Students in EECS 418, Prof. Heath Hofmann’s Power Electronics course, competed to build the most efficient DC to DC converter as part of the course’s final project. The competition was sponsored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; company representatives Ben Dicicco and Nazmi Sabi attended the class as guest judges. The students recently received their cash awards.
Power Electronics covers the use of electronics in energy conversion, covering power components, semiconductor devices, auxiliary circuits, and different types of power conversion. The objective of the year-end project was to design and build a DC to DC converter that mimicked a voltage stabilizer module used in vehicle stop/start technology.
Stop/start is a new system being introduced into the North American automobile market to improve fuel economy while cutting down on pollution. When the vehicle comes to a stop, the engine will turn off automatically rather than idling. When the driver is ready to move, the engine restarts, which can cause lights to flicker or interrupt sound systems – unless there is a voltage stabilization module. Students attempted to optimize this module. The first place team’s circuit had an efficiency of over 95%, which Prof. Hofmann said was quite impressive.
The judges were excited to see electrical engineering students working on projects directly related to their industry.
“We’re interested in getting the students interested in automotive engineering,” says judge Ben DiCicco. “This project gave them an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned on relevant technology.”
First Place Team
L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Nua Nicaj, Nazmi Sabi (judge), Matthew Schwendeman, Samuel Friedman, and Youngbae Son.
Second Place Team
L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Yuanying Wang, Maxime Lawton, and Siqi Chen, and Nazmi Sabi (judge).
Third Place Team
L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Yang Yang, Nazmi Sabi (judge), Pradeep Kodali, and Akshay Sarin.