The myGrid for NI myDAQ is an AC power grid allowing a student to investigate the components of a power grid. The myGrid interfaces with NI myDAQ to demonstrate energy monitoring, energy conservation, and the concept of the smart grid. The system includes a traditional power source through a motor representing fossil fuels and a renewable power source using a solar panel. It models how power is generated, transmitted, and distributed in a residential setting across three houses.
What is NI myDAQ?
NI myDAQ is a low-cost portable instrumentation and data acquisition (DAQ) platform that gives students the ability to measure and analyze live signals on a computer. The hardware includes eight software instruments based on
NI LabVIEW system design software to control the NI myDAQ device, providing the functionality of a suite of common laboratory instruments, including a digital multimeter (DMM), oscilloscope, and function generator. Students can access all the ready-to-run software instruments to perform experiments and exercises. When combined with LabVIEW, NI myDAQ creates a hands-on learning solution for the core concepts in engineering curricula, including analog circuits, sensors, and signals and systems courses.
What is an NI miniSystem?
The NI miniSystem is an external accessory board that plugs into NI myDAQ and interfaces with real-world sensors and signals to teach solutions to relevant engineering challenges. For example, with the Elenco myGrid for NI myDAQ, students can learn the concepts of renewable energy and sustainability through systems that fit in the palms of their hands. This can be a better solution than components connected through a breadboard and wires.
How does the myGrid work?
Actual working scaled-down models of the power sources are included in the myGrid. A DC voltage is used to represent fossil fuels. The sum of DC currents created from these DC voltages are used to produce an infrared beam that is connected to circuits producing an AC voltage proportional to the total energy input. A power amplifier produces the AC power required to drive a smart distribution grid. A transformer steps up the voltage that is transmitted over wires with resistance added to emulate a long distance. A second transformer returns the voltage to the required value for consumer consumption on the receiving end of the high voltage line.
For safety purposes the actual voltages are reduced by 100 times. Houses with internal loads are switched on and off to emulate the consumption of the AC power after transmission. Using a software front panel, AC voltage measurements monitor the supply and demand of the grid.
If the load voltage falls below a low line value the power station automatically increases the voltage being generated to satisfy the load conditions. This is accomplished by increasing the current through an infrared diode that is mixing the different energy sources. If the frequency deviates from the desired set value, the power station automatically makes an adjustment on the DC motor that is attached to the device that is breaking the infrared beam.