Applied Data Crosses Country with Solar Powered Graphics Master

8/22/2003 - Applied Data Systems (ADS), a leading developer of RISC-based application-ready systems, contributed its powerful Graphic Master embedded systems to Principia College's solar car, the Ra V, in the 2003 American Solar Challenge(ASC). The Graphics Master was run exclusively from a solar cell, featuring its low power consuming capabilities, and managing the car's logistical information and battery requirements.

The ASC's 2300 mile race along historic Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Claremont, California, is the longest solar car race in the world. Principia College, in Elsah Illinois, is a small liberal arts college with a strong engineering department, which has participated in the American Solar Challenge since 1995. Principia finished fourth in the 2003 race and won several awards this year.

ASC cars must be powered solely by sunshine. The racers use photovoltaic (solar) cells to convert sunlight to electricity to power their cars. Principia selected ADS' Graphics Master to handle their battery management application during the race. The students' management application includes logistical calculations about the car's speed, current and predicted weather conditions, the state of the batteries, and the topography of each day's ride to efficiently direct the solar battery management during the race. The battery management application was powered by Principia-written software running on the Graphics Master system, which was itself fueled by the solar cells.

The Graphics Master is one of the most IO-rich, lowest power-consuming products designed by ADS. When it was introduced in 2001, the Graphics Master was selected as a reference platform for the Intel® PCA Developer Network and it has become very popular for wireless applications and those requiring comprehensive communications capability. The Graphics Master features an on-board four port USB hub, a CAN bus, Ethernet, seven serial ports, PCMCIA, compact flash and a reconfigurable SmartIOTM communications package.

"We are proud to have helped the Principia College team on such an exciting and worthwhile project. The Solar Challenge advances the research in renewable energy and electric vehicle technologies, and encourages environmental consciousness," said Fred Salloum, Director of Marketing for Applied Data Systems. "As it ran cross-country from a solar battery, the Graphics Master proved itself as one of the lowest power-consuming computers around."

The Graphics Master reference development system sells for $395 USD and technical specs can be found at

About Applied Data Systems
Applied Data Systems (ADS) designs and manufactures RISC-based embedded single board computers for application-ready solutions. Featuring numerous OS options, including Windows CE and CE.NET, embedded Linux, VxWorks, QNX and JVM options, the ADS product line is used in applications as diverse as industrial automation, GPS, fleet management, and POS/kiosk. For information, please visit the ADS website at or call 301.490.4007.

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