The Improved Designs of our PCB’s
Last year during tests with the exoskeletons our team noticed some inconsistent behaviour, with occasionally some errors occurring. We believed this to be partly due to electromagnetic interference in the exoskeleton.
In our suit there are both data cables (Ethercat) and power cables (both a high and low voltage net).
To make the motor controllers PCB’s more electromagnetic compatible our electrical engineer Eva redesigned it so that the data and power traces would be more divided.
As our motor controllers’ PCB’s were designed last year to be as small as possible (80 by 70 mm) each component was placed very close to each other.
This made the process of redesigning the board quite difficult and thus Eva decided to start with a clean slate. By then dividing the board in two sides (a data side and a power side) she ensured that there would be less interference between the two sides.
Additionally, she paid more attention to grounding by creating one interrupted ground plane in the new PCB design. As the low voltage net will be removed from the exoskeleton, the PCB’s now also have the job of converting the high voltage net locally to a low voltage net.