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This documentation introduces OPAL-RT's unique solution for testing electric machine controller. It uses the OPAL-RT scalable hardware-in-the-loop FPGA-based Power Electronics toolbox and integrates a powerful real-time computer, machines models and power electronic block set, accurate high-speed solvers, and versatile FPGA modules meeting demanding requirements of precise controller testing and machine drive simulation.

Sample test bench used for testing controller.

This document will cover the following topics:

  • List of available machine models
  • Mathematics behind machine modeling
  • Firmware solutions available with application examples
  • Software and hardware requirements
  • Designing a model with both eHS and the machine
  • Closing the loop with the external controller

Electric Machine Drive Hardware-In-The-Loop Testing and Simulation


Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing and simulation consists of connecting a device under test (DUT) to a simulated system using real-time simulation on a computer, equipped with all the inputs and outputs necessary to communicate with the real DUT.

For electric machine drives, this is done by simulating a drive, fully or partially, using a high-performance real-time simulator which implements the machine and the power electronics (for various types of converters and inverters). The simulator also has to be able to emulate the mechanical load connected on the shaft of the machine. Such a system can simulate several machine drives coupled with mechanical equipment to emulate a complete system (like a hybrid powertrain or vehicle) using flexible inputs/outputs (IOs) interfaces and software environment.

Electric Machine Controller Test Bench Overview

The test bench used for testing controllers generally consists of two main components:

  • A real-time simulator where the machine drive circuit is simulated and
  • An external DUT, usually an electronic controller unit (ECU).

General concept of machine HIL simulation

Both components are connected in a closed-loop using analog, digital IO or communication protocols. The figure above illustrates how a DUT or ECU can be connected to the OPAL-RT real-time simulator. The OPAL-RT simulator is a very powerful HIL platform for simulating machine drives but also various power converters.

The simulator includes several modules which will be described in the following chapters.

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