabricated new PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), Impulse had already been shipped to Australia. As a result, we had to bring untested designs with us in our luggage, in the hope that we could install and get them to work sometime before the race.Fast forward to today in Port Augusta.

Batch of CalSol PCBs

This Monday, CalSol received a second run of PCBs! We would like to thank Advanced Circuits for their continued generous support of the Impulse project.

The new boards are a revision of the system we successfully prototyped at end of last semester with numerous improvements, bug fixes and additions. We added PCBs for brake lights and turn signals, as well as finalized the design of our custom racking system. This will allow for hot-swapping of PCBs and as well as easy access to the boards for debugging purposes, something CalSol decided would be very useful after past experiences with GoldRush.

CalSol has (open source) BRAINS

The CalSol BRAIN v.1.91, finalized product

Thanks to excellent cooperation and support from our sponsor Advanced Circuits, CalSol received 50 custom controllers known as BRAINs (Berkeley Robust Automotive Interchangeable Node).

Shoutout to Novarm DipTrace

CalSol would like to thank Diptrace for the generous donation of several licences of their Schematic and PCB layout software. Thanks to this,we will be able to continue to design modules for our electrical system,which include driver controls, safety features and telemetry, to name a few. The highly useful and easy-to-use design software should enable us to make better boards in a more timely manner. Thank you DipTrace!