Electrical Blog #4 – Software Engineer Jens Langerak

Electrical Blog #4 – Software Engineer Jens Langerak

 

85 48 65 6c 6c 6f 2c 20 57   6f 72 6c 64 21 03. Or as the steering wheel display would show that message “Hello, World!”. But first let me introduce myself. My name is Jens Langerak and I am a fourth-year Computer Science student. Since August 2015 I am a part-time team member of Forze. And I am one of the engineers who works on the software of the car.

Software in a car is for most people a bit vague and they are sometimes even surprised when they hear that there is software in a car. So, I will try to explain what it does.

The software does basically three things. It reads all the data from the sensors, it processes the acquired data and it finally tells all the actuators what to do. Since we have a lot of sensors and actuators, this means a lot of work. To do all that, we have 9 nodes in our car, each running its own code. So yes, software is important and there is a lot of it.

But now let’s get back to the beginning of this blog. One of the projects I did was the driver interface. In a previous blog, Sieger (Chief Electronics) wrote about how he designed the PCB’s for the driver interface and how he sends all the signals to the dashboard node. And that’s where I start. I check where a signal is coming from and what it should do. Next I send a message to the node that should perform the desired action. Further the steering wheel has a colorful display. I made it possible to show useful information on it. For instance, it shows if the car is ready to drive, how much hydrogen there is left and if the car is put into reverse (we don’t want any surprises like that).

I think this was the largest project I did for the car and also the most visual one. But it was by far not the project that took the most time. That is my favorite project, a chip that takes care of the communication between nodes and among others the display. But I will keep that project for another blog!

– Jens Langerak

WANTED: Marketing Manager XI

Will you be the marketing manager of the hydrogen revolution?

 

Hooray, the TU Delft exam weeks are over! Are you looking for a new challenge? Forze is recruiting for the next Marketing Manager 2017-2018!

The Marketing Manager fulfils a full-time board position and ensures a successful completion of all PR activities. It is his/her task to carry out Forze’s vision and mission to the general public and to plan, design and realise marketing campaigns. Another essential part of this function is to get in touch with sponsors, tv producers, international press and create and show the most stunning stories, photos and videos of Forze.

Are you/do you have
– a generous dose of creativity
– an eye for beauty/detail
– a sense for photography/video (experience not required)
– eloquent in Dutch & English (including writing)?

Charmed by the sight of our Forze VII on magazine covers? Swing by at our HQ or send an e-mail to recruitment@forze-delft.nl including your CV and motivation letter!

 

 

Electrical Blog #3 – Hidden Treasures

Electrical Blog #3 – Hidden Treasures

In this third blog, I want to emphasize three of our sponsors, namely Viba, Hemmink and Thomas & Betts. All of these sponsors make sure that everything in our car is fastened correctly. This is often a branch which is unrecognized by most people watching our car, but it is worth naming! Mostly the big components in our car are explained to people, but today it is time to unveal some hidden treasures in our car and our daily work.

Let’s start with Viba. What Viba does for our team is sponsoring Glue, inserts and clickbonds. We mostly use all these components to mount anything to our carbon bodywork. The fun fact about clickbonds is that they are massively strong. For example, the threaded version of a clickbond with a size of M5 has a baseplate with a diameter of 15.9mm and can hold up to 181kg of shear, and 113 kg of tensile stress. That is insane for such a small component, and that is the reason why we use clickbonds to mount everything in place that originally had no mounting points on it. The inserts are also used in our bodywork, mainly in our bottomplate. This is to mount anything onto the bottomplate.

    

Cableties with clickbond mounts, clickbonds holding a node and an insert

Then about Hemmink. Hemmink is a company which supplies us with all sorts of tape. This varies from common use tape like insulationtape and duct tape, but also for far more sophisticated tapes. In the Forze VI, we had problems fastening parts within our accumulator boxes. Our accumulator boxes are filled with Diala oil. This is a non-conductive oil which has the downside that whenever it comes into contact with tape, it makes it useless. Hemmink supplied us with tape that could resist Diala oil, which made it possible to mount the parts in the accumulator

Thomas & Betts is our supplier for cable fasteners, heatshrink and other tools for making cables. In order to make the car look very neat and to make sure that the cables stay in place, our hole cableharness is firmly fastened. The cableties supplied by Thomas & Betts are really strong which guarantee quality. We also use so called splices from Thomas & Betts. This is used within our cable to splice off signals to different places in our car.

Interest Drinks: Board & Core Team

Will you lead the Hydrogen Revolution?

Do you want to race and improve the biggest, baddest, most complex machine in the Dreamhall? Do you want to lead a multidisciplinary team of highly motivated engineering students? Then being a full-time Board or Core Team member of Dreamteam Forze is definitely something for you!

As a full-time member of Forze, you will be responsible for battling fossil fuel-powered race cars using a heavily upgraded version of the current Forze VII, proving the great potential of hydrogen technology. During this truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will gain extremely valuable engineering and managing experience which you just cannot obtain in your regular study programme. During the year, you will design and develop state-of-the-art concepts, learn how to cooperate in the most efficient way, how to lead a team of engineers and how to handle stressful situations.

We are looking for excelling, enthusiastic students with talent for leadership. Come to one of our interest drinks or just drop by our offices after lecture!

Interest Drink I: Tuesday 28th February from 17:30
Interest Drink II: Wednesday 8th March from 17:30

Already know you want to join? Send your motivation letter and CV to recruitment@forze-delft.nl, before the 19th of March.

 

Interview with leading newspaper El País

[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]We are delighted to share this interview with our (Spanish speaking) audience! Recently, we had caught the interest of Spanish newspaper El País, resulting in a flight to Forze for an interview. It was truly an honour to have a global leading newspaper coming over as El País. The fact that they flew in to question about hydrogen technology, reminded us about the actual priority of pushing sustainable mobility forward, not only within our own borders, but also beyond.

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Watch El País’ interview with Forze (Spanish)

or

click the button below for the English version:

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Electrical blog #2: The User Interface

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Electrical blog #2 – The user interface

 

Hi there! It is already time for my new blog! As I promised, this blog will be about the things I did last year. In the year 2015-2016 I joined Forze as a part-time student. This meant that I spent about 15 hours per week on the project. So when I first came in, it was all very new. The Forze VI was still tested and I got the chance to see all the systems of the car. I immediately realized how complex, but awesome the project was.

So I got the job to design the user interface of the new Forze VII. The initial idea was just to design a steering wheel PCB (printed circuit board) that handled everything, but in the end I have designed 4 different PCB’s. I had never designed a PCB before, so I first really didn’t know how to start. Luckily I got a lot of help and soon enough I got my schematics ready. I had to communicate with the drivers about what kind of knobs and indication lights they wanted and where they wanted it to be placed.

About the design:

Dashboardnode – The dashboardnode is responsible for the handling of the signals coming from the steeringwheel, dashboard and pedalbox and communicates with this with the rest of the car.

Steeringwheel – The steering wheel is – besides used for steering – the part where all the important signals come together used while racing. The first idea I got was to embed a LED screen in the steering wheel. This was possible and we got a gorgeous screen from GEMS! The main working of the PCB consists of feeding the signals from the knobs and rotary switches to a multiplexer and then send these signals to the dashboardnode where they are demultiplexed. For the rest, there are some simple debounce filters on all knobs.

Dashboard – The dashboard is quite the same as the steering wheel, except for the fact that this is only for the less important signals, which do not need to change often. The dashboard also houses the interfacing for the buffer LEDs

Bufferleds – There is a PCB with 16 LEDs to display the energy level of the buffer. This energy level is used for our driving strategy with regeneration. The reason why this is needed is because the driver needs to see if the buffer is empty (needs more regeneration then) or to full (Fuel cell starts to ramp down).

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After a lot of testing and fitting, everything finally could be assembled and tested within the car. The software was by then also already working, which made that my project was finally done! Until now (19-12-2016) the steering wheel is still fully functional and working perfectly! I am very proud of the job I did and it is very cool to see my project back on the photo’s published on various websites.

In the next blog, I will talk about some (forgotten) products we use in our car for fastening.

Sieger Falkena, Chief Electronics

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