Engineers Build A New Car From the Ground Up

Judy Warner
|  Created: May 6, 2018  |  Updated: May 15, 2020

Rose Hulman FSAE Car

Rose Hulman FSAE Car

Judy Warner: Tell us about your team, what you make, and where you compete.

Anthony Lin: We are the Rose Grand Prix Engineering team from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and we design, build, and race a Formula style (open wheel open cockpit) race car from scratch every year. This year marks our 7th year in the competition with RGP-7 (name of our new car). We compete in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Internal Combustion series at Detroit, Michigan and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Warner: How many team members do you have and what levels of education are represented on the team?

Team Photo with Car

Team Photo with Car

Lin: There are around 40 members currently on the team, all undergrads. The team is comprised of electrical, computer, and mechanical engineers.

Warner: You sent some wonderful photos of PCBs you've designed. What were some of your challenges and how did Altium Designer® and the 3D feature help you this year?

3D Board Design in Altium

3D Board Design in Altium

Lin: The primary goals we had was to design lightweight, weatherproof, and rugged enclosures for all of our modules. For packaging reasons, we had to make these as small as possible to make it easier to squeeze modules into small spaces. Altium ’s 3D functionality made this extremely easy as we had detailed 3D models of all of our PCBs. We were able to easily design enclosures and heatsinks for high power boards. The hierarchical schematic also simplified the process of repeating circuits such as our electronic fusing as well as the room copy feature! Another great feature was differential pair routing and impedance control. This year we added a 10/100 Ethernet PHY for internet connectivity and we were able to verify correct impedances for signal integrity.

Main Board Design in Altium

Main Board Design in Altium

Warner: How many members do you have on the electrical team?

Lin: We currently have 10 members on the electrical team. The team itself is split into multiple sub-teams such as wiring, hardware, firmware, and data acquisition. There is a lot of overlap between the sub-teams which allows members to work on many aspects of the electrical system.

Main board in mechanical carrier

Main board in mechanical carrier

Warner: Since you are graduating this year, what are your career aspirations?

Lin: I’m planning on going into the industry for a few years working at a software company before potentially going to grad school to study more about embedded systems. My current personal dream is to help build the control system that drives an interplanetary/interstellar spacecraft.

Warner: Well, best wishes on your career, Anthony. Thank you very much for sharing your team’s progress and all the great photos.

Lin: Thanks very much for Altium’s support and the opportunity to share our team’s achievements.

Mock-up of FSAE and control system design

Mock-up of FSAE and control system design

About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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