This year, our team designed our own telemetry unit.
This year marks the first year that we will use a telemetry system in the car. The telemetry system is used to check the data in the car wirelessly if the car is driving. This means that we will be able to analyze the performance on the go and adapt the car using this analysis. Next to analyzing the data in real time, we also want to store the data for analysis later on. Also this had to be incorporated in the PCB. While designing the PCB a couple of factors were important: it had to be small and we should be able to mount an SD card on to it. One of the most important goals is portability. We want to be able to use the telemetry in various cars.
First of all, the wireless technology chosen is zigbee, using xbee modules. This was partly chosen because xbee has different technologies but the modules have the same footprint. Therefore we can swap technologies in the future. Since we use a CAN system in the car, we also needed this on our chip, that’s why we went for an AT90CAN128 from Atmel. This is also a big part of the portability: every car until now uses this technology so we can use the telemetry in every one of these. The AT90 is perfect for us since it has SPI, I2C and UART, which are needed for the communication with the xbee module (UART), writing to an SD-card (SPI) and eventually for using a real-time-clock (I2C).
To make the board as small as possible, we needed to place components close to each other. Thanks to the precision of Eurocircuits this was no problem and the production and the assembly of the PCB went perfect!