The chamber, which took a little over a year to build, is a carefully isolated room fitted with a set of 28 light emitters with an output of 2.5 or 4 kW. These are metal-halide light emitters whose light best approximates the spectrum of real sunlight. The emitters only have a lifespan lasting three tests or so, then they all have to be replaced.
Thermal cameras check the differences in temperature inside the car during the test.
Next door is a machine room with a special air-conditioning apparatus and a “brain” to control the power supply. The chamber makes it possible to model various temperature, humidity and sunlight conditions. “We can simulate a desert climate, for example, or a freezing night in the mountains. During a test, we switch between a hot Arizona day, with an air temperature of 42°C in the shade and a sunlight intensity of up to 1000 W/m2, a Florida-style climate with extreme humidity, and a cold Alpine night when the mercury drops to -10°C,” says Dalibor Kopáč, test coordinator, describing what a test involves.
The chamber is next to the control room with a special ventilation system and the “brain” of power management.
The entire process is controlled from the control room, which is separated from the chamber by a thick wall. Personnel will soon also be able to supervise tests using their mobile phones.