Electrical is one of the most important but often overlooked parts of the car. Even though the primary power source for the car is an IC (internal combustion) engine, the electrical system ties everything together. With the ever-growing number of sensors and actuators on the FSAE car, this team’s requirements are only increasing. It is the responsibility of this subsystem to integrate and support all these sensors and control systems.
What We Do
The Electrical team is responsible for designing the wiring harness and power distribution system for the entire car, as well as working with each subsystem to integrate the sensors into their designs to gather the most accurate and reliable data possible. The Electrical team also facilitates the design and integration of all electronic control systems on the car including the ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ECU (electronic control unit) and assists with calibration of these systems.
The electrical team has traditionally often been overlooked. Much of its work hinges on meticulous attention to detail and careful understanding of the relationship between the electronic components and the mechanical stresses of the car. With over a mile of wiring on the base harness alone, it is critical that the team develops a plan to create a reliable and extremely well documented harness for the car. May electrical engineers fail to understand the complexity and scope of this challenge and do not fully commit to the team. Since GTMS does not develop its own bespoke control system for the IC engine, many assume that the electrical team is very light on work but this is not the case.
The primary technical requirements for the electrical team include a very good grasp of military grade wiring and electronics design practices and a willingness to pay very close attention to detail. The car has failed during endurance more than once due to an oversight in either expected thermal, mechanical or electrical loads on its electrical system. The name of the game in FSAE for electrical is balancing reliability with size and weight reduction.
Future Goals and Projects
Future Goals/ projects of the Electrical team include a modular dyno harness, improvements to 43’s harness and an updated, ruggedized PDM (power distribution module).