Pennsylvania students win control programming, design contest

A team of seventh- and eighth-grade students from Infinity Charter School in Penbrook, Pa., won Phoenix Contact's Nanoline Contest and will demonstrate the project, a smart solar mobile charging station, at Hannover Messe in April.


Nanoline Contest winners (Left to right): Sam Wille, Jerrett King, James Thompson and William Leuschner. Courtesy: Phoenix ContactA team of seventh- and eighth-grade students from Infinity Charter School in Penbrook, Pa., has won a trip to Hanover, Germany, in Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline Contest. The announcement comes as part of Phoenix Contact’s National Engineers Week celebration.           

The team built a “Smart Solar Mobile Charging Station” (SSMCS). The SSMCS device can intelligently track the sun for non-stationary applications, such as electric vehicles or boats. It uses solar energy to charge batteries of electric vehicles. 

Using Phoenix Contact’s nanoNavigator software, the team wrote several programs to monitor conditions such as the time of day, level of battery, whether the car is on or off and the acceptable voltage difference. Based on these conditions, the Nanoline controller can maximize the vehicle’s charging capabilities. The system also uses the Nanoline’s SMS capability to send the operator a text message about the current battery level. 

Team members are Sam Wille, William Leuschner, James Thompson and Jerrett King. They will travel to Hanover, Germany, this April, where they will demonstrate the project at the TectoYou Hall at Hanover Fair (Hannover Messe.) Hanover Fair is the world’s largest industrial tradeshow, and TectoYou is a special hall dedicated to inspiring young people to consider careers in engineering.  

Second place ($500) went to Lower Dauphin High School, Hummelstown, Pa., for the Computerized Universal Remote Table Interface System (C.U.R.T.I.S.). Early College East High School, Havelock, N.C., took third prize ($250) for the HYDROPAL home water management system. 

Phoenix Contact engineers also voted on the projects. The inaugural “Phoenix Contact Engineers’ Choice” award ($100) went to the Infinity team.

The Nanoline Contest challenges students to build a working control system using Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline controller and nanoNavigator software. 

Phoenix Contact 

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Control Engineering, 

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