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Control your XEL benchtop supply via a LAN

Written on January 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm, by

The Sorensen XEL benchtop DC power supplies are user-friendly, supply up to 180W, and have advanced digital features.

For most benchtop power supply applications, the most important feature is a user interface that allows an engineer or technician to set up the power supply quickly and easily using the front panel. Benchtop power supplies, like the Sorensen XEL Series, have this kind of interface. For example, the XEL Series has a fine control knob for setting the output voltage very accurately and an output enable switch, which lets you set up the desired voltage and current levels prior to actually turning on the output.

For many applications, however, remote control is also desirable. For those applications, one of the ways that you can remotely control the XEL Series is via an Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). The LAN interface meets or exceeds LXI ( LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) version 1.2, Class C requirements.

To use the LAN interface, you must know the IP address of the power supply. To help you determine this, there is a LXI Discovery Tool supplied with the unit that you can use to display the IP addresses (and other associated information) of all the devices connected to your LAN. National Instruments Measurement and Automation Explorer package and the Agilent Vee application also include LAN discovery tools.

You can connect your XEL Series power supply directly to a PC or via a router, although we recommend connecting via a router. One reason for this is that a router will assign an IP address to the power supply much more quickly than a PC. PCs begin to assign IP addresses only after a 30 second DHCP timeout.

The default setting is for the instrument to attempt to obtain settings via DHCP if available or, if DHCP times out (30 seconds), via Auto-IP. In the very unlikely event that an Auto- IP address cannot be found a static IP address of 192.168.0.100 is assigned.

Like all LXI-compliant instruments, the XEL Series contains a basic web server. The web server allows you to configure the unit and provides information about the unit. The Configure page can be password protected to prevent unauthorized changes to the remote operation configuration; the default configuration is ‘no password’. The password can be up to 15 characters long

The web server also has an ‘Identify’ function which allows the user to send an identifying command to the instrument. When received, the instrument display flashes until you cancel the command.

Since it is possible to misconfigure the LAN interface, making it impossible to communicate with the instrument over LAN, the XEL Series has a recessed switch on the rear panel to reset the unit to the factory default. Resetting the LAN interface removes any password protection.

To control the power supply programmatically, you send text commands to two sockets on TCP port 9221. Replies are received from the same port. Text strings must be one or more complete commands, and commands may be separated with either semicolons or line feeds.

The LAN interface is only one of several remote control interfaces for the XEL Series. Also available are USB, RS-232, and GPIB interfaces. For more information about these interfaces, and how to use them, please contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Total cost of ownership is more than just price

Written on January 4, 2018 at 7:01 am, by

When you purchase a power supply, you need to take into account more than just the price of the supply. The price is just one of the factors in the total cost of ownership. Other factors include:

  • sales and application support,

  • ease of use,

  • downtime for calibration, repair, and upgrades

Sales and application support is crucial, especially if you’re not a power supply expert. AMETEK Programmable Power excels at providing sales and application support. We can help you evaluate the power needs of your project and help you select the right power source for you. This process helps you save money in a couple of ways. First, you don’t pay for more power than you need. Second, choosing the right power supply in the first place helps you avoid costly project delays.

For sales and application support on any of our products, you can send email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phone 800-733-5427, if you are located in the U.S. Customers not in the U.S., can phone our main line at 858-450-0085. Online support is available worldwide by going to http://www.programmablepower.com/support/support.htm.

The Programmable Power Asterion Series helps reduce total cost of ownership by allowing you to easily create custom waveforms that include transients, such as voltage surges or sags, voltage steps or sweeps, and voltage dropouts.

Ease of use is another factor that contributes to the total cost of ownership. The harder it is to program a power source to provide the output waveforms you need, the higher the cost of test development.

AMETEK Programmable Power sources make it easier for you to set up the waveforms you need. Our Asterion Series, for example, allows you to easily create custom waveforms that include transients, such as voltage surges or sags, voltage steps or sweeps, and voltage dropouts. A custom waveform can consist of up to 100 different transients, and users can create and run this list of transients via the front panel, the remote digital interface using the Asterion Virtual Panels application, or SCPI commands.

