Browse Publications Technical Papers 2006-01-1599
2006-04-03

Development and Implementation of a Powertrain Electrical System Simulator with Computer-Controlled Fault Generation 2006-01-1599

To manage the function of a vehicle's engine, transmission, and related subsystems, almost all modern vehicles make use of one or more electronic controllers running embedded software, henceforth referred to as a Powertrain Controller System or PCS. Fully validating this PCS is a necessary step of vehicle development, and the validation process requires extensive amounts of testing. Within the automotive industry, more and more of this validation testing is being performed using Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulators to automate the extensive test sequences. A HIL simulation typically mates the physical PCS to a closed-loop real time computer simulation of a powertrain. Interfacing the physical PCS hardware to a powertrain simulation requires the HIL simulator to have extensive signal input/output (I/O) electronics and simulated actuator electrical loading.
To accomplish this needed interface with off-the-shelf I/O devices and to provide needed automated faulting of actuator loads, Ford's VPACS-HIL simulator development has led to the creation of the CAPESS electrical load system. The CAPESS is a computer-controlled, automatic, powertrain electrical system simulator. The CAPESS combines a user-defined collection of load boards in a standard rack-mount chassis. The CAPESS receives configuration and fault instructions from an external computer via a simple networking interface, but has on-board automatic protection to provide high-speed response to any failure conditions. Currently there are two forms of a load board - a standard load board and an ignition spark-coil load board. Both types of load board use solid-state circuitry, contain on-board signal processing, and allow the user to rapidly reconfigure electrical loads. Since implemented in 2000, the CAPESS has functioned very well as a key element of Ford's VPACS-HIL powertrain simulator. This paper will describe the structure, functions, and features of the CAPESS. Lessons learned in the design process and technologies employed in the design will be presented as well.

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