Michael Stamper’s Blog

Mentor Graphics’ Capital Harness Systems tools provide powerful support for electrical system design, electrical analysis, system integration/wiring design, harness engineering and service documentation. Capital Harness solutions are currently deployed throughout the world within the automotive, aerospace, rail, and specialty vehicle segments by both OEMs and their suppliers. I work as an Applications Engineering Consultant for Mentor Graphics specializing in the entire Capital Harness product line and targeting the Military and Aerospace industries. Collected here are some of my thoughts and observations I have gathered over the years working for Mentor Graphics as well as being a customer purchasing Mentor Graphic’s products.

12 August, 2010

Having been a technical specialist with Mentor Graphics for a little over 7 years now.  I work with a great group of people and we have had some great successes.  I was recently asked after our latest account win what made the customer choose Mentor Graphics?

This is a question I was unable to answer straight away.  On the surface we have products to sell that they want to buy, but that is really too superficial.  They have problems that our software can solve for them.  Well, sure, but that isn’t really it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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5 April, 2010

I like going to trade shows – usually I am one of the many people doing “booth duty” – standing in the booth chatting with people and doing demonstrations.  Often I get to talk to some fine folks that have nothing whatsoever to do with electrical harness design and just want whatever trinket we are giving away – but you meet some interesting people and sometimes learn a little bit.

This year the general session is in Las Vegas (hooray) April 18-12.  Navigate to http://www.coe.org/EventsEducation/AnnualConferenceTechniFair/tabid/211/Default.aspx to take a peek.

I will be manning the booth – come by to chat about electrical systems and harness design or just to grab a trinket ;)

See you there!

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22 January, 2010

I read an interesting article at http://www.physorg.com/news183361139.html by Lin Edwards that describes a new single person electric aircraft that and hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane.  As quoted by Lin:

The cruising speed of the Puffin is expected to be 240 kph, with spurts of 480 kph possible. The engine does not require air, which means its flight capabilities are not limited by thin air, and it could fly as high as 9,150 meters. With a full charge, the batteries could keep the plane aloft for only 80 kilometers at cruising speed, but as new batteries are developed this is likely to increase substantially, perhaps to over 300 kilometers by 2017.

I think these are exciting times for travel in general.  I like the idea of this type of personal very light aircraft and believe with the radar and GPS technology getting increasingly better mass aeronautical transportation may actually be a reality in my lifetime!  Of course that is a bit of a stretch but it seems the technology is moving us in that direction anyway.

This got me to thinking of the types of technologies from a cable harness point of view that would help facilitate our transition to break our chains from cars to planes for personal and mass transit.  Considering weight is going to be a key factor I would think breaking away from copper as a conductor wherever possible and using fiber optics would help.  A not insignificant portion of the weight of a vehicle nowadays is due to the wiring harness and its associated components.  For power distribution I wonder if we will get to the point where we can use induction to transfer power from one object to another without wires, like, even though it seems silly to say, how I charge my electric toothbrush.  There are several other technologies such as electrodynamic induction, electrostatic induction and a whole range of far field power distribution mechanisms that may play a role in the distribution of power in the future of transportation design.

There is still quite a bit of technology in the area of power, power distribution and materials that needs to be created before my vision is a reality – but I am ever hopeful that one day projects like the Puffin will pave the way!

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18 January, 2010

Often when we are creating wiring diagrams we are limited by our page size for content – sometimes as small as 8.5″x11″ often 11″x17″.  I have designed using both – and used both in the field.  I can tell you I prefer to draw on 11″x17″ but when I am in the field troubleshooting I would rather handle and carry a smaller stack of paper. Read the rest of this entry »

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11 January, 2010

The differences in documentation standards for electrical design are as vast as the number of stars in the sky.  No two are alike, no matter what the claims – there is always “something” different.  If your company provides documentation to more than one customer then the problem is even greater.  The problem lies with the tools being used to create the drawings.  Typically I see companies trying to use drafting tools to document complex electrical models – whether these are wiring diagrams defining electrical connectivity between devices or documentation of harness cables that route signals from one point to the next. Read the rest of this entry »

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4 January, 2010

What is EWIS?  EWIS stands for Electrical Wiring Interconnection System which can be defined as at set of electrical connections and signals between devices and modules and all of their associated termination parts which are necessary for their installation.  In other words, this defines the set of electrical diagrams and cable harnesses that are installed in an airplane or a helicopter that make all of the electrical connections.

More and more I hear from my customers that they are being required document robust processes to control issues of say signal separation in the case of electrical interference or power source isolation.  I have been told that currently this can be a tedious process to validate each circuit and its routing path as installed.

Capital Harness Systems has a product called Capital Topology that provides a method for capturing the routing path of all of the cable harnesses in an installation and all of the interconnections between said harnesses.  This can be married with the point to point wiring diagrams and via rules and constraints one can very quickly an easily determine and document if all of your signal separation constraints have been met.  The cable harness paths for an aircraft can be modeled as shown in the simplistic example below:

Capital Topology

Capital Topology

From here we can synchronize this view with our wiring diagrams:

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Capital Logic - Wiring Diagram

Capital Topology provides sophisticated rules and constraints to help an organization meet their EWIS requirements.  Some of the features of Capital Topology are:

  • Provides an integrated harness-level platform view of the vehicle wiring implementation
  • Enables EWIS trade-offs
  • Allows validation of wiring data in the context of harness topology
  • Direct navigation between wiring and topology views including effectivity perspective
  • Determine bundle diameters very early in the design process
  • Bridge with 3D at any point in the design cycle

Capital Topology is an excellent tool that will save you time and costs in early design validation and will help you provide documentation to substantiate your EWIS compliance.

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16 December, 2009

As an applications engineer I often find myself having to explain to a potential customer the difference between electrical modeling and manual drafting.  Showing the value of this difference is oftentimes a challenge not only due to the difference in technology but also the change in the culture required to move from one to the other.

Read the rest of this entry »

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