University of Twente Student Theses


PC104 stack mechatronic control platform

Buit, Erik (2005) PC104 stack mechatronic control platform.

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Abstract:part of the research at the control engineering laboratory of the University of Twente is on the design trajectory of embedded controllers. As a part of the research, tools are being designed for the design of heterogeneous distributed controllers. Once the controller is designed in a design tool like 20sim, it has to be tested and implemented. The testing and implementation phase is verified by simulation. For the verification by simulation phase a Hardware-In-the-Loop setup has been build in co-operation with the Boderc (Beyond the Ordinary: Design of Embedded Real-time Control) project at the Embedded Systems Institute. The setup contains four embedded PCs and two desktop PCs. The embedded PCs can run the controller(s) and the two desktop PCs can run a simulated version of the to be controlled plant. To get the designed controller running on the setup, as it was built in the previous project, knowledge is needed of the systems and of software engineering. The aim of this project is to allow mechatronic engineers to use the setup without any knowledge of the software engineering process. To accomplish this, a method has been designed and developed that performs the software engineering part. The method is implemented in a set of tools. The tools allow easy connection of the hardware to the model, executable task generation, deployment of the generated task onto the setup, viewing and modifying values in any task online and offline, logging of values and automatic retrieval of the logged values. For connecting the hardware to the model a hardware configuration file template and hardware connection tool have been designed and developed. The template file contains hardware specific calls to access the hardware and has to be filled once by a software engineer for every hardware device. After the template has been filled the hardware connection tool can use the template to connect model signals to the defined hardware. On the embedded PCs and simulation PCs an, for this project designed and developed, application controls all the running tasks. A protocol to communicate to the application has also been designed and developed. The application has full control over the tasks started by the tools that are running on the stack. To start the controllers on multiple stations at the same time a synchronized start that uses the CAN bus has been implemented. Tasks are automatically generated and in case of a failure the user is notified. The method is working and allows easy hardware connection. Task can be started and stopped and values can be retrieved and modified by a graphical user interface. Logging has been implemented into command prompt applications. The hardware connection files are hard to write and are error prone. A tool that can assist in writing the files and do syntax checking is necessary to allow easier generation. The tools work on the same mechanism as the code generator of 20sim and could be implemented into 20sim to allow easy hardware connection from within 20sim. When using multiple controllers a synchronization mechanism between the controllers must be performed to prevent drift between the different controllers. The application running on the embedded and simulation PC has been written to run under Linux and use Ethernet to communicate. This application could be ported to other operating systems and the communication could be expanded with e.g. USB communication to allow the tools to run on multiple hardware architectures.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:53 electrotechnology
Programme:Electrical Engineering MSc (60353)
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