Mini-Course in Electrical Engineering

Mini-Course in Electrical
Chris Jones, Intern
Working Safely with Electrical
 Working with High Voltages
– It is a good idea to work around the car without power
connected to the system
– Always be aware of when the car is live
– When working on electrical systems, use single hand
or latex protection
– Walkthrough the entire system and watch for exposed
wires or connectors often
Working Safely with Electrical
 Minimizing Risks
– Minimize number of people around/or with access to
the car
– Put physical protection between the driver and any
electrical circuits
– Properly insulate all connectors
– Make sure that no connectors are grounded to frame
– Store car with battery disconnected
– Be neat in arranging your circuit
• Loose wiring may snag and be difficult to work with
• Planning your conduit will save you time during the race
Tools of the Trade
 Soldering Iron/Gun
 Wire Strippers/Cutters
 Wire Crimpers
 Needle-nose Pliers
 Diagonal Cutters
 Multimeter
 Heat Gun
Plan your circuit on paper before wiring
your car
Example: Northview Race Team ‘97
 Deciding when to use crimp connectors
 Types of connectors that work well
 Problems with crimp connectors
 Selecting wire type and size
 Wiring strategies and planning
Planning how to route your wires
Running wires between components
Being neat in placing your wires
 How to work with battery cables
Soldering – The Easy Way
 Tools you need to get started
– Soldering Irons / Guns
– Solder
– Heat Shrink
 Recommendations for effective soldering
 Explaining Winston Solar Challenge rules
 Different types of lead acid batteries
– Automotive
– Deep Cycle (Marine)
– Sealed
 How to care for your battery
– Cycling and Voltage limits
 Recommendations for the auxiliary system
 Replacement batteries
Drive System
– The different types
• Brush
• Brush less
• Hub
– Selecting what is right for you
– Why they are needed
– How to decide on the right controller
Solar Cells
 Types of Solar Cells
– Terrestrial Grade
– Space Grade
 General Information
 How to wire your solar cells
– Series
– Parallel
 Explaining Winston Solar Challenge rules
Solar Arrays
 Advantages of prefabricated vs. custom-built
 How to build your own solar array
What do you look for in a base material?
How do you insulate your array?
How do you solder solar cells together?
What do you mount your solar cells to?
What is encapsulation and how do you do it?
 Power Trackers
 General care for a solar array
 Meters for the modern solar car
Amp-hour counters
Temperature sensors and gauges
 The “E-Meter”
 Be safe around your vehicle. Be aware of when
your car is live. Minimize risks.
 Have the proper tools to work on your car. It
makes your work much faster.
 Plan your circuit before putting it together.
 Size your battery system, solar array, and wires
and select your connectors according to your
 Ask others for help when you don’t understand
how to do something.
 Do you have any questions?
Where can you purchase parts?
 General Solar Supplies
KTA Services
Ken Koch
944 W. 21st St.
Upland, CA 91784
909-949-7916 (Fax)
 Solar Cells
ASE Americas, Inc.
Ms. Evelyn Bennett
4 Suburban Park Drive
Billerica, MA 01821
508-667-5900 x266
508-663-2868 (Fax)
Photon Technologies
Robert Mulligan
P.O. Box 790
Severna Park, MD 21146
410-544-4075 (Fax)
Siemens Solar
Camarillo, CA
805-388-6395 (fax)
 Power Trackers
Australian Energy Research Laboratories
Stuart Watkinson
M.S. 660
Proston, Queensland 4613, AUSTRALIA
011-6171-689197 (Fax)
Where can you purchase parts?
 Motors
Advanced D.C. Motors, Inc.
219 Lamson Street
Syracuse, NY 13206
 Solder for Solar Cells
315-432-9290 (Fax)
27 Jason St.
Arlington, MA 02174
508-658-3224 (Fax)
 Motor Controllers
Curtis PMC
6591 Sierra Lane
Dublin, CA 94568
510-833-8777 (Fax)
Attn: Catalog Sales
4 Sunset Way, Bldg. C
Henderson, NV 89014
800-950-5679 (fax)
 For more information, go to: