The Australian International Model Solar Car Challenge is a competition for school age students to design, build and race, a model solar powered car.
Engineered Electronics has been a proud supporter of the Challenge, at both Tasmanian and a National level, since 1994.
Our founder, John Jeffery, has been on the Tasmanian committee for many years and is currently Tasmanian State Coordinator and a member of the National committee. For the last couple of years he has been directly involved with formulating the regulations and has been a scrutineer and judge at the National competition.
There is lots of information available from the National website and from various state websites which you can link to from there.
Both the competition and the car specifications are detailed in the regulations obtainable from the National website www.solarnational.org or the Tasmanian website tassolarcar.4t.com and downloading the .pdf file.
For assistance in designing your first car there is a .pdf help file also on the Tasmanian website.
Teams supported by Engineered Electronics have achieved a remarkable record in this competition, both at a state and a national level.
As part of our ongoing involvement, we have developed the ENGELEC MAX4 solar panel power maximiser specifically for use in this competition. The Max4 connects between the solar panel and the motor. It operates as a buck converter but instead of regulating the output, it maintains the solar panel at it's maximum power voltage irrespective of the motor load or speed. The maximiser is available as a kit of parts with instructions for assembly, a circuit diagram and a description of how it works, all to enable students to assemble their own, or as a fully built and tested unit. There are also instructions on setting up and how to instal in the car. It also has provision for dynamic braking and the fitting of a front enable switch, essential for avoiding motor damage at the start gate.
This unit is so successful that it was fitted to the cars which came first, second and third at the 2005 Nationals in Melbourne.
We have also developed a hand held solar panel power meter which simply connects to the solar panel, and, with a single button press gives the open circuit voltage, the short circuit current, the maximum power and the maximum power voltage, all within less than half a second.
We also have developed a light box regulator which maintains a constant light output from the QI lamps used to test the solar panels in this competition. It compensates for varying mains voltages and differing ambient light conditions. It also features soft start to extend the lamp life.