4.2 Prepare widgets

The following sections are about the tab widgets as you find them in 3D Mode, although most are also available as cards in the List Mode.

Item overview

The item overview shows all entities in your project in separate groups. The groups are expandable/collapsible, which is advised to use for larger projects. Whenever the groups start overflowing their containers, scrollbars become visible.

All items have a right-click context menu, with options to edit the item (which opens the properties pane), delete the selected item(s), focus on the item in the 3D viewer and some context-dependent options.

Item overview

The following groups are available:

  • Geometries – a list of all CAD geometries in the project. Within the item overview, you can set their colors, set transparency and visibility.
  • Sensors – the full list of response sensors used in the project, which includes accelerometers, microphones and custom sensors. Use this list to sort the sensors, view their virtual points and set visibility. Note that the order of the sensors determine the order of the channels which will be the rows of your FRF Matrix. The plus button brings you in the sensor database, to add a sensor of your choice, which is equivalent to pressing D.
  • Excitations – the list of excitation points, which will become the columns in your FRF matrix.
  • Excitation Sources – for the sake of completeness, the excitation sources are listed here. In practice, these will be one or more impact hammers to use in the Measure module.
  • Virtual Points – the virtual points in the project. A column summarizes the active VP degrees of freedom. The plus button adds a virtual point in the origin or in the center of the currently selected entities, which is equivalent to pressing V.

All items within a group can be rearranged by dragging and dropping with the mouse. For any changes in the list of sensors, excitation points and virtual points, DIRAC will update the associated FRF data, measurement matrix and other related components to reflect your changes. You are free to define a sensor sorting which is different than how the DAQ system will be configured. Also, you can rearrange all items after your measurements: the relation to previously mapped sensors will remain intact.


This widget shows detailed properties of a selected item. Although multiple selection is possible, the properties widget is mostly used to fine-tune individual sensors, impacts and virtual points. The properties pane is automatically opened whenever you request an edit item action in for instance the 3D viewer or item overview.


Comments can be added to the project using the Comments tab. This is useful for example when the project will be handed off to a different test engineer and specific notes about the test preparation can be included (e.g. attach the sensors using wax).

Measurement information

Within the Measurement info tab, information about the project and measurement settings are defined. Since DIRAC version 2.1, this tab has been extended with fields that are often used in real engineering cases. The Project Title can use these fields to dynamically generate its content. Here’s how it works in practice.

Measurement info

Let us take the example of an electric power steering system. The component would be called an “EPS”, which is a short indicator. This can be filled in in the Component row in the first column. The second column can be used for a longer descriptive name, which could be “Electric Power Steering”.

The component is part of a certain platform, internally often referenced using a short designator. This short code goes into the first column of Platform; the market name can be put in the second. If a certain year or edition is meant, or perhaps a development stage, the Stage row can be used.

Crucial in component modelling is the so-called test assembly. Following the example of the EPS, relevant test assemblies could for instance be:

  1. EPS freely-suspended (TA1)
  2. EPS in full vehicle (TA2), with (p1) or without (p2) cover plates
  3. EPS mounted on a rigid test bench (TA3)

Here, we decided to define 3 test assemblies, which are combinations of the EPS component, the vehicle and/or a component test bench. For the vehicle, we further distinguish two variants, namely one with and one without cover plates. Following the procedure as before, we can now fill in the fields for the row Test Assembly and Variant.

Finally, the measurement campaign itself can be described using the fields Test Series and Version. Here you can for instance indicate whenever it is a partial measurement, certain additional impacts after a first full run, etcetera.

Now that all fields are set, you can make a dynamic project title using for instance the following string:

<Organization> <Platform> <TestAssembly><Variant>: <Component> <TestAssemblyName> – <TestSeries> (<Version>)

By right-clicking on the Project Title field, some built-in templates are available to use. This particular string evaluates to the following “parsed” project title:

VIBES Demo TA1p1: EPS Free-free – Full VP (V1)

This project title is shown as title for your DIRAC file in the home screen and is used as default value for any exports. Moreover, the fields are exported as dataset parameters in the MATLAB MAT-file export, which is tremendously useful when used in conjunction with the VIBES Toolbox for MATLAB.

Virtual Point quality

The last tab has the Virtual Point Quality widget. This can be used to assess and optimize the placement of sensors and excitation points for the purpose of virtual point FRF measurement. See section 4.6 for a detailed instruction.

List mode

In list mode, all widgets become docked cards. The Item Overview of the 3D mode is not available here, but instead a larger panel is shown with tabular overviews of all entities.

  • All tables can be sorted, searched and filtered.
  • All columns can be copy-pasted to external programs such as Excel. Upon copy, one has the option to add the column headers or only copy the data (default behavior).
  • Most cell values can be extrapolated using a basic auto-fill behavior. This is available whenever a small grey box pops up at the lower right corner of a selection.
  • Not every table shows all properties by default. By clicking on the configuration icon, one can reveal some hidden properties.
  • At the right end, a three-dots icon is shown which offers additional functions.

Item overview in List Mode

The following item categories are available:

  • Sensors: tables for all response sensor properties, in turn grouped by accelerometers, microphones, custom sensors and excitation sources.
  • Channels: within the sensors tab, one can switch between the sensors and their associated measurement channels. In the channel overview most values are read-only as they follow from their parent sensor definitions. The channel name can however be controlled here. In order to provide a custom name, click on the three-dots icon to set the name according to one of the templates, or choose none to release the name and make it editable.
  • Excitations: All excitation points.
  • Geometries: All geometries.

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