Preparing all the electrical systems for the races

When getting closer to the first race, everything in the boat needs to be perfect. For the electronics department this means testing every last part, and fixing some last minute bugs. One important step that we are working on is precisely measuring the battery. This to ensure it is within limits set by the race organization, but also it is a very important step for strategy. Namely by measuring the battery and plotting its energy against the voltage you get a discharge curve. By measuring the battery voltage and then looking at the discharge curve, the energy left in the battery can be estimated at any time.

Furthermore what needs to happen is making sure that all PCBs are working, and that we have spare ones. If any happens to break down during a race it is important that we can fix it fast, and therefore having spare ones is the only way to do so.

Next thing to test is the height control, since this can be simulated, but can only be tested when the boat is completely finished and fully working. By changing the parameters of the height control the behaviour of the boat changes, and during test they can be tuned like this to make the boat perfect.

What also really gets tested good at this moment is the data acquisition system, or DAQ. The DAQ communicates with a server, so from land we can see all data that the boat generates in real-time. All data the DAQ sends can be seen on the server, and is stored for future reference.

The system was already tested earlier, but now that the boat is actually sailing, we can really see if everything works. The DAQ also can be used to check the rest of the system, since if an abnormal value is seen on the DAQ this can indicate that another system in the boat is not working correctly.

Lastly at this moment the electronics department is working on making a second energybox. This box houses the battery and most electronic control systems to distribute the battery power, and keep the boat working. The second one is made so that we have one to test with and another specifically made for the races. In this way the degradation of the one energybox does not influence the race box, which therefore is less likely to break down during races and the battery capacity will not degrade as fast.

During the first race, which is coming up really soon, we will truly see if we did a good job.