PCBWay Mid Year Big Sale and 6th Anniversary Celebration 2020

Importance of PCBs in Building a Solar Vehicle

Who We Are

The Midnight Sun Solar Car Team is University of Waterloo's student design team that has been designing and building solar-powered electric vehicles since 1988. Our team looks to empower young engineers by providing a team to develop and apply their skills to innovate for the future for a real world problem - sustainable transportation. As part of our 31-year history, our car Midnight Sun VII (pictured below) captured the 2004 World Record for the "Longest Journey Powered by a Solar Powered Car."

Our Vehicle

As a follow-up to the success of Midnight Sun XII (pictured below) - the first Canadian solar car to ever complete the 3000 km American Solar Challenge, the team is currently completing the design of its next vehicle, Midnight Sun XIV (MS-XIV).

With our next car, Midnight Sun XIV (MS-XIV), we’re taking on the unique challenge of creating a vehicle that is both energy-efficient and practical. We believe creating consumer-oriented solar powered vehicles is an important step in achieving a more sustainable future. Midnight Sun proudly represents our university at both the American Solar Challenge and World Solar Challenge.

How would PCBWay impact MS-XIV?

There are a few vital boards in our car's electrical system that covers battery management, power distribution and control:


BMS Carrier (Battery Management System)

For our car's BMS, we have certain PCBs we design and implement that measure our battery's operating condition. Including voltage across modules, current, and temperature.


Analog Front Ends (AFEs)

The board in charge of measurement are our AFEs which we have attached an image below. The AFE chip we use is LTC6811, a state-of-the-art battery multi-stack monitor.


Power Distribution Board

Another board we design, assemble and validate is the PD. In charge of taking in 12 volts from either regulated battery supply or our supplemental battery and provide power to all our low voltage systems (lights, driver controls, horn).


Controller Boards

This essentially is our communication interface throughout car, it uses an STM32F0. This allows us to streamline our data from various subsystems in the car. This includes our drivers’ controls, CAN messages for battery management, power distribution, solar sense, motor controller interface, etc.


PCBWay & Midnight Sun

To summarize, PCBs play a monumental role for Midnight Sun, they are the binding force that allows our cars to work through the boards. With these boards and more, we have over 25 unique PCBs in the vehicle. A relationship built with PCBWay will allow Midnight Sun Solar Car Team to keep innovating to enable us to push the boundaries of solar powered transportation.

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Nov 23,2019
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