In modern vehicles there has been a significant increase in the number of electronic hardware devices connected to the vehicle battery, each of which has the potential to cause supply issues.
Once of the key challenges in modern systems design is being able to test and demonstrate there are no low power or quiescent power issues. This is especially true for systems that consume relatively high power when operating, but very low power when in a dormant or standby state. The problem is that it is often difficult to find instruments that can measure both the highest and lowest current levels with the appropriate resolution and accuracy.
Sens-X smartfuses can be used to help find and test for electrical supply scenarios such as flat battery, overload or transient power issues by monitoring one or more ECU (Electronic Control Unit) supplies.
Sens-X is a range of current measurement devices that can be plugged directly into the fuse box, fuse holder or similar repositories for specific current measurement testing. It is designed for engineers seeking compact, high dynamic range current measurement that can be used from vehicle breadboards up to whole vehicles.
Sens-X sensors measure currents, voltages and transients at levels from over 1000A to sub-milliamp, and can stream data onto CAN. The system can support up to 100 sensors per CAN bus and offers a sample rate of up to 1000S/s. Noise levels approximate to 0.002% of the rated current. This allows for accurate diagnosis of quiescent current issues.
Available with a range of sensitivity and high response variants, these smartfuses are particularly appropriate to automotive testing and development, but are also applicable to many other markets. These devices support current measurement simply by replacing a fuse with the Sens-X smartfuse.
Software is provided to configure and monitor the Sens-X network using an intuitive GUI, or alternatively any CAN 2.0b compatible system can be used.
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Sens-X isn’t just one singular product; it is a range of in-vehicle current measurement devices that can be configured to meet almost any testing requirement. There are two different form factors of Sens-X smartfuses, which are typically connected by CAN networking, cabling and adaptors. Sens-X smartfuses are single, DSP based plug-in boards that can be sleeved, un-sleeved or enclosed, as appropriate for the particular installation. Sens-X TVC units connect in series with the vehicle battery and measure current flow throughout the entire vehicle or breadboard, again sending data out via the CAN network.
Sens-X smartfuses can be used with fuse holders, fuse boxes, or any other appropriate connectivity. They are specially designed for test, development, and systems engineers looking for compact, high dynamic range current measurement that can be used in vehicles and vehicle yellowboards.
These smartfuses either connect in-circuit via specialist connectors, as required for test and laboratory applications, or plug directly into automotive fuse-holder, creating a real fuse with current and voltage measurement capability.
Smartfuses can be supplied in an enclosed unit to allow a more flexible solution, supporting easily replaceable fuses and a range of interchangeable probe accessories. They can also be supplied for use in high density fuse boxes or within a DIN rail mountable unit for increased versatility around the lab.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate form factors, you can customise your Sens-X system according to your measurement and protection requirements.
Smartfuses are also available with a range of sample rates offering a highest measurement frequency of 1000S/s and noise levels approvimate to 0.002% of the rated current.
The TVC (Total Vehicle Current) enclosed variant is designed for measuring the current taken by an entire vehicle, requiring substantially higher power capability. It features three smartfuses mounted inside a unit that also includes appropriate temperature control.
TVC smartfuses are used where extremely high currents are required with the ability to resolve low currents without range switching. This means they can perform key-off load testing on the same device during engine cranking sequences.
Sens-X TVC units are also compatible with any commercially available CAN logging packages. Alternatively, our GDSP GUI running VISUALCONNX can be used to configure bespoke interfaces.
Sens-X supports all common automotive fuses
The Sens-X range includes adapters to fit many common automotive fuse types of all shapes and sizes. Smartfuses can connect directly to the fuse box or via appropriate cabling. Custom adaptors are available to fit practically all variations of all automotive fuse housing. Setup of these can be done quickly and easily, although add2 will happily provide support on complicated systems on request. Examples of fuse socket types that can be accommodated are as follows:
ATO fuses are now standard for the majority of road vehicles. They are also used in low voltage applications and range from 0.5 to 40 amps.
A time delay fuse that offers a range from 20 to 100 amps. They’re used in a wide range of low voltage automotive electronics.
J-Case fuses are time delay cartridge fuses with a female terminal design. Standard J-Cases are available in 32 and 58 volt DC versions.
Low Profile J-Case
Lower overall height than standard J-Case fuses allows for a shorter male terminal blade, saving weight, space and material.
Mini fuses offer similar electrical characteristics to ATO fuses but in a smaller sized package. Ratings range from 1 to 30 amps.
Micro (2 & 3)
The Micro fuse’s miniature design meets the needs for circuits to be protected whilst taking up minimal space, allowing more efficient fuse box design.
|Small enough to plug directly into a fusebox
||CAN interface allows around 100 devices per bus
|Different formats available
||Bipolar current measurement
|Exceptionally high dynamic current measurement range
||On-board temperature monitoring
|Large number of current range and speed option
||EEPROM storage of configuration data
|Voltage measurements from both sides of the fuse
||Temporary current offset facility
|Isolation ensures minimal draw from the current path
||Status LEDs to indicate calibration, data and more
How does Sens-X work?
The Sens-X range comprises of a range of ‘plug and go’ devices for many points of measurement, allowing quick and efficient testing. It replaces vehicle fuses with smartfuses that provide sensitive measurement in the space normally taken by the fuse. Using a pre-configured GUI, each smartfuse can be monitored and configured to broadcast its data onto CAN using streaming support, or alternatively can be polled if required. The smartfuse contains an actual fuse to protect against over-measurement.
Sens-X systems can be adapted to measure new test boards or prototypes, meaning a system suitable for testing one environment can be redeployed by simply deconstructing its constituent parts. A range of adapters are available to accommodate an assortment of automotive fuse socket types. A form factor is also available that connects in series with the vehicle battery to measure total vehicle current. Any variety of automotive fuse can be accommodated on request if desired.
A closer look
PC running the add2 GDSP GUI that allows configuration, monitoring and logging of all fuses on the system.
add2 COMMDongle provides a connection between the Sens-X fuses streaming the data and the GUI analysing that data.
Sens-X smartfuse plugging directly into the fusebox within a lab vehicle or real vehicle.
add2 CP12 Tee piece supporting the construction and communication of the simple CAN network.
Sens-X smartfuses are optionally available with in-line automotive fuse connections. A range of standard automotive fuses can be easily fitted into the socket pictured below. Other, alternative models feature onboard fuses that can be easily replaced.
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