Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Measuring Parasitic Drain In A Car Battery

https://www.picoauto.com/library/automotive-guided-tests/parasitic-drain/

A PicoScope is an ideal device to perform this test, plus a
few suitable accessories.
This test evaluates the level of parasitic current draw
from the battery during a vehicle's shutdown phase and sleep periods.
To obtain the correct parasitic drain values it is essential to
make sure that the vehicle
battery is serviceable and fully charged with all accessories
switched off. The vehicle
must be locked (security systems armed), and for keyless
and Smart Entry System (SES)
vehicles make sure that all keys are out of the detection range
of the vehicle.
For example, location devices, data loggers, motion cameras,
entertainment accessories,
in-car chargers and additional anti-theft devices; all of which
may consume current and
contribute to parasitic drain levels.

    1. Switch on the current clamp and let it warm up
      internally while it acclimatizes to the workshop
      temperature (approximately 10 minutes)

    2. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed
      and that the vehicle battery remains accessible.
      • Where the vehicle battery is located
        inside the engine bay, make sure that
        the bonnet latch is closed and that the
        bonnet position switch is set to the closed
        position with the bonnet raised. Where
        the vehicle battery is located inside the
        luggage bay, make sure that the luggage
        door latch is closed and the luggage door
        position switch is set to the closed position
        with the luggage door open. (It is important
        that the body control system recognizes that
        these panels are closed in order to commence
        the shutdown of the vehicle networks.)

    3. Make sure that the ignition is switched off.
      • In the case of a vehicle with a keyless or SES,
        lock the vehicle with the key fob/set and place
        the keys out of range of the vehicle (two meters
        minimum distance between the vehicle key set
        and the vehicle). These vehicles have the ability
        to detect the presence of the keys in the area
        around the vehicle, preventing full shutdown of
        the network.

    4.  
  1. Connect the test lead to Channel A on the scope.

  2. Connect the coloured end of the test lead to the battery’s positive
    terminal and the black ground lead to the battery’s negative terminal.

  3. Connect the current clamp to Channel B.

  4. Run PicoScope Automotive by clicking the Go button or pressing the
    space bar on your keyboard.

  5. Zero the current clamp and connect it around the battery negative lead
    (note the orientation of the current clamp in relation to the current flow).

  6. Let the scope capture sufficient data to confirm the shutdown period and
    sleep mode of the vehicle (up to 45 minutes). Here, you will measure the
    parasitic current drain, looking for a target value of less than 80 mA after
    45 minutes.

  7. Press the Stop button in PicoScope to stop the capture.

https://www.picoauto.com/library/automotive-guided-tests/parasitic-drain/


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

CANbus on a laptop?


How can you get a reliable, optically isolated CAN connection on a laptop or desktop PC? 
The Janz Tec CAN-USB adapter is an easy way to connect a CAN network to a personal computer or otebook computer via its USB port. Due to the Plug ™n Play feature of the USB port, the CAN-USB adapter can be connected and disconnected to the computer system without leaving running applications and restarting the system (except for the very first installation of the software drivers). The software driver supplies an API to the user.
Hardware Features
  • embedded design using a powerful 16MHz RISC processor
  • 64kB SRAM (used for message buffering and extended message filtering)
  • USB 1.1 interface (also compatible to USB 2.0)
  • four LEDs for status indication
  • industrial standard SJA1000 CAN controller
  • optical decoupled CAN interface (non decoupled CAN interface optional on request)
  • software switchable CAN bus termination
  • CAN bitrates up to 1MBit/s supported
  • USB- and CAN-message buffers
  • 9 pol DSUB male connector for CAN
  • Type B connector for standard USB cable
  • in field firmware updates possible
  • very small housing (53 x 55 x 20 mm)


Firmware


The firmware is that piece of software which runs on the device's RISC microcontroller (not on the user PC) and has the following main features:
  • 11 bit and 29 bit identifiers are supported1 - 4 CAN-USB adapter (User's Manual)
  • Introduction© Janz Automation system AG Rev. 1.0CB-USB-01001/0100
  • user configurable extended acceptance filtering
  • configurable synchronization message generation (a message which will be send periodically within a user configurable time interval)
  • queue buffer with different priorities for outgoing CAN messages
  • queue buffer for incoming messages
  • integrated bootloader for in field firmware updates
  • error and status reporting, busload counters
  • sniffing mode
  • Self test mode
Software
  • Driver support for Windows 2000/XP™ (and Linux)     
  • a SDK is required for first time CAN-USB use.

Product details here:  http://www.saelig.com/CB/C001.htm

Monday, August 28, 2017

How to sniff out EMC problems!

It pays to do preliminary studies before sending products off to the test lab for electromagnetic compatibility problems.
An engineer in a relatively small company usually must rely on experience and tribal knowledge to design a product that is electromagnetically compatible (EMC) with other equipment. Many designers and manufacturers don’t have the luxury of their own in-house RF test lab with an EMI-proof chamber equipped with expensive RF test-gear. That is why it is estimated that more than 50% of products fail the first time through an approved EMC testing facility. And failing is expensive. Retest costs are high and a retest may push back project schedules and market introduction dates.
However, pre-compliance testing has now become much more affordable. Such “early sniffing” can provide a good idea of problems before the fix gets expensive. Standards vary by country, but common EMC regulations for the U.S. are described in FCC Part 15, with subsections depending on whether or not the product is a consumer item. For Europe’s CE mark, EN55011 is the common standard, while some products have even stricter requirements.
Do-it-yourself, homegrown bench testing is becoming more necessary to head off problems passing the required emissions standards. It’s expensive to book an approved, certified test facility to ensure your new product meets EMI emissions limits. But it’s even more costly if your product fails and must go back to the bench to fix radiation issues, then return for a retest.
Fortunately, it is now quite inexpensive to purchase an RF spectrum analyzer with associated near-field probes or antennas, so you can get a first look at basic EMC/EMI problems before they do too much damage. Spectrum analyzers are now affordable—prices of quite sophisticated bench-top units have dropped dramatically in the last few years. They are even available in the form of a USB thumb drive, which can be connected to a Windows PC or tablet.
A set of sniffer probes—which look a bit like bubble wands for kids—can quickly find both the sources of problem radiation and help gauge the success of proposed fixes. The probes can disturb the field being measured, bringing added capacitance in proximity to an unwanted oscillator. Experience will reveal how useful and valuable this EMI tool can be.
Other useful tools for in-house testing include TEM (Transverse Electro-Magnetic) cells for radiated emission and immunity testing, and line impedance stabilization networks for conducted-emission testing of dc-powered equipment. Economical wideband amplifiers can boost the sensitivity of commercial spectrum analyzers or digital oscilloscopes using the scope’s FFT spectrum analyzer setting—but oscilloscopes are often not sensitive enough to provide much useful information.

Friday, August 25, 2017

How To Reverse-Engineer An Obsolete PCB


Supporting the ever-present problem of maintaining long-life systems - even in the absence of relevant documentation - is made easier with this unique hardware/software system.



THE PROBLEM


Maintenance and repair technicians are increasingly confronted with obsolete PCBs or boards with no circuit schematic diagrams.  Ensuring the reliable and safe operation of transportation or legacy equipment means that electronic assemblies and boards that malfunction but can’t be replaced need to be reverse-engineered and properly documented. Sometimes when obsolete boards come in for repair, there is one “golden board” left in stock that is too precious to install in equipment. How can you avoid repeatedly discarding PCBs that frequently fail just due to a simple (but unknown) component?  Sometimes repair shops are faced with fixing boards with no supporting documentation and the supplier is no longer in business.  Old products that are no longer manufactured or supported by the original supplier is an increasingly pressing problem for users and maintainers of long life systems such as military systems, aircraft maintenance, water and electricity utilities, medical equipment, air traffic control, avionics simulation, traffic control, trains, and signaling. For systems with an operational life of 25 years, the support strategy for spares and repairs are critical issues.  Long-established companies are being taken over, restructured, or go out of business, leading to the growing situation where no support is available.  Rapidly changing technology increases the problems of support.



