IRIS has its Preliminary Design Review

It isn’t pretty, but it’s a preliminary CAD model of IRIS-V!

This last weekend was a rush (and I am still working to keep up with everything). A night in Chicago for a concert (met my favorite indie electronic artist)–followed by IRIS’ Preliminary Design Review (PDR)–leading to a two-day final-recruiting event in Indianapolis.

Taking a brief break from Senior Design, I share tidings of progress for Illinois Robotics in Space:

IRIS Timeline

Preliminary Design Review is a time to share trade studies and the selection process for parts and implementation of each aspect of the autonomous robot–actuators, batteries, single-board computers, algorithms, etc.

We have decided on the separation of responsibilities for my three sub-teams: Power, Electromechanical, and Integration. This has been resolved for our last design review, and now brought into fruition as I have appointed a “Coordinator” for each sub-team. The electrical team is moderate in size when it comes to consistent contributors, as shown here:

Electronics Team Breakdown

Coming together, integration designed our block diagrams to document and establish the interactions of all modules of the robot with respect to the electrical team:

Electronics PDR block diagram

The integration team further worked on solutions to 3D printing enclosures, ESD protection, transient voltage protection, and our emergency stop.

The electromechanical team delivered an in-depth trade study on our drive motors, touching on other aspects of the sub-team as well.

The power team delivered an LTSpice simulation of our first-phase DC-DC conversion from over 48VDC to 12VDC. More in-depth analysis is to be done, along with the important selection of our batteries.

Overall, it was a successful PDR. We made solid progress, worked on trade studies, and established our plan going forward. In the next four weeks my team and I will be working to accomplish the following:


  • Power conditioning designed and simulated
  • Battery selected
  • Back-up battery selected (could be second of the same battery)
  • Power Distribution Module PCB created


  • Actuators selected and sourced (contact vendor to ensure we can get it in time)
  • Controllers (for all) selected
  • Ensured to work with Autonomous team
  • Maxon Motors being able to be controlled fully by EM team (testing and analysis of performance)


  • Enclosures modeled in CAD
  • Wire harness designed
  • E-Stop designed and testing done of previous stock