Dynamometer Redesign

Created on 2/7/2017

Now that the second semester of the year has started, many senior design projects that began in the fall are beginning to get into the build phase. This is both exciting and a bit scary for some teams as they begin to see their designs come to life. With these designs comes both good and bad news along with many good lessons learned for the future. One such project that is at this stage is the Dynomometer (Dyno) Redesign Project.
The goal of this project is to redesign the dyno system that is used to test and tune the internal combustion engine. Some goals are to be able to have an unlimited amount of load points as opposed to the old system of having a discrete amount of load. The team also hopes to clean up some of the wiring and software while having a user friendly interface. 
There have been some things that have gone well on the project. The team has gotten most of the hardware assembled. The actual brake itself (the machine that will use electrical energy to oppose the forces created by the engine) was received from Spain as well as the load cell that will measure the amount of torque the engine is putting out. Thanks to some skilled welding by one of the project members, the brake, bearings, load cell, and torque arm has been mounted and is just about ready to be installed.
One of the biggest factors that has held up the project in recent weeks is the PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). While all of the problems have been fixed so that they work, they have been eating up valuable time. One of the issues that the team ran into was the fact that the footprint of a relay was labeled incorrectly in the layout program being used called EAGLE. Because the footprint was labeled correctly, nobody thought to double check the dimentions. This led to having to bend pins to make the slightly bigger relays fit into the holes. Another problem that was run into was a mistake with pinout of an integrated circuit (IC) chip as well as a mistake in the reading of a data sheet. After these mistakes were discovered, they were fixed in EAGLE and many other parts were double checked to ensure that there would be no more issues.

All in all, the project is running pretty close to the predicted timeline with a installation date hopefully by Spring Break. Currently, the team is waiting to get some PCBs back so that they can be assembled and soldered. Once they are received and tested, the team can begin on software as well as installation.