Our main objective in this project is to make a device that simulates adverse power conditions needed in order to provide manufacturers with a highly versatile tool that will allow them to thoroughly and convincingly test their equipment. As laid out earlier in this document, such a simulator would also be useful for product study and consumer advocacy groups to determine such matters as safety and reliability (Does it’s inherent design present a fire hazard when subjected to high power situations? Can this device short out under weird power conditions and possibly kill someone touching it or in close proximity to it at the moment? Will the device blow up and require replacement in those conditions? Can the device sustain operation when a brownout condition occurs and input voltage is drastically lowered for a particular length of time? ) Such a device would most likely require an alterable signal generator, an amplifying circuit to make it simulate actual input from a power plug, an interface for the equipment being tested, and provide protection for the unit itself as well as the input signal device.
Whether this has been done before, in a discussion with our advisor, Dr. Halpin, he was asked if he knew of any devices that had already been created for the purpose of this design. There was no straight answer received. However, he mentioned that he had personally done much research on the issue and said that we would have to do the research on the subject as well. He said that there might have been a device designed along these lines in the past using vacuum tubes (which generally were much more tolerant of high power situations) but that it has not been done with tubes today because A) not many people tend to work with tubes today like they did in the past, and B) they weren’t widely available any longer. Additionally, during a discussion with Dr. Winton, we understood that tubes would most likely be required to get the kind of high power output that is required, but that it is very likely that there exists modern power electronics with ratings high enough to handle the sort of load that such a circuit would be subjected to. Further investigation on the history and research on the subject is required.