The VTC Solar Car Club is employing numerous PICs, which are programmable microcontroller chips and a whole lot more. They are made by Microchip International. These PICs are helping us pull off stunts such as...
PICs are cheap and effective microcontroller chips. They come in many flavors, but in general they can have multiple A/D converters, serial I/O, and control lines all on one chip. They can be programmed using assembly language and a Windows 95 PC. They come in sizes from 8 pin surface mount to 32 pin DIP. Their potential applications are endless, and they will probably be the chips that eventually go into everything from toasters to alarm clocks to ham radios. PICs represent a new paradigm in automation and micro control.
Our MooRocco telemetry system utilizes multiple remote PICs to gather data from everything from the batteries to the brakes. These remote BABY PICs all report via fiber optics to a BOSS PIC, which will format the data for transmission via amateur packet radio. The BOSS PIC sends the bit stream to our custom designed modulation circuit, which will key our 440mhz amateur band transmitter. We have yet to determine the transmission frequency, and any input on which frequency we should use would be appreciated. We will release the data stream format at some point so that area amateurs may monitor our car's progress. The list of statistics we will be monitoring is quite long, but among them will hopefuly be a GPS position reading. Radios will be provided by the VTC Amateur Radio Club.
Travis Dudley has written a sample java application to show what
the wireless data dislplay might look like.
You can try it here.
The sun tracker will raise roof mounted solar panels to an ideal angle for maximum sunlight reception. Some maneuvering will be necessary on the driver's part, but once parked the system will monitor the current through the solar panels and raise them to the ideal angle for maximum current.
Created 1999-3-17, Modified 1999-3-18, by Jeff Laughlin
(c)1999 VTC Solar Car Club