For years, much automotive and other vehicle electronic testing has been carried out on test boards (aka, lab cars, yellow boards). Traditional automotive and other vehicle test boards consist of a metal framework often taking the rough shape of a vehicle, onto which production intent components are placed and connected together to be tested.
While this setup has been sufficient for simple automotive static electrical testing in the past, the scope of verification it can support these days is getting narrower due to increasing complexity of powertrain and other control modules.
These control units, ECUs, rely on signals they receive from moving parts in order to function properly; signals that traditionally have not existed for test boards resulting in test boards frequently being underused.
add2’s Dynamic Test Board (DTB) can be introduced to new or existing test boards to provide many of the signals that a real vehicle would experience during motion, such as from the crankshaft, the CAM shaft, the transmission, the wheel speed sensors, the fuel rail, and user interface/drive controls as well as running quiescent/running current investigations and EMC immunity tests.
The DTB allows engineers to expose components to conditions not previously possible in the lab. It also allows for automation and replication of test scenarios that would be either impossible or highly inconvenient to conduct under real-world conditions.
What is traditional Test Board or Lab Car testing?
During the lifecycle of a vehicle, at some stage it is necessary to put together a system that uses all the vehicle’s electrical parts – such as switches, actuators, sensors, electronic control units and actual wiring harnesses – to allow functional debugging and testing. These test boards are typically preserved for years or decades to allow testing for warranty issues.
This important stage exists to resolve system integration and software issues prior to building prototype vehicles and after the vehicle is released to the field.
Prototype vehicles are a costly investment, meaning Test Boards offer a lower-cost and more efficient test platform in the laboratory with attractive cost of ownership compared to full HIL simulators.
How does the DTB improve on traditional Test Board or Lab Car testing?
Dynamic Test Board (DTB) simulators dramatically improve traditional Test Board testing by including aspects that can normally only be performed on prototype vehicles. For example, by enabling:
- Automated (self-driving) and manual driving sequences
- Engine running scenarios
- User interface and driver controls testing
- Real I/O stimulation for missing parts
- Electrical robustness and standards/compliance testing, such as for cranking and other noises
- EMC immunity tests
- Quiescent and running current investigations
- Test Automation
All these advantages allow testing to be performed early in the design lifecycle reducing the number of real prototype vehicles required.
Integrated robustness test hardware
DTB simulators have built-in hardware to perform stability/standards and robustness testing such as supply voltage transients and noise during cranking and start/stop, transient bursts, ramping or captured waveforms, overnight or over weekend tests.
Using standard connectivity, the Dynamic Test Board is portable enough to be deployed across multiple Test Boards.
Powerful control GUI
DTB simulators are monitored and controlled via a windows-based GUI. The GUI (shown below) is used to choose the vehicle from an easily configured data library and control the simulation during engine running and driving scenarios.
Available with a mature platform of hardware and supporting software out of the box – along with cables and interfaces, the DTB is up and running in no time.
A pre-built GUI, based on add2’s VISUALCONNX, shown above, is provided to configure the vehicle specific information, to monitor the system and to control the tests in open or closed loop driving modes.