Learn about Dynamometers
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Dynamometers are used to measure the performance of motors by calculating the engine torque and rotations per minute. From the torque and RPM measurements, users can also determine an accurate power rating for the engine. Dynamometers are effective measurement instruments for a wide range of devices, including pneumatic, hydraulic, electric and fuel-powered motors, as well as certain pumps. They are regularly used to test automotive engines.
There are a variety of dynamometers available, most of which can be generalized as either engine and chassis dynamometers. Engine dynamometers are connected to an engine’s crankshaft, and measure its output through a “brake” instrument. This brake, often a water brake unit, resists the rotational energy of the crankshaft. Other types of braking systems, such as magnetic and friction brakes, are also used to apply resistance. Various mountings and couplings can be used to reduce vibrations and prevent gage fluctuations. Chassis dynamometers, on the other hand, measure the horsepower of vehicle engines through its wheels. These devices use a large set of rollers, on which the wheels are placed. The load on the rollers can be adjusted to simulate different road conditions, and other instrumentation can be used to monitor engine performance under these changing conditions.
Dynamometers can be portable or stationary, and can be used on a wide range of vehicles, including water crafts, snowmobiles, motorcycles and agricultural machinery. However, some of these vehicles may require specially designed dynamometers or other custom units. A multitude of data loggers, conversion software and additional sensors can be used in conjunction with a dynamometer to assist in information recording and analysis.
When selecting a dynamometer, it is important to check the unit’s maximum speeds and absorption levels versus the estimated output of the motor to be measured. One should also determine the space available for the device, as well as the level of accuracy required by the application.