Ancient art of the simple solution: tools of convenience
applied in innovative ways.
I’ve sometimes had occasion to joke that whichever company I was working for could own to the name Trailing Edge Technologies for reasons then self-evident. In equal humor I read where gurus complain about the bleeding edge of technology. A prudent course might be to trail at least slightly behind. I guess that’s where I see my own efforts fitting in. So I went and applied for the tradmark.
Below are some of my software applications for test labs. They are particularly useful in NVH, fatigue and durability. Especially so for use in tandem with MTS MultiPurpos TestWare on FlexTest-IIm and cRPC-III. I wrote them for me and you get them free. Enough said...
Visualize RPC-III time history road load data in 3D! OpenDX is a data visualization package originally marketed by IBM but now maintained as open source. It is extremely versatile. Here I provide a complete program and examples for how to use OpenDX for vizualizing road load data in 3D space. What better way to compare various editing choices against the original test track version? It’s ever so much more informative than ordinary RPC-III time history plots. Here are the complete details.
Link to: OpenDX for RLDA
Completely free, Multi-OS, open-source, software. Foremost is a fully standalone editor program for RPC-III time history data file. Runner up is an XML-RPC client/server pair able to fuction across most firewalls. Of lesser note are a number of other utilities for use in tandem with MTS MultiPurpose TestWare. Some are for specialized data extraction. Others provide for remote system monitoring by FTP and/or email. Every script is provided as source code in Perl (which are possible to also compile as stand-alone
*.exe files via PAR).
Link to: Perl/Tk Utilities
A2LA requires that written logs be kept for every test. As legal records, these logs must be retained for ten years. The traditional media are Xerox copies of hastily thought out, one size fits all, spreadsheet forms. Their unease of use promotes a lack of full detail in observations recorded. Nor can they be searched except by eye.
Electronic documentation to the rescue. But how best to implement it? Almost any binary format (*.doc, *.xls) poses a danger of being corrupted so that it cannot be restored. Files in plain ASCII formats (*.txt, *.html, *.xml) are immune to this hazard since no matter how badly damaged they may still be opened and read. So plain ASCII text it must be. The documentation tools however present other hazards. Text-processors afford an opportunity for accidental data loss or even deliberate revision. The mere possibility of revision suffices to call a whole test into question. The perfect test log authoring tool must avoid these pitfalls.
My Test Log GUI is currently in use on all MTS FlexTest PCs in the Validation Laboratory at Paulstra CRC in Grand Rapids, MI and (last I heard) in the Fatigue Lab at Benteler in Auburn Hills, MI. Test Log GUI is written entirely in Perl on Win2K. The Perl interpretor by Active State (also free, link provided) is required to implement it.
Link to: Test Log GUI
I’ve decided to start keeping a howto for things that go wrong in FlexTest. If you have any simlar notes, share them with me and I’ll put them online for everyone, just like below.
Link to: FlexTest Troubles
My download pages present complete info. You may employ my softwares for any purposes whatsoever, be they private or commercial. I prefer, however, that few should redistribute my work. The latest and greatest versions may only be gotten from me. Please kindly inform me if you find them useful so that I may gloat. And please feel free to suggest improvements.
Gan Uesli Starling