Downtime for calibration or repair is another factor in the total cost of ownership. We strive to reduce this as much as possible. We have service centers in the U.S. and Canada, Europe, and Asia so that we can get your equipment back to you as quickly as possible. Visit our website for a complete list of service centers.

One way that we reduce equipment downtime is by making firmware upgrades available on our website. To upgrade the firmware on our XG Series benchtop power supplies, for example, you simply download the firmware package from our website and follow the included instructions. The unit itself never has to be sent to a service center, and the downtime should be less than an hour.

We hope you now see that the price of a power supply is just a part of the total cost of ownership. By looking at the total cost of ownership and not just the price, you’ll be able to select a supply that not only fits your budget now, but saves you money in the long run.

The figure for this blog post will be an Asterion with the caption: The Asterion Series allow you to quickly create test waveforms with a variety of transients.

Get the most out of your rack-mount power supplies

Written on January 2, 2018 at 7:07 am, by

While electronics technologies have come and gone, mounting them in 19-in. racks is as popular as ever. There are various theories over the origin of the 19-in. rack, but Practical-Home-Theater-Guide.com says that George Westinghouse used 19-in racks in 1890s to mount railroad relays. Then, in the early 1900s, telephone companies designed their switches to fit in 19-in. racks.

In 1965, the Electronics Industry Association published EIA Standard 310, Cabinets, Racks, Panels, and Associated Equipment. The latest revision is EIA/ECA 310-E, which was published in December 2005. The standard is available from Global IHS.

Amazingly, 19-in. racks are still widely used. The biggest users of 19-in. racks are IT companies, which use them to mount IT equipment, such as servers and network switches. Test equipment companies are also big users of 19-in. racks. Many AMETEK Programmable Power power sources, such as the new Asterion AC/DC power source and the Sorensen XG Series of DC power supplies, are designed to be mounted in 19-in. racks. When properly used, they provide protection from harsh environmental conditions physical security, cooling, cable management, and mobility for test systems.

How to choose the right rack

When choosing a rack for your test system there are four major considerations: height, width, depth, and load rating:

Height. The height of the rack may be the most important consideration. Common heights for floor-standing racks and rack enclosures are 42U, 45U and 48U, with custom sizes up to 58U, where U is equal to 1.752 inches. Before selecting a height, consider all of the equipment that you’ll want to mount in the rack and leave extra space for future expansion, if you can.

Width. Since the width of the rack’s mounting rails is a standard width, just make sure that the test equipment you wish to install in the rack conforms to the EIA-310-E standard. The standard width for rack enclosures is 24 inches or 600 mm, but wider enclosures are available that will accommodate cabling without obstructing airflow. This is especially important if your system must operate in an area without climate control.

Depth. When specifying the depth of your 19-in. rack, make sure that it will be deep enough not only for your equipment, but also any cabling. Take into account the minimum bending radius of the cables that you’re using as well as the depth of the connectors. Exceeding the minimum bending radius will put undue stress on a cable and may cause it to fail earlier than anticipated.

42 inches is the standard depth for a 19-in. rack, but extra-deep (48 inches) rack enclosures are also available. If you do need extra depth, you may be able to adjust the depth of the vertical mounting rails in a four-post rack or rack enclosure, but only within certain limits. Shallower racks, including 36-in. (mid-depth) and 32-in. (shallow depth), are also available if your application requires that the rack fit in a small space.

Load Rating. The load rating (or weight capacity) of a rack specifies how much weight it can safely support. Add up the weights of all the equipment you plan to install in the rack and then add a safety factor to account for equipment that you may have to add at a later date. If you’re going to be regularly moving the rack, look for the rolling or dynamic load rating as well as the stationary or static load rating.

