Rensselaer Formula Hybrid use Kvaser to test custom circuit boards

21/01/2022 by Prachi Patel

Rensselaer Formula Hybrid is a student led club that designs, builds, and races an all electric formula style race car for the annual Formula Hybrid competition in Loudon, New Hampshire. We design and manufacture the majority of our parts in house, which allows us to gain valuable engineering experience.

A large subsystem of the car is its electronics, which include the high voltage battery and power for the motor and also lower voltage safety and telemetry systems. As the team’s knowledge has grown, we’ve started designing and programming custom printed circuit boards to meet system requirements instead of buying off the shelf models. This year, we’ve decided to use CAN communication protocols between our boards, as it’s an industry standard. This also allows us to use less wires on the car itself, increases the amount of data we can send, and reduces noise in the signal, especially when travelling from one end of the car to the other. 

We would like to thank Kvaser for their generous donation of a Kvaser Leaf Light HS v2, which is a CAN to USB interface. This system allows us to connect our circuit board CAN signals to a laptop, as it comes with a 9 pin D-SUB to USB connector with galvanic isolation as protection. With its high speed and accurate sampling, we can test our circuit boards, and ensure that each board can both send and receive all the data needed for the race car. The Leaf Light HS v2 also comes with a software suite, programming interface, and documentation, which will allow us to debug and test easily, and will also allow us to build team knowledge of how to use the software for CAN interfaces.

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