University of Cambridge Logo


  • News

    Major Steps in Electronics Development

    As well as building a completely new mechanical hull over the next year, we will also take a fresh look at the electronic systems and replace many of the old components that have been used for the last couple of years. The aim of this change is to increase the reliability of certain components and to make the system more efficient, both in spacial packing and use. DesignsSockets on the side of our new, ARM powered MCB, designed by James Buckley and prototypes of some of the new circuits are already under construction so the designs can be tested before they are integrated into the new mechanical design.

    Recently, two of the new circuit designs have been completed and manufactured ready for testing. The first photo shows our new main control board; this will be the main interface to the computer and has several interfaces to allow various components to be connected. The design also allows several schemes to be tested that would give one main communications interface running right through the vehicle, which would provide a framework for communication with any module connected to the vehicle.

    The second photo Our new speed controller board uses H-bridges for flexibility, and was designed by Hugo Vincentshows the new motor controllers; these have been designed to replace the old motor controllers which were unreliable . They are capable of driving both brushed and brushless motors and have a number of interfaces to allow them to be controlled in several ways. After assembly the new circuit boards were tested by rigging them up to a resistor network to simulate the load of the thrusters and run for an extended period. We are pleased to report that this went without a hitch, despite the load generating enough heat to boil a tray of water at one point!

    Over the next couple of months there will be extensive development and testing on these circuits and new circuits will be developed so they are ready to included in the detailed designs for the next vehicle, which will be completed during the summer.


    Posted on Thursday 24th of March 2011 by ralph

    Leave a comment

      Sorry, comments are now closed.