Neutrik connects University of Minnesota solar vehicle

A team of undergraduate students from the University of Minnesota’s engineering department, along with a little help from Neutrik, recently completed the North American Solar Challenge, a competition to design, build and drive a solar-powered car from Dallas to Calgary, Alberta. Through several donations of needed connector and receptacle products, Neutrik helped the team create the school’s entry, dubbed Centaurus.

“We used Neutrik-brand connectors as the backbone of our connection solution for Centaurus,” said Samuel Lenius, university project manager. “Neutrik was the best available solution for our design, as the products provided the most reliable performance, which is a major factor in an event of this caliber and distance.”

Nearly all of electrical components on the car were designed and manufactured in-house by the students, with methodology that ensured that every electrical component in the vehicle had, at a minimum, two complete backups — this extended down to the connectors and wiring. Neutrik donated numerous wire-side connector products including several male and female XX-Series XLRs (NC3FXX-BAG, NC3MXX-BAG, NC4FXX, NC5FXX, NC6MXX-BAG and NC7FXX). In terms of chassis-side connectors, Neutrik also provided a number of male and female A-Series XLR receptacles (NC3FAH, NC4MAH and NC5FAH) as well as male and female DL-Series XLR receptacles (NC3MD-L-B, NC5FD-L-B-1, NC6FD-L-BAG-1 and NC7MD-L-B-1). The company also donated several of its Speakon Lockable Loudspeaker connectors and receptacles (NL4FX, NL4MP-2 and NL8MPR-BAG).

Centaurus was put to the test in the cross-country time/distance rally event, which ran from July 13 to 22, finishing fifth of the 16 teams that competed. The team was honored with several awards for unique design and sportsmanship, including the Best Workmanship Award for the clean manufacturing of the car and the Excellence in Mechanical Design Award for the suspension and chassis. Electrical team leader Adam Shea received the individual “Esprit de Corps” award for the help he gave to all of the teams to get their electrical systems up and running.

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