The weight of vehicles and radios in particular has been increasing over the years. In order to address this issue, a new radio chassis design has been developed that aims to substantially reduce the overall weight of the radio. After analyzing the radio’s weight composition, it was decided that the chassis has a large percentage of the overall radio weight and has the most opportunity for improvement.
A radio chassis’ main functions are to protect the electronics and mechanisms inside from the environment (such as metal debris, water droplets, heat, etc), provide attachment points to the vehicle, provide attachment points for internal components, provide electrical ground, withstand high temperature from the components contained inside and protect against EMI/EMC. Therefore, any new chassis design must address all of these objectives.
The lightweight radio chassis design uses plastic as the base material and has been designed to keep the radio chassis main functions. Other electrical units in the past have used plastic as an enclosure material, but the main concern for the use of plastic on a radio has been electrical grounding and EMI/EMC protection. Therefore, the design that has been developed uses a plastic material with a conductive filler material to address this concern. This paper will discuss the reason for the material choice, the design and performance of the new chassis design, and the overall benefits and limitations of the design.