Optimization of the Human Assisted Vacuum Climber
USU Student Showcase
The Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC) system built in 2012 by the Ascending Aggies at Utah State University, designed using vacuum motors to provide suction to pads to allow the user to climb various surfaces, needs to be further developed before being fully marketable. The current system does not have a user-friendly interface and is very loud (approx. 90 dB). These issues were addressed to answer the following question: how can the current PVAC system be optimized to decrease noise and produce a user friendly interface while maintaining current run time? To obtain the sound reduction desired it was decided to surround the motors with a hard plastic polystyrene case created by a vacuum forming process and then lined with sound-reducing convoluted foam. The motor exhaust was channeled through a single muffler out of the bottom of the case. This resulted in a sound reduction of over 20 decibels. The power system was improved with a new choice of 36 volt motors which could each be run off of only four batteries or an ac power supply through an inverter. The batteries used in this system increased run time by 50% and decreased the overall weight of the system by 8 lbs. This choice of motors was found to supply in excess the needed suction to support a 300 lb person. A Pulse Width modulator was also installed to provide a control on Voltage output of the batteries to optimize the run time. An electrical board controller was designed and installed to improve the user interface with an LED display on the pads of the system showing the remaining battery voltage and motor temperature.
White, Jacob, "Optimization of the Human Assisted Vacuum Climber" (2014). USU Student Showcase. Student Showcase. Paper 84.
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