For more information on rack mounting our power sources, contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Easily program voltage and frequency transients with the Asterion Series

Written on December 4, 2017 at 10:26 am, by

The success of a product often depends on how well it can handle power transients. To make this testing easier, AMETEK Programmable Power’s Asterion makes it easy for users to create custom waveforms that include transients. The output waveforms can include any or all of the following transients:

  • DROP. DROP causes the output voltage to go to 0 V for a specified time. The voltage change is instantaneous. At the end of the drop time, the output voltage will return to the value at the beginning of the DROP.

  • VOLTAGE SWEEP/STEP. VOLTAGE SWEEP causes the output voltage to change from the current value to a specified end value at a specified rate of change. VOLTAGE STEP causes an instantaneous change in output voltage to the specified end value. The end value will be held for the specified time. The final output voltage value of a sweep and a step transient step should be different from the value at the start of the sweep or step, or no change in output voltage will occur.

  • VOLTAGE SURGE/SAG. VOLTAGE SURGE and SAG are temporary changes in the output voltage. The output voltage will change from the current value to a specified value for a specified time. Surge is a change to a higher value, while sag is a change to a lower value. After the time has expired, the supply will set the output voltage to a specified end value. This value could be the same or different from the output voltage prior to the start of the surge or sag.

  • FREQUENCY SWEEP/STEP. FREQUENCY SWEEP causes the output frequency to change from the current value to a specified end value at a specified rate of change. FREQUENCY STEP is an instantaneous change in output frequency. The supply will hold the output frequency at the specified end value for a specified time. The final output frequency value of a transient sweep or step should be different from the value at the start of the transient or no change in output frequency will occur.

  • FREQUENCY SURGE/SAG. FREQUENCY SURGE and FREQUENCY SAG are temporary changes in frequency for a specified time. When programmed to generate a surge, the Asterion will change the current output frequency higher value. When programmed to generate a sag, the output frequency will change to a lower value. At the end of the surge or sag, the Asterion will set the output frequency to a specified end value. This value could be the same or different from the value present prior to the start of the surge or sag.

  • VOLT/FREQ SWEEP/STEP This transient type combines voltage and frequency changes into a single step. The Asterion will change both the output voltage and frequency simultaneously. While this transient is programmed as a single transient step, two list entries are required to store this information. As such, this type of transient takes two list entries.

  • VOLT/FREQ SURGE/SAG. This transient type combines voltage and frequency changes into a single step. The Asterion will change both the output voltage and frequency simultaneously. While this transient is programmed as a single transient step, two list entries are required to store this information. As such, this type of transient takes two list entries.

A custom waveform can consist of up to 100 different transients, and users can create and run this list of transients via the front panel, the remote digital interface using the Asterion Virtual Panels application, or SCPI commands. They can also store these lists in a library in the Asterion’s memory and quickly recall them when needed.

For more information about how to use this Asterion feature, or how to program AC transients in general, please contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Custom power supply solutions: DC power/energy absorber test system

Written on November 16, 2017 at 6:52 am, by

When one of our standard products cannot completely satisfy your requirements, AMETEK Programmable Power can design a custom power supply system for you. The solutions range from OEM integration for medical and semiconductor industries to modular avionics ATE power subsystems to turnkey solar array simulators for satellites. We also can modify our standard power supplies to meet your application requirements.

An example of what we can do is the Energy Absorber Test System that we recently built. The system can supply up to 400 VDC and sink up to ±150 A. The system hardware includes:

  • an AC distribution and interlock system,
  • DC power supplies,
  • an absorber load chassis, and
  • an energy absorber control chassis.

This custom test system can supply up to 400 VDC and sink up to ±150 A.

AC Control and Distribution

The power rack system includes an AC distribution system. With a DC output power rating of 60kW at 480VDC and 150A, the AC input current to the rack is 120A per phase with a 400VAC, 3 phase, 4 wire connection. AC power to the racks is through two pin and sleeve type connectors and routed through circuit breakers and the mains disconnect interlock contactors. The AC interlock operates by energizing relays which are operated by ON/OFF switch closures located on the front panel or with auxiliary switch closures which are available through a rear I/O panel connector. The ON/OFF panel contains two pushbutton switches, an ON pushbutton and a twist to lock OFF button. A door interlock and single point ground connection are also provided.

