This article contains a list of tips that make test setup and execution with Simcenter Testlab easier!
1. Channel Setup Overview 1.1 Transducer Information 1.2 Sections 1.3 Archived Settings 2. Setup Tips 2.1 Copy/Paste Channel 2.2 Pull Up/Down Arrow 2.3 Duplicate Point Names and Mistake Prevention 2.4 Move Setup Between Projects 2.5 Show On versus Show On/Off 3. CAN bus 4. Virtual Channels 5. Coupling Settings 6. Tracking and Triggering 6.1 Tracking Spectral Data 6.2 Triggers on Time Data
A Simcenter Testlab project can be divided into sections using the software interface (upper left) shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Each section in a project contains a different channel setup.
Each section of a project contains a different channel setup. The setup in each section is independent of the other sections. When a new section is created, the channel setup is taken from the current section setup.
Whenever data is acquired, the current channel setup is stored in the resulting run. The channel setup used for any run can be accessed by right clicking on the “Archived Settings” and choosing “View Channel Setup” as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Right click the “Archived Settings -> View Channel Setup” of any run to see the channel setup that was active during the acquisition.
Even if the channel setup is changed in the section between runs, the “Archived Settings” contains the active setup during the actual acquisition.
There are several shortcuts and other tips that make entering transducer information easier:
2.1 Copy/Paste Channel
Shortcuts like Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) can be used to copy information from one row to the other in the Channel Setup as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V to copy individual cells between different channel rows.
Copy/paste could be used to change the “Measured Quantity” of several channels at the same time.
Entire rows, not just single cells, can also be copied as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Copy all the settings for a channel by clicking on a row (click on the row number on the left) and pasting.
This is done by clicking on the row number (all the way to the left) which highlights the entire row. After highlighting the row, right click and choose “Copy”. Then highlight a destination row/channel, and choose “Paste”.
Information in the channel setup can be copy and pasted to and from Excel as well.
2.2 Pull Up/Down Arrow
Another way to copy information between cells in the Channel Setup worksheet is to use the white arrow in the corner of an individual cell.
By hovering in the lower right corner of a cell, a white up and down arrow appears as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Hover in the lower right corner of a cell and white up/down arrow appears.
This arrow can then be pulled up or down. As additional cells are passed over, the PointId will increment (if the name ends with a number) as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: After moving the arrow, the PointId is incremented accordingly.
This can be useful channels names have sequential numbers as part of the name.
There are several safeguards built into the Channel Setup interface. For example, if the same name (or PointId) is entered on two separate channels, a caution is thrown. This prevents the creation of two different measurement channels with the same name in a recording. Having two channels with the same name makes the measurements indistinguishable from each other.
When duplicate point names occur, not only is a red flag and message displayed in the upper left corner, the “Measure” workbook is made insensitive as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: The Channel Setup worksheet prevents user mistakes like naming two different channels with identical names.
Many other possible mistakes are prevented in the Channel Setup worksheet. Some examples include:
Voltage Supply: The software sets the voltage supply of bridges to zero when activating them to prevent accidental burnout of a bridge transducer. For example, after setting a supply, switching to a different input mode and back results in the bridge supply voltage being set to zero.
Right Hand Rule: Triaxial accelerometers can only have certain orientations (+/- X,Y,Z) that are valid. This is enforced by adding the “Multi-Channel” column into the Channel Setup.
Test objects might contain a digital bus. A digital bus contains live status information from embedded sensors in the test article. It is useful to compare this digital data with analog transducer information that is acquired simultaneously.
One such digital bus is the Controller Area Network bus (CAN bus). CAN bus was developed in the 1980s to pass information between different sub-systems as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11: CAN bus is serial data communication between sub systems in a product.
CAN Bus uses a 9-pin connector (shown above) with a serial communication protocol to broadcast continuous updates on the status of these subsystems. This should be connected to the CAN Bus input (if equipped) on the Simcenter SCADAS hardware.
In Simcenter Testlab, in the upper right corner of the Channel Setup, there is a “CAN Settings” menu entry as shown in Figure 12.
Figure 12: Simcenter Testlab CAN bus setup interface is selected by choosing “CAN Settings” in the upper right of the Channel Setup workbook.
After attaching the appropriate CAN bus cable from the product connector to the SCADAS, a DBC (*.dbc) file is selected in the interface. All the required settings to read the information from the CAN bus are contained in the user interface.