Viewport and Parallax Propeller reduce development time of exotic measurement systems

Background:

MagnetDrives AG is a company based in Zug, Switzerland that specializes in developing electrical motors and sensors for applications ranging from 60 mNm to 100 kNm. Recently, the company was tasked to develop and produce a resolver system for an 8 Megawatt synchronous motor. Put simply, they were asked to build a device which could accurately measure the angle of the motor’s shaft. This measurement is important to control and optimize the motor’s performance.

Problem:

MagnetDrives was asked to build an exotic measurement system in only 8 weeks.

Solution:

MagnetDrives chose proven off-the-shelf software and hardware to reduce development time of the resolver and qualification system. Pickup coils mounted on the perimeter of the 60cm diameter resolver detect the mechanical angle of the motor’s shaft. Theses signals are fed to a custom PCB that features a Tamagawa chip whose output is read by a Parallax Propeller microcontroller. The Propeller runs code to process the resolver signal and also compares it with a reference Renishaw measurement system in order to qualify the resolver signals. ViewPort is used to display the microcontroller’s results in real time using a familiar Digital Oscilloscope interface. ViewPort was also used to adjust calibration parameters on the fly and to export data to Matlab and Excel for later analysis.