Case Studies

Real-Time Battery Testing: A Synergy of NI LabVIEW, TestStand, and VeriStand

Posted in Automotive, Battery Pack Test Systems, Test & Measurement Automation


DMC delivered a turnkey automated test system to our client that automated their functional and environmental battery tests. The client, a research and development group creating battery-based power systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, required a system that could simultaneously test multiple battery pack configurations over a period of months using regenerative power sources and loads.

DMC followed a well-structured project process to design, program, fabricate, and commission the system. With our extensive experience in automated battery testing, we were well-equipped to follow our client’s test process and yield a design tailored to their needs. The completed system allows the client to efficiently create test routines, reliably test their battery packs, and quickly collect and analyze testing data to enhance their existing research and development efforts.


Design and Architecture

Based on the client's requirements, DMC decided to leverage the NI software and hardware platforms for this project. NI TestStand was used as the test executive to provide configurable sequencing in the application. TestStand was wrapped in a LabVIEW operator interface and programmed using DMC’s Flex Framework and object-oriented best practices. LabVIEW also provided the core PC application structure and sequence-step functionality.

For maximum reliability, we utilized NI compact RIOs to implement control battery device communication and system IO within a real-time operating system. NI VeriStand served as the backbone of the real-time control layer, which minimized development time by building upon a well-established and powerful foundation of standard DAQ, control, monitoring, and logging functions.

Electrical Panel Layout

  • High-Power Panels
    • High-power relays
    • Impedance-matched high-power cabling
    • Fusing infrastructure
    • Fan cooling
  • Low-Power Panel
    • NI-XNET CAN communication
    • Real-time control (cRIO-9049 x2)
    • Thermocouple inputs
    • Digital IOBattery test stand panel with real-time control
    • Safety relays
    • Fan cooling
  • Safety interlocks
  • Door proximity sensors
  • Two E-STOP buttons (one remote E-STOP)
  • External interlock inputs/outputs
  • Hardware and software inputs to interlock loop


Software Architecture

DMC employed our Flex Framework, NI VeriStand, and NI TestStand for this test system. DMC’s Flex Framework is a collection of common tools and standard resources that our team has compiled over many years of seeing common application requirements. Engineers can draw from this collection while designing applications, therefore greatly cutting down development time.

Developed entirely in LabVIEW, the framework is open source and easily extensible. Additionally, DMC provided the source code for the application to the customer, enabling them to further customize the test system and have true ownership of the equipment.

VeriStand provides many benefits including:

  • Built-in deterministic real-time data acquisition and control
  • Integration with LabVIEW and TestStand
  • Powerful logging and alarming capabilities
  • Highly customizable via custom devices and models

TestStand provides many benefits including:

  • Sophisticated sequencing capabilities and flow control
  • Parallel execution models
  • Flexible user permissions functionality
  • Customizable reporting features
  • Comprehensive debugging features

Parallel Cycler Control

The application exercises battery packs through charging and loading cycles that mirror real-world operating scenarios, as defined by voltage, current, or power profiles. Regenerative Keysight cyclers were used either individually or in parallel to achieve proper power resources. The cRIO controllers’ digital IO modules actuated high-power contractors in tandem with jumpering high-power busses between cyclers, therefore achieving parallel configuration.

Long-Term Testing

To meet the client’s requirement of long-term testing, DMC implemented robust test persistence logic. This included handling for system power loss, communication loss, and many other failure scenarios.

Logging and Reporting

TestStand and Veristand provided similar, but distinct functionalities. TestStand allowed custom reports to be generated that summarized the test results, while VeriStand created detailed time-series data logs at varying sample rates—which can be changed dynamically by the test sequence itself.

Project Outcome

DMC delivered a battery test system capable of testing either eight batteries using one cycler each, or four batteries using two cyclers each in parallel configuration for higher current and power capability. 

Learn more about DMC’s National Instruments expertise.

Customer Benefits

  • Multi-battery testing
  • Real-time, deterministic control
  • NI platform-based application
    • Robust and reliable 
    • Industry-standard approach
  • Flexibility
    • User-defined, customizable test sequence and reports
  • Dual operating modes
    • Automated mode for “one-click” long-term test sequencing
    • Manual mode for on-demand control and diagnostics