Simplify railway field maintenance with R&S®Scope Rider RTH user apps
Oscilloscopes are basic everyday instruments for engineers and electricians. Maintenance tasks, however, sometimes require very specific measurements that are not available as standard functionality or are difficult to set up manually. For instance, the R&S®RTH-K38 user scripting option solves one of such non-conventional requirements.
As are a railway engineer, a user is definitely dealing with the task of verifying the quality of electric communications signals, for example, to determine the position of a train on its track. This is usually done by dividing the track into sections of rail with alternating frequencies, typically 95 Hz and 105 Hz. When a train is located within a specific section, the wheels short circuit the signal, indicating the position of the train to the receiver.
Such a specific measurement is certainly not a standard functionality on any handheld oscilloscope. Sometimes automatically executed setup on the device, a display of the maximum values of the currents and a graphical representation are requested in order to make operation as simple as possible for the engineers.
Measurement with user apps
Automated measurement script
To measure the railway isolation, an R&S®RT-ZC03 current clamp is connected to the railway track and channel 1 of the R&S®RTH. Then the R&S®RTH-K38 user script option is activated. Overall, it is an extremely simple process and only requires three interactions.
The user script automatically configures the instruments into spectrum mode, sets the cursor to the defined frequencies and reads out the spectral amplitude at the respective frequencies. The currents for the four defined frequencies are converted into Ampere from the dBA values in spectrum mode as follows:
The current values are displayed in A, mA or μA in an HTML based browser window of the oscilloscope. The script not only automates the entire measurement procedure, but it also makes it possible to perform sequenced cursor measurements at more than two frequencies.
You can find an exemplary display screenshot below: