P16250: Self-Powered Autonomous Aquatic Vehicle

Subsystem Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test Phase

Our main task to accomplish this phase to perform navigational tests on the small-scale boat. We planned on showing a demonstration on our MPPT, solar panels and steering components.

We were not able to perform navigational tests, such as the polynomial test, mainly due to limited availability of the RIT pool. The first time we went to float test, an unforeseen issue of the chlorine eating the loctite occurred that prevented us from performing any tests that day. The next time we're able to get into the pool will be after spring break.

We were able to gather data on our solar panels and MPPT.

Steering components are still in the process of being machined.

Test Results Summary

Solar Panel Testing

Description of Image Marine Grade Panels MSD Panel Trainer Panels
Solar Panels
Test Data public/MSD II/Testing/SolarPanel_TestData/Marine_Edge.jpg public/MSD II/Testing/SolarPanel_TestData/MSD_Edge.jpg public/MSD II/Testing/SolarPanel_TestData/Trainer_Edge.jpg

There are two 18W marine-grade panels, one 100W MSD panel and five 20W "trainer" panels in our design. Both the marine grade solar panels and "trainer" panels are on loan from Alfred State College for this phase of the project.

The purpose of this test was to determine if the panels worked as expected and to get an idea of the power that could be generated by this system in various conditions. Above are screenshots of the software that is included with our MPPT, the EPSolar ET6415BND. The orange box in each screenshot outlines the instantaneous current, voltage and power of the panel output. The green box outlines how the panel power fluctuates as the day progresses and amount of sunlight varies. The conditions during this test were sunny with scattered times of light cloud cover.

Solar Panel Arrays

The top picture is our first array, which made up of one MSD panel and two marine panels.The bottom picture is our second array, which is made up of five trainer panels.

Model Boat Video

The construction of the model (quarter-scale) boat was also completed during this phase, allowing us to begin testing control algorithms in the RIT pool. Click here for video of testing in the pool.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Issue Register

Risk Register


Here is a picture of our steering arm in progress.
Steering Arm

Steering Arm


The following picture displays the layout of our 80/20 Inc. aluminum extrusion mounting framework that will be mounted to the catamaran. It is approximately 15 feet long and 7.5 ft wide and will be used to mount all of the solar panels, electrical enclosures, and trolling motors. The use of aluminum extrusion for mounting will prove extremely valuable due to the ability to assemble the solar panels as "trays" which slide onto the overall mounting frame. This will speed installation onto the boat once the boat comes on campus.
8020 Layout

8020 Layout

Power Distribution Board

The Power Distribution Board (PDB) provides power switching and monitoring ability for the vessel's electrical systems. It will provide three 10A 12VDC switched circuits for the sensor/CPU board, the communications system, and an auxiliary output. Additionally, it has provisions to switch an outboard relay which will be used to control power to the Roboteq FDC3260 motor controller. The PDB also features an RS232 interface for communications with the MPPT, a CAN interface for communications with the CPU/sensor board, and an XBEE wireless module to implement the remote "deadman switch" functionality, as well as allow for system debugging over UART.

The PDB is in the process of being laid out in Eagle PCB CAD software, with careful attention being given to the high-power traces. The PCB is a double-sided board which features SMD components where possible and pluggable Phoenix Contact COMBICON connectors to provide ease of debugging and connection. These connectors combine the convenience of screw terminals within a pluggable, modular connector for ease of removal and installation, which will be invaluable during system testing and debugging.

public/MSD II/Schematics/PowerDistributionThumbnail.png public/MSD II/Schematics/PowerDistributionLayout_WIP.png

Click here for .pdf version of the Power Distribution Board schematic.

Small Scale Program

The coding is divided into two parts. One part is programmed in Matlab and the other is programmed in Arduino. The Matlab code reads in values from an Xbox controller, decodes it and sends the appropriate command to the Teensy.

Micro controller Program

The micro controller essentially waits for a command to be sent from the matlab program and then executes the command received. A flow chat is provided Here. The setup block is explained below in order to keep the flowchart from being cluttered.


Customer Update Meeting

Our customer requested a meeting outside of MSD scheduled meetings. The minutes from that meeting can be found here.

Functional Demo Materials

Functional Demo Minutes

Plans for next phase

By the time of our next demo, we plan on having our full-scale boat to the point where we can begin testing SPAAV in a lake. This would include having our mounting system built and in place and having our subsystems wired. We don't foresee ourselves being able to test navigation and GPS on the full-scale by next time so we might show these functionalities on the small-scale boat, provided that we test our small-scale boat outdoors. Additionally, for the next demo we plan on showing data for all of the panels working together.

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