MBtech's latest simulation tool for electronic control units lets an ECU developer run a fast-check of an ECU design from the workstation.
"PROVEtech:µHiL can be used by specific testing departments to do the full functional validation of an ECU in their testing lab, and it can be used by development engineers for a quick check of the implementation process at the desk," asserted Dr. Nico Hartmann, Director of Tools and Equipment for MBtech Group. The PROVEtech:µHiL system is approximately 30 x 40 x 30 cm (12 x 16 x 12 in) and weighs—depending on the signal conditioning modules configuration—between 20 and 30 kg (44 and 66 lb).
The MBtech-developed test system is comprised of embedded software and hardware, including signal conditioning modules, a field programmable gate array box, and a power box. Fault simulation, plug-in signal conditioning, and input/output are integrated in the all-in-one system. Data bus connectivity, i.e., CAN, LIN, Flexray, is accomplished through a discrete standard input/output controller.
According to Hartmann, the control of PROVEtech:µHiL is handled by PROVEtech:RE and PROVEtech:TA. The former "delivers the hardware abstraction and runs the environment models. PROVEtech:TA is the user front-end with workpage, test manager, diagnostic, and fault simulation. A graphical user interface can be used to implement and run automated tests," said Hartmann.
A conventional hardware-in-the-loop test system typically requires a specific setup for each testing scenario. "A future reuse is normally connected to a major engineering effort and additional expenses for material such as hardware and wiring. With this test system, the user can implement and run automated tests," said Oliver Trost, Head of Sales for MBtech NA.
The PROVEtech system is appropriate for a number of testing applications, including body and electric-drive controllers. "For instance, a specific signal-conditioning module simulates the single cells within a battery management ECU to make the ECU 'think' it is connected to a real battery stack. This is accomplished through fully variable, highly accurate voltage outputs," said Mitch Monroy, Vice President of Electronics Solutions at MBtech NA.
According to Hartmann, "Overall closed-loop applications with real-time requirements, including the real-time simulation of complex environment models, will be available at the end of 2010. However, local real time on the field programmable gate array is a feature of the current system."
MBtech engineers also are working to develop additional modules to extend the application to all vehicle domains.