EPFL’s modular control platform with HIL600 Rapid prototyping done right. “Typhoon’s ultra-high fidelity Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) emulators are simply irreplaceable in our laboratory teaching, research, and development activities.” Prof. Alfred Rufer, Professor of Power Electronics Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Introduction EPFL introduced a fail-safe Modular Control Platform (MCP) which—directly interfaced with the Typhoon HIl600 real-time emulator—presents the most comprehensive rapid prototyping environment for power electronics. Indeed, the MCP interfaced with HIL600 enables engineers to dramatically shorten the time from an idea, to a working HIL prototype, all the way to a full hardware prototype.
Challenge Advanced Rapid Prototyping Systems (RPS) are becoming widely popular tools due to their constantly improving performance, flexibility, ease of use as well as the ever increasing pressure for reducing development time. Unfortunately, in power electronics, there are very few options to consider when it comes to rapid control prototyping, and
even fewer when it comes to Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation. In addition, in power electronics, rapid prototyping systems are usually expected to be used both by novice engineers and students, and power electronics experts. Indeed, these platforms should be on one side modular and robust control platform that are plug-and-play and foolproof, and on the other side ,they should be high-performance, fast, low-latency, versatile, rugged, with comprehensive protection mechanisms.
Solution EPFL’s Modular Control Platform (MCP) is a unique controller platform for power electronics controls prototyping that combines modularity, flexibility, high-performance, ease of use and protection. The
Com. USB + CAN
Debug + Emul.
PGA + LPF Prog. Thres.
Main datapaths of the proposed MCP control platform
system is easy to use, comprising a motherboard, 4 daughterboards, optical receivers, and LEM sensors. Using MCP, the complete power electronics system prototyping process is streamlined into three steps. Step 1: The application is simulated using a traditional computed-based software simulator. Step 2: Once the control algorithms provided satisfactory performance, the same control code is ported on the modular control platform (MCP) and tested with the HIL simulator to validate its operation, including faults and disturbances. Step 3: The final prototyping stage, thanks to the easy-to-use control platform interface, requires swapping gating and measurement cables from the HIL emulator to the real-world application, thus providing a seamless transition to the physical converter setup with little or no further debugging. Step 2. can further be expanded with automated
testing via test scripts, to comprehensively test and verify controller hardware/firmware/software before real hardware deployment.
Conclusion The rapid prototyping platform comprising a modular control platform and ultra-high fidelity HIL600 emulator is an important new design and test tool for power electronics engineers. It combines the performance and robustness of fullcustom designs with the flexibility, ease of use and performance of rapid prototyping systems. This platform, in addition to being well suited for novice engineers and students, is a natural fit for industrialgrade designs and can be used in a broad range of industrial R&D projects.