Consumer products quickly become obsolete (try buying the same PC motherboard after only six months ….) and are not supported or manufactured long before the end of their true operating life.  But when a product is part of a long life system, obsolescence is unacceptable unless a replacement is physically and functionally identical (form/fit/function).  Changing to a new component may mean the enormous expense of recertifying the whole system for critical equipment such as military equipment or medical diagnostic machines.



What is needed is a system that will create essential product documentation to enable the implementation of a workable maintenance and repair strategy that is cost effective and independent of the original manufacturer or service provider.  Even better, that will provide a schematic of the PCB under test, and even create a new PCB layout so new boards can be made.

THE SOLUTION


While it is true that manual point-to-point circuit detection, observation, and manual recording is one solution for trying to re-document the PCB – that is prohibitively time-consuming.  But there is now an easier way, using a product from Europe called RevEng (REVerse ENGineering -  getting REVENGe on the problem of ‘no documentation’!)

The RevEng System is a remarkable reverse-engineering hardware tool for creating professional quality circuit schematic diagrams from a sample PCB without any documentation. The RevEng System consists of a PC-controlled continuity-detecting hardware system, SYSTEM8 Ultimate control software, and EdWin, a fully featured CAD package. RevEng ‘learns’ the connectivity of the sample circuit, producing a netlist of the components and connections for importing into EdWin software, resulting in professional quality circuit diagrams and even new PCB layouts if required.


Watch video here:  https://youtu.be/AhTEneQ7Aa0

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Cause of Meeting Mania & Some Ways to Stop It!

Jill Shaul in her blog (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-cause-meeting-mania-14-ways-stop-jill-shaul) states that a full calendar of meetings reflects that you aren’t managing your time or your priorities.  She recommends what to do when you are invited to a meeting:
1. Check the agenda. No agenda? DECLINE. Or accept the meeting as “tentative” then ask the organizer to let you know the purpose of – and your role in -- the meeting. After all, you want to be prepared. Hint: meetings end earlier when people are prepared.
2. Consider who else is going to the meeting. Do *you* really need to be there? Is there someone else on the invitation list that could cover your part? Offer that person a beer to represent you.
3. Avoid status meetings. And all other meetings that could easily be handled in an email. Exception: status meetings held on a short-term basis for a specific project that will be more productive with live status reports.
4. Propose a new date/time. Just because you were invited for a meeting on Tuesday at 2pm doesn’t mean that is the only time to meet. If that meeting doesn’t align to your priorities for the day/week/month, push it out.
5. Reject all meetings before 8am and after 5pm. If you need to meet before 8 or after 5 you are clearly not managing your time and priorities well. Exceptions include, but are not limited to: calls with people in significantly different time zones, job interviews, and your personal preferences. Some people actually prefer a 6am or 7am call. Note: I am not one of those people!
6. Let the meeting organizer know about any topics you want to cover. Don’t show up and exclaim, “We really need to talk about [fill in topic that will completely derail the meeting that no one is prepared to talk about].”
7. Don’t linger. It’s OK to let a meeting end early. If there is nothing left to say LET THE MEETING END.
Remember, just because you are invited to a meeting doesn’t mean you have to attend a meeting.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Saelig Introduces Industrial Raspberry Pi Controller ComfilePi




Versatile Raspberry Pi is adapted for industrial use


Saelig Company, Inc. (www.saelig.com) has introduced the ComfilePi - an industrial Raspberry Pi-based touch-panel PC. Leveraging the compact, ubiquitous Raspberry Pi 3 board, the ComfilePi inherits the Raspberry Pi 3’s 1.2GHz 64 bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU, and 1GB of RAM.  It comes in two screen sizes  -  7” (CPi-A070WR) and 10.2” (CPi-A102WR) both providing identical capabilities.

