Jack Johnson, P.E.

Johnson, P.E.
IDAS Engineering Inc.

Jack Johnson is an electrohydraulic specialist, fluid power engineering consultant, and president of IDAS Engineering Inc., Milwaukee. Contact him at jack@idaseng.com, phone (414) 236-5350, or visit www.idaseng.com.

Hydraulic-Electric Analogies—Power Sources, Part 1
The analogous nature of hydraulics and their electrical counterparts becomes even more evident when examining motors and power conversion.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies: Reservoirs and Grounds
Grounds in electrical circuitry and reservoirs in hydraulic systems often draw comparisons in concept, but they differ greatly in terms of design flexibility.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies: Capacitors and Accumulators, Part 3
Volume is the most important parameter for the accumulator, followed by maximum operating pressure.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies: Capacitors and Accumulators, Part 2
Developing an understanding of hydraulic capacitance helps eliminate pesky parasitic capacitances, and facilitates the overall application of circuit theorems in hydraulic design.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies: Capacitors and Accumulators, Part 1
Developing an understanding of hydraulic capacitance helps eliminate pesky parasitic capacitances, and facilitates the overall application of circuit theorems in hydraulic design.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies — Part 7: Variable Electrical Transformers
Analogies between hydraulic and electric transformers, though not considered practical, revolve around magnetism and flux.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies — Part 6: Coils, Cores, and Transformers
Lenz’s Law explains more than just the “speed voltage,” which also happens to be another moniker for that law. It says an induced voltage will occur anytime there’s relative motion between the conductor and the magnetic field.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 6: Coils, Cores, and Transformers
As is the case in electronics systems, inductance is a driving force for coils, transformers, and laminated cores in hydraulics systems.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 5: Current and Electrical Fields
Electrical engineers take pride in the precision of their language, despite contradictions such as in the case of open and closed switches.
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 4: Comparing Power Sources
Comparing Power Sources Between Electric and Hydraulic Systems
Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 3: The Open and Closed Contradiction

An open electrical switch blocks current, whereas a closed switch conducts. A closed hydraulic valve blocks flow, but an open valve allows flow. These are clearly contradictory analogies that are often confounding to those who are seeking to cross-fertilize, so to speak, and learn the other language and concepts. There is a method to this madness, or at least an explanation, that belongs in the pantheon of “No wonder we don’t understand each other.”

Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 2: Voltage and Pressure

Last month’s discussion illustrates how voltage and pressure provide the motivating forces for their respective fundamental elements — electrons and molecules of fluid. Voltage is a measure of the difference in potential energy per unit of charge between two points in a circuit or some other electrical space. The unit of voltage is the volt. Voltage is the energy per unit of electrical charge, measured as Newton-meter per coulomb. What’s important is the force element (Newton).

Hydraulic-Electric Analogies, Part 1
Most technical people working in the fluid power industry have roots either in the mechanical realm or the electrical realm. Those who consider themselves “mechanically inclined” often struggle with understanding of electrical concepts. Likewise, those well versed in electrical science are often faced with terminology in fluid power that is inconsistent with their knowledge.
Weighing the Benefits of Creep Speed

Large positional errors can result when a programmable logic controller (PLC) selects the deceleration point. The error is caused by the scan-time delay in the digital controller, and it is directly proportional to the speed at the instant that the deceleration decision is made. To reduce this error, many open-loop motion controllers decelerate the system to a creep speed to approach the target position slowly. Thus, positioning error is made at creep speed instead of at maximum speed, so the ultimate position will be acquired more accurately.

Linearized Model of a Hydraulic Motor

Most motion-control applications are of a critical nature — they must meet accuracy, bandwidth, or some other performance demand. The most sensible and expedient way to design such systems is to use performance requirements as the design goals at the very outset of the design process. The techniques are analytical in nature, so they require mathematical descriptions of all elements of the system. Only then can synthesis and simulation methods be applied to direct the design process toward the end result without undue trial-and-error techniques.

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