NJIT Baja SAE Team

About Baja SAE

Baja SAE challenges engineering students to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain and in some competitions, water. As in real work situations, these future engineers work together as a team to discover and resolve technical challenges in design, test, and manufacturing, as well as business issues. The most rugged of all the competitions, Baja SAE also gives students the first-hand challenge of pursuing their passion while managing real-life demands and priorities. Each team's goal is to design and build a prototype of an all-weather, rugged, single-seat, off-road recreational vehicle intended for sale to the nonprofessional weekend off-road enthusiast. 

About NJIT's Electrical Subteam

SAE requires that each vehicle has a pressure-activated brake light and engine kill switches. However, NJIT's Electrical Subteam also focuses on developing hardware and software systems to collect different types of data throughout the vehicle: engine data, driver input, speed, acceleration, fuel level, GPS location, and so much more. Throughout the year, we brainstorm ideas, prototype them, and assemble all of our subsystems together to create a complete data acquisition system.

We hope in this upcoming season to shift many of our subsystems from perfboards to custom PCBs. Custom PCBs would allow us to pack our electronics more densely, which gives us more opportunities to expand our data acquisition abilities. We also hope to teach our students more about the PCB design and manufacturing process, which is an invaluable skill for electrical and computer engineers.

Below are many photos of projects from our 2023-2024 season, along with a bit more about how they work.

CVT RPM Sensors

A CVT, or Continuously Variable Transmission, is used in Baja SAE vehicles to eliminate the need for a standard geared transmission. As the vehicle speeds up, the gear ratio between the primary (left) and secondary (right) changes. The primary is directly connected to the engine, and therefore spins at the same RPM as the output shaft. The secondary is connected to a gearbox, which then connects to the wheels, making it have a fixed proportion to the wheel speed. 

Using both of these concepts, we designed an Infrared Transmitter and Receiver pair to count each revolution. This data is then used to calculate vehicle speed, engine RPM, and CVT speed ratio. Additionally, we implemented a TMP36 temperature sensor into the design that communicates the ambient internal CVT temperature to the rest of the vehicle.


Our 2024 Dashboard provides in-depth vehicle information to the driver in real time. Two seven-segment displays show the driver the current speed of the vehicle, and an array of LEDs shows the current fuel level. The dashboard also flaunts two full-color LCDs which provide the engine RPM, CVT speed ratio, current time, and 2WD/4WD status. Lastly, four status LEDs provide valuable information such as CVT temperature, data logging status, and low battery warnings. 

Data Acquisition System

The Data Acquisition Logger is essential to batching all of the vehicle's data and saving it to an SD card. Onboard the logger is a GPS module, providing latitude, longitude, altitude, velocity, heading, and GPS time. Additionally, an accelerometer and gyroscope module is able to capture all of the vehicle's movement. Together with the rest of the data from the CVT Tachometer, pedal sensors, and other subsystems, the logger saves all of the timestamped data to an SD card for later viewing. Because of the CAN-Bus implementation, upgrading and adding subsystems with additional data requirements is very straightforward.

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