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Over the years, many real-time systems have been proposed for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing. However, these environments are single platform, single solver, and based on costly commercial products. The high cost of these systems often makes them infeasible in many applications. To provide an efficient solution for HIL testing, a very low-cost, multi-solver, hard real-time simulation environment, the real-time virtual test bed (VTB-RT), has been developed in the University of South Carolina, completely based on open-source software and off-the-shelf hardware. In previous publications, the VTB-RT has already been successfully applied in many fields, such as real-time simulations, power electronics controls, and digital controller designs. This paper presents a detailed but general implementation procedure of the VTB-RT from the software and hardware points of view. The readers could follow this procedure to build the VTB-RT or their own real-time systems. Besides, in this paper the application of the VTB-RT is extended to motor drive systems, which have even higher time critical requirements. For verification purposes, a well-known DC motor drive system is realized using the VTB-RT and the consistency of the experimental results with the theoretical results proves the reliability of the VTB-RT.