For years, much electronic automotive testing has been carried out on lab cars or yellowboards. Traditional automotive test boards consist of a metal framework, often taking the rough shape of a vehicle, onto which production intent components are placed and connected together to be tested.
Whilst this setup has been sufficient for simple automotive electrical testing in the past, the scope of verification it can support is getting narrower due to the increasing complexity of engine control modules.
These control modules, or ECMs, rely upon signalling they receive from moving parts in order to function properly; signalling that traditionally has not existed in this environment.
The DTB can be introduced into a yellowboard setup to provide many of the signals that a real vehicle would during motion, such as from the crankshaft, the transmission, the wheel speed sensors, the fuel rail and from the injection system.
By convincing a system that a powertrain is present and operational, the DTB allows testing of controllers that are dependent on dynamic signals to take place in a laboratory environment. In turn, this allows a greater number of tests to be performed earlier, and in a fashion that is significantly more accurate, cost-effective and safe.
Thanks to its highly accessible development toolset, the DTB increases the use of test boards and yellowboards for integration or functionality testing, resulting in greater test board value in terms of cost and time efficiency, and ultimately, less need to build and run prototypes.
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The DTB is available as a sub-rack unit, and can be mounted within a rack shelf or placed directly on a bench. It provides all computational facilities for complete model simulation. The unit is also capable of providing all electrical power for the vehicle, delivered through three rugged 8mm stud connectors.
A touch screen monitor can be provided alongside each unit, allowing for immediate access to information on the simulation taking place, and also for control of real-time control inputs. Control is also possible via the pre-production physical components.
When applicable, a model development environment can be provided allowing for custom models to be developed and run. The system is compatible with the latest versions of MATLAB. add2 can provide model development consultation services should this be required, whether to configure an existing vehicle model or create a new one from scratch.
Dynamic vehicle testing that would usually have to be delayed until valuable prototype facility time became available can be performed with the DTB at a much earlier stage in the testing process. Issues encountered can therefore be dealt with earlier and less expensively.
The system can be used for many different purposes including functional prototyping, data logging and as an advanced signal generator. Functional and robustness testing can be performed on the same device by a human operator or via test automation.
The system enables a level of validation testing to be performed to assess not only functionality but also system look-and-feel testing. The DTB full supports driver-in-the-loop testing where a human driver can sit within a yellowboard and ‘drive’ the harness in a workshop.
All integrated pieces of test equipment are controlled via a central GUI which can be controlled or ‘driven’ by a human operator. Tests can also be configured to ‘drive’ themselves, resulting in a level of test automation not previously available on traditional, static yellowboards.
Deliver a wide range of driving scenarios
Out of the box, the DTB has the ability to simulate and stimulate signals relating to many functional areas of a vehicle such as the powertrain and wheel speed. An additional selection of auxiliary hardware is also available which comprise distributed processing modules that are able to provide a range of further powertrain signalling.
Examples of common signalling and applications served by the DTB are as follows:
Cluster calibration | Engine coolant | Clutch pedal | Brake pedal | Infotainment
Sign recognition | Auto-locking | Turbocharger | Ignition Voltage | Fuel pump control
Engine intake | Cruise control | Fuel injection | Power mode | Fuel level sensor
Setting up the DTB
The DTB range brings together a number of proven add2 technologies which produce a system capable of convincing a static test board that an engine is present and operational. The result is a dynamic, closed-loop, simulation system with core powertrain functionality that enables a broad range of testing to take place.
Suitably built test board
The yellowboard consists of a mechanical frame, usually in the rough shape of the shell of a vehicle, with components placed or mounted in various locations they would be in a real vehicle. The DTB swiftly integrates with any yellowboard due to its relatively compact size and flexible I/O. With the DTB, components that make up the test board can be subjected to dynamic powertrain signalling, which in turn, subjects them to more realistic scenarios than a standard, static test board. A seat can be included for driver-in-the-loop and look-and-feel verification and validation testing.
The DTB unit is designed to be integrated into an appropriately configured lab vehicle environment. It connects to various ECU systems via robust, military style connectors and is powered from an internal power supply, or optional LVT-PSU unit. For bench use, feet are fitted to provide a safe, steady platform. The unit is capable of being fitted onto a rack, for other means of integration with the test board.
The MICROGen is the heart of the system. It runs a vehicle plant model, controls all I/O, and interfaces with the GUI running on the control PC. It has up to 96 I/O and also has signal conditioning built in. The MICROGen serves as the main I/O for the DTB system and fully supports model-based design and development.
Genix H3 modules
Genix H3 modules are housed within the DTB and provide angle-based sensor signals for the sensors locating the virtual crankshaft and camshaft positions, which are used to determine engine speed. H3 modules can also support distributed processing and signal generation.
Sens-X units are high performance, compact instrumentation devices designed for measuring extremely wide dynamic range current signals. They support current measurement by replace a fuse with a Sens-X smartfuse. Its applications include high dynamic range sensing for the capture of specialist current measurements and its applications include the measurement of both working and key-off ECU and load currents. Sens-x technology is included within the DTB.
Genix H4 modules
Genix H4 modules can function as resistance or actuation sensors, as well as cruise switches. They are predominantly used to simulate sensors and switches associated with resistance over time, such as fuel level.
The LVTGO-VBS is a high speed battery supply simulator with up to 3kW capability and ultra-fast slew rate. The unit has been designed to test to many automotive EMC standards such as CI265, ISO16750 and LV124. It simulates common vehicle battery disturbance scenarios and ground voltages often found during real-world use cases. Delivered waveforms can be randomised and repeated, providing broad test coverage. All of this allows functional and robustness testing to take place from the same unit, at the same time.
add2’s COMMDongle range provides HIL systems interfacing, bus monitoring and communications data logging of the DTB system. It predominantly communicates with the control PC and the GUI, but can be used for a range of communications-related applications within functional and integration testing.
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