Acquisition of Data and Skill

The decision about the continuation of NovaBike 07, last year’s electric motorcycle, has opened up some innovative options. Instead of a complete redesign of the powertrain of the bike, the powertrain department can focus on the details. This includes the system I will be working on in the next few months, the Data Acquisition. It entails measurement devices for speed, acceleration, temperatures and power, and a central processing unit that can collect and store all these measurements. The system will need the following functionality:

  • CAN-protocol communication. This protocol is widely used in the automotive industry;
  • Data storage on a removable device, so it is easy to swap storage and read the measurements;
  • GPS, so that each measurement can be pinpointed to a precise location on the racing track;
  • Accelerometer for acceleration measurements on three axes.

To make this system very modular and reusable, we will be using as the central controller a myRIO from National Instruments. The myRIO is a reconfigurable board with both a real-time processor and an FPGA and can therefore process data quickly. It is fully supported by the visual programming environment from National Instruments, LabVIEW, which makes it easy to add new building blocks of functionality.


National Instruments myRIO

The NI myRIO with a CAN communication module that can be plugged into the device directly. The myRIO has a very accurate built-in accelerometer that will prove useful in our project.

Because our conceptual design of the data acquisition was considered promising by National Instruments, they were willing to support our team with a myRIO. You can imagine that as soon as we received this beauty there was excitement to start figuring out how to program it. Fortunately there was an online training provided by NI on how to do this. Later this month we will have a two-day training in the Dutch NI office as well!

Coding for the NI myRIO at the Nova Electric Racing Office

“Writing code” for the myRIO is done in a visual way using the LabVIEW environment. Here, I am following the online training about programming in LabVIEW.