Born and raised in Hilo, Tré Soultz is a Waiakea High School class of 2016 graduate.  Tré is currently a junior attending the University of Nevada, Reno pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering along with a minor in Mathematics.  He is an active member of the university’s Hawaii club, Circle K, and works at the campus bookstore.  After graduating, Tré plans on returning to the Big Island where he hopes to secure a job that works to preserve the place he calls home.  During his limited free time, he likes playing games with friends, cooking at home, and enjoying the various outdoor activities Reno has to offer.

Home Island: Big Island

Institution when accepted: University of Nevada, Reno

Akamai Project: Ruggedized Charger Housing Design and Analysis

Project Site: Liquid Robotics: Hawaii Operations Branch – Kawaihae, Hawai‘i Island HI

Mentors: Ryan Kopcso, Daniel Merritt

Project Abstract:

The Liquid Robotics Company is working towards a digital ocean where oceanographic communications and information can be readily available 24/7.  The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider is an autonomous surface vessel designed to collect data in ways or locations previously too costly or challenging to operate in.  While Wave Gliders are on shore or on a deployment vessel, their onboard batteries can be recharged utilizing an external charger and debug cable.  The debug cable serves as a hardwire connection to the Wave Glider’s network for data and communication.  The Wave Glider’s charger is currently not waterproof so wet environments can short the charger and pose safety issues to field personnel or the vehicle itself.  The goal of this project is to design a charger housing that is submersible, drop resistant, transportation friendly, and maintains all of the functionality of the current charger and debug cable.  Early in the design process, thermal overload was identified as the main roadblock in the housing design.  After running thermal tests, it was discovered that the charger heats up excessively during use requiring a cooling mechanism.  The prototype design of the housing involved using a commercial off-the-shelf waterproof case and retrofitting it with a heat sink and bulkhead connectors.  From our available test results, we can see the charger will remain well within its operable thermal range.  These results were gathered before and after the housing underwent drop and submersion tests.  In the future, more controlled testing methods should be used to provide better test results.  Furthermore, controlled methods of assembly should be utilized to produce a more robust design.