Ethan Carlson

Prototype Engineer - Entrepreneur - Experience Designer

The Dynamo

Lead Engineer

What

The Dynamo was a product developed by VCharge as a general purpose load sensing and switching device. By connecting the Dynamo to line voltage and a load to be switched, nearly any electrical load could be turned into a reactive grid asset.

Innovation

VCharge's business model is to aggregate electrical load and turn it into a virtual power plant to sell ancillary services back to the grid. Before the Dyanmo, VCharge was restricted to working with thermal storage heaters. The Dynamo allows for the switching and sensing of a much broader variety of loads, and is built on the Raspberry Pi platform, allowing for agile development on a team with limited resources.

My Work

As the only hardware engineer on the team, I was responsible for leading the design, prototyping, testing, and implementation of the Dynamo. I sourced all of the core electrical components and built bench top testing circuits to verify functionality. I did all of the mechanical design for the enclosure, and took the entire product through safety testing at Intertek, achieving Authorization to Mark.

Result

The v1 Dynamo (the version I designed) was used in pilot projects in London and Scotland throughout 2015 and 2016, controlling approximately 1000 resistive loads. In 2017 a team in the UK released a v2 version that is still in active use.