Title

A Solar-Powered Boat: Northern California Solar Regatta

Lead Author Major

Electrical & Computer Engineering and Engineering Physics

Format

SOECS Senior Project Demonstration

Faculty Mentor Name

Rahim Khoie

Faculty Mentor Department

Electrical & Computer Engineering and Engineering Physics

Abstract/Artist Statement

The purpose of this project is to design a solar-powered boat to be entered into the Northern California Solar Regatta, sponsored by SMUD. The competition is comprised of three races: two solar-powered only and one battery-powered only. The boat was designed for easy installation and removal of the battery and solar panels to reduce the weight and drag of the boat during races in which these items are not required. The photovoltaic cells are connected to an adjustable mount that allows for optimum power conversion from the sun. The solar cells are connected in parallel so that the voltage will remain at the desired 12VDC level and the current will be additive, supplying the maximum power to the system. The boat is equipped with an IMU, GPS, and current sensor. The data collected from these devices is displayed on an onboard LED display and transmitted to an onshore laptop GUI display. Changes is current draw are detected and displayed on the LCD to allow the pilot to find the best angle of the photovoltaic cells with regards to the sun. Data will be stored on the laptop to determine the ideal weight distribution and plot the course of the boat. For safety purposes, the boat is equipped with a kill switch that interrupts full load current to the motor and sensor system. A momentary push-to-make button was added to the motor throttle, as per competition requirements.

Location

School of Engineering & Computer Science

Start Date

3-5-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2014 3:30 PM

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May 3rd, 2:00 PM May 3rd, 3:30 PM

A Solar-Powered Boat: Northern California Solar Regatta

School of Engineering & Computer Science

The purpose of this project is to design a solar-powered boat to be entered into the Northern California Solar Regatta, sponsored by SMUD. The competition is comprised of three races: two solar-powered only and one battery-powered only. The boat was designed for easy installation and removal of the battery and solar panels to reduce the weight and drag of the boat during races in which these items are not required. The photovoltaic cells are connected to an adjustable mount that allows for optimum power conversion from the sun. The solar cells are connected in parallel so that the voltage will remain at the desired 12VDC level and the current will be additive, supplying the maximum power to the system. The boat is equipped with an IMU, GPS, and current sensor. The data collected from these devices is displayed on an onboard LED display and transmitted to an onshore laptop GUI display. Changes is current draw are detected and displayed on the LCD to allow the pilot to find the best angle of the photovoltaic cells with regards to the sun. Data will be stored on the laptop to determine the ideal weight distribution and plot the course of the boat. For safety purposes, the boat is equipped with a kill switch that interrupts full load current to the motor and sensor system. A momentary push-to-make button was added to the motor throttle, as per competition requirements.