Automotive

More flexible test systems for electric vehicles

Battery-powered consumer vehicles have gotten a lot of press lately, but that’s not the whole story. Manufacturers are working equally hard on electrifying commercial and industrial vehicles, and automotive electronics continues to evolve. Automotive electronics used to be focused on entertainment, navigation and comfort systems. Now the focus is on electric drive trains and energy management systems, and this means that test engineers have to be concerned with higher power and higher voltages. Perhaps the biggest challenge that automotive test engineers face is how to keep up with the changing test requirements, while at the same time, avoid buying new test equipment every few months.

To do this, they need flexible test equipment. EA Elektro-Automatik’s line of DC power supplies, electronic loads, and bidirectional power supplies all have features that allow them to test today’s designs and still meet future needs. EA’s PSI, EL, ELR, and PSB product series can output up to 2000 V, have true autoranging, and on-board arbitrary waveform and function generators. These features allow EA instruments to produce or sink power as needed to simulate real-world conditions and test any power device in an electric vehicle.

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Case Studies

PSB 9000 for LV 123 

Standard for BMW, Audi, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Porsche 

Standard for BMW, Audi, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Porsche

LV 123, Electrical Characteristics and Electrical Safety of High-Voltage Components in Road Vehicles, is a test standard developed by German automotive OEMs, including BMW, Audi, Daimler, Volkswagen and Porsche. The tests specified in LV 123 tests electrical components at input voltages both higher and lower than normal to ensure that they will continue to operate. The test voltages are similar to the extreme real world conditions the components may encounter during operation. Using EA’s built-in arbitrary waveform and function generator, it is easy to create the voltage waveforms spelled out by LV 123. These waveforms are shown in the figures below.

For this case study, a PSB 9000 series bidirectional DC power supply was used to output the LV 123 test waveforms for the upper limit operating capability test, the lower limit operating capability, and the high limit operating capability test. As you can see from the examples, the PSB easily reproduced the specified waveform with great accuracy. Normally, you would need three test instruments to run this test: a DC power supply, a DC electronic load, and an arbitrary waveform generator to create the waveforms. The PSB 9000 replaces all three instruments, thereby saving time, cost and more importantly complexity.