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Fast measurement technology for decentralized measurement applications in vehicles and test benches

EtherCAT®-based measurement for enhanced measurement requirements

In the case of high-demanding measurement applications exceeding the CAN bus capabilities, CSM's EtherCAT®-based MiniModules provide the optimal solution. EtherCAT® is an established protocol for fast and synchronous measurements coming from the test bench measurement technology sector. It sets standards in terms of bandwidth, maximum number of measurement channels and synchronization of measurement signals.

Fast and synchronous measurement with EtherCAT®: High performance for mobile measurement applications

CAN is already for many years an established standard for the transmission of measurement data in the fields of mobile measurement tools. This standard is applied in many data acquisition tools for integrating measurement technology in a simple and straightforward manner. Due to constantly rising demands, CAN bus technology is nowadays often stretched to its limits when it comes to the maximum number of channels and sampling rates but also with regard to the synchronisation of measurement signals. This has prompted numerous manufacturers of mobile measurement systems to develop a new generation of measurement technology.

Several alternatives have been short-listed as suitable data communication technologies, such as Ethernet, EtherCAT®, FlexRay or USB. CSM Computer-Systeme-Messtechnik GmbH in Filderstadt has opted in favour of the EtherCAT® fieldbus since this technology sets standards regarding usable bandwidth and synchronous acquisition of measurement signals. The strain gauge measurement modules ECAT STGMM 6 are thus ideally suited for distributed measurement tasks with numerous channels – even several hundred strain gauges can be synchronously measured. These modules support measurement data rates from 1 Hz to 10 kHz per channel. Even comprehensive measurement networks with distances of up to 100 meters between individual measurement modules or groups of modules can be easily realized.

With measurement data rates up to 1 MHz per channel, ECAT AD4 measurement modules are ideal for verification and troubleshooting purposes. They can precisely, dynamically and synchronously measure fast transient signals in combustion engines, electrical support systems or electric drives. Correlations and dependencies in the measurement object can thus be detected, analyzed and visualized, clearly visible in high-resolution. Another member of the ECAT ADMM HS series, the measurement module ECAT ADMM 4 HS100 features a galvanically isolated sensor excitation up to 24 V and is thus particularly suitable for applications with IEPE acceleration sensors and microphones in the NVH environment.

EtherCAT® goes mobile: Connect CAN and EtherCAT® measurement data with XCP-Gateway

The seamless integration into already existing measurement setups and data acquisition software is an important feature of this fast measurement technology. New systems must be able to adapt to already established tools, as well as offer an option for transition-free migration. As to slow measurement processes, e.g. temperature measurements, conventional technology can continue to be used, since the full EtherCAT® bandwidth is not required. Moreover, a CAN bus is already present in many vehicles. In order to enable efficient and comprehensive measurement setups, CSM links the worlds of CAN and EtherCAT® measurement with its protocol converter XCP-Gateway. XCP-Gateway serves as an EtherCAT® master and transmits EtherCAT® measurement data with acquisition rates of up to 1 MHz per channel. Also, the gateway disposes over two CAN interfaces for the connection of CSM CAN measurement modules, such as the proven measurement modules for analog and temperature measurements, ADMM and THMM. The gateway integrates CAN and EtherCAT® measurement data into a common protocol based on the XCP-on-Ethernet standard. This, in turn, allows the integration in wide-spread data acquisition tools.

To be able to offer one solution for all measurement applications, CSM's partner, Vector Informatik, developed the measurement and visualization software vMeasure CSM, applicable for all CSM measurement modules. With only a few clicks, this software guides the user from the module configuration to the visualization of measurement data. Suitable AddOns are available for the users of INCA® from ETAS.

Fast and synchronous measurement with CSM ECAT measurement modules: High performance for mobile measurement applications.
Fast and synchronous measurement with CSM ECAT measurement modules: High performance for mobile measurement applications.