09.02.2014

Traditional chinese input using pinyin

PlazaLOGIC is glad to announce that EyesBoard 2.2 is available after our stringent quality control.
A new user setting is provided so that EyesBoard can be automatically started up when logging on to Windows. Notable performance enhancements can be found on EyesBoard logon keyboard and other core functionalities. The 14-day trial version can be downloaded from now on.Current licensed users can upgrade for free. The World Solar Challenge is different from other solar car competitions because it requires the team to travel 3,000 km from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia, which means that a problem could arise that determines whether the solar car completes the journey. Even though the solar car produces mechanical and electrical data for collection and analysis, our primary focus for building our vehicle was the electronics because they were the determining factors for completing the race.
We chose CompactRIO because it combines real-time data acquisition on customizable input channels and can record and transmit data.
In the design phase of the project, we used the CompactRIO controller to record the performance of the solar cells to develop the performance curve of the cells in different weather conditions. Because the vehicle is completely solar-powered, we minimized the use of power in our electronics and directed the main bulk of power to the motor to complete the race. After each road test, we analyzed the data and fine tuned the mechanical components of the solar car such as adjusting the wheel chamber, steering sensitivity, suspension, and tire pressure to improve the performance of the vehicle. Because this project was the first time we used a real-time monitoring system, we were initially unsure of what our main focus would be because there are many areas in a solar car that we can acquire data from.


Using the CompactRIO configurable chassis and NI LabVIEW software, we developed a telemetry system to monitor, log, and transmit data reflecting the real-time health of the solar cells and batteries (Figure 1).
We used the data collected from the battery and solar cells in the design process to battery size and performance curves.
The NI cRIO-9104 8-slot chassis allows can be customized with the modules that cater to our unique monitoring needs. Also, the express VIs provided shortcuts for users to quickly change the program to suit their needs. We hooked the batteries up to the system to determine their discharge curves at different temperatures, and monitored the actions of the drivers for each test run so the support team could determine if they were performing the correct actions. The customized 8-slot chassis captured data such as GPS, battery information, solar cell condition, motor performance, and driver actions. In the chase car, the race strategy team analyzed the collected data and determined the speed to travel with reference to external factors such as the road, driver, and weather conditions. With LabVIEW, we simulated the different weather conditions we may encounter in Australia so we could better gauge the level of power our solar array could provide. As the project progressed, we used CompactRIO for the race and design phase of the project to chart the battery discharge rates at various temperatures and to determine the performance of our homemade solar array.
Key areas of interest are aerodynamics, solar conversion ratio, battery technology, low-rolling resistance tires, and electric hub motors. The real-time data helps the support team develop an optimized race strategy and reduces troubleshooting time because the monitored data triggers alarms to prevent problems before they arise.


Real-time data collected during road runs helped us optimize the performance of the vehicle and compare how different the actual specifications of the car were from the design specifications. With the range of NI modules we could adapt our chassis as the project progressed and we focused on different aspects of our solar car. In addition, we ran our program at start up of the CompactRIO controller, which made the whole system wireless, eliminating the need to connect to the system to manually start the program prior to the race. Also, we will conduct postrace analysis using the recorded data to make improvements to future solar cars. It benefited our team in all phases of our project – from design to the actual race to postrace analysis. Also, our race strategy team used the data to calculate the optimum travel speed with reference to the weather forecasts. Our team had limited programming experience, but the intuitive graphical icons and wires that resemble a flowchart made programming fast and fun for a team of amateurs. We logged all the data in the CompactRIO built-in memory for postrace analysis to improve future projects. With the field-programming gate array (FPGA) programming mode, we integrated all eight modules, because not all of the modules can be used in CompactRIO Scan Mode.



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