At the core of our electronics is our ATMEL microprocessor; we are using a SAMD21J18A. It will generate all control signals, read in all signals, send all data to the radio, and make all decisions as to charging, LED flashing, and operational modes. You can learn more about our processor and its interaction with our Radiation-Safe Memory, MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM), on the Avionics Software page.
There are three main signal paths in our satellite.
- Power: from our solar panels to all ICs (Integrated Circuits) and LEDs
- Our five solar panels contain 120 solar cells that convert light to electricity.
- We use Max Power Point Tracking (MPPT) ICs to optimize battery charging from solar cells and protect our batteries from damage.
- Our batteries are inhibited from being connected to their loads by two kill switches: one on a flash panel and one in the rail of the chassis.
- We have three voltage regulators that convert our batteries’ voltages to voltages that our other systems need.
- Our driver board contains 4 Boost Regulators that convert 6.6V and 60A from our batteries, to 36V and 3A for our LEDs
- Control: signals for demultiplexing and turning on other hardware
- Our processor controls: LED flashing, antenna deployment, radio transmission enable, battery charge enables, and radio power enable.
- Demultiplexing allows us to have 18 sensors and multiple sense voltages read on one analog input pin, our processor controls this with 8 control signals.