Fault-Tolerant, Multiple-Zone Temperature Control

A computer program has been written as an essential part of an electronic temperature control system for a spaceborne instrument that contains several zones. The system was developed because the temperature and the rate of change of temperature in each zone are required to be maintained to within limits that amount to degrees of precision thought to be unattainable by use of simple bimetallic thermostats.

The software collects temperature readings from six platinum resistance thermometers, calculates temperature errors from the readings, and implements a proportional + integral + derivative (PID) control algorithm that adjusts heater power levels. The software accepts, via a serial port, commands to change its operational parameters. The software attempts to detect and mitigate a host of potential faults. It is robust to many kinds of faults in that it can maintain PID control in the presence of those faults (see figure).

This program was written by James Granger, Brian Franklin, Martin Michalik, Phillip Yates, Erik Peterson, and James Borders of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-45230.

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