Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Model Wars of 2012 - The Battle of the Engines!

A humorous account of meeting deadlines by our Controls lead, Ashish Vora: 

The end of March saw the EcoMakers' Controls team scrambling frantically to meet a deadline. In case you were wondering, it was not strictly speaking a competition deadline, of which there are plenty enough, I assure you. No! this time the reason for the higher-than-usual decibel levels of music and caffeine consumption in the EcoMakers' lab, was the fact that our gasoline engine model license from dSPACE was to expire on the 30th of March. (Not exactly the Ides of March, but equally portentous for our HIL team).

So how this situation came to arise was as follows. In all our mighty pride, while we were all focused on trying to model our parallel-through-the-road drivetrain on the dSPACE ASM structure, we had conveniently ignored the fact that all our work was being done on the gasoline engined vehicle model. For those of you that haven't figured out yet, our vehicle will have a diesel engine running on B20.

So "Surprise, Surprise!" when we realized that we better switch to the Diesel engine with only 3-4 days to go before the license expired, we found out that it wasn't all that easy as we had assumed. The thing defied all our attempts at generating the torque we wanted from it! Yi Zhu and Minyu Cai, our plant modeling leads, were spotted walking around with angry bloodshot eyes, muttering incoherently in Chinese (at least I hope it was Chinese and not some half-crazed gibberish) all the while, and an advisory was sent out to the team to avoid any attempts at merry conversation with them.

What turned the tide finally was the god-like intervention of dSPACE, who immediately setup a web conference (within 24 hours of receiving our SOS email!). In one hour, Tobias and Kunal had effortlessly scrutinized our model and pointed out a significant variable that we had overlooked and set us on the path to righteous simulation! Needless to say, Yi and Minyu, having been shown the error of their ways, added another night of loud music, caffeine and sleep deprivation for good measure, and emerged triumphant and wiser, if maybe slightly scarred for life with an inexplicable and incurable addiction to Simulink blocks.

Thus was the EcoMakers plant model simulated on blood, sweat and tears!

Disclaimer: If you hadn't guessed this is a slightly exaggerated account. No blood was actually shed

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