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HILINK: Real-time Hardware-in-the-loop Control Platform for Matlab/Simulink

The HILINK platform offers a seamless interface between physical plants and Matlab/Simulink for implementation of hardware-in-the-loop real-time control systems. It is fully integrated into Matlab/Simulink and has a broad range of inputs and outputs. It allows quick test and iteration of control strategies in real-time with a real plant in the loop. The platform is a complete and low-cost real-time control system development package for both educational and industrial applications.

The HILINK platform consists of the real-time control board (hardware) and the associated Matlab interface (software). The hardware of the HILINK platform has versatile inputs and outputs. The board also contains two H-bridges with 5 A capability to drive external heavy loads. Some inputs and outputs are multiplexed to simplify the hardware. The board is interfaced to the host computer that runs Matlab through a serial port. The software of the HILINK platform is fully integrated into Matlab/Simulink and comes with Simulink library blocks associated with each hardware input and output. The platform achieves real-time operation with sampling rates up to 3.8 kHz.

The HILINK platform can be used to control various plants such as servo motors, stepper motors, brushless DC motors, magnetic levitation systems, inverted or rotary pendulums, robotic platforms; read analog, digital and PWM output sensors, such as temperature sensors, Hall effect sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, ultrasonic distance sensors. It can also be used generate variable pulse width and frequency outputs, measure pulse width and frequency of signals, read from files and write to files. The HILINK platform allows the user to implement any desired control strategy using the graphical environment of Matlab/Simulink, tune the controller parameters while the system is running, and observe the response of the system in real-time. Please see the quick reference manual for more information.

The HILINK platform has been developed to extend and optimize the real-time operation of Matlab and Simulink. The developed system is uniquely integrated into Matlab and Simulink to achieve real-time operation in Matlab under Windows. The salient features of the HILINK platform make it ideal for implementation of hardware-in-the-loop real-time control systems in both educational and industrial applications.

  


Applications

  • Real-time signal analysis, synthesis, processing and visualization
  • Parameter tuning and optimization
  • Modeling, analysis and design of control systems
  • Real-time control
  • Hardware-in-the-loop simulation
  • Real-time rapid control prototyping
  • Teaching concepts and carrying out experiments in signals and systems labs
  • Real-time data acquisition
  • Mechatronics

Features

  • Compatible with Matlab R2007b through Matlab R2016b
  • Power supply: 6 − 15 V, minimum 0.15 A, regulated
  • Interface:115200 baud, 8 bit data, no parity, 1 stop bit
  • Analog inputs: A0 – A7, 0 − 5 V analog, 12 bit resolution
  • Analog outputs: B0 – B1, 0 − 5 V analog, 12 bit resolution
  • Digital inputs: D0_d0 – D0_d7, 0 − 5 V digital, 8 lines
  • Digital outputs: G0_g0 – G0_g7, 0 − 5 V digital, 8 lines
  • Capture inputs: C0 – C1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Frequency outputs: F0 – F1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Encoder inputs: E0 – E1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Stepper output: S0, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Pulse inputs: K0 – K1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Pulse outputs: H0 – H1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Sensor inputs: I0 – I1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • Servo outputs: J0 – J1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • General pulse inputs: M0 – M1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • General pulse outputs: N0 – N1, 0 − 5 V digital, 16 bit resolution
  • File inputs: U0 – U7, digital, int16 or float64 data format
  • File outputs: V0 – V7, digital, int16 or float64 data format
  • Filtered pulse outputs: L0 – L1, 0 − 5 V analog
  • H-bridge outputs: P0 – P1, 0 − (supply voltage) V digital, 5 A
  • Voltage regulator output: VDD, 5 V, 0.25 A, regulated
  • Sampling rate: up to 3.8 kHz
  • See the extensions for more features
  • Size: 10.16 cm x 7.62 cm (4.0'' x 3.0'')
  • Weight: 43.9 g (1.55 oz)

Requirements

  • PC with Windows XP or later and an available serial port or an expansion slot for a serial card
  • Serial crossover (null modem) cable
  • Matlab R2007b or later with Simulink, Real-Time Workshop (renamed as Matlab Coder and Simulink Coder in Matlab R2011a and later) and Real-Time Windows Target (renamed as Simulink Desktop Real-Time in Matlab R2015a and later)
  • HILINK hardware (real-time control board) 1.3 or later
  • HILINK software 1.3 or later
  • Power supply (regulated, 6 – 15 V, at least 0.15 A excluding the current requirements of the external loads)

HILINK Board with Simulink Library


Power Supply

  • Input: 100 – 240 V, 50 / 60 Hz, AC
  • Output: 12 V, 5 A, DC
  • USA power cord (universal use with a suitable power cord / plug adapter, European power cord is also available upon request)

$25.00            

   


Crossover Cable

  • 6' (1.83 m) crossover cable
  • DB9F to DB9F

 

$7.50             

   


PCI Serial Card

  • 2 x serial ports for desktops
  • 16C550 compatible UART

 

$35.00            

   


CardBus (PCMCIA) Serial Card

  • 1 x serial port for laptops
  • 16C550 compatible UART

 

$35.00            

   


ExpressCard Serial Card

  • 1 x serial port for laptops
  • 16C550 compatible UART

 

$40.00            

   


PCIe (PCI Express) Serial Card

  • 2 x serial port for desktops
  • 16C550 compatible UART

 

$40.00            

   


Payment and Shipping

  • Credit Cards, PayPal, Wire Transfer or Money Order
  • Shipment is via USPS worldwide
  • Orders typically ship within the same day
  • For 10 or more orders, please contact us for a discount

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why did you use the serial port but not USB?

A: Although USB is faster than the standard serial port, it is impossible to achieve the unprecedented high speed reliable real-time performance with USB.

Q: I do not have built-in serial port. Can I still use the HILINK platform?

A: Yes, you can use it with a suitable serial card, which is separately available. Alternatively, you can use the HILINK platform with a USB port with the EASYIO extension.

Q: The HILINK platform achieves real-time operation with sampling rates up to 3.8 kHz. Is this not slow?

A: It is more than adequate for most practical control systems. Similar systems on the market can not achieve one-fourth of this speed even with FireWire interface.

Q: Are there other similar systems on the market?

A: There are some products on the market with a similar intended target. However, none of them can achieve the performance of our system. Please note that the serial port does not work in real-time under Matlab or Simulink without our system.

Q: Why is the cost of your system so low? Have you compromised quality?

A: The cost of our system is low because we are a small company owned and operated directly by the developers. We have made every effort to minimize its cost and maximize its functionality without compromising quality. Please compare our system with other similar products on the market that cost almost a small fortune.

Q: Is there any difference between the educational and regular versions of the HILINK platform?

A: The educational and regular versions of the HILINK platforms are exactly the same. We sell the HILINK board at a lower price to educational institutions to support education and make them more affordable for students and educators. If you are affiliated with any educational institution, then you are entitled to get the HILINK board from the educational price, which is 10% lower than the regular price.

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