Power Distribution System

The go-kart mechatronics system is designed as a modular system, consisting of several subsystems that are responsible for different tasks. There are six major subsystems: Power Distribution (PD), Main Control (MC), Throttle-by-Wire (TBW), Brake-by-Wire (BBW), and Steerby-Wire (SBW). The “x-by-wire” system design approach has been gaining popularity in the automotive industry which is to replace conventional mechanical and hydraulic control systems with electronic signals. The elimination of traditional mechanical components could increase control stability, increase design flexibility, reduce cost, and improve efficiency. In our go-kart drive-by-wire design, all subsystems except the PD use an STM32 Nucleo development board on a standalone PCB as the electronic control unit (ECU). Like modern vehicle design, communication is achieved using the controller area network (CAN) to allow efficient information exchange between nodes. These modular control systems are integrated with the original go-kart chassis in a nonintrusive manner and are easy to understand, build, and modify.

PDU Subsystem video

1. Feature

Dual Input:

2x 12V battery input with XT90 connectors, offering flexibility in battery selection and redundancy for increased reliability.

Fuse Protection:

Each component has an individual fuse, ensuring protection against overcurrent and short circuits.

Multiple DC-DC Converters:

High-Current 24V Converter

Laptop Charger 19V Converter

Auxiliary 12V Converter

Isolated 5V Converter

Isolated LIDAR 24V Converter

Isolated LIDAR 12V Converter

Isolated 3.3V Converter

2. Description

The Power Distribution Unit (PDU) V3, designed for the Autoware Autonomous Gokart Team at the University of Pennsylvania, is a highly efficient and versatile power distribution board. The PDU V3 takes input from two 12V batteries and distributes power through various voltage outputs to various devices. The board features a combination of external and in-board isolated DC-DC converters, fuses for overcurrent protection, and XT60 connectors for secure power distribution.


3. Specification of Board

Board Size


Components on board


Routing completion




Connections routed


Layer / Sq.mm

Top Layer


Bottom Layer


4. Layout


Figure 1. Layout of Power Distrubution Board

This product should be installed and operated by qualified personnel only. Ensure proper input voltage is supplied to the board to avoid damage to the components. For additional protection, use a separate surge protector or voltage regulator. Do not exceed the maximum output current for each output. Disconnect power before making any adjustments or modifications to the board. Use proper wiring and connectors to ensure secure connections and reduce the risk of short circuits or other electrical hazards. Keep the board in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent condensation and overheating.

5. Devices


Unit price ($)

Purchasing Link

EEU- TA1J221S C apacitor


https ://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/panason ic-electronic-components/EEU-TA1J221S/2689962

EEU- TA1H101B C apacitor


https ://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/panason ic-electronic-components/EEU-TA1H101B/2689918

C FR16J1K0 Resistor


https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detai l/te-connectivity-passive-product/CFR16J1K0/3 317907?s=N4IgTCBcDaIMIDEBKBGAbAKRQaQAwgF0BfIA



https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail /tt-electronics-optek-technology/OVLAW4CB7/18 43572?s=N4IgTCBcDaIPIDUAyBBA6gFgMICEDsIAugL5A

3557-2 Fuse


https://www.digikey.com/en/produc ts/detail/keystone-electronics/3557-2/2137305

PDQE20- Q24-S5-D c onverter


https://www.digikey.com/en/prod ucts/detail/cui-inc/PDQE20-Q24-S5-D/10230156? s=N4IgTCBcDaIAoBECKBRMAGAtEsAWTAygKyYIgC6AvkA

PDQE10- Q24-S3-D C onverter


https://www.digikey.com/en/pr oducts/detail/cui-inc/PDQE10-Q24-S3-D/9521937

PYBE30 -Q24-S24 C onverter


https://www.digikey.com/en/p roducts/detail/cui-inc/PYBE30-Q24-S24/9859976

PDQ30-Q 24-S12-D c onverter


https://www.digikey.com/en/pro ducts/detail/cui-inc/PDQ30-Q24-S12-D/6165425? s=N4IgTCBcDaIAoBECKBmADAWiWALBgygIxgYIgC6AvkA

24V10A Bulk C onverter


https ://www.amazon.com/Stabilizer-Converter-Waterp roof-Regulator-Transformer/dp/B097CYG8HG?th=1

12V20A Buld C onverter


https ://www.amazon.com/Stabilizer-Converter-Waterp roof-Regulator-Transformer/dp/B097BLH4HC?th=1

19V15A Bulk C onverter


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J7M BJ7B?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

XT30 C onnector


htt ps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0875MBLNH/ref =ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

XT90 C onnector


htt ps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QJRHC19/ref =ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

XT60 C onnector


htt ps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VRZR5TL/ref =ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

XT60 E xtension Cable


htt ps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GPRGQZX/ref =ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Table 2. PDU Device and Purchasing Link

6. Battery Recommendation

Input Voltage: Dual 12V batteries

Nerwak Model 1250 LIFEP04

  • Capacity: 12V, 50Ah

  • Weight: 4.8 kg

  • Dimension: 7.59 x 5.11 x 6.14 inches

  • Price: $169.99

  • Power Connectors: XT90

7. Schematic


Figure 2. External non-isolated DC-DC converter (24V, 10A) with 4 ports for Peplink LTE and three additional unused ports


Figure 3. External non-isolated DC-DC converter (19V, 15A) with 1 port for Laptop Charger.


Figure 4. External non-isolated DC-DC converter (12V, 20A) with 4 ports for PWM-VCC Converter, Brake Pressure Sensor, and two unused ports.


Figure 5. In-board isolated DC-DC converter (5V, 4A) with 6 ports for MC, USBW, LSBW, BBW, UI, and Ethernet Switch.

Diagram Description automatically generated

Figure 6. In-board isolated DC-DC converter (24V, 1.25A) with 1 port for Ouster LIDAR system.

Diagram, schematic Description automatically generated

Figure 7. In-board isolated DC-DC converter (12V, 2.5A) with 1 port for Velodyne LIDAR system.


Figure 8. In-board isolated DC-DC converter (3.3V, 2.4A) with 2 unused ports for future expansion.