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“When renewing the lab's infrastructure, the main criteria for choosing inverter systems were flexibility, Simulink-based design of applications, safety and presence of all necessary protections. The Triphase kits were an excellent match for our requirements”

Kirill Rykov, Teaching Assistant, Researcher (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Triphase Kits at a glance

Triphase Kits aim to make prototyping and testing of new power conversion applications accessible to students and academic and industrial researchers.. The kits offer hardware and software building blocks, such as real-time control units, programmable inverters, filters and measurements, and open source control algorithms, providing a hands-on experience for the users. The kits are programmable in Matlab/Simulink, a process which is facilitated by the provided software libraries and examples. Next to the Matlab/Simulink interface, the kits offer easy-to-use web interfaces to guide users through a learning process and provide the right mixture between flexibility and user friendliness for every situation. The Triphase kits are suitable for applications such as control of motor drives and power converters, grid-coupled applications, power quality, energy storage interfacing and many more. Assembly of different power conversion configurations is facilitated by clear instruction manuals.


A brief overview of the available components is shown below:

Control unit

The centralized control unit runs all real-time control code, and interfaces and synchronizes the other components with PWM-level access. Communication is realized over an optical real-time network. The control units contain a hard disk for high-speed datalogging. Users interface with the control unit via their engineering PC over Ethernet.

Inverter

The 3-phase IGBT inverter consists of a passive rectifier, DC bus and 3 IGBT half bridges. The IGBTs can switch at 8 to 16 kHz. Measurements are included for the DC bus voltage and the output phase currents, as well as additional connection points for an encoder or Triphase measurements.

Filter set

The 3-phase LC(L)(C) filter is intended to smooth out the PWM output from the IGBTs to be used in practical AC and DC applications. Base frequency and higher harmonics can be controlled in software. The second inductor and capacitor can be bypassed in software, typical usage is LCL configuration for current source or LCC for voltage source.

Measurements

The measurement module offers a 3-phase current measurement and 6 voltage measurements. In the typical use case, these measurements are used to measure output voltage, output current, and capacitor voltage of the filter set, but they are also suited for other applications. The measurements are averaged over one switching cycle and sent to the control unit in real-time.


For more information, make sure to check out our product page: Triphase Kits

About the project

Electromechanics and Power Electronics (EPE) group of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has developed and implemented educational setups based on the Triphase Kits to teach students pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and automotive technology. The Triphase equipment is used throughout the lab sessions of several courses. Some of the students who took those courses participate in the prestigious Solar Team Eindhoven and University Race Eindhoven. In order to be efficient in cost and space, EPE group of TU/e offers the Triphase-lab based courses for students of different years of their education, from the second year Bachelor to Master. This application note gives an overview of the technical layout of the setups and the courses in which they are used.

Technical setup

A setup at the EPE group of TU/e consists of a control unit, two inverters, a motor-generator set and additional measurements. For the motor-generator set, two different electric machines are coupled together on the shaft. There are different types of machines available, including Separately Excited DC Machines (DCM), Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machines (PMSM) and Asynchronous Induction Machines (IM). During typical operation, one of the machines works as the motor, whilst the other one works as a generator. By connecting the DC bus of the inverters, the electrical energy from the generator can be circulated back to the motor. The passive rectifier of one of the inverters is used to supply the electrical and mechanical losses. A quadrature encoder located on one of the machines sends position signals to the respective inverter. EPE group of TU/e has a total of 12 setups which can be used independently and simultaneously.

Courses

In total, the equipment is used by approximately 350 students during their lab sessions in a number of courses. The courses are spread throughout the bachelor and master part of the curriculum, they can be part of the obligatory program or the specialisation in Electromechanics or Power Electronics.

Electromechanics

The course on Electromechanics focusses on the three most important rotating electric machines: DCM, IM and PMSM. Students perform experiments using these machines in a coupled operation in order to obtain torque/speed characteristics, efficiency and electrical and mechanical parameters. For this course, EPE group has developed a LabView graphical user interface where students can change modes of operation, setpoints, observe signals on scopes and export and save data. This interface communicates with a real-time control model running in the background. The control model itself is designed in Matlab/Simulink.

Electric Drive Systems

Knowledge about electric drives is obtained in this course, and the lab part is focused on control of an electric drive. The setup consists of a coupled DCM and a PMSM. Students design and implement cascaded control of the PMSM on the setup and verify the steady state and transient types of behavior. The lab uses the Simulink based graphical interface to change setpoints, control parameters, observe transients, and save the measurement data. The ultimate goal of the lab is to compare simulation results with measurements.

Design project on wireless charging

Students in this course work on a complex design project related to power electronics for applications such as renewable energy and charging electric vehicles. Students emulate a wind turbine setup, by using a DCM connected to a PMSM, which is used as an electrical generator. The students develop a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm to maximize power extraction from the generator under different “wind” conditions. The generated energy is used as input for the wireless energy transfer system, this uses other power converters and a coil to wirelessly transfer the energy to a load, which emulates an electric vehicle being wirelessly charged.

Control of Rotating Field Machines

This course challenges students to use their knowledge on asynchronous induction machines and control theory. Students use a setup comprising an IM and a DCM to implement different control strategies such as Field Oriented Control (FOC) and scalar control. The Simulink-hardware interface provides direct access to DC bus voltage, inverter current, and encoder speed measurements as control algorithm input and direct access to the PWM duty cycle as output.

Power electronics for high-precision applications

This elective Masters course provides insights in high-precision applications of power electronics, such as semiconductor lithography, medical systems (e.g. MRI) and high-performance audio. Students implement different topologies such as half-bridge and full-bridge and interleaved precision amplifier. These are used to investigate nonlinearities, distortion, noise, etc.

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