California Instruments RS Series Drive Option Provides Real-Time Control Hardware-in-the-Loop Tasks

Monday, August 25, 2014

CONTACT: Craig Frahm

SAN DIEGO, August 25, 2014 – AMETEK Programmable Power, the global leader in programmable AC and DC power test solutions (, has released the External Drive (-EXTD) option for its California Instruments RS Series of high-power regenerative programmable AC sources. The External Drive option gives users a simple, low-cost way to directly control the output of an RS Series power source in real time, enabling them to be more easily used in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test systems.

Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) is a technique used in the development and test of complete real-time embedded systems. Using HIL techniques allows simulation of real-time feedback and control of such complex systems. HIL applications require electrical interface to act as the interface to embedded systems and the equipment under test. HIL is commonly used to prototype systems for power grids, power electronics and hybrid electric drives. The most recent trend is modeling dispersed energy products, such as a PV inverter, and their effects to the utility grid.

The RS Series features advanced digital signal processing (DSP) control technology to the power amplifiers within the source. The source features traditional remote control methods, such as GPIB or LAN, that inherently introduces control delays in the hundreds of milliseconds, which do not simulate real-time control. The introduction of EXTD allows real-time control via analog signal so delays are typically reduced to 100 microseconds (figure 1), which is 1,000 times faster than the delay time of controlling the output via GPIB or LAN ports. EXTD essentially allows the RS to be used as a high bandwidth amplifier, while the internal DSP continues to monitor the output in order to ensure safe operation.

Available with outputs ranging from 90 kVA to 1MVA, the RS is the latest series of products to use AMETEK's high-performance, pulse-width modulation (PWM) switching technology to provide advanced performance solutions for AC power test applications.
Additional details about the RS-EXTD can be found on the AMETEK Programmable Power website, including an EXTD technical note and user’s manual.

About AMETEK Programmable Power
For more information on any of the AMETEK’s programmable power supplies and programmable loads, contact AMETEK Programmable Power Sales toll free at 800-733-5427 or 858-458-0223, or by email at Users also can contact an authorized AMETEK Programmable Power sales representative, who can be located by visiting

AMETEK Programmable Power is a business unit of AMETEK Electronic Instruments Group, a leader in advanced instruments for the process, aerospace, power and industrial markets and a division of AMETEK, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with 2013 sales of $3.6 billion.

Click here for a hi-res schematic of a Hardware-in-Loop test system