DC Power Supplies

The system uses Sorensen SGI and SGA Series power supplies, both of which can supply 0-400 VDC at 75 A. The SGI supply is the Master supply and can be operated remotely via GPIB or with front panel controls in local mode.

The SGA supply is used as a Slave, operating as a voltage controlled current source. This combination can supply up to 400V at 150A for 60kW of output power. By operating in a Master/Slave configuration, the supplies operate as one unit that can be controlled from the Master unit through either local control or IEEE-488 operation.

DC output is through an MS type connector of suitable type and ampacity on the rear panel. A mating connector is provided.

Energy Absorber Load Chassis

The Energy Absorber Load Chassis houses the regenerative resistive load element, which consists of numerous high power resistors connected in series/parallel banks. The energy absorber can dissipate 30 kW continuous and 60 kW peak.

Energy Absorber Control Chassis

The Energy Absorber Control chassis contains primary and secondary voltage clamps consisting of an IGBT and an SCR. In addition, it contains a GPIB controller and measurement circuitry and controls that provide drive signals to the power components. For more information on how the energy absorber works, download the product’s data sheet.

Communication

A GPIB interface allows users to remotely control the power supply outputs and read voltage and current measurements using standard SCPI commands. The Energy Absorber chassis includes a GPIB interface for programming the regen clamping limit, input contactor closure, dropout relay closure and voltage and current measurements. A GPIB connection is provided on the rear of the rack for both interfaces.

This is just one example of the many types of custom systems that AMETEK Programmable Power can design for you. If you would like more information about our custom capabilities, or to discuss your application, contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Frequently-asked questions about the Sorensen DLM 600 Series

Written on October 19, 2017 at 10:52 am, by

The Sorensen DLM 600 series of programmable power supplies is designed to provide continuously variable output voltage and current for a broad range of applications in a compact 1U (1.75 inches) high, half-rack (8.5 inch) wide chassis.

The Sorensen DLM 600 series of programmable power supplies is designed to provide continuously variable output voltage and current for a broad range of applications in a compact 1U (1.75 inches) high, half-rack (8.5 inch) wide chassis. The DLM 600 power supply series is ideal for high density, multiple output, rack-mount applications or low profile benchtop applications. Output voltages from 0-5 VDC to 0-300 VDC and currents from 0-2 A to 0-75 A are available.

Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions about this power supply line:

1. What is the AC input voltage of the DLM600 series of power supplies?

The DLM600 power supply uses an automatic input voltage selector and will operate between 90 to 132VAC or 180-264VAC single phase.

2. Can the DLM600 series of power supplies be operated in parallel?

Yes, these supplies can be operated in parallel using the DLMP1 paralleling cable. The Master unit must have the set-up switch position –2 set (Master/Slave) set to OFF (down) and the Slave unit must have the set-up switch position –2 set to the ON (up) position.

3. Can we install the GPIB (IEEE-488) interface option after purchase?

Yes, however because of some special equipment required to complete the alignment process, it is recommended that this option be installed at the factory.

4. Can we install the Ethernet interface option after purchase?

Yes, however because of some special equipment required to complete the alignment process it is recommended that this option be installed at the factory.

5. We need isolated analog controls to safely operate the DLM600 power supply. Is there such an interface available?

Yes, we do offer an isolated analog interface for controlling the power supply and reading back the output monitor signals.

6. Can the DLM600 powers supplies be connected in series for higher output voltages?

Yes, the DLM600 supplies can be connected in series. To use the remote analog control and readback capabilities, however, the Isolated Analog interface option is required.

7. Can the DLM600 be used to test motors?

Yes, but to test inductive loads, such as a motor, a blocking diode and a freewheeling diode on the output are recommended.

