The Electrical Engineering team has developed electronics for use in aerospace, medical research, industrial controls, and networking. Our engineers have worked on a variety of projects, including:

  • Freezers and incubators for use on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station

  • Video monitoring of protein crystal growth in space

  • Mass spectrometers for the Cassini mission to Saturn

  • Electrophysiology research on Earth

Embedded Systems Design

CBSE electrical designers have developed reliable, low-power, rugged embedded systems for use on the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, and in ground-based applications. Commercial-electrical_engineeringoff-the-shelf components are used where appropriate to shorten development time and reduce cost, with custom printed circuit boards produced as required to meet packaging or performance requirements. Designs have been based on the PC/104, PC/104-Plus, EBX, and PCMCIA specifications, because of their compact form factors and the availability of a variety of module types. Systems have used 80x86 Microprocessors, 8051 Microcontrollers, PIC Microcontrollers, and Programmable Logic Controllers, and have included RS232/RS422/RS485 serial, Ethernet LAN, and UltraSCSI bus interfaces.

Data Acquisition Systems Development

Team members have designed multi-channel data acquisition modules to interface with a variety of sensor types, including temperature, pressure, thermal conductivity, proximity, low intensity light, biomedical transducers, and fluid level. In order to image crystal growth, team members have designed high-resolution video and digital image capture systems.

Motion Control Systems Design

The development team has design experience with many different types of motion control and positioning systems, including motor, driver (amplifier or PWM) and controller (or indexer). Electrical motors used include DC brush and brushless motors with gearheads and encoders (or tachometers), and stepper motors. Coreless and permanent magnet DC micromotors have been used as well.

DC Power Distribution Systems Design

CBSE engineers have performed power requirements analyses for project related equipment, and developed precise and reliable power supply systems based on high-efficiency, extended-temperature, protected DC-DC converters. EMI filters, circuit breakers, fuses and all other appropriate measures are used to provide conformity to applicable system requirements.

Circuit Design and Manufacture

circuit_board_wiringThe team has expertise in digital and analog circuit design, for use in space flight applications, biological research, and commercial hardware. The CBSE team uses the OrCAD software package for schematic capture, simulation, and circuit board layout. When 3-D models of the board assembly are needed, the Solid Edge CAD package is used; this allows the electronics subassemblies to be imported into higher-level mechanical assemblies. Our designers have extensive experience in selecting electronic components with the reliability and traceability appropriate to the project. Components are derated to extend the operational lifetime in their intended application. Analyses of the thermal, vibration, and radiation environments are done to ensure the circuit will perform under worst-case conditions. Galvanic isolation and other unique requirements for use in biological systems can be accommodated.

Environmental Testing

CBSE engineers have handled Electromagnetic Compatibility requirements for Space Shuttle and International Space Station payloads, and have performed emissions and susceptibility testing for several flight experiments. For thermal testing, a temperature/humidity chamber is used to simulate a worst-case operating environment, to verify system performance at temperature extremes. If requirements specify a vibration environment, vibration testing is done at system or subsystem level as needed to verify the design.