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Publication numberEP1081011 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberEP19990830513
Publication date7 Mar 2001
Filing date5 Aug 1999
Priority date5 Aug 1999
Also published asDE69913959D1, EP1081011B1
Publication number1999830513, 99830513, 99830513.10, EP 1081011 A1, EP 1081011A1, EP-A1-1081011, EP1081011 A1, EP1081011A1, EP19990830513, EP99830513
InventorsCorrado Brena, Daniele Tedeschi, Vittorio Zuccotto
ApplicantAlstom Transport S.p.A. Telecommunication
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Espacenet, EP Register
"Electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system"
EP 1081011 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to an electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system which is operationally associated with a plurality of terminal blocks (3) provided with first and second terminals (6, 7) which can be connected together in pairs by means of jumper plugs which are designed to electrically connect electrical apparatus (2) arranged along a railway line to signalling groups (4). The electrical unit (1) therefore comprises a box-shaped body (11) provided with a receiving compartment (12) inside which measuring means (13) electrically connected to the terminals (6, 7) for measuring electrical parameters relating to operation of the apparatus (2) are inserted. This box-shaped body (11) also has electrical input connections (14) for electrically connecting the measuring means (13) to the first and second terminals (6, 7) and electrical output connections (15) for electrically connecting the measuring means (13) to a data storage and processing unit (16).
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Claims(12)
  1. Electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system, said system being of the type comprising: a plurality of terminal blocks (3), each of which has first terminals (6) electrically connected to at least a corresponding electrical apparatus (2) arranged along a railway line, and second terminals (7) electrically connected to at least one signalling group (4) for controlling and operating said electrical apparatus (2), said first terminals (6) and said second terminals (7) being able to be electrically connected together in pairs by means of jumper plugs (8) which can be removably mounted above said pairs of terminals (6, 7) so to electrically connect said signalling group (4) to said electrical apparatus (2), characterized in that it comprises: a box-shaped body (11) provided with at least one receiving compartment (12) inside which measuring means (13) electrically connected to said terminals (6, 7) for measuring electrical parameters relating to operation of said apparatus (2) are inserted, said box-shaped body (11) also having electrical input connections (14) for electrically connecting said measuring means (13) to said first and second terminals (6, 7) and electrical output connections (15) for electrically connecting said measuring means (13) to a data storage and processing unit (16) designed to receive signals indicating the electrical measurements performed.
  2. Electrical unit according to Claim 1, characterized in that the input connections (14) of said box-shaped body (11) comprise measuring plugs (18) which can be removably engaged onto said pairs of terminals (6, 7) in place of the corresponding jumper plugs (8) placed across the said terminals (6, 7).
  3. Electrical unit according to Claim 2, characterized in that each said measuring plug (18) comprises two first electrical connectors (19) with an elongated shape arranged parallel to each other inside a cover (20) made of insulating material and electrically connected by means of an electrical component (21).
  4. Electrical unit according to Claim 3, characterized in that said first electrical connectors (19) have first ends (22) which are designed to be inserted inside first holes (23) formed on the terminals (6, 7) of said terminal block (3) and second ends (24) provided with second holes (25) for receiving second electrical connectors (26) fixed to a mating surface (27) of said box-shaped body (11).
  5. Electrical unit according to Claim 3, characterized in that said electrical component consists of a shunt.
  6. Electrical unit according to Claim 3, characterized in that said electrical component consists of a conductor element.
  7. Electrical unit according to Claim 3, characterized in that said measuring units (13) are organized in individual measuring units (17), each of which is designed to measure a single electrical parameter.
  8. Electrical unit according to Claim 7, characterized in that said measuring unit is designed to measure a voltage existing between two of said first terminals (6) and is characterized in that said electrical component (21) of said measuring plug (18) consists of a conductor element.
  9. Electrical unit according to Claims 3 and 7, characterized in that said measuring unit (17) is designed to measure a current existing between one of said first terminals (6) and one of said second terminals (7) and characterized in that the electrical component (21) of said corresponding measuring plug (18) consists of a shunt.
  10. Electrical unit according to Claim 4, characterized in that box-shaped body (11) is provided with a cover (40) which has a plurality of openings (41) inside which contact probes may be removably inserted until they come into contact with said second electrical connectors (26).
  11. Electrical unit according to Claim 10, characterized in that said box-shaped body (11) is provided with insulating sheaths (43) which are arranged between said openings (41) and said second electrical connectors (26), each said insulating sheath (43) defining an insulated duct (60) at least partially delimited at a first end (61) by said second electrical connectors (26) and having said opening (41) at its second end (62).
  12. Electrical unit according to Claim 1, characterized in that said box-shaped body (11) can be attached to said terminal block by fastening means (80).
Description
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to an electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system.
