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RCP-EC2K Quick Start Guide

The Rapid Control Prototyping Energy Conversion kit (RCP-EC2K) includes the hardware, software, and accessories necessary to design and test hands-on practices and experiments in the fields of Electrical Machinery, Power Converters applications, and Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS).

The RCP- EC2K kit has been seamlessly integrated to represent an asset for customers’ training, educational, or research program. By using OPAL-RT’s powerful real-time simulation tools along with FESTO’S Renewable Energy kit, users will be able to design, troubleshoot, and implement simple to complex real-world control strategies in the domain of power electronics and its applications.

The RCP-EC2K system/kit offers the following benefits:

  • Control strategies designed in MATLAB’s SIMULINK graphic interface can be transferred into OPAL-RT’s OP5600/OP4510/OP7000 real-time simulators to perform high-end Rapid Control
  • FESTO’s laboratory equipment can be interfaced with OPAL-RT’s OP5600/OP4510/OP7000 simulators through the signal conditioning module OP8660.
  • FESTO’s robust and reliable hardware along with OPAL-RT’s cutting-edge real-time simulation tools allow a wide array of system configurations (ranging from basic to advanced) for laboratory and research


This quick start guide is meant to swiftly get you started with the major features of the RCP-EC2K kit. It is strongly recommended to thoroughly follow this guide to get familiarized with the underlying concepts of Real-Time Simulation (RTS), Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP), and all the technical features of the RCP-EC2K kit.


For the most part, the figures that depict the connection between the OPAL-RT simulator, the OP8660 conditioning module, and the FESTO hardware present specific images of the OP4510 simulator. However, this quick start guide is, fully or partially, applicable also to the OP5600 and OP5700 simulators if the resource referred to in this guide is available in the specific simulator and if the labeling of the connectors is correctly followed.


Highlights of Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP), Hardware in the Loop (HIL), and Real-Time Simulation (RTS)

Figure 1.1 depicts the different forms in which a real-time simulator can be deployed as a fundamental element of the design of control algorithms. Modeling and control design environments, such as MATLAB, constitute the starting point of an RCP, HIL, or RTS strategy. RCP is a hardware and software-based platform that allows quick testing and iterating control strategies on a real-time simulator with analog and digital IOs that act as interfaces to a real-world physical system or plant to be controlled. RCP platforms typically provide a software-based tool to import and run the developed control and mathematical models into the real-time system.

Conversely, the plant itself can be represented by a mathematical model running on the real-time system: the controller and its related algorithms become thus the Unit Under Test (UUT), and the control development approach is instead known as Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL). As shown in Figure1.1, a third pathway is available which consists of running both plant and controller as a Real-Time Simulation (RTS) to fine-tune control parameters online, speed up simulation times, generate and log reference data, etc.

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