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IEEE Canada Humanitarian Design Competition. Organizational Meeting Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Waterloo. Some slides taken from presentation on WE CARE solar suitcase by Hal Aronson & Laura Stachel. Objective of Competition.

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Ieee canada humanitarian design competition

IEEE CanadaHumanitarian Design Competition

Organizational Meeting

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Waterloo

Some slides taken from presentation on WE CARE solar suitcase by

Hal Aronson & Laura Stachel

Objective of competition
Objective of Competition

  • Provide venue for students to gain practical experience in improving or innovating on an existing design under some of the constraints and conditions they will face in industry.

  • Competition involves improving a “solar suitcase” for use in medical clinics in developing countries

We care solar suitcase
WE CARE Solar Suitcase

  • A portable solar electric system that fits in a suitcase

  • Powers overhead LED lighting, charges walkie-talkies and cell phones, and includes LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.

Energy estimate 40 watt pv panel
Energy Estimate: 40 watt PV Panel

PV Watts x Sun Hours x 0.5 = Energy

40 watts x 5 hours x 0.5 = 100 watt-hrs

Example use of 100 watt hrs
Example Use of 100 watt-hrs

  • Two 3-watt LEDs x 5 hours = 30 watt-hrs

  • Two cell phone charges = 10 watt-hrs

  • Eight AAA batteries = 10 watt-hrs

  • Laptop for 2 hours = 50 watt-hrs


  • WE CARE will make the details of their “solar suitcase” platform available as Open Source Hardware

  • Participants will be asked to study this system and to propose ideas that will improve it, extend it or innovate it.

  • It is mandatory to limit designs to parts of this platform

  • All designs will be “Open Source”, and will become part of the open platform

Potential ideas
Potential Ideas

  • Simplification of the installation

  • Creation of a collection of direct current (12VDC) medical devices

  • Enabling the use of Li-Ion batteries

  • Enabling the use of electric handheld tool batteries

  • Optimizing the charge controller

  • Improving the system’s serviceability and cost

  • Improving the system’s enclosure

  • Innovating the connectors and cabling

  • Improving the effectiveness of recycling and sustainability

Logistics and timeline
Logistics and Timeline

  • Teams submit project proposal (100-200 words) by Jan 14th describing what aspect of the platform they will be improving

  • Progress report due Feb 18th describing work done so far, timeline, design specs, etc.

  • Final report due April 1st, will be judged based on innovation, quality, completeness, practicality and complexity


  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a Canadian college or university.

  • Each team must be led by an IEEE student member

    • Other team members are not obligated to be members of the IEEE.

  • Teams are required to have a mentor (a professor from the institution where team is enrolled, or from industry)

  • Teams will have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 members

  • No limit on the number of teams from a given institution

  • No entry fees


  • Abstract of the winners’ work will be published in the IEEE Canadian Review magazine

  • First prize, CND $1000; second prize, CND $700; third prize, CND $300.

  • Top three teams will receive travel grants and complementary conference registration for the [2]Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE); at this conference, they will be asked to show their designs on the solar suitcase during a tutorial session.

  • Students will be rewarded at a ceremony that will take place during the CCECE in early May 2011 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Design goals round two
Design Goals: Round Two

  • Maintain functionality

  • Reduce cost

  • Simplify installation

  • Provide suite of 12VDC appliances

Find the best pv module
Find the “best” PV Module

  • Manufacture

  • Friendship prices


  • Buy leftovers and used….

Optimize charge controller
Optimize charge controller

  • Size: reduce Amperage (10A)

  • Type: PWM or MPPT?

  • Features: Displays

  • Price: trade degree of reliability if repair infrastructure in place?

Concentrate deployment
Concentrate deployment

  • Better Data

  • Training

  • Maintenance/recycling infrastructure

  • Local assembly? Haiti; S Africa

  • Shipping


  • ShreyasSundaram, [email protected]

  • SiddharthGarg, [email protected]

  • Hiren Patel, [email protected]

    Please send an email to one of the three contacts listed above by Tuesday Jan 11th if you are interested. If you have already created a team, please include a list of team members.