# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
Akhil Pothineni
Alex Chmiel
Alex Lymberopoulos
Matthew Qi design_document1.pdf
Illini Solar Car

Team Members:
- Alex Chmiel (achmiel4)
- Alex Lymberopoulos (alexdl2)
- Akhil Pothineni (akhilp3)

# Problem

Illini Solar Car is manufacturing their 3rd generation vehicle to race at the American Solar Challenge this coming summer. The team has recently installed their array and is looking for easy-to-use, configurable, and efficient solar MPPTs. The off-the-shelf models are very expensive and will take time to integrate into the vehicle’s architecture. Also with off-the-shelf components if a part fails, we will not have access to the schematics to replace the component.

# Solution

The idea is to create custom, efficient, and low cost MPPTs built for the team’s electrical system. For some background, the vehicle has the array wired in three separate sections. The goal behind the 3 sections is better resilience to shading and redundancy built into the system. We would make an easy to move enclosure with three MPPTs inside that can be mounted in the vehicle. If one of the MPPTs fails we would still have 2/3 of the solar array producing power.

By making the MPPTs in house lots of problems could be solved. We could drastically reduce the cost, make it plug-and-play with our vehicle’s electrical systems, and be able to debug issues quickly.

# Solution Components

## Subsystem 1: Logic Board

This board will be running a perturb and observe algorithm to vary switching signals sent to an off-board power board.
- LPC1549: Microcontroller used in all solar car projects. Has built in CAN controllers. Data will be sent over CAN.
- Voltage Sensors: To view the voltage and vary the algorithm. Most likely use SPI communication protocol.
- Current Sensors: To view the current and vary the algorithm. Most likely use SPI communication protocol.
- Temperature Sensors: Monitor Temperature of the MPPTs to verify safe operating points.
- Fans Control: Turn on the fan when temperatures get too hot.
## Subsystem 2: Power Board

The power board will be controlled by the logic board to take in the input power and vary the output power to charge the battery. Should handle power up to ~900W. MPPTs should be able to output in the range of 77V-120V. Max charge current is ~2.75A.
- Boost Converter Circuit: Will boost input voltage to charge battery safely. Takes input from logic board.

# Criterion For Success

- Logic Board is able to read temperature and vary fans

- Logic Board is able to send information via CAN

- Power Board successfully boost input voltage

- If faults are induced the logic board is able to stop charging of the batteries.

- Create one logic board that can control one power board to follow a perturb and observe algorithm.

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Anuraag Vankayala, Amrutha Vasili

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Featured Project


To build a GPS-assisted, cloud-controlled quadcopter, for consumer-friendly aerial photography.


We will be building a quad from the frame up. The four motors will each have electronic speed controllers,to balance and handle control inputs received from an 8-bit microcontroller(AP),required for its flight. The firmware will be tweaked slightly to allow flight modes that our project specifically requires. A companion computer such as the Erle Brain will be connected to the AP and to the cloud(EC2). We will build a codebase for the flight controller to navigate the quad. This would involve sending messages as per the MAVLink spec for sUAS between the companion computer and the AP to poll sensor data , voltage information , etc. The companion computer will also talk to the cloud via a UDP port to receive requests and process them via our code. Users make requests for media capture via a phone app that talks to the cloud via an internet connection.

Why is it worth doing:

There is currently no consumer-friendly solution that provides or lets anyone capture aerial photographs of them/their family/a nearby event via a simple tap on a phone. In fact, present day off-the-shelf alternatives offer relatively expensive solutions that require owning and carrying bulky equipment such as the quads/remotes. Our idea allows for safe and responsible use of drones as our proposed solution is autonomous, has several safety features, is context aware(terrain information , no fly zones , NOTAMs , etc.) and integrates with the federal airspace seamlessly.

End Product:

Quads that are ready for the connected world and are capable to fly autonomously, from the user standpoint, and can perform maneuvers safely with a very simplistic UI for the common user. Specifically, quads which are deployed on user's demand, without the hassle of ownership.

Similar products and comparison:

Current solutions include RTF (ready to fly) quads such as the DJI Phantom and the Kickstarter project, Lily,that are heavily user-dependent or user-centric.The Phantom requires you to carry a bulky remote with multiple antennas. Moreover,the flight radius could be reduced by interference from nearby conditions.Lily requires the user to carry a tracking device on them. You can not have Lily shoot a subject that is not you. Lily can have a maximum altitude of 15 m above you and that is below the tree line,prone to crashes.

Our solution differs in several ways.Our solution intends to be location and/or event-centric. We propose that the users need not own quads and user can capture a moment with a phone.As long as any of the users are in the service area and the weather conditions are permissible, safety and knowledge of controlling the quad are all abstracted. The only question left to the user is what should be in the picture at a given time.

Project Videos