The power system supplies power to all the electronics on Proteus. As the central distribution system, it controls hot swapping of power sources, performs power switching, and ensures that everything receives clean and safe power. Referring to figure above, there are three sets of boards that comprise the power system. The pod board governs the batteries in each battery pod. The merge board combines the various power sources and provides the main bus to the distribution board and thrusters. The distribution boards supply power to all the other electronics while collecting monitoring information.
Each battery pod contain two lithium polymer packs in series. Each pack is built from 12 cells. Since lithium chemistries are extremely dangerous when handled improperly, the pod board is responsible for regulating charge and discharge to the batteries. This is the initial layer of safety that prevents overdraw on the batteries and ensures a balanced charge on all cells. The pod board also performs routine monitoring of voltage, current, temperature, and coulomb counting.
The merge board literally merges the power it receives, be it batteries or bench power. As long as a single port on the merge board receives power, the entire vehicle stays powered on. Since the merge board controls power to the entire vehicle, the vehicle on/off switch and motor kill switch are connected to it. This single central control ensures safe power switching.
All voltage, current, temperature, and safety data collected from any power system device are sent to the merge board, which responds to queries from the computer. As such, the entire power system can be treated as one unit by the software. The merge board also relays power on/off commands from the computer to any power port on the vehicle.
Fore and aft power distribution boards provide ready access to power for any electronic device. Since the distribution boards draw from the same power line as the noisy thrusters, DC-DCs exist on the boards to provide regulated power to each port. Each of its ports is monitored for safe current draw. Overdraw on any port results in an immediate fault on the port and power being cut. The distribution and merge boards both follow an LED color standard that report vehicle health at a glance.