Dynamometer designed with Labview

Engineers at Computer Controlled Solutions (CCS) have built a dynamometer designed specifically for testing calipers and brakes on Formula 1 high-speed racing cars.


Engineers at Computer Controlled Solutions (CCS) have used the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment along with National Instruments’ data acquisition and motion control products to build a dynamometer designed specifically for testing calipers and brakes on Formula 1 high-speed racing cars. 


AP Racing, a world leader in brake caliper and race clutch technology and manufacturing, required a new, specialised dynamometer for accurately simulating Formula 1 vehicle speeds, acceleration rates and air flow around the caliper as well as importing track data on the braking and acceleration profiles. 


Selected as the control system designer, CCS created this software and electronics control system based on LabVIEW software, NI PCI data acquisition and motion control boards as well as NI-DAQmx measurement services software. With NI modular hardware, CCS engineers created a dynamometer to test brakes and calipers, both on a rig mounting and within the actual wheel and suspension assembly.


They designed the software entirely in LabVIEW, setting up a test program with a clear and intuitive main menu as well as a calibration screen with a tabular view of all I/O and a simplified test list for easily managing test execution. In addition, the engineers took advantage of LabVIEW speed to present a full run screen that indicates position in the test, mimic, dual-scrolling graph displays and all status information.


CCS engineers selected multiple National Instruments PCI-based data acquisition boards to control parameters such as a 288 kW inverter, extraction fan system and 240 kph inlet air flow control because of the boards’ seamless integration with LabVIEW. 


Requiring closed-loop control for torque, pressure, air flow and speed, the engineers also chose an NI quadaxis motion controller based on its high PID loop rates (up to 16 kHz) and price.


The CCS system now tests all motor sport brake and caliper ranges for AP Racing development and Formula 1 teams.