DC/DC Converter – Thanks, Vicor!

It’s been a while since our last blog update, but the intrepid CalSol crew has definitely been busy. Both Zephyr’s mechanical and electrical systems are nearing completion, and with all the work being put into making this our greatest vehicle yet, we’ve got plenty to report with new updates!

We would like to thank Vicor Corporation for their generous donation of the DC/DC converter and its appropriate mounting and connection accessories, as well as the assistance of their applications engineers in selecting the components! But first, what does a DC/DC converter do?

The solar array charges the batteries, and these batteries in turn power the vehicle: the motor, the integrated circuits, the air-conditioning (just kidding, we’re too cool for A/C), and so on. The battery pack typically outputs voltage at around 100 V (using direct current, as all batteries do), while the car instead needs a 12 V DC line for its integrated circuits. Therefore, a DC/DC converter is used to account for this difference.

Some of our beloved batteries, here being tab-welded to create a parallel connection
Some of our beloved batteries, here being tab-welded to create a parallel connection

Thanks again to Vicor, who had also donated our the converter on our previous vehicle, Impulse, which had served us very well. We look forward to installing our new converter into the battery box, and getting one step closer to a finished Zephyr!

The very thoroughly tested DC/DC converter of Impulse

Thanks for catching up with us!

By Viswanath Chatterjee

Hello! I'm Vish, and I've been part of CalSol since Fall 2013, the start of my freshman year. My main focus is electrical, but I have a good deal of mechanical experience (I've had a job at a machine shop, and have built plenty of personal projects since I was little), and should be able to help you out if you need anything technical. I also have experience communicating with companies, so let me know if you'd like help securing donations, finding contacts, etc. If you'd like to contact me, I respond to my e-mail fairly quickly.

Work hard, and have fun!