Chrysler Radio Simulation

Each quarter, four or five undergraduate students work with AU faculty and engineers from Chrysler's Huntsville Electronics Division on computer-aided simulation of critical circuitry in Chrysler car radios.

The radios are manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama and one of the interesting aspects of this project is the opportunity to tour the modern assembly lines.

The simulation effort at Auburn is part of Chrysler's total quality management (TQM) plan. The purpose of the simulations is to identify potential problems with new or modified designs, and to develop a performance database against which new designs can be checked.

Circuit simulations using PSPICE check power amplifier performance, including loudspeaker and wiring harness effects, as well as the impact on critical parts of large voltage and current spikes, such as those generated when the vehicle is started, or when electric motors like the heater/blower fan are switched on and off.

Recent radio designs involve many digital parts, with multiple high-frequency clock signals routed on the printed circuit boards. For these designs, the QUANTIC electromagnetics analysis software package is used to isolate potential cross-talk problems.

Typical finished car radio. The power amplifier IC's are mounted against the heat sink (right side). Spring clips are used to ensure good thermal contact. The microprocessor that controls all radio functions is in the center foreground, and the audio processor IC is the other large IC in back and to the left of the microprocessor.

AU students study Chrysler car radio electronics schematics.