Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Semester is finally over! Of course, this only means that the time previously dedicated to schoolwork is now consumed by cycling and CAR.

This week I've been getting the boards in line to be sent out to Advanced Circuits. Namely, the GLV motherboard, as well as the board for the steering wheel and HV panel.

A board for the steering wheel?

In addition to integrating the low voltage electronics onto a board in a reasonably sized box, the dashboard is moving onto the steering wheel. This meant I had to yet again moonlight as a MechE.

A thing of dreams @____@

The design change was motivated by the poor ergonomics of the current dashboard mounted user interface, as well as the sweet steering column connector that was discovered while overhauling the cockpit. The original plan was to have an ARM based microcontroller running the whole show, but given the limited number of pins on the connecter, I opted to run the display on an AVR, and have the motherboard talk to the dash over I2C.


In the center is an OLED display with an array of LEDs to indicated the SOC of the main and GLV batteries. In an effort to improve serviceability, the steering wheel is constructed in 6 parts: the backshell, the front grip, rear grip, LED diffuser (the acrylic bordering the screen), the face, and the quick-release adapter. The backshell can be removed for easy access to the boards inside (boards are mounted to the face).
The face and the quick release interface will all be made of aluminum, while the grips will be 3D printed, primed and coated with a rubberized finish, and the diffuser will be laser cut acrylic. The assembly is held together by socket head M4 screws.


Buttons mounted to the face of the steering wheel will ether be hardwired to the steering column connector or to the nano breakout depending on its function. Functions on the previous dash like the brake bias adjust, and cockpit emergency shut-off switch will be kept in a separate dashboard area  in order to minimize clutter on the wheel face. (read: fitting an e-stop button and a knob with a cable running off the other end is a nightmare waiting to happen).

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