Developing an Operational Test System for Automotive Radios at High Temperatures

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"Using the NI PXI platform and NI software, we ensured that our products can perform under extreme temperatures. With the new system, we can carry out multiple tests in parallel without major complications, and best of all, we avoided adding costs and team members."

- Ricardo Macías Gómez, Continental Automotive

The Challenge:
Ensuring that automotive radios correctly function when subjected to high temperature profiles.

The Solution:
Developing an operational test system for automotive radios based on NI PXI hardware and LabWindows™/CVI software. With this system, we verified the operation of 15 devices in parallel in a 65º C environment.

Author(s):
Ricardo Macías Gómez - Continental Automotive

To ensure that automotive radios and their components correctly operate in high temperatures, we developed a stress test system where devices are simultaneously subjected to various temperatures and controller area network (CAN) communication and audio output tests. The devices undergo different temperature environment profiles, including a low of 10º C, room temperature of 25º C, and a high of 65º C, during a prolonged length of time. To optimise results, we needed to test multiple devices in parallel.

The traditional solution limited us to testing two devices per instrument, so to increase the number of radios per test, we needed to increase the system size. To save money, we implemented a new system based on the NI PXI platform. With this new approach using PXI and LabWindows/CVI, we reduced costs and test-system size. We could test 15 devices in parallel using only one rack, with all instruments synchronised and integrated by the backplane.

Application Overview

We opted to integrate the PXI platform with a PXI-1045 18-slot chassis controlled from an external computer via MXI-Express, eight PXI-8512 CAN communication interfaces, and eight PXI-4472B dynamic acquisition cards.

We implemented the test system using two PXI-8512 ports for active communication with the devices while they were subjected to the different temperature profiles in the temperature chambers. The PXI-4472B cards connected to each radio’s output take audio measurements. This setup ensures that each product correctly operates within the specified time and temperature profiles.

The software-based system uses instrument control and test architecture developed with LabWindows/CVI to integrate dynamic link libraries and execute multiple test lines in parallel without major complications.

To achieve success, we utilized remote and in-house assistance from the NI applications engineering team. We have had excellent results, and we are certain that our products meet all of the requirements.

Using the NI PXI platform and NI software, we ensured that our products can perform under extreme temperatures. With the new system, we can carry out multiple tests in parallel without major complications, and best of all, we avoided adding costs and team members.

Author Information:
Ricardo Macías Gómez
Continental Automotive
Nogales, Sonora
Mexico
ricardo.macias@continetal-corporation.com

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