The Final 10%

Electrical System, General, Post of the Week, Programing / Friday, March 29th, 2024

There is a long lasting proverb that says, “you’re only halfway done when you think you’re 90% finished.” So, with the PCB done and the mechanics of the car all together, the car appears to be all together. But as the proverb goes, that last 10 percent will take tremendous work from our electrical, software and solar array subteams.

Larsen and Odelia working on telemetry software

One of the largest projects that we have had to tackle, going all the way back to last year, is our telemetry system. Though we have been getting sufficient data with our current system, an issue with communications between our two microcontrollers has been hiding crucial numbers from the driver, our telemetry, and even our saved data. Troubleshooting this has come in waves. Our first approach has been to limit hardware issues. This meant creating a custom PCB that nearly eliminates the chance of faulty wiring. With that factor being removed, the next step was to scan countless lines of code for bugs, along with other troubleshooting. Though a tedious process, this has allowed us to regain some vital data which we will be able to utilize in pre-race testing. 

Another project we will need to complete before the race is our rearview camera, taken on by a couple freshmen members. Using a Raspberry Pi (whatever), along with a camera and screen, the new setup allows the driver to see behind them without the use of a mirror or having to turn around for ease of use. Currently, it has been embedded into the canopy and all the necessary software has been installed, with only some tweaks and bug fixes for functionality required.

Caden working on the PCB

And finally, going with the recent trend of turning our perfboards into PCBs, our electrical subteam has been also looking into swapping out our dashboard. The process follows the same procedure as detailed in our last blog post. While we are still in the design phase, the schematic looks great so far and only requires a few touch ups and measurements before it can be printed.

As the months until race day countdown, there is sure to never be a dull moment in the shop as we finalize Sockeye for its first competitive race!

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