An Onboard Telemetry System for Low-Level Electrical Signals 2010-01-0191
A low-cost, high precision strain gauge data acquisition system was designed and implemented to aid in optimizing the design of suspension and steering members in an FSAE vehicle. The primary focus of the project was to capture load limits in A-arms, steering tie-rods, and toe control linkages and to extract the dynamic response of the suspension system when subjected to steady-state cornering and bump scenarios. These data are critical considerations needed to systematically and aggressively address suspension material selection and fabrication, vehicle dynamic response, and weight savings. In addition, the data from this system were intended to enhance the accuracy of imposed FEA boundary conditions, corroborate on-road system responses to simulated data, and provide a cost-effective, wireless alternative for a wide range of low-level electrical signals throughout the vehicle. The system is USB based and features a LabVIEW® software interface that directly controls the hardware without embedded code. Through the use of modern low-cost netbook computers, a lightweight, wireless on-board package is easily achievable. Preliminary testing found that the unit performed similarly to a commercially available industry standard, but at less than a tenth of the cost. Logged suspension data are presented from a SCCA Solo as an example of the utility of this system. Additionally, this paper provides key insights into the unit's design and fabrication such that other academic institutions with particularly limited budgets could adapt it to their needs, thereby decreasing the design cycle time of their vehicles.