8. Can the DLM600 power supply be used to charge batteries?

Yes, but a blocking diode on the output of the supply is required to prevent damage to the supply if it shuts off while connected to a battery.

9. Can the DLM600 Series power supply be remotely programmed?

Yes, the standard unit offers remote analog programming capabilities using 0 to 5 volt or 0 – 10 volt signals. Refer to the operators’ manual on the CD supplied with the supply or download a copy from our website.

10. Can the DLM600 series be rack mounted?

Yes, the DLM600 can be rack mounted using the rack mount option kit. Please request this option when ordering the supply or contact Ametek Programmable Power sales for ordering this kit for supplies you have already.

11. Is technical support available for this product?

You can contact AMETEK Programmable Power for sales and technical support for any of our products by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427. When calling, please have the full model number and serial number as printed on the unit’s ID label (not on the unit’s faceplate). The numbers on the ID label indicate options and/or modifications that may have been installed on the supply; without this information there may be a delay or a wrong answer in obtaining technical assistance.

Benchtop power supply features ensure DUT safety

Written on September 26, 2017 at 9:03 am, by

Everyone’s under pressure these days to get results. So, there’s nothing worse than getting your bench test all set up, throwing the switch, and watching some of the magic smoke escape because of some setup error. To prevent this from happening when you’re under pressure, you need the Sorensen XBT 32-3FTP True Triple Output Digital Benchtop Power Supply.

The Sorensen XBT32-3FTP (see right) is a 16-bit triple output supply. Channels 1 and 2 can be programmed 0-32V and 0-3A each. The third output is fully programmable 0-15V, 0-5A up to a maximum of 30W. Channels 1 and 2 can be configured for tracking, parallel or series operation to, in effect, provide the equivalent of 6 different power supplies. In isolated mode, each of the 3 outputs functions independently; in tracking mode, channels 1 and 2 provide the same, but isolated output; in parallel mode, there is one 0-32V/0-6A output and one 0-15V/0-5A/30W output; in series mode, there is one 0-64V/0-3A output and one 0-15V/0-5A/30W output.

The Sorensen XBT32-3FTP benchtop power supply provides superior device under test (DUT) protection. Each output is fully isolated, and users can preview the voltage and current settings before turning on the outputs. This allows users to double check the settings before applying power to a valuable prototype.

The built-in output switches, in addition to enabling the preview mode, allow users to configure the outputs for parallel or series connection. When a user configures the supply’s output for parallel or serial connection, graphics on the front panel show the user how to make connections. This helps eliminate mistakes that could inadvertently destroy a DUT.

Other features that promote DUT safety include:

  • Configuration memory. The XBT can store up to 100 different configurations. Storing configurations in memory can help prevent set up mistakes which could damage a DUT.
  • Output timer. The built-in output timer can be set from one second to 100 hours. When the timer times out, the XBT turns off its outputs.
  • Power-on state and synchronous or individual control of each channel output. This is important when voltages supplied to a DUT must be applied in a particular sequence.
  • Over-voltage protection (OVP) and over-current protection (OCP). Users can program the OVP and OVC values separately for programmed for each output. OVC and OVP prevents a faulty DUT from drawing too much current that could cause subsequent damage to the device.

In addition to these safety features, the XBT offers all of the other features that you’d expect from a professional benchtop power supply, including excellent line and load regulation and remote operation via Ethernet, USB, GPIB, and RS-232 interfaces. For more information on Sorensen benchtop power supplies, contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Asterion makes harmonic analysis easy

Written on September 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm, by

Power systems operate at frequencies of 50 or 60Hz, but some devices, including personal computers, printers, and some industrial equipment, present a non-linear load and create currents and voltages with frequencies at harmonic frequencies. These harmonics get fed back into the power system and can cause other devices connected to the power source to malfunction. There are several standards that specify the level of harmonics that a particular device can produce.