The displays are 24-bit color LCDs with a resistive touchscreen and the units provide 22 x ESD-protected GPIO lines, 3 x USB 2.0 host ports, 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port, 1 x I2C port, and 2 x RS-232C ports.  It also features stereo audio output as well as a piezo buzzer.  WiFi is also possible using an external USB dongle.  Powered by 12-24VDC input, the ComfilePi’s primary storage is a microSD card.

The CPi-A070WR and CPi-A102WR are housed in flame-retardant ABS enclosures with an IP65 water resistant front panel, and offer an operating temperature range of 0degC to 70degC.

The ComfilePi can be programmed in almost any language, including C, C++, Java, JavaFX, Javascript, python, C#, vb.net, and even emerging languages such as Rust, D, and Nim, as well as .Net Core 2.0 applications.  Due to the built-in Broadcomm VideoCore IV GPU, the ComfilePi can even render real-time 3D graphics.

Details here:  http://bit.ly/2wxUCwN


Made in South Korea by Comfile Technology, an innovative HMI controller manufacturer, ComfilePi products are available now from Saelig Co. Inc., Comfile’s only authorized North American technical distributor. For detailed specifications, free technical assistance, or additional information, please contact (toll-free in the US) 1-888-7SAELIG, via email: info@saelig.com, or visit www.saelig.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Why is Siglent SDS1202X-E One of Our Most Popular Oscilloscopes?

The Siglent SDS1202X-E200 MHz, 2 Channel, 1GS/s, super Phosphor Oscilloscope provides you with affordable performance in a compact design. Packed with standard features – including USB connectivity, automatic measurement function for 38 parameters that support, statistics, zoom, gating, math, history and reference, providing true measurement and math of all sampled data points (up to 14M), multi language display and embedded on-line help. Siglent SDS1202X-E Series oscilloscopes help you get more done, in less time. With a 200 MHz bandwidth, 1.8ns rise time and 1GS/s maximum sample rate (single channel). There are no other digital storage oscilloscopes offering as much bandwidth and sample rate within this price range. The "-E" designation means that it doesn't offer any upgrades - so if you need 8 or 16 channels for digital debug, choose another scope.



The new generation SPO ("Super Phosphor Oscilloscope") has a 7 inch TFT-LCD display with an 800x480 resolution that provides excellent signal fidelity and performance. The display's 256- level intensity grading and color temperature are brilliant and not found in similar models within this class. Siglent proprietary & powerful digital triggering, high sensitivity, low jitter technology has a waveform capture rate of up to 100,000 wfm/s in the normal mode and 400,000 wfm/s in the sequence mode and includes serial bus triggering. Decoding is standard and includes IIC, SPI, UART, CAN and LIN. Other features include a video trigger that supports HDTV, a low noise front end capable of accurately measuring signals down to 500uv/div, and as high as 10V/div.

Multiple interfaces included as a standard are USB Host, USB Device (USB-TMC), LAN (VXT-11) PASS/FAIL and Trigger Out.  SCPI remote control commands are also supported. The 1 million point powerful FFT math function provides high frequency resolution when observing the signal spectrum. The new hardware co-processor delivers measurements quickly and accurately. The "History" function allows the maximum recording waveform length of up to 80,000 frames. In the segmented acquisition (sequence) mode, the maximum record length is divided into multiple segments (up to 80,000) and is dependent on the trigger conditions set by the user yielding a very small dead time segment to observe and capture the qualifying event.

Do your homework. What bandwidth do you need? How many channels will you require? Look on the internet for reviews from other users. And yes, you can give us a call here at Saelig, 1-888-7SAELIG (1-888-772-3544) where we always put the customer first, will assist with your purchase and graciously answer any questions that you may have in reference to our outstanding products. If we do not have it, then we will help direct you to someone that can help.

Included Accessories

Cable: 1
USB Passive Probe: 2
Power Cord: 1
Quick Start: 1
Certification: 1
      CD (Including User Manual and EasyScopeX software): 1

There are no other digital storage oscilloscopes offering as much bandwidth and sample rate within this price range.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Testing Solar Power Supplies

http://www.gwinstek.com/upload/media/download/Others/Test_Script_function_IEC61215_IEC61646_UL1703-35.pdf

Utilize power supplies with the Test Script function
to realize IEC 61215, IEC61646 or UL1703-35
Temperature cycling test



              Solar power has been regarded as the trend of renewable energy sources
          ever since the pressing energy saving demands. A sound solar cell design
          can effectively absorb light emitted by the Sun to produce voltage and current.
          An assessment of solar cells’ capabilities must include operational life cycle
          testing and outdoor tolerance to normal environments.
          IEC61215, IEC61646 and UL1703 are test regulations for the characteristics
          of solar cell modules to ensure the materials can sustain severe
          outdoor environments and to minimize the chances of damage.
          UL1703-35 Temperature cycling test and the thermal cycling
          TC200 of IEC61215 or IEC61646 are designed to test solar
          cells for 200 temperature cycles to monitor the continuity of the
          electric circuit; and to identify problems of malfunction,
          leakage of electricity, open circuit and insulation occurring
          at internal or welding spots that are caused by different
          thermal expansion coefficients of various packing materials.
      
     Temperature cycling test:

          Temperature cycling test requires temperature control and a
          working voltage to ensure electric flow in modules. A constant temperature
          and constant humidity chamber (CT/CH chamber) and a programmable power
          supply are used to control the solar panel’s temperature variation and to supply
          power to solar modules in order to verify whether solar modules meet the
          regulations under temperature cycling. Solar modules require different test voltage
          due to different connection method of modules. Therefore, the output conditions
          of the power supply must be set according to the actual specifications of the solar
           modules. 
          The GW Instek PSW Series of power supplies are very useful for this.

                            Read on here for the test procedure:  http://bit.ly/2x5Rw0b

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sol Chip founder Dr Shani Keysar interviewed on Israel TV




Wireless sensors are deployed in several ways, either as static networks deployed measuring soil moisture, cow movement etc., or even mobile sensors deployed on individual animals, monitoring animal behavior, health, temperature, etc.

There are also cheap ear-tag solutions that are very popular today and are being replaced daily by active collars or active leg-tags. Passive tags are commonly used for individual cattle identification, which are used for track and trace rather than sensing. However, some use passive RFID sensors to monitor cattle. Others use active RFID for longer-range tracking.

Despite the advantages in using an active collar for monitoring, the maintenance and labor costs when the battery is drained are quite high since the collars are sealed to prevent malfunction, it requires to break the seal and to re-seal it after replacing the battery.
Sol Chip’s Everlasting Solar Battery enables the supply of continuous power over an extended time period to prolog the battery life and cut on maintenance costs.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Line Voltage, Current & Power Basics Poster - Free!

Get your free reference poster for Line Voltage, Current & Power Basics from Teledyne LeCroy here: 

http://lcry.us/2weqJkV 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Need a custom PC with preloaded software in your trade dress?

Not only does Amplicon manufacture all of their products in-house, they also provide custom branding services to ensure your system is an eye-catcher!

With a history of over 40 years based firmly in engineering, Amplicon has gained unrivalled experience in the manufacture and distribution of products and systems for Industrial applications. Amplicon provide the marketplace with a wide range of advanced computer-based measurement and automation systems that can be customized, networked and bundled for easy integration, backed by a technically competent workforce with a highly developed engineering capability and a state of the art EMC test facility.

With experience of designing and manufacturing compliant products, Amplicon has unparalleled knowledge and applying EMC expertise to their product range with known and predictable characteristics. The EMC facility is operated within an ISO9001 Quality Assurance system.

Amplicon builds close individual relationships with its clients who are typically system integrators, manufacturers and test houses operating in the aerospace, military, transport, security and building automation industries. All who require a non-standard, extended specification, high quality product backed up by technically competent long-term support, and a supplier who can shoulder some of the burden when supplying systems to applications where quality, conformance and long-term support are mission critical.

Amplicon is an international business and has world-wide representation through a comprehensive network of distributors. Amplicon has ISO9001:2008 certification, BSI accreditation, and membership of the PXI Systems Alliance. Their Compliance and Engineering departments ensure our full compliance to the WEEE and RoHS legislation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIuN2K4iDN8&list=UUop5hhPkgoOu7lV5wiHJShQ

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

RF Shielding Issues in Wireless, Cellular, and Electronics Product Companies

RF / EMI interference during testing can be an enormous problem for electronic and wireless parts manufacturers. During the production process, wireless devices often need to be activated without external interference for quality and process control checks. To insure that radio frequency signals are solely from the individual unit being tested, RF isolation is required on assembly lines or in test areas. And when multiple adjacent manufacturing cells are building electronic and wireless products, RF isolation is essential to allow quality control or activation testing of the similar components on adjacent lines. RF isolation prevents RF/EMI noise from equipment in other parts of the factory interfering with production testing.

Additionally, RF sensors and process controls that are critical to automation can be susceptible to interference and may require isolation from other radio frequency sources.

When trouble-shooting process control issues, portable shielding that is movable on the assembly line or between cells may be essential in finding problems. Additionally, automation controls and sensors require calibration and will benefit from temporary RF isolation.

In re-manufacturing, wireless units often need to be activated to assure functionality, again requiring the RF signal to be isolated and traced to the individual unit being tested.

RFID is used more and more in manufacturing on individual products or on pallets for electronic labeling and scanning. RF shielding may be required to assure accurate counts as product moves from location to location in order to segment distinct manufacturing operations, the warehouse from the factory, or the dock from the truck.

RF / EMI shielding in manufacturing can be accomplished a number of ways. Curtains can segment operations. Portable lightweight RF shielded test boxes can house equipment as it travels along the line. And portable RF shielding tents can be erected for temporary isolation. Product development for wireless and electronics encounters a number of RF / EMI Shielding challenges for products and parts of all sizes and applications. RF isolation is key to test and calibrate the product and components at various stages of development, free from RF interference. RF interference comes from external sources like cell towers or airports, and internally from RF emitting prototypes in the lab.

Read on here for solutions!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Saelig Introduces High Voltage High Efficiency 1500W DC Supplies

Single-Channel Programmable High Precision DC Supplies with Multiple Features. Many operational modes suit a variety of test and operational applications

 Saelig Company, Inc. has introduced the PSU-HV Series of single output programmable switching DC power supplies that can provide up to 15A current and cover a power range up to 1560W. These high efficiency, high power density 1U-height supplies include five models from 100V to 600V output.  More than one unit can be combined for increased power capacity.  Made by GW Instek, the PSU-HV series has five models (100V/15A, 150V/10A, 300V/5A, 400V/3.8A, and 600V/2.6A) to satisfy many high voltage application demands. 


Description: GW Instek PSU 20-76 DC Power Supply

The PSU-HV Series of 19” rackmount (1U) single channel power supplies provide Constant Voltage / Constant Current selection - a very useful safety feature for protecting a Device Under Test (DUT). The power supplies normally operate in constant voltage (CV) mode when turned on, but, if connected to a capacitive load, this could cause a high inrush current or current-intensive load at the power output stage.  Running in constant current mode limits current spikes, protecting the DUT from inrush current damage.  The Over-Voltage Protection (OVP) and Over-Current Protection (OCP) levels can be selected from 10% to 110%, with the default level set at 110% of the power supply’s rated voltage/current.

The adjustable slew rate of the PSU-HV Series allows users to set either output voltage or output current with a specific rise time for low to high level transition, and a specific fall time for high to low level transition. This is useful for characterizing a device under test during voltage or current level changes using variable slew rates. The Output On/Off Delay feature enables setting a specific time delay for Output On after the power supply output is turned on, and a specific time delay for Output Off. When multiple PSU-HV units are used, the On/Off delay time of each unit can be set respectively at preset time points. This multiple-output control can be done through the analog control terminal at the rear panel or through the PC programming with standard commands.  The PSU-HV series also provides users with flexible settings of High/Low Level or Trigger input /Trigger output signals with pulse width of 1- 60ms. The Trigger Input controls the PSU to output a preset voltage, current, or memory parameters.

Friday, August 11, 2017

#LaughoftheDay: OutTakes & Bloopers from Saelig videos

We've had fun over the years making product videos and demos in our own Media Studio.  Here are some Out-Takes to celebrate our Technical Support Manager, who is retiring after 12 years at "the best job I ever had"!



#LaughoftheDay: OutTakes & Bloopers from Saelig videos (& farewell to retiring our Tech Support Manager) https://youtu.be/DBHAILrmJhA

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Innovative Sensor System for Helicopter & Crane Hoist Load Measurements

https://environmentalengineering.org.uk/news/sensor-system-helicopter-hoist-load-measurement-4981/




Heli-Lift Services is using a wireless load sensor to ensure safety when extracting trees from inaccessible forestry.

Innovative wireless load sensing and monitoring technology from Sensor Technology is playing a key role in helping a helicopter services company to pluck trees from forests where there is no access by tractor.

Based in Oxford, UK, Heli-Lift Services provides a unique helicopter-based extraction service in forests where the ground is wet or boggy, or in environmentally sensitive expanses and areas of special interest, ensuring minimal disruption to the environment. With these services, the company is meeting the tree extraction requirements of everything from thinning and commercial timber supply, to the plucking of Christmas trees for delivery to towns and cities around the country.

The key to the company’s ability to ensure that its operations are safe and have a wealth of data upon which to base its maintenance and billing is the HeliNav TrackMaster sensing system from Sensor Technology that incorporates a strain gauge into the cargo hook that carries the helicopter’s under-slung load.

The wireless Load Sensor is a strain gauge based stainless steel tension type sensor. It has the capability of wirelessly transmitting its data to a readout where it both displays live readings and records them to build up an exact profile of each operation.

Its inbuilt 32MBit memory can hold up to 280 hours of data which can then be downloaded to a PC via its USB cable. The Load Sensor transmits using the worldwide licence-free frequency of 2.4GHz using two built in antennae.

The readouts can be cockpit mounted for the pilot’s use or handheld by an assistant on the ground (in fact, signals can even be transmitted to multiple control units simultaneously). The complete system is entirely autonomous, making it independent of the helicopter’s control systems, while being wireless means it does not require additional certification of the electrical systems. It also means it can be swapped from one helicopter to another, allowing a small number of systems to be shared around a fleet of helicopters.
Heli-Lift Services has developed a close working relationship with Sensor Technology, and the HeliNav TrackMaster has proved an important tool for the helicopter operator in its forestry extraction tasks. Trees that have been felled by chainsaw are fitted with a harness, attached to the waiting helicopter, and then lifted out to a waiting truck with no risk of any ground damage.
This is a challenging operation for the helicopter pilot. The tree is suspended on a 100ft line, and the pilot has to hover over the tree while the harness is attached, and then lift it straight up without risk of damage to other trees. Time is also of the essence, as the helicopter has to set down for refuelling every 40 minutes.

At the same time, it is important for the operator to keep a track on the total weight lifted and to monitor the strain on the harness cables – not simply to ensure the weight of the tree does not exceed the capacity of the lifting rig and the helicopter, but also so that the aggregate strain over time is known so that maintenance can be scheduled and cables can be replaced before their operational duty limits are reached.

There are commercial considerations, too. Billing is based on the weight of the load and the distance travelled, so the helicopter operator needs to provide the client with accurate work reports and precise billing. In the cockpit, the HeliNav TrackMaster controller accurately logs the weight of the load and also the distance travelled. The controller also uses an on-board GPS (global positioning system), inclinometer and accelerometer to help plot flight paths, flight times, fuel requirements, etc.
For Heli-Lift Services, where once the company’s billing and maintenance was based on time charges and estimations of loads, it now has full operational data for precise loads and exactly what distances have been flown.

Removing trees from forests, whether for thinning to improve the growth rate or health of the remaining trees, or because the forests have been designed to provide a sustainable source of wood, is rarely a straightforward business. In an ideal world you’d simply fell the tree and tow it out of the forest with a tractor. But in situations where the ground is wet or boggy, or in environmentally sensitive expanses and areas of special interest, often access for a tractor simply isn’t possible. In such cases, the only alternative is to lift the tree out by helicopter.

Sustainable forestry is about much more than simply letting the trees get on with it. Optimising the growth rate and health of the trees is a science in itself. Overcrowded trees are under competitive stress from neighbours, and thinning is thought to increase the resistance of stands to environmental stresses such as drought, insect infestation and extreme temperature. At the same time, thinning can be important for increasing biodiversity in the forest.

In commercial forestry operations, thinning might mean removing the trees that have little economic value in order to give the remaining trees the best opportunity to thrive. Further, it can accelerate the development of desired structural attributes such as large trunk diameters and long tree crowns.
Then of course there is the removal of trees for economic reasons, with many forests established to provide a sustainable supply of timber, or for the seasonal supply of Christmas trees to towns and cities around the country.

In all of these applications, Heli-Lift Services is playing an important role in the safe, efficient and environmentally friendly extraction of trees from forests, aided by the Sensor Technology HeliNav TrackMaster which has proven its worth through hundreds of lifts. Indeed, throughout November and December Heli-Lift Services has been particularly busy, extracting Christmas trees from Kielder forest in Northumberland for delivery to city centres, civic amenities, etc.

With no access for a tractor, Heli-Lift Services has plucked over 130 trees from the forest of Norwegian Spruce trees. Managed by Elveden Farms which delivers more than 900 trees to towns and cities every year, Kielder forest is a UK sustainable source of Christmas trees.

More details here:  http://www.saelig.com/MFR00070/TSTEQLS.htm

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Testing 5G Technologies in a Lightweight, Soft Wall, RF Shielded Environment

Overcoming Space and Budget Constraints: With the intense development in High Tech communications, companies working on the next big system to provide high speed access for an unbelievable range of products find budgets and space availability sparse. 5G testing and development projects need a reliable, affordable and temporary solution to provide a secure RF free environment that dampens internal reflections of highly engineered signals operating at frequencies ranging from 3 to 39 GHz. Select Fabricators’ RF shielded tent systems can be setup in a few hours and are ready to use. A double layer system has been tested to yield an average -87dB RF shielding effectiveness from 3 to 40 GHz. Typical isolation varies from -90dB to -100dB at current 5G test frequencies of 3.5, 15, and 28 GHz. High attenuation NovaSelect™ Silver/Copper/Nickel plated nylon fabric is constructed into lightweight, easy setup enclosures, an alternative to heavy hard wall RF enclosures that take days of planning and construction and are difficult to store.

Reliable Testing: To enable reliable testing of advanced MIMO technology in the millimeter wave band, line the internal cavity of the enclosure with RF absorbent foam panels and include power and data communications filters that work at higher frequencies. Select Fabricators chose 4” thick pyramidal carbon loaded foam panels that provide -30dB reflective attenuation at 3 GHz, and -50dB reflective attenuation at 15 to 30 GHz. The panels are typically hung from an internal frame away from the conductive fabric. This spacing helps to attenuate the RF reflections at a slightly higher level than if the panels are placed directly on the metalized fabric which helps to provide a quieter environment. Fiber based communications systems for USB 3.0 and Multi-Gigabit Ethernet and high performance power filters are tested to provide -100 dB shielding effectiveness as high as 40 GHz.
The soft wall RF shielded enclosure is ready for upgrades making it a true adaptable system for the next requirement on an industry wide specification. Select Fabricators' soft wall RF enclosures can help in testing products from the smallest IoT devices to the largest autonomous vehicles under development while maintaining a high level of performance.