Tsinghua University - HIL and RCP System


Power electronics systems has different topologies and complex control algorithms, a flexible and open platform is required for power electronics teaching and research. The StarSim software-based power electronics HIL and RCP platform meets these requirements and accelerates our teaching and research activities.

—Daqiang Bi, Power Electronics and Motor Control Lab, Tsinghua University.


Power Electronics and Motor Control Laboratory, Electrical Engineering Department of Tsinghua University, wants to build up a power electronics teaching and researching platform. For teaching aspect, this platform helps students to understand power electronics concepts safely, conveniently and efficiently with hands-on experiments. For the research aspect, this platform is expected to assist the whole research process, from the offline simulation,the real-time simulation (the hardware-in-the-loop simulation) and the physical prototype verification(the rapid control prototyping).

  • A Platform for both HIL and RCP

The power electronics research process includes the offline simulation, the hardware-in-the-loop simulation and the rapid control prototyping. The same platform is expected to be used through the whole process. So users do not need to switch between different platforms, this helps to best utilize the time and resource.

  • Ease of Use

The ease of use is very important to let users get familiar with the software and hardware platform quickly. For example, the platform should support models of the common offline simulation software, such as SimPowerSystems (SimPowerSystems is the trademark of MathWorks) and StarSim. And the power electronics models can be downloaded at one click, without the additional compilation process. Ease of use can dramatically accelerate the development cycle of the overall project.

  •  Flexible and Extensible

As a platform, it is desirable that the maintenance and system upgrade is easy and foreseeable, the hardware devices can keep up with the latest trend of technology, so the investment of the platform can be fully utilized.

The Solution

Tsinghua University chose the StarSim-based HIL and RCP platform provided by ModelingTech Energy Technology Co., Ltd. The entire platform consists of the RCP system, the HIL system, and the physical system. The whole power electronics controller development process consists of the following steps.

Step I: Offline Simulation: The control algorithm and the system model are verified with Simulink (Simulink is the trademark of MathWorks) or StarSim.

Step II: RCP and HIL:  After the off-line simulation step, the control algorithms are downloaded to the RCP controller, and the power electronics models are downloaded to the real-time simulator, the RCP controller is verified through the real-time simulator, or the RCP controller is verified with the hardware-in-the-loop approach.

Step III: Physical System Test:  The real-time simulator is replaced with the physical system, such as the motor. The RCP controller(its control algorithm and its control performance) is verified with the physical system.  


With this platform, the controller is verified with the real-time simulator before deploying to the physical system. This approach can help to debug the controller, reduce unpredictable errors and help to avoid equipment damage. Therefore, this platform is a very efficient tool for the power electronics research.  

Application Example—— Motor Drive Controller Development Platform

The traditional motor drive controller is based on the DSP-based PCB board. Although the cost of DSP-based controller is low, the DSP-based approach usually suffers the long development cycle, the low reliability of the new hardware design, etc. Instead of the DSP approach, Tsinghua University leverages the power electronics HIL and RCP platform for the motor control teaching and research.

Tsinghua University has full leveraged of the advantages of the RCP and HIL platform. They deploy the control algorithm to the StarSim RCP -based RCP controller, and avoid the efforts to design and develop a new customized PCB board. They test the RCP controller with StarSim HIL-based power electronics real-time simulator while the physical power electronics inverter and motor drive was still under the development. They debug and test the motor control algorithm with the safe and reliable HIL simulator, this helps to reduce errors which occurs in the physical system testing phase.

Finally the RCP controller is tested with the physical system. The motor control system is shown in the pictures below:


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