The Electrical System of the car is split up into two parts, however putting it into three is normally much easier to understand. The first part is the most obvious on a solar car: the solar array. The solar array is the most important part of car since it is the basic requirement needed to race. Our solar panels are laser cut and donated to us by the OSU Solar Vehicle Team who obtained them in bulk from a Portland based company called Solar World. These solar panels were also soldered and made into cells at the OSU campus with a couple of our members in the winter of 2011. Our solar panels are high grade and are very efficient when wired correctly and not broken.
Jonathan Stueve soldering solar cells at OSU
The next system is our Primary Electrical system which the solar array is technically apart of. The system includes our motor, the batteries, the motor controller, the potentiometer, and the solar array itself. The system is the highest voltage and is the most dangerous to work with but the most vital system in the car. Our solar panels charge the batteries over time while the batteries store the energy. The batteries then power the motor through the motor controller. The motor controller controls the amount of energy going into the motor and ensures we don't damage any of our equipment.
The Secondary System is a not needed to make the car run, however it is needed to be legal in the race. This system is mainly made up of indicators, sensors and switches. This is the equivalent of the systems that turn on your blinker while driving. We are required by the race to have turn signals, brake lights, a horn, an air conditioning system. We plan to add a system with readouts of the cars current stats. The Secondary System is mostly a complex wiring job and only runs off a 12 volt battery. The switches are all located on our dashboard as well as the tablet. This system is color coded and was excellently made by our veteran team member Anthony Keba.