THE FRISIAN SOLAR CHALLENGE, a solar boat race

Laura, a student from ICAI, is taking part in an interesting project that evolve the knowledge she acquired in the degree. She found out this project last year during her eramus in Delft.

            This project came up by TU Delft Solar Boat Team with the intention to win the ‘Frisian Solar Challenge’. Although they started from scratch and faced unexplored design challenges, a boat was manufactured that won the race!

            The Frisian Solar Challenge is a 220 km solar boat race. The teams develop their own boat and/or technical aspects of the boat. It’s all about handling clever techniques in the correct way, but also about agility, insight, and teamwork.

Hoi! I am Laura, and I belong to the electronics department of the 2017 team. I am currently doing the Power Electronics Master with Solar Energy track, so my responsibilities in the department are strongly related to my studies. Last year, two electrical engineers (Luc and Jasper) designed several components of the electrical system, such as the Maximum Power Point Trackers, the Battery Management System and the Energy Management System, the 24V supply system… Part of my task for this year is try to understand every part of their design so I can mount and fix any electrical problem in Monaco if needed, where they will not be present to help.

The design of this components is done in Altium, so part of my work so far has been learning how to use this computer program. In order to do this, and as my first project in Altium, with a great amount of help from Luc we have designed ourselves a new component that last year was bought from the provider: the logger. The main function of the logger is to obtain the information from the CAN bus in the testing phase and store it in a microSD so we can later study and analyze it to improve the performance of the boat. The result is a small PCB with components like a cell battery, the CAN connectors, the power supply, the microSD connections, and the micro controller, which will be later programmed by one of our computer science engineers.

            With the first version of the logger completed, and waiting for it to be supplied so we can test it and see if it actually works or we need to redesign it, my task right now is to focus on the EMS/BMS system, composed of two PCBs connected to each other and to the rest of the electrical system, and try to spot where some bugs in last year design are so we can fix them.

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