Abstract||This thesis examines the application of the techniques of Fourier spectrogram and wavelet analysis to a low power embedded microprocessor application in a novel railway and rollingstock monitoring system.
The safe and cost effective operation of freight railways is limited by the dynamic performance of wagons running on track. A monitoring system has been proposed comprising of low cost wireless sensing devices, dubbed “Health Cards”, to be installed on every wagon in the fleet. When marshalled into a train, the devices would sense accelerations and communicate via radio network to a master system in the locomotive. The integrated system would provide online information for decision support systems.
Data throughput was heavily restricted by the network architecture, so significant signal analysis was required at the device level. An electronics engineering team at Central Queensland University developed a prototype Health Card, incorporating a 27MHz microcontroller and four dual axis accelerometers. A sensing arrangement and online analysis algorithms were required to detect and categorise dynamic events while operating within the constraints of the system.
Time-frequency analysis reveals the time varying frequency content of signals, making it suitable to detect and characterise transient events. With efficient algorithms such as the Fast Fourier Transform, and Fast Wavelet Transform, time-frequency analysis methods can be implemented on a low power, embedded microcontroller.
This thesis examines the application of time-frequency analysis techniques to wagon body acceleration signals, for the purpose of detecting poor dynamic performance of the wagon-track system. The Fourier spectrogram is implemented on the Health Card prototype and demonstrated in the laboratory. The research and algorithms provide a foundation for ongoing development as resources become available for system testing and validation.