Windmill applications, signal conditioning tips

30 July 2009

Windmills can operate for six months or more without any maintenance or supervision. Dataforth offers advice on signal conditioning and what I/O connections need to be monitored in extreme environments.

Windmills can operate for six months or more without any maintenance or supervision. They operate in some of the worse environmental conditions imaginable; all seasons of the year, in temperature extremes, in lightning storms, snow storms, high summer humidity as well as in dry arid extremes.

Dataforth offers advice for signal conditioning in a white paper that recommends what I/O typically needs to be monitored and what controllers are best suited on a windmill to provide the safest and longest trouble-free operation. Moreover, due to the special environmental nature of the application, it offers advice on what signal conditioning hardware should be used to assure successful operation.

Because wind turbines generate high voltages and currents, electrical components must withstand high surge voltages and be immune to the electrical noise that can radiate from generators and switch networks. Dataforth says accompanying signal conditioners should:

- Meet the requirements of EN61000-6-2 (ESD/RF/EFT immunity).

- Provide 240 V ac continuous input protection, 1500 Vrms transformer isolation, and ANSI/IEEE C37.90.1 transient protection.

- Deliver secondary protection against lightning strikes and other overvoltage events.

Wind turbines, like many types of industrial-grade machines, demand reliable and broad ranging protections.

Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering

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