Electrical

The electrical team is responsible for designing, fabricating, installing, and configuring the various electrical power systems and hardware throughout the car. Systems include the lithium-ion battery pack and protection system, solar array for battery recharging, motor and motor controller interfacing, and high and low voltage supplies. To maintain and service these systems, the electrical team has also created testing equipment and procedures to keep the car running smoothly. Here is a list of the ongoing projects for our new car, the BeVolt. Electrical Team Lead: Konrad Werzner Electrical Team Members: Angus Ranson, Param Nayar, Zach Pavlich, Cynthia Luu Electrical Team Advisers: Dr. Gary Hallock, Dr. Jim Wiley, Fred Engelkemeir (B.S. & M.S., UT ECE), Jerome Powell (B.S., UT ECE) UT-SVT alumnus Battery and Battery Protection System (BPS) Our solar cars utilize lithium-ion cells to make our high voltage battery pack for supplying the power needed to run the motor. As per American Solar Challenge regulations and safety precautions, we must continually monitor the cells of the battery pack through our BPS. The BPS will monitor the status of the cells and will electrically isolate the battery in the event of a fault. Not only will the BPS provide safety for the driver, it will also monitor, transmit, and display data regarding the state of charge to aid in race strategy. Solar Array and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) The solar array must be configured with maximum power point trackers or MPPTs to provide the necessary power needed to recharge the battery pack. Electrical team member, Angus Ranson, is leading a design team to create a MPPT for use in our next solar car. Motor and Motor Controller Interfacing We are still using a three-wheeled car design and are currently raising funds to purchase a new NGM motor and a Tritium Wave Sculptor motor controller. There is a motor controller concurrently being developed by the team. High Voltage and Low Voltage Systems The high voltage system is designed with protective measures through the use of fuses in the battery pack and contactors to engage and disengage high voltage items like the array, motor, and battery pack. Stemming from the high voltage system is a filtered and fused low voltage distribution board utilizing a DC-DC converter to provide a 12 VDC low voltage bus rail to power smaller electronics throughout the car. Lab and Car Maintenance Projects: Battery Cycler We are developing our own battery cycler to plot charge and discharge ratings of various batteries for current and future solar car battery packs. The cycler consists of a data acquisition unit and discharge loads to document the characteristics of batteries. High and Voltage Power Supply Testing Rack We are currently building a power supply test rack to emulate high and low voltage systems of the car to test our boards. This rack will also accommodate a high voltage trickle charger to recharge solar car battery packs.
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