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HIL Tests for the Power Equipment of Electric Trains

Testing controllers for grid interfaces, electric drives, and power electronics

Electric trains are characterized by a broad range of components and systems. The number of electric drives and other power equipment components depends on the number of electric railcars and varies considerably. Typical train applications require a high amount of I/O channels to enable a complete virtual test environment. Adaptable testing solutions are needed to fulfill the requirements of scalability and timing. Due to the complexity of the systems and the limited commissioning time, executing the majority of the tests in the more comfortable laboratories is a great advantage.

Application Areas

  • Traction converters
  • Auxiliary converters (on-board power supplies)
  • Battery chargers
  • Mains connection including main transformer, rectifier and energy distribution

Key Points

  • Test system adaptation to individual components
  • Scalable from single components to a virtual train
  • Support of several parallel motors
  • Integration of a large amount of power electronics
  • Multicore applications for large simulation models
  • Large amount of I/O channels
  • Very short cycle times in the processor-based simulation by FPGA preprocessing and optimization of I/O access
  • Interaction of FPGA-based and processor-based simulation platforms
  • Simulation of power equipment by drawing electric circuits
  • Design of I/O boards with customer-specific I/O configurations thanks to the I/O functions library of the XSG Utils Library and the flexible I/O of the DS2655 FPGA Base Board 

Example of a HIL simulator system for testing railway ECUs.

Support of Multiprocessor Systems

To increase the computational power for large test systems, two or more SCALEXIO Processing Units can be coupled. The systems are coupled via IOCNET to ensure sufficiently large bandwidths. For convenient modeling, you still have just one overall project in the configuration software, ConfigurationDesk.

Adjustable I/O Scale

For comprehensive I/O requirements, the DS2655 FPGA Base Board can be extended with I/O modules. The example simulator setup on the right includes six DS2655 with 30 I/O modules and three Processing Units. Altogether, the system provides more than 500 I/O channels that are available via Hypertac connectors. The computation performance and the outstanding IOCNET I/O access let you run the complete simulation with sample times of less than 20 µs (input-to-output latency of less than 2x sample time). The SCALEXIO system can be adapted to all project requirements by dSPACE Engineering Services.

Controlling and Simulating Electric Motors

The new DS2655M2 Digital I/O Module adds 32 digital I/O channels to the DS2655 FPGA Base Board, letting you capture or generate more digital signals, e.g., for position sensors. Furthermore, the I/O channels can be configured as senders or receivers for RS232- and RS485-based communication. With the appropriate FPGA-based programming, you can thus simulate protocol-based position sensors (such as SSL, EnDat, and HIPERFACE) and digital encoders (such as incremental encoders). The FPGA is programmed for each case via Xilinx® System Generator. The FPGA application generated by the dSPACE FPGA Programming Blockset is then easy to import into dSPACE ConfigurationDesk to configure the entire SCALEXIO system graphically. The DS2655 FPGA Base Board can be connected with up to five I/O modules via a ribbon cable, offering a highly flexible number of available channels.


Due to the short sample times, jitter effects have to be reduced as far as available. Depending on the I/O channel requirements, different synchronization methods are possible. To minimize the jitter between two or more DS2655 FPGA Base Boards, including their modules, for gate driver capturing, the stacks are synchronized with each other via the appropriate I/O channels. This lets you synchronize multiple boards with a jitter of two FPGA clocks.

The XSG Utils Library offers users of real-time FPGA applications enhanced function blocks for implementing their own projects. The library is completely open and can be used in rapid control prototyping (RCP) projects as well as hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation. Due to the generic programming, the library can be applied to all freely programmable dSPACE real-time FPGA platforms with a Xilinx FPGA.

dSPACE offers a variable license model:

  • XSG Utils Library for developers of FPGA and processor applications
  • XSG Utils Interface Library for users who embed preconfigured FPGA applications into existing Simulink® models

Available Function Blocks

  • Scope
  • PWM Measurement
  • PWM Generator
  • Look-up Table
  • I/O Access Functions
  • Integrator
  • PI Controller
  • Average Calculator
  • Sine Generator
  • Discrete PT1
  • Scaling
  • Wavetable Encoder
  • APU
  • Small Apps
  • Version Info