Electrolytic Tilt Sensors for Railway Monitoring

Railway Monitoring & Rail Accident Prevention

Railways are a critical mode of transportation for both people and goods. As such, it is important to ensure that railway tracks are in good condition to prevent accidents and delays. One of the best ways to monitor the condition of railway tracks is through the use of tilt sensors.

¿Qué es un sensor de inclinación electrolítico?

An electrolytic tilt sensor is a type of angle measurement sensor that uses a conductive fluid to measure tilt. Electrically isolated electrodes (or pins) extend into the fluid and voltage is applied across them. As the sensor position changes, the fluid height at each pin changes, which changes the resistance between each pin. The resistance change can be measured as a voltage change at each pin, which can then be translated into an angle measurement.

The Ideal Solutions

The most common electrolytic tilt sensor for railway monitoring is our 0703-1602-99 single-axis mid-range tilt sensor. This sensor has a measurement range of ±25° with high accuracy measurements with ±0.005° repeatability. The 0703-1602-99 is industrial-grade with a metal construction that can withstand the most extreme environments.

Another electrolytic tilt sensor recommended for railway monitoring is our 0703-0711-99 single-axis narrow-range tilt sensor. This sensor has a measurement range of ±3° with even higher accuracy measurements with ±0.001° repeatability. The 0703-0711-99 is also industrial-grade with a metal construction that’s designed to withstand the most extreme environments.

Electrolytic tilt sensors require a control circuit which we offer as a packaged solution which we call an inclinometer. Our electrolytic tilt sensing technology makes these inclinometers extremely stable with no long-term drift compared to MEMS inclinometers, all in a package that’s simple to integrate.

±25° Mid-Range Electrolytic Tilt Sensor - Part Number: 0703-1602-99
Operating Range: ±25°
Repeatability ±0.005°
±3° Narrow Range Electrolytic Tilt Sensor - Part Number 0703-0711-99
Operating Range: ±3°
Repeatability ±0.001°
±25° Analog/RS-232 Inclinometer - Part Number: 0729-1765-99
Operating Range: ±25°
Interface: Analog/RS-232
F203-00A-212-00 - ±3° Inclinómetro analógico y digital RS-232
Operating Range: ±3°
Interface: Analog/RS-232
±25° UART/TTL Inclinometer - Part Number: F225-00T-003-01
Operating Range: ±25°
Interface: UART/TTL

Advantages of Electrolytic Tilt Sensors for Railway Monitoring

  • Precisión
One of the main advantages of using electrolytic tilt sensors for railway monitoring is their accuracy. Electrolytic tilt sensors are highly accurate and can measure angles with accuracy from ±0.001° for the highest accuracy models to ±0.1° for lower accuracy (and lower cost) models. This will allow you to detect even the smallest position and angle changes in railway systems that might have significant safety implications.
  • Reliability
Another advantage of electrolytic tilt sensors is their reliability. These sensors are designed to withstand harsh environments and can operate at extreme temperatures (-40 °C to 85 °C operating temperature for most models, with storage temperatures up to 125 °C), and are designed to withstand shock and vibration. This makes them ideal for outdoor applications like railway monitoring. Most applications where Fredericks electrolytic tilt sensors are used require a 10+ year field lifetime, with our sensors offering an MTTF of 300 years or more.
  • Improved Safety
The use of electrolytic tilt sensors in railway monitoring has already improved safety in the industry where monitoring has been implemented. These sensors can detect anomalies in the movement of trains or tracks, like excessive position changes, which could be an indication of a problem with railway tracks. Early detection of any anomalies can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of derailments.
  • No Drift
Drift occurs when the sensor’s output changes over time, even when the sensor is not moving. Electrolytic tilt sensors do not exhibit drift, and any expected changes in the measurements over time are included in the accuracy and repeatability specifications. Drift is a common problem with other tilt measurement technology like MEMS-based products. It is particularly prevalent in other technologies with turn-on bias, where the measurement changes when the device is power cycled. This can lead to significant errors in angle measurements over even short periods of time, which are not exhibited by electrolytic tilt sensing technology because there are no moving parts.
  • Low Power Consumption
Electrolytic tilt sensors also have low power consumption, which makes them ideal for use in remote locations where power may be limited. These sensors can operate on very low power and can be designed to operate for long periods without needing to be replaced.
  • Easy to Integrate
Electrolytic tilt sensors are passive components that are easy to integrate with just a few additional electronic components along with your existing microcontroller. Fredericks offers circuit schematics, PCB layouts, and firmware to run our electrolytic tilt sensors with minimal engineering time required. We also offer our own circuits and enclosed inclinometers with up to IP66 environmental protection to further simplify the process.
  • Cost-Effective
Finally, electrolytic tilt sensors are cost-effective. They are relatively inexpensive to manufacture because they don’t require complicated manufacturing techniques that are used for other tilt measurement technologies, particularly silicon-based products like MEMS. The low cost allows for large-scale installations without significantly increasing the cost of railway monitoring. This makes them an attractive option for railway companies looking to cost-effectively monitor their tracks.

Applications of Electrolytic Tilt Sensors in Railway Monitoring

  • Track Monitoring
One of the main applications of electrolytic tilt sensors in railway monitoring is track monitoring for rail accident prevention. These sensors can be used to monitor the angle and position of the tracks and detect any changes that could indicate damage or wear. This information can be used to schedule maintenance and repair work before the tracks become unsafe for use.
  • Train Monitoring
Electrolytic tilt sensors can also be used to monitor the train itself. This can be useful for detecting any unusual movements or vibrations that could indicate a problem with the train or train derailment. This information can be used to schedule maintenance and repair work before any problems become more serious.
  • Bridge and General Structural Monitoring
Finally, electrolytic tilt sensors can be used to monitor the angle of railway bridges and other railway structures. These sensors can detect any changes in the angle or position of the bridge or structure, which could indicate structural damage or wear. This information can be used to schedule maintenance and repair work to ensure safety.