C&D Technologies DC Converters Used in Solar Vehicle

August 31, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

C&D Technologies Inc. (Tucson, AZ) has provided a number of its 250 mW LME1205S single-output, isolated dc-dc converters for a solar-powered vehicle being built to compete in this year's World Solar Challenge in Australia. The converters are used to isolate the CAN nodes and to convert the 12 V bus network down to 5 V. The devices were chosen because of their high-efficiency, low-power operation, and for their high levels of integration.

The Umicore Solar Team are the first Belgian team to enter the World Solar Challenge, which requires a vehicle to travel more than 3,000 km (1,864 miles) from Darwin to Adelaide, powered by nothing but the sun. The race will take around five days with the vehicles averaging speeds in the region of 100 kmh (62 mph). The Umicore team's vehicle, the Umicar, uses 2,800 solar cells to power an electric motor and all of the onboard electronics and telemetry systems, which are based around a CAN network.

Umicore team engineering student Jeroen van Aken stated, "High efficiency, small size, and low weight are key design criteria for a solar-powered vehicle. The LME1205S devices help us to address these criteria while minimizing the need for additional external components."

C&D Power Electronics Division Global Marketing Communications Vice President Rob Hill said, "As a global manufacturer, C&D Technologies is committed to doing all that it can to support environmental responsibility. While the Solar Challenge is undoubtedly fun, it also has a serious role to play in furthering the cause of research into the viability of solar power. We are pleased that we can help support this cause by providing the Umicore team with key components they need to complete their design."