|Publication number||USRE33097 E|
|Application number||US 07/194,551|
|Publication date||Oct 17, 1989|
|Filing date||May 16, 1988|
|Priority date||Nov 10, 1982|
|Also published as||CA1227330A1, DE3373207D1, EP0112031A1, EP0112031B1, US4604526|
|Publication number||07194551, 194551, US RE33097 E, US RE33097E, US-E-RE33097, USRE33097 E, USRE33097E|
|Inventors||Christopher I. Moir|
|Original Assignee||Helitune Limited|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (15), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (3), Classifications (12), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to a position detector, for example for detecting the position of a movable object but one example is to detect the vertical position of the tips of rotor blades of a helicopter rotor as they rotate so that any lack of uniformity in the deflection of all the blades in the rotor can be detected and corrected.
Although the invention will be particularly described as applied to that use, it will be appreciated that it can be used for detecting the position of other articles, for example the vertical deflection of the end of a stationary cantilever beam or the deflection of rotor blade tips in a turbine, or components of other rotating machinery.
The invention has various aspects, but from one point of view can be considered to embody a position detector comprising means defining an elongate field of view and a target which may carry a reference mark and is capable of being in any of a range of positions along the field of view, and a sensor arranged to scan along the field of view.
The target may be fixed to an object for example a rotor blade whose position is to be detected, and the target itself may be elongate parallel with the field of view, which in turn will extend in the general direction of expected deflection. The reference mark can be a line extending transversely to the elongate target and could be a slot in an opaque target so that light can be seen through the slot by the sensor. Again the reference mark could be a highly reflective strip on a non-reflective target surface, but that application would require a source of light or other radiation to which the sensor is sensitive for illuminating the reference mark when the target was in the field of view.
The advantage of having a reference mark on the target is that the width of the reference mark and its position along the target can be precisely measured, and that can provide reference information from which the actual deflection of the article carrying the target can be determined. Alternatively the blade itself could act as the target, preferably the trailing edge of the blade, as this would be lower than the leading edge when the pitch of the blade is adjusted for flight conditions.
The means defining the elongate field of view could comprise an elongate lens.
The sensor could consist of a multi-element linear sensor with electronic means for scanning the elements in a scanning cycle.
In the application to a helicopter rotor, a target could be positioned on the tip of each rotor blade, extending in the vertical direction with an elongate slot constituting the reference mark of a known width at a known distance from the end of the target strip, and with the field of view and the sensor extending parallel to the length of the target.
The invention is quite simple because for daylight use it is not necessary to irradiate the target, and the sensor can be coupled to solid state logic circuits capable of giving a direct indication of the amount of deflection of a helicopter rotor blade or other article which information can be updated as it changes. Of course other types of logic circuit could be used if desired.
The invention may be carried into practice in various ways, and one embodiment will now be described by way of example, together with a variation, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic front elevation of a helicopter using a sensor in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a detail to an increased scale of the tip of a helicopter blade as seen in the direction of the arrow II in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a block schematic diagram of the circuit using the sensor of FIG. 1; and
FIGS. 4, and 5 are characteristics which arise during use of the sensor.
The sensor is for providing an indication of the deflection of the individual blades of a rotating helicopter rotor, and also for providing an indication of any circumferential lag or lead of an individual blade.
The sensor embodies a charge coupled device (CCD) 11 which comprises a normally vertical line of sensor elements (256 in the example being described) including an integrated circuit embodying a shift register, so that the electrical charge on each element can be transmitted by way of a control 12 (FIG. 3) to a microprocessor 13, as the elements are scanned in a scanning cycle controlled by the shift register. In front of the CCD is a lens 14, which is arranged to focus onto the vertical line of sensor elements, light from a narrow vertical strip field of view indicated generally at 15 in FIGS. 1 and 2. The strip might be about 5 centimeters high at the tip 16 of the helicopter blades, one of which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The lens inverts the image of the field of view 15 and the elements in the CCD are scanned vertically downwards by the shift register so that the image received is that of a thin vertical slice of background, which will be interrupted regularly by a rotating rotor blade.
For calibration purposes, the tip of each blade carries a depending target strip 17 perhaps 10 centimeters high and 3 centimeters wide having at a known distance `L` (perhaps equal to one centimeter) up from the lower edge, a horizontal rectangular hole `L` high and nearly as wide as the target strip 17.
The effect will be that during a scan of the CCD while the field of view 15 is interrupted by a blade and its target 17, the signal received by the microprocessor will be as shown in FIG. 4 consisting of a high signal representing peak white for a time `t` corresponding to viewing of the clear background below the target, and then a period `L`, of low signal represented by the obscuring of light by the bottom of the target, then an equal length period `L2 ` of peak white signal as light is received through the hole 18, and finally a low signal black period until the end of the time `T` of the scan because of the obscuring of light first by the top part of the target 17 and then by the body of the blade.
