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Penn Electric Racing are the University of Pennsylvania’s Formula Electric SAE team. Having been around since 2013, they’re one of the first electric Formula SAE teams and have broken multiple records, including the worldwide acceleration record at Formula SAE Lincoln. This year, they’re focused on validation and making sure that all their circuits are optimized to be the best that they can be. To do that, they’re using Cadence technology.
Instead of using pre-built modules or battery systems like the other teams, Penn Electric Racing build their batteries themselves in order to get every performance metric they can. One of the most important factors when designing a battery are its thermals. The higher the heat gets, the greater the resistance. High resistance can make the system less efficient and also more dangerous. That’s why keeping the battery cool is extremely important, not just for the operation of the battery but also for ensuring safety.
Cadence's Celsius Thermal Solver allows Penn Electric Racing to look at the chips on their PCBs in their battery packs and see how hot they’re getting over an endurance run, and then to make the necessary changes to ensure all the components are getting adequate cooling. They’re also using Cadence AWR software for all of their high-frequency, high-speed RF designs, which include their data acquisition board.
Richard Prescott, the electrical co-lead at Penn Electric Racing, said, “Without AWR, we would have to go back into the lab, order a PCB, wait weeks for it to arrive, solder it, and then test whether a small part of the circuit works without knowing whether or not it’s going to work. It would be a lot more trial and error. But with AWR, we are able to reliably know that our circuit will work before we even test it.”
Penn Electric Racing are going to continue to use the Celsius Thermal Solver to run even more thermal simulations for the battery pack of their newest race car, REV8. At the same time, they’re also planning to use Cadence’s inspectAR Augmented Reality Electronics Program to help debug the many custom PCBs that they have on the car.
“Designed with Cadence” is a series of videos that showcases creative products and technologies that are accelerating industry innovation using Cadence tools and solutions. Learn more about how Penn Electric Racing is revving things up and overtaking the competition.
For more Designed with Cadence videos, check out the Cadence website and YouTube channel.