Organizing Our Electronics

Electrical System, Featured, General / Monday, January 9th, 2023

The point of building a new solar car this year is to improve upon our previously raced car. At the start of the year, we knew we wanted to improve the organization of our electronics. Last year, we found it difficult to plan our electrical system and spent a significant amount of time designing our electrical system using CAD software. This year, we decided to draw block diagrams of complete systems first before drawing every single electrical component with greater detail.

Snippets of the electrical diagram for the solar car raced in 2022

While having a very detailed drawing can be helpful for documentation, it is also not practical to draw one from scratch during the planning phase. Instead, it is much easier and more useful to draw an outline of a proposed electrical system before drawing a detailed diagram. Block diagrams are useful for blueprinting ideas without investing too much time laying out the design or getting lost in the clutter.

A tentative block diagram for electrical components in the battery box

This layout is helpful in many aspects. For example, instead of drawing every single battery cell in our battery box, we can draw a single box to represent all the batteries as a whole (which is what we are usually concerned about). Additionally, this layout makes it easy to churn out different electrical layouts without worrying about the small details. In the future, we plan to convert these block diagrams into more detailed and specific electrical diagrams. Afterwards, we can work on building the physical electrical system.

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