Powering wireless sensors for rotorcraft HUMS

S. Burrow*, L. Clare, D. Hewitt, P. Sartor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Wireless sensors have been widely suggested as a technology to extend the capability of Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) on rotorcraft. Free from the constraints of hard wiring, wireless systems not only appear to offer a cost-effective solution, but in cases of instrumenting rotating or hard to reach parts, sometimes the only solution. Wireless data connections can be implemented using a range of mature technologies, however to be a truly wireless system, power cabling must be also be eliminated. This requires either local energy storage in a battery, energy harvesting (where power is generated from the ambient conditions of the sensor node), or a form of wireless power transfer. Of these solutions, only batteries can be considered mature. In this paper the power requirements of