What does this have to do with recording studios? Before I answer that I would like you to think of a more familiar rotating machine " your car engine and transmission. Much of the time the first indication we have of a problem with our car is a new vibration or noise that is not "normal". Wind turbines are the same, when something is wearing out or starting to go wrong there is a vibration signature which the magic of the fast Fourier transform can turn into numbers easily computer analyzed. Over 80% of maintenance costs (parts, skilled labor, and lost production) are expended on wind turbine blades, generators, gearboxes, and the shaft & bearing . All of it is rotating machinery, so listening to the vibrations is important. Another word for vibration in the human audio range is of course sound. Therein lies the connection to recording studios. The conversion to digital capture, recording, and transmission has already swept through music recording studios and it has direct applicability to wind turbines. Both have multiple sensors several meters apart, both require precise timing to achieve their goals, and the frequency range of interest is remarkably similar, since music studios are now recording at up to 192KHz sampling rates. TC electronics took the Firewire based TCD2220 System on Chip (SoC) they created to enable the networking of digital music recording studios and built a smaller "digital music LAN" for the specialized purpose of recording and diagnosing the music of wind turbines (music at least to us engineers). The TCD2220 will packetize the samples to be transported across Firewire along with a time stamp from the local cycle timer clock (more about that later) to precisely recreate the sample clock. Firewire (IEEE 1394-2008) was chosen because it supports all the usual networking requirements:
Market proven with millions of nodes incorporated into shipping consumer, automotive, industrial, and aerospace applications
Based on international layered protocol standards (IEEE, IEC, IETF, etc.)
Multiple vendors for silicon and software with highly integrated SoC's available with little or no firmware development required
Peer to peer capability to eliminate single points of failure
Highly reliable with a Bit Error Rate < 10-12
Available in industrial and military temperature ranges
Cable lengths up to 100m
Flexible choices of cabling:
cheap UTP5e in nominal environments
shielded twisted pair or coax for noisy environments
optical fiber (glass and plastic) for explosive, corrosive, or high EM field
environments. We are talking about megawatt generators often located at sea.
Power over the cable that eliminates the need for a power supply for every node
I'm curious about how the control of big arrays of wind turbines is done -- I notice as I drive by Palm Springs California that most are not spinning. Is that because there are problems with them or is it being managed by some central facility or something else? --
In any case, it will become irrelevant soon as Steorn's ORBO devices will render them obsolete anyway -- no need for a grid at all -- all devices will contain their energy sourses internally.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.