A new range of small but powerful Pentium-M based RT-LAB hybrid electrical power train real-time simulators from Opal-RT Technologies can simulate power electronic motor drives, fuel cells, and conventional combustion engines to test electronic control units with sub-microsecond precision. The simulator is fully integrated with MATLAB, Simulink and Real Time Workshop and can execute several third-party models in real-time.
The Pentium-M new instruction set and large cache memory enables the simulation of power electronic systems to be executed within microseconds to achieve the required precision. For a typical electrical system simulation application, a low-cost 1.6 GHz Pentium-M achieves the same effective performance as the powerful Pentium 4 Xeon 3.2 GHz processor. However, the Pentium-M consumes less than 20 watts and is therefore available in cost efficient and compact formats.
"The new mobile processor technologies offered by Intel and AMD will enable the development of a new generation of portable dynamic instruments optimized for electronic control testing," said Jean Belanger of Opal-RT Technologies. "These dynamic instruments will combine traditional data logger, signal generators and real-time simulators in compact and robust packages," he added.
Using Opal-RT Technologies' OP5000 series I/O interface and signal conditioning modules, the system can simulate motor drives. The motor drive controller tester simulates the detailed IGBT (or GTO, or other power semiconductor switches) switching and harmonics on motor current and voltages with a sampling frequency of 100 kHz (10 microseconds sampling time). The electronic controller unit (ECU) is interfaced with the simulators through fast and high-precision I/O systems. The ECU and the simulator are then connected in closed-loop such that the ECU reacts as if it would be connected to the real motor drive. This technique, hardware-in-the-loop testing, is used to test control unit performance under several normal and abnormal operating conditions before connecting the ECU to the real motor drive.
The Motor Drive Controller Tester can accommodate systems with a PWM carrier frequency up to 10 kHz as used in modern hybrid vehicles power train and simulate IGBT firing delays and dead time effects with a resolution as low as 500 nanoseconds. Such precision is achieved by using unique simulation techniques including real-time interpolation and FPGA I/O boards to capture firing pulses and generate encoder pulses with 10 nanoseconds resolution.
The RT-LAB hybrid electrical power-train real-time simulator uses Pentium- M processors as follows:
- The first processor simulates the motor drive
- The second processor is used for data logging and for the simulation of models with slower dynamic. FireWire, SignalWire or InfiniBand achieves real-time data communication between Pentium-M modules.
- Several Pentium-M simulators can also be interconnected together and with powerful shared-memory simulation server if needed to simulate more complex systems for integration testing.
- Each compact simulator module can also develop control algorithms and implement rapid control prototypes for laboratory and in-vehicle testing.
"Toyota has been using the RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator for the last twelve months and it has proven to be an effective tool for the testing and optimization of our power electronic controllers," said Mr. Tetsuhiro Ishikawa of Toyota. "The new Pentium-M systems will add flexibility and save precious laboratory space," added Ishikawa.
Opal-RT provides software, hardware, and related solutions for real-time simulation applications, with the aim of enabling real-time parallel processing through flexible and affordable technologies.