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Accelerometer - real or fantasy

Accelerometer - real or fantasy - Reality By Harvey...

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Accelerometers—Fantasy & Reality By Harvey Weinberg [ [email protected] ] As applications engineers supporting ADI’s compact, low-cost, gravity-sensitive iMEMs ® accelerometers , we get to hear lots of creative ideas about how to employ accelerometers in useful ways, but sometimes the suggestions violate physical laws! We’ve rated some of these ideas on an informal scale, from real to dream land: Real – A real application that actually works today and is currently in production. Fantasy – An application that could be possible if we had much better technology. Dream Land – Any practical implementation we can think of would violate physical laws. Washing machine load balancing. Unbalanced loads during the high-speed spin-cycle cause washing machines to shake and, if unrestrained, they can even “walk” across the floor. An accelerometer senses acceleration during the spin cycle. If an imbalance is present, the washing machine redistributes the load by jogging the drum back and forth until the load is balanced. Real . With better load balance, faster spin rates can be used to wring more water out of clothing, making the drying process more energy efficient—a good thing these days! As an added benefit, fewer mechanical components are required for damping the drum motion, making the overall system lighter and less expensive. Correctly implemented, transmission and bearing service life is extended because of lower peak loads present on the motor. This application is in production. Machine Health Monitors. Many industries change or overhaul mechanical equipment using a calendar-based preventive maintenance schedule. This is especially true in applications where one cannot tolerate unscheduled down-time. So, machinery with plenty of service life left is often prematurely rebuilt at a cost of millions of dollars across many industries. By embedding accelerometers in bearings or other rotating equipment, service life can be extended without risking sudden failure. The accelerometer senses the vibration of bearings or other rotating equipment to determine their condition. Real. Using the vibration “signature” of bearings to determine their condition is a well proven and industry-accepted method of equipment maintenance, but wide measurement bandwidth is needed for accurate results. Before the release of the ADXL001 , the cost of accelerometers and associated signal conditioning equipment had been too high. Now, its wide bandwidth (22 kHz)
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