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Testing Electric Motor ECUs

Application Area

Interfaces for an electric motor in a vehicle powertrain

Electric motors are increasingly being used across a wide range of applications – automotives, aerospace, automa-tion, and so on. They are compact enough to be installed almost anywhere, have great energy-saving potential, and provide power on demand, direct controllability, and easier maintenance.

You can test ECUs for all different kinds of electric motors with dSPACE HIL simulation systems.

Important Aspects

Electric motors mainly differ from combustion engines in their highly dynamic behavior, which requires an ECU clock rate of 10-20 KHz. So that electric motor ECUs can be tested at these high sample rates, dSPACE supplies special FPGA boards for HIL simulation. They enable PWM measurement, position sensor simulation, and simulation of encoders and resolvers at a high clock rate. As well as controlling motor speed, another essential function of an electric motor ECU is to control the current. (This is in contrast to a combustion engine, where only low-load actuators need to be controlled.) The HIL simulator therefore has to be prepared for its function as a current sink and source for high power requirements.

Possible Interfaces Between ECU and HIL Simulator

  • Signal level
  • Simulation of the power electronics, the electric motor, and the mechanical environment
  • Electrical power level
  • Simulation of the electric motor and the mechanical vehicle environment
  • Simulation of electric motor current using electric loads
  • Mechanical level
  • Simulation of the mechanical vehicle environment
  • Effects of the real motor and additional mechanical parts on the controller can be taken into account
  • Mechanical test bench

Application Fields (Excerpt)

  • Powertrain systems such as starter-generator systems and mild/full-hybrid systems, and electric vehicles
  • Electric steering systems
  • Brake boosters
  • Electric window lifters
  • Wind energy converters
  • Electric locomotives/trains
  • Printing machines
  • Production machinery, e.g., rollers for hot and cold forming
  • Headway and motor controls for zinc coating plant
  • Artificial respirators
  • Magnetic resonance tomography

Success Stories