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Infineon data logging system drives Ferrari Formula One

Infineon Technologies is putting the finishing touches on a beefed-up data logging system for the Ferrari Formula One team. Andreas Pechlaner, Infineon’s head of motorsports electronics, described the system for attendees at the SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference in Dearborn, Mich. this week.

“The current system is impressive,” he says, “but the new system is much more powerful. It uses 150 different sensors, has much more storage memory, and much faster sampling rates. The number of channels in the system can be programmed in software, and so is practically unlimited. ”Storage capacity is “several gigabits,” vs. megabits in the current system, and the overall sampling rate is 180 kilosamples/second, with all channels in parallel. Sample rates for the system’s 12-bit and 16-bit analog inputs is 50 kHz compared with 5 kHz or less.

Pechlaner explains that the larger and faster logging system improves Ferrari’s ability to tune its designs, predicting the effects of vibration, temperature, pressure, speeds, sounds, acceleration forces, positions, and more. “Simulation requires extensive and precise data measurement,” he notes.

Significant challenges had to be overcome in the course of designing the new data logging system, according to Pechlaner. “We put several thousand components in a box that measures just 12 x 12 x 3 centimeters. It was a very complex construction, not simply a case of using the latest technology.” The data logging design team had to partition functions to avoid contention among them, and had to deal with the heat generated within a Formula One car. “Eventually we decided to use three boards with different functionalities. Working with a partner, we devised a way to bring heat from the middle of the boards to the edges.”

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