The Asterion Series power source makes it easy to determine the harmonic content produced by a device under test (DUT). It uses advanced digital signal process (DSP) techniques to digitize its output voltage and current waveforms, and then perform a harmonic analysis of the data. To do this, the Asterion Series performs a fast Fourier transform (FFT) on both voltage and current. The resulting frequency spectrum (DC through 49th harmonic) can be displayed on the LCD display in a tabular as well as a graphical format. 

Acquiring FFT data

To perform an FFT analysis on the output of the power source, you must first acquire data. Using the front panel display, you perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the HARMONICS menu of the MEASUREMENTS screen.
  2. Scroll to the FUNCTION field and select VOLT or CURRENT.
  3. Scroll to the VIEW field and select the TABLE or BAR display mode.
  4. Scroll to the DATA field and select ABSOLUTE or RELATIVE. The ABSOLUTE display format will show all harmonic components in volts or amps. The RELATIVE display format will use the fundamental as a 100% reference and display all harmonics as a percentage of the fundamental. Phase angles are always shown with respect to the fundamental frequency.
  5. Tap the MODE field and select SINGLE or CONTINUE. The SINGLE mode will acquire the data once and show the result, while the CONTINUE mode will update the data continuously.
  6. Tap the SOUR field and select IMMEDIATE; alternate trigger mode is PHASE.
  7. Tap the START field to start the analysis. The display mode that was selected will be opened and the results displayed. If the trigger mode, CONTINUE, was selected, the data will be continually updated.
  8. Returning to the HARMONICS menu can be done by tapping the UP arrow button. To display the data in a different format, the selections are changed as desired, and a new acquisition started by tapping the START field.

 

Analyzing FFT data

Once you have acquired the data, you can analyze the data. The Asterion will perform a FFT analysis on the data and display the entire data set using either tabular or graphical formats. For tabular display, as shown in the figure below, the Asterion shows harmonics in five groups with ten harmonics per group. You use the LEFT and RIGHT arrows to scroll through the data vertically.

You can also display the FFT data in bar chart format as shown in the figure below.

In this display, the Asterion shows only the amplitude information graphically. The phase data is displayed in numeric format at the right-side of the display. The display can show up to 25 harmonic components at a time. The triangle at the bottom of the display shows the currently selected component for which numeric data is shown on the right-side. This data includes the harmonic number (DC through 50), the harmonic frequency, the absolute or relative amplitude (depending on selection in DATA field), and the phase angle with respect to the fundamental. The rotary encoder could be used to scroll through the displayed harmonics horizontally, or the touch-screen could be used to directly select an individual harmonic.

You can, of course, also access these measurements via the remote digital interface using the Asterion Virtual Panels or SCPI commands. This capability allows you to do more in-depth analyses as well as automate harmonic analysis tests. For more information on the Asterion Series, contact AMETEK Programmable Power by sending email to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phoning 800-733-5427.

Know Your Power Supply Jargon: Regulation

Written on September 3, 2017 at 6:23 am, by

The Sorensen XG 1500 Series is an industry leading programmable DC power supply designed for test, production, laboratory,OEM and quality assurance applications. The XG 1500 is a 1500 Watt, 1U programmable power supply with constant voltage and constant current modes, automatic cross-over and numerous features enabling cost effective,easy integration.

The most important thing that a power supply does is to maintain a constant voltage output or a constant current output. This is true whether the power supply is built into a product and provides fixed output voltages, such as a desktop computer power supply, or a power supply that is on the test bench or is part of an automated test system that must provide variable outputs. We call this ability to maintain a constant output voltage or current regulation.

Load regulation

There are actually two types of regulation that you need to be aware of when selecting a power supply: load regulation and line regulation. Load regulation is the ability of a power supply to maintain a constant output voltage (or current) under under very light loads and under loads near the maximum current. That is to say that if you set the output voltage of a supply to say 10 VDC, the supply should be able to maintain its output at 10 VDC when no current is being drawn from the supply and when the maximum current is being drawn from the supply.

