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Sensors 2016, 16(3), 349;

A New, Scalable and Low Cost Multi-Channel Monitoring System for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Automation, University of Extremadura, Avenida de Elvas, s/n, Badajoz 06006, Spain
Department of Electronic, Computer Science and Automation Engineering, University of Huelva, Escuela Técnica Superior, Crta. Huelva-Palos de la Fra, Palos de la Fra, Huelva 21919, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Received: 18 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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In this work a new, scalable and low cost multi-channel monitoring system for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFCs) has been designed, constructed and experimentally validated. This developed monitoring system performs non-intrusive voltage measurement of each individual cell of a PEFC stack and it is scalable, in the sense that it is capable to carry out measurements in stacks from 1 to 120 cells (from watts to kilowatts). The developed system comprises two main subsystems: hardware devoted to data acquisition (DAQ) and software devoted to real-time monitoring. The DAQ subsystem is based on the low-cost open-source platform Arduino and the real-time monitoring subsystem has been developed using the high-level graphical language NI LabVIEW. Such integration can be considered a novelty in scientific literature for PEFC monitoring systems. An original amplifying and multiplexing board has been designed to increase the Arduino input port availability. Data storage and real-time monitoring have been performed with an easy-to-use interface. Graphical and numerical visualization allows a continuous tracking of cell voltage. Scalability, flexibility, easy-to-use, versatility and low cost are the main features of the proposed approach. The system is described and experimental results are presented. These results demonstrate its suitability to monitor the voltage in a PEFC at cell level. View Full-Text
Keywords: data acquisition; real-time monitoring; fuel cell; cell voltage; LabVIEW; Arduino data acquisition; real-time monitoring; fuel cell; cell voltage; LabVIEW; Arduino

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Calderón, A.J.; González, I.; Calderón, M.; Segura, F.; Andújar, J.M. A New, Scalable and Low Cost Multi-Channel Monitoring System for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells. Sensors 2016, 16, 349.

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