It will be appreciated that the time `t` before the black signal shown in FIG. 4 will be a measure of the absolute vertical displacement of the lower edge of the target, and hence of the blade in relation to some reference height. The scanning time for the CCD 11 will be shorter than the time it takes for the blade and target to cross the field of view 15, so that several scans are made during the passage of each blade, the lowest reading being taken as the true blade position. The signals from the various blades can be compared so that any variation in the heights of the individual blade tips can be indicated.
The circuit of FIG. 3 includes a number of timing counters 19 used for giving signals representing the quantities `t`, `L1 `, and `L2 `, as shown in FIG. 4. L1 and L2 correspond to the known equal heights of the lowest opaque portion of the target and the hole 18 respectively, and by averaging those values, compensation can be obtained for any errors introduced by any change in the sensing threshold of the logic caused by different levels of lumination. The height corresponding to `L` is known, so that `t` can be accurately determined in terms of that known height `L`. During initial calibration, the blades need not be rotating.
A reference pulse is fed into the circuit of FIG. 3 once per revolution of the rotor, and by relating the signals such as shown in FIG. 4 for each of the rotor blades to that reference pulse, any variation of the circumferential position of any blade from the desired equal circumferential spacing can be indicated even if a variation occurs from revolution to revolution.
A control circuit 22 monitors the peak video output from the CCD sensor, and one output from this is used to control an iris 21 which is part of lens 14. Thus, the peak output from the CCD sensor is maintained for varying light levels.
A second output from the control circuit 22 informs the microprocessor 13 if the light level is too low for satisfactory operation. The microprocessor can then increase the integration time and/or inform the operator that the light level is too low.
An output from the microprocessor representing `t/T` is converted into an analogue signal in a convertor 24 to drive a meter 25 which is conveniently set so that when the meter indicator is at half full scale deflection the image of the hole 18 is in the centre of the field of view 15.
Information from the microprocessor 13 is also sent by way of a serial data interface 26 to a computer which can display the detected information visually.
For use of the system at night, when there is insufficient background illumination, the target 17 can be replaced by one having instead of the hole 18 a highly reflective strip of the same shape facing the camera, and arranged to reflect illumination from a lamp 27 which can in fact be controlled from the microprocessor 13 through a driver 28 to be illuminated only when a blade is due to enter the field of view 15.
The signal received is inverted and so will appear as shown in FIG. 5 being "black" for most of the cyclic period `T` but being "peak white" for an interval `L` corresponding to the reflective strip at the time `t` from the start of the scan.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US2964849 *||Nov 5, 1956||Dec 20, 1960||Fairchild Engine & Airplane||Optical tracking system for rotary blade aircraft in flight|
|US3658426 *||Sep 11, 1968||Apr 25, 1972||Itek Corp||Alignment telescope|
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|US4053227 *||Oct 3, 1975||Oct 11, 1977||Siemens Aktiengesellschaft||Method and apparatus for automatic and contactless measurement of the height of moving blades of a turbine|
|US4105925 *||Mar 14, 1977||Aug 8, 1978||General Motors Corporation||Optical object locator|
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|US4277176 *||Nov 3, 1978||Jul 7, 1981||Compagnie Industrielle Radioelectrique||Method and apparatus for checking the width and parallelism of margins following the centering of a print with respect to a support|
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|FR2482720A1 *||Title not available|
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|GB1116748A *||Title not available|
|GB1483236A *||Title not available|
|GB2054310A *||Title not available|
|GB2055269A *||Title not available|
|GB2069689A *||Title not available|
|1||*||Instruction Manual from Fairchild, Model CCD 1300, Line Scan Camera Sub System, Published 1977 by Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corporation.|
|2||Instruction Manual from Fairchild, Model CCD 1300, Line Scan Camera Sub-System, Published 1977 by Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corporation.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7403294 *||Nov 25, 2003||Jul 22, 2008||Boxboro Systems, Llc||Optical measurement device and method|
|US8041520||Sep 18, 2008||Oct 18, 2011||Gilbert Ronald Mesec||Method to detect mechanical faults and dynamic instability in rotor systems of helicopters, tilt rotor aircraft, and whirl towers|
|US20040174542 *||Nov 25, 2003||Sep 9, 2004||Boxboro Systems Llc||Optical measurement device and method|
|U.S. Classification||250/559.3, 356/400|
|International Classification||G01B11/00, G01B11/16, G01M5/00, B64C27/00|
|Cooperative Classification||B64C27/008, G01B11/00, G01B11/16|
|European Classification||B64C27/00E, G01B11/00, G01B11/16|
|Jan 22, 1990||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Feb 28, 1994||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
|Feb 28, 1994||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Mar 15, 1994||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jan 26, 1998||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Jun 12, 1998||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ULTRA ELECTRONICS LIMITED, ENGLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HELITUNE LIMITED (FORMERLY MICRO CONTROL TECHNOLOGY LIMITED);REEL/FRAME:009245/0665
Effective date: 19980407