To see how this might work in practice, let’s take a look at the Sorensen XG 12.5-120, one of the supplies in the XG 1500 Series. It can supply up to 12.5 VDC at currents up to 120 A. The load regulation for the XG 1500 Series is specified to be 0.005% of rated output voltage + 2 mV. For a 10 V output, that works out to be 2.5 mV, from no load to 120 A.

Line regulation

The calculations for load regulation assumes that the AC input voltage will remain constant. Of course, this is not always the case. AC line voltage can change, and this can also affect the output of a power supply. The ability of a power supply to maintain a constant output voltage when the input voltage changes is called line regulation.

The line regulation for the XG 1500 Series is also 0.005% of rated output voltage + 2 mV, assuming a constant load. For a 10 V output, that works out to be 2.5 mV, with an input voltage of 85-132 VAC for the nominally 110 VAC model, or an input voltage of 170-265 VAC for the nominally 220 VAC model.

Load and line regulation aren’t the only specifications that affect a power supply’s output. In some applications, for example, transient response time is also important. Load and line regulation are baseline specifications, though. Without good line and load regulation, the other specifications are meaningless.

For more information on DC power supplies, and how to use them in your application, contact AMETEK Programmable Power. You can send an e-mail to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phone 800-733-5427.

Sorensen SG Series ensures auto parts reliability

Written on August 28, 2017 at 7:31 am, by

One of the big challenges when designing and manufacturing auto parts is ensuring that they operate reliably in very hot environments, such as Dubai, where the high temperature can easily reach 40˚C. Of course, they must also operate reliably in very cold environments, such as Siberia, where the thermometer can drop to -40˚C or below. You certainly don’t want parts to fail when you’re zipping down the road at 200 km/hr. because they can’t take the heat (or the cold).

To ensure that their products don’t fail, most supplier will perform some kind of environmental testing. They will place the parts in an environmental test chamber and simulate the environment in which the component must operate. A computer is used to put the component through its paces while in the chamber.

The manufacturer of the electrically-powered, steering belt drive shown above designed just such a test. This drive features a modular design and can be used in vehicles as small as C-segment vehicles and as large as full size trucks. It can handle rack loads as high as 18kN and features a fully integrated steering gear that can be mounted in either inboard or outboard configurations.

The test system for this drive included:

  • An environmental test chamber capable of producing ambient temperatures as high as 85˚C and as low -40˚C. The chamber also has humidity control that enables it so simulate a wide range of operating environments.
  • A 19-in. rack to house the test system instrumentation.
  • A rack-mounted Sorensen SGA 20x500D DC power supply, with a GPIB interface, to supply power to the device under test (DUT).
  • Rack-mounted instrumentation required to monitor the output of the electrically-powered, steering belt drive’s sensors.
  • A rack-mounted computer running a test program to control the environmental chamber and the Sorensen SGA power supply. The computer simulates the drive’s ECU (Electronic Unit Control), sending commands to the drive’s actuators and measuring the drive’s sensor outputs. In addition to running the test, the computer outputs a test report once a test run is complete.

While a number of different temperature profiles is available with this system, a typical profile would look like the following:

  1. 23˚C for 30 minutes.
  2. -40˚C for six hours
  3. 85˚C for 70 hours

At these temperatures, the computer will run a series of performance tests to ensure that the drive will operate reliably at these temperatures. During the course of these tests, the DUT power supply voltage can also be varied to test the drive’s sensitivity to input power variations.

In most automotive applications, it is not necessary to use a DC power supply with fast rise and fall times, but a programmable power supply is a must to test input voltage sensitivity. The Sorensen SG Series is a good choice because they have a wide range of voltage and current capabilities which allow you to choose the model that’s right for your application. They also have very stable outputs, which is important because tests can last a long time.

For more information on how you can use Sorensen DC power supplies and other AMETEK Programmable Power products in automotive applicatons, contact AMETEK Programmable Power. You can send an e-mail to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phone 800-733-5427.