  • [0002]
    The electrical unit in question is advantageously intended to be used in the railway sector in telediagnostics systems of the type used for the measurement, transmission and processing of electrical parameters relating to the operation of apparatus (signal devices, switching points, etc.) arranged along the railway lines.
  • [0003]
    More precisely, the electrical unit in question is intended to receive electrical parameters relating to operation of the apparatus, measure these parameters and transmit signals, relating to the measurements thus obtained, to calculating and control groups.
  • [0004]
    At present, in accordance with the known art, the detection of the electrical parameters to be measured and the subsequent transfer of the information relating to these measurements to calculating groups is performed by means of the manual intervention of operators or by means of automatic measuring devices.
  • [0005]
    More specifically, in the case of manual intervention, the operator accesses the terminal blocks, which are electrically connected to the apparatus and to the signalling groups (known in the technical jargon of the sector as signalling cabinets) and performs the measurements of the electrical parameters by means of measuring instruments such as testers and oscilloscopes. The signalling groups perform functions relating to control and operation of the electrical apparatus provided along the line.
  • [0006]
    The measurements performed are then used to obtain information relating to the operating condition of the apparatus and consequently allow programming of the maintenance operations to be performed.
  • [0007]
    It is obvious that the abovementioned system for manual detection of the electrical parameters requires a considerable amount of time in order for the assigned personnel to carry out the measurements and does not allow easy processing of the data obtained from these measurements.
  • [0008]
    In order to overcome the drawbacks associated with this manual detection system, a second detection system has been provided, said system making use, as mentioned above, of automatic measuring devices.
  • [0009]
    According to this latter system, these automatic devices are connected to specific terminals of the terminal blocks depending on the relevant electrical parameters which are to be measured in order to diagnose the operation of a corresponding apparatus. The automatic measuring devices are then directly connected to the data storage units for processing of the measurements performed.
  • [0010]
    This second detection system, although resulting in operational improvements compared to the first system of the manual type, in practice has some major drawbacks.
  • [0011]
    The main drawback lies in the fact that it envisages the use of individual measuring devices for each electrical parameter to be measured. This fact results in considerable installation difficulties due to the wiring of the individual devices for achieving the electrical connections with the terminal blocks and with the data storage groups.
  • [0012]
    Moreover, the electrical connections with the terminal blocks are not altogether simple and do not allow rapid installation of the measuring devices.
  • [0013]
    The main object of the present invention is therefore that of overcoming the difficulties associated with the systems of the known type for detecting and measuring electrical parameters, by providing an electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system, which is simple and easy to install and is able to receive automatically electrical parameters relating to the operation of apparatus arranged along the line, measure these parameters and transmit the signals relating to the measurements thus obtained to calculating and control units.
  • [0014]
    A further object of the present invention is that of providing an electrical unit which is constructionally simple and operationally entirely reliable.
  • [0015]
    These and other objects are all achieved by the electrical detection unit in question which is operationally associated with a railway telediagnostics system comprising a plurality of terminal blocks provided with first and second terminals which can be connected together in pairs by means of jumper plugs so as to electrically connect electrical apparatus arranged along the lines to signalling groups. In particular, the electrical detection unit in question is characterized in that it comprises a box-shaped body provided with at least one receiving compartment inside which measuring means electrically connected to the terminals are inserted. This box-shaped body is characterized moreover by the presence of electrical input connections for electrically connecting the measuring means to the first and the second terminals and electrical output connections for electrically connecting the measuring means to a data storage and processing unit.
  • [0016]
    The technical characteristics of the invention, in accordance with the abovementioned objects, may be clearly understood from the contents of the claims indicated below and the advantages thereof will emerge more clearly from the detailed description which follows, with reference to the accompanying drawings which illustrate a purely exemplary and non-limiting embodiment thereof and in which:
    • Figure 1 shows in schematic form an exploded view of the detection unit according to the present invention, which is associated with a terminal block and has some parts removed so that others may be seen more clearly;
    • Figure 1a shows an axonometric view of the detection unit in question;
    • Figure 2 shows a block diagram of the railway telediagnostics system relating to the electrical detection unit in question;
    • Figure 3 shows in schematic form a front view of an enlarged detail of the electrical detection unit in question with some parts removed so that others may be seen more clearly;
    • Figure 4 shows a functional block diagram of a measuring unit of the electrical unit, which is connected to a data storage and processing unit.
  • [0017]
    In accordance with the Figures of the accompanying drawings, 1 denotes in its entirety the electrical detection unit for a railway telediagnostics system.
  • [0018]
    More particularly, the telediagnostics system is intended for the measurement of electrical parameters relating to the operation of apparatus 2 arranged along the railway lines as well as the processing of these measurements in order to determine the operating condition of the apparatus and thus allow the programming of the maintenance operations to be performed.
  • [0019]
    For this purpose, the abovementioned electrical unit 1 is mounted within an already existing electrical system for controlling and operating the actual electrical apparatus 2.
  • [0020]
    More particularly, the electrical unit 1 is intended to be mounted above a terminal block 3 which connects by means of electrical connections 50 a corresponding single apparatus 2 to a signalling group 4. This group 4 is operationally used to operate and control the individual apparatus 2, is generally arranged inside a special room 5 of a railway station and is operated, via work consoles 51, by a rail traffic supervisor belonging to the railway staff (see Fig. 2).
  • [0021]
    The electrical apparatus 2 may, in particular, be formed by a signal device, switching points, a binary track-circuit for detecting the arrival of a train, or the like.
  • [0022]
    The terminal block 3 traditionally forms the interface between the "outlying section" (i.e. all the apparatus 2 arranged along the line) and the "local section" (consisting of the devices arranged inside the station) of the electrical system for controlling and operating the apparatus 2.
  • [0023]
    In greater detail, each individual terminal block 3 is provided with first terminals 6 which are electrically connected to the corresponding electrical apparatus 2 and second terminals 7 which are electrically connected to the signalling group 4.
  • [0024]
    These first and second terminals 6 and 7 are arranged in two parallel rows and have removably engaged on them a plurality of jumper plugs 8 which therefore connect in pairs each first terminal 6 to a corresponding and adjacent second terminal 7, so as to be able to connect or disconnect electrically the electrical apparatus 2 to/from the signalling group (or groups) 4.
  • [0025]
    Therefore, the terminal blocks 3 constitute for the electrical system controlling and operating the apparatus 2 a kind of switch which may be activated manually by removing or inserting the jumper plugs 8 from/into the corresponding pairs of terminals 6 and 7.
  • [0026]
    The terminal block 3 is connected electrically to the apparatus 2 and to the signalling group 4 by means of conductors 9 arranged transversely with respect to the extension of the two rows of terminals 6 and 7.
  • [0027]
    The electrical detection unit 1 comprises a box-shaped body 11 which defines a receiving compartment 12 inside which measuring means 13 electrically connected to specific pairs of terminals 6 and 7 for measuring corresponding electrical parameters relating to operation of the apparatus 2 are inserted.
  • [0028]
    In accordance with the example of embodiment shown in Figures 1, 1a and 3, the box-shaped body 11 also has electrical input connections 14 for electrically connecting the measuring means 13 to the first and to the second terminals 6 and 7 and electrical output connections 15 for electrically connecting the measuring means 13 to a data storage and processing unit 16 designed to receive signals indicating the electrical measurements performed by the actual measuring means 13.
  • [0029]
    The measuring means 13 are organized in individual measuring units 17, each of which is intended to measure a single and specific electrical parameter of the apparatus 2. This parameter may therefore consist, depending on the electrical apparatus in question, of a voltage (direct or alternating), a current (direct or alternating), an electrical signal indicating that a contact has occurred, etc.
  • [0030]
    In greater detail, the input connections 14 of the box-shaped body 11 comprise measuring plugs 18 which can be removably engaged onto the pairs of terminals 6 and 7 in place of the corresponding jumper plugs 8 placed across the said terminals 6 and 7.
  • [0031]
    In other words, when a given electrical detection unit 1 is installed above a terminal block 3 connected to a specific apparatus 2, the jumper plugs 8 engaged on those pairs of terminals 6 and 7 which receive the relevant electrical parameters to be measured (for that specific apparatus 2) are removed and the measuring plugs 18 which allow the measuring means 13 to perform the desired measurements are inserted in place of them.
  • [0032]
    Advantageously, therefore, each measuring unit 17 is operationally associated with a specific measuring plug 18 which allows the detection and the measurement of a specific electrical parameter.
  • [0033]
    The measuring plug 18 is advantageously composed (see Fig. 1) of two first electrical connectors 19 consisting of two elongated elements made of conducting material and arranged parallel to each other inside a cover 20 made of insulating material. These connectors 19 are electrically connected together by means of an electrical component 21 arranged transversely with respect to their extension and embedded inside the cover 20.
  • [0034]
    This electrical component 21 identifies the specific measurement which the measuring plug 18, on which it is mounted, is intended to allow when it is connected to the corresponding measuring unit 17.
  • [0035]
    In other words, depending on the electrical parameters of an apparatus 2 which are to be measured, all the corresponding measuring units 17, equipped with corresponding measuring plugs 18, will be inserted inside the corresponding electrical detection unit 1 (mounted on the corresponding terminal block 3). Said measuring plugs will in turn be provided with corresponding electrical components (for example consisting of resistances of predefined value or simple electrical connections) and will be mounted on the terminals 6 and 7 intended to receive the electrical parameters to be measured. Obviously, as explained above, these measuring plugs 18 will be mounted on the terminal block 3 in place of the pre-existing jumper plugs 8.
  • [0036]
    The first connectors 19 of the measuring plugs 18 have first ends 22 which are inserted inside first holes 23 formed in the terminals 6 and 7 of the terminal block 3 and second ends 24 provided with second holes 25 for receiving second electrical connectors 26 fixed on the outside of a mating surface 27 of the box-shaped body 11 (see Fig. 3).
  • [0037]
    With reference to Figure 1a it can be noted that the electrical detection unit 1 can be attached to the terminal block 3 by fastening means 80 which may consist for example of a metal bar 81 which is shaped so as to match the external profile of the group formed by the terminal block 3 and the electrical detection unit 1.
  • [0038]
    The bar 81 is therefore attached at the ends 82, 83 to a support plate 84 by means of fixing screws 85 which pass through the eyelets 86 formed in the terminal block 3.
  • [0039]
    Advantageously, in accordance with the example of embodiment illustrated in Figures 1, 1a and 3, the box-shaped body 11 is provided with a cover 40 which has a plurality of openings 41 designed to allow insertion of contact probes connected to electrical devices (for example testers) for directly measuring the electrical parameters of the apparatus 2. In other words, the unit 1 in question, although mounted on the terminal block 3, still allows the contact probes to be electrically connected to the terminals 6 and 7 of the terminal block 3. This is performed (see Fig. 3) by passing the probes through an insulating sheath 43 until they come into contact with the second electrical connectors 26 which are electrically connected to the terminals 6 and 7 via the measuring plugs 18. With reference to Fig. 3, the insulating sheath 43 defines an insulated duct 60 which is delimited at a first end 61 by the second electrical connectors 26 and having the opening 41 at its second end 62.
  • [0040]
    Figure 4 shows the example of a measuring unit 17 which is designed to measure a direct voltage V between two terminals 6 and is connected to a receiving unit 90 of the data storage and processing unit 16 via the electrical output connections 15.
  • [0041]
    For this purpose, the electrical component 21 of the corresponding measuring plug 18 consists of a simple conductor element.
  • [0042]
    In Figure 4, 28 denotes the input port consisting of two terminals 6, and 29, 30 and 31 indicate, respectively, an input stage of the electronic component group for performing measurement, a signal amplifier (advantageously an isolation amplifier) and a signal transmitter (advantageously consisting of a current transmitter).
  • [0043]
    Correspondingly, the data storage and processing unit 16 has a receiver 32, a signal filtering unit 33 and an analog-digital signal converter 34.
  • [0044]
    The power supply of the input stage 29 of the voltage measuring unit 17 is generated by a DC/DC converter 35 drawing on a supply 36 generated inside the data storage and processing unit 16.
  • [0045]
    It should be noted that a characteristic common to all the measuring units 17 (in accordance with the existing regulations in the railway sector) is that of not altering the normal operation of the apparatus 2 to be diagnosed even when a measuring unit 17 may have a faulty component. For this purpose, the impedance of the measuring unit 17 at the input port must be high compared to that at the same port for the circuits of the apparatus 2. Moreover, again with the aim of not altering operation of the apparatus 2, any faults must not transfer energy to the apparatus 2 exceeding a typical minimum threshold thereof.
  • [0046]
    In the specific case - not analyzed in detail here - that the measuring unit is intended to measure a direct current, the electrical component 21 will advantageously consist of a resistance of known value (much smaller so as to maintain a high input impedance), at the terminals of which a voltage drop, thus corresponding to a current measurement, will occur.
  • [0047]
    Operationally speaking, the telediagnostics system mentioned above acquires the measurements relating to the condition of the apparatus 2 by means of the electrical detection units 1 and carries out initial processing of the signals indicating these measurements by means of the abovementioned storage and processing units 16 which advantageously consist of industrial computers. The data storage and processing units 16 then transmit the processed information to a second computer 37 which performs subsequent processing of said information aimed at obtaining the data relating to operation of the apparatus 2. Advantageously, this computer 37 may consist of a server which receives the information from the individual data storage units 16 and is connected to a second computer 38 which is able to provide a graphics interface for the measurements performed and operation of the apparatus 2. The server 37 may also form part of a computer network designed to allow analysis (in a special operating and maintenance station) of extensive sections of the railway network. In this way, from this station it is possible to diagnose the condition of the line and program the maintenance operations.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
FR2745543A1 * Title not available
US4283100 *27 Dec 197911 Aug 1981Western Electric Company, Inc.Jumper plug
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US878642612 Oct 201122 Jul 2014Alstom Transport SaSystem for monitoring operating functions of railway devices
Classifications
International ClassificationB61L25/06
Cooperative ClassificationB61L25/06
European ClassificationB61L25/06
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