Low cost fault detection system for railcars and tracks
A "low cost fault detection system" that identifies wheel flats and defective tracks is explored here. This is achieved with the conjunction of sensors, microcontrollers and Radio Frequency (RF) transceivers. The objective of the proposed research is to identify faults plaguing railcars and to be able to clearly distinguish the faults of a railcar from the inherent faults in the track. The focus of the research though, is mainly to identify wheel flats and defective tracks. The thesis has been written with the premise that the results from the simulation software GENSYS are close to the real time data that would have been obtained from an actual railcar. Based on the results of GENSYS, a suitable algorithm is written that helps segregate a fault in a railcar from a defect in a track. The above code is implemented using hardware including microcontrollers, accelerometers, RF transceivers and a real time monitor. An enclosure houses the system completely, so that it is ready for application in a real environment. This also involves selection of suitable hardware so that there is a uniform source of power supply that reduces the cost and assists in building a robust system.