What is Telemetry?

By Definition Telemetry is “The science and technology of automatic measurement and transmission of data by wire, radio, or other means from remote sources, as from aircraft, to receiving stations or a drive shaft to a stationary location on the vehicle".

Datatel Telemetry uses RF to transmit the measurement signals from the rotating / moving component to a stationary antenna. The systems are built for short-range transmission over a few cm to a few metres depending on the power source. For longer-range air to ground telemetry see the HERLEY section of our site.

In 99% of the applications where Datatel telemetry is used the moving component is rotating Sometimes at high speed, sometimes in harsh environments. With high sample rates and excellent immunity to EMI & EMC radiation the Datatel systems are built with absolute accuracy and reliability in mind.

Datatel telemetry systems can operate with almost any resistive type sensor, for example, Strain gauges, load cells, ICP accelerometers, Kulite pressure sensors, Thermocouples, PT100’s & RTD’s to name but a few.

A typical application would be a jet engine or industrial gas turbine. As you can imagine the rotational speed is high and the environment is severe - hot, with high levels of vibration. Another similar application may be torque measurement on automotive drive shafts. In this application the telemetry is likely to get wet, dirty, and suffer from high levels of vibration as the vehicle is driven.

One large area of potential for Datatel telemetry systems is within offshore wind turbines, where they are likely to be subjected to salt water and are expected to operate for long periods without user intervention. Telemetry systems are also ideal for SCADA system monitoring.

Why choose wireless telemetry over a slip ring?

For all slip rings benefits, like all old technologies they have their drawbacks, the main one being that they wear out, if you check on any manufacturers specification sheet they will give you a life span of the system typically in the number of revolutions. A common figure is 100,000,000 revolutions. Now although 100 million revolutions sounds like a huge number if you do the maths it really isn’t.

100,000,000 / 25,000 RPM = 4000 minutes of operation, or just 66 hours! And that is assuming all the channels last that long, which it’s almost guaranteed they won’t! A telemetry system on the other hand has NO contacting parts to wear out, so where you might have to replace 2-3 sets of slip rings through your test program, one telemetry system will do all this and then can be re-used, on the next application.

With the added bonus that the telemetry system doesn’t need complex cooling systems, isn’t inherently noisy and can be used in environments with high levels of dirt & oils etc. it really is clear to see why telemetry is the better option.

A common myth is that telemetry has to be rotating to operate, this is simply not true, all our telemetry systems can operate from Zero Rpm. In addition we do not specify an rpm limit. Instead we will work with you to decide the most cost effective COTS solution that we can offer to suit your environment.


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