Current sensor provides Formula 1 teams with controlled means of acceleration

February 15, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Nine racing teams are using the IVT-F current sensor made by Isabellenhütte Heusler GmbH, during the 2012 Formula 1 season, which will start on March 18th in Melbourne, Australia. The module has been integrated in the so-called E-KER systems: E-KERS is an Electric Kinetic Energy Recovery System that was used for the first time in 2009 and which was integrated in Formula 1 cars again for the 2011 season.

E-KERS forms part of the power transmission of F1 cars. It converts kinetic energy won during the breaking process into electricity with the help of an electric motor that also performs as a generator. This power is stored in lithium-ion batteries and fed back into an electric motor in strictly regulated quantities, which in turn boosts the Formula 1 car's combustion engine during acceleration periods. Isabellenhütte's IVT-F integrated current sensor controls the quantity of power supplied by the E-KERS. The Formula 1 umbrella organisation FIA aims to ensure in this way that the racing teams will not use E-KERS to break the rules. According to the sensor maker, It took just two months to develop the modules though they are specifically designed for use in Formula 1.

The sensor measures current, voltage and temperature through different channels at a rate of 3,5 kilosamples per second. It provides fixed calculation of mean value over 16 sampling values and provides the output data across a CAN bus interface at a data rate of up to 1 MBit/s. Operating life time is adequate to Formula 1 requirements with 2000 km (minimum).