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Eurocircuits is one of the oldest partners of Formula Electric Belgium. We are glad that we can still rely on the quality PCBs for almost 10 years now.
Starting as a team with a standard electric battery, rear wheel drive, simple electronics and only a handful of necessary sensors, we continued to advance and innovate every aspect of this car. In 2016-2017 we designed a custom battery system, using laser-welding technology to improve the performance of the battery. That year we also migrated from a rear-wheel drive to a 4 wheel drive system.
In 2017-2018 we added a sensor network to our car, with a telemetry system to give the team real-time information during races. It was also the first year that we used a custom-made ECU, reducing the weight by almost 3 kg. In 2018-2019 all electronics were updated and made more adaptable, but the main focus was research for the coming years. Semi-active suspension needs high-performance sensors and a lot of extra actuators, the first steps are done in designing our own motor drives and we started researching autonomous vehicles to participate in the driverless division of the Formula Student competitions.
In 2019-2020 We implemented the Semi-active suspension system with our own electronics to control these extra sensors and actuators. New safety systems were designed, needed for the autonomous system.
As a team, we take pride in the fact that we design and build a race car in 1 year. This is an incredible learning experience, as we as student engineers are responsible for every step in the process, from the initial concepts to production, testing and even competing against other teams. This fast-paced environment calls for great design aids and quality products, delivered by numerous partners all over the world.
For the Electronics parts, Eurocircuits has proven their worth, but not only by providing us with all the PCBs in our car. They are the suppliers for some of our other partners, which makes it easier to ask for feedback on our designs before producing them.
Every PCB in our car, we designed ourselves, resulting in more than 15 different designs and more than 30 PCBs in the car. One of the major challenges with these is the assembly, as badly soldered connections can and will break during a race. Eurocircuits tooling helps us, as this gives us consistent and reliable results during assembly.
Unfortunately, the competitions in 2020 didn’t take place, which means that we can continue to improve the designs of last year on the same car. We will re-used the car from last year for the first time since the team exists, as it hasn’t been to a competition yet. This means we can focus on improving specific parts instead of completely redesigning the whole car. We will focus on improving the performance of the ECU, preparing it for a driverless implementation. The battery will also receive improvements, with a higher capacity and more reliable communications.