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Controller Tests and Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation

Once the ECU functions are implemented on the production ECU, they have to be tested in realistic scenarios. This can be done by means of hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, which simulates the ECU’s environment (interacting components or even a whole system). With HIL simulation, you can easily cover all the different motor varieties and their ECUs.

For realistic battery management controller tests, dSPACE offers the HIL simulator system SCALEXIO and special hardware and software for battery simulation, such as

real-time hardware for HIL tests with high-voltage accuracy and galvanic isolation or simulation models for lithium-ion batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries. For the real-time simulation of electric drive systems, dSPACE provides FPGA-based I/O for capturing the gate driver signals and simulating the motor current. Combined with simulation models, e.g., the ASM Electric Components Library for processor-based simulation and the XSG Electric Components Library for FPGA-based simulation, you can build a powerful HIL test system. With the new Electrical Power Systems Simulation Package, the simulation models for processors and FPGAs can simply be generated directly from the circuit topology. dSPACE systems cover applications from rectifiers and inverters for closed-loop simulation with an electric drive controller, to DC/DC converters, to wind/solar energy converters.

Simulating the ECU environment (interacting components or even a whole system) has several advantages:

  • Function tests are possible at an early development stage, even before all parts are available in reality
  • Laboratory tests reduce time and costs and take place under controlled conditions
  • Failures and the ECU’s behavior in what are normally dangerous situations can be tested with no risk for the driver or the controlled machine
  • The tests are reproducible and can be automated

Different Ways to Access Electric Motor ECUs

ECUs and other systems for controlling electric motors can be accessed by the HIL simulator at different levels. Which interface to use depends on the testing purpose and project conditions:

  • Signal level: Simulation of the power electronics, the electric motor, and the mechanical environment:
    • Very scalable, as parameters can be set flexibly regardless of the power level
    • Full access to the model
    • Internal signals of the ECU must be accessible
  • Electric power level: Emulation of the electric motor and simulation of the mechanical environment:
    • Production ECU, including power stages, can be used
    • Full access to the model
  • Motor parameters can be set flexibly within a certain power range
  • Mechanical level: Simulation of the mechanical environment, production ECU, and real motor:
    • Testing of mechanical parts

Use Cases