DMC developed a LabVIEW application to perform both automated and manual control of the various dynamometer systems designed by the Client. The application monitors and controls dynamometer operation via a low-cost multifunction NI USB DAQ module.
The Client requested that DMC develop "a LabVIEW program that doesn't look like LabVIEW", and this is exactly what was delivered in the application. The goal was to avoid the gray industrial panel appearance that all too often typifies many rudimentary LabVIEW applications in an effort to uniquely differentiate the Client's systems and provide them with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The main application menus and configuration interfaces incorporate familiar windows system style dialogs, buttons, and menus. When control of the dynamometer is activated, a customized full screen dashboard style display is presented to allow the user to monitor all dynamometer activity in real time and to either perform direct manual control or initiate automated sequences through a variety of sleek controls and indicators.
The actual dynamometer hardware is highly abstracted from the control application through a broad range of configuration tools. This allows a single version of the application to control the vast range of dynamometer designs that the Client is developing, simply by using the built-in configuration tools to set up input/output/calculated channels, automated procedures, and the dashboard user interface display as appropriate for a given dynamometer design . Indeed, in addition to dynamometers, the application is actually extensible enough to control and monitor quite a large range of electro-mechanical machines and systems with little or no additional development required.
To build upon the extensive DAQ channel configuration and scaling features built in to NI MAX, DMC developed a set of tools that allows the application to integrate directly with the NI MAX configuration database. Changes made to the hardware configuration from within the application are automatically synchronized with the NI MAX database, and visa versa.
The application includes a Sequence Editor for managing automated test procedures or commonly performed series of steps (effectively "macro" operations). The dynamometer system can be controlled in one of three ways:
1. Fully manual operation: Dynamometer is controlled by user commands from the Dashboard User
2. Fully automated operation: A predefined test profile or operating procedure is executed as a sequence of steps initiated by one click from the user.
3. Hybrid (semi-automated) operation: A predefined test procedure is running in the background, and may prompt the user to take specific actions when required. Additionally, users can manually issue dynamometer control commands from the Dashboard User Interface that are processed in parallel to the automated procedure.
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