Monday, February 09, 2009

Gearing up for another engine firing test

Almost exactly the same time of year after last year's test we are gearing up for another one. This time things should work a lot more smoothly. We are much better at data acquisition, procedures, etc.

My own contribution is the 'CEMORE' (CHASE-10 Engine MOnitor-REgulator) engine controller. Last year I was using a serial interface to shift a small amount of data to the PC from the FPGA. Now I'm using the PXA272 microprocessor on the development board, to provide an Ethernet link to the PC. This is providing a data transfer rate of 256K/sec with our current hardware, compared with 1K/sec of unreliable transmission, previously. The better setup allows the CEMORE to be our basic DAQ system, with the NI DAQ system used as backup on some data channels. For our first test last year, the setup was the other way round, with the NI system as the primary.

Other enhancements include the capability to rapidly modify the 'cyclogram', the sequence of actuator controls during the firing, to allow fast turnaround during test attempts, and other improvements for increased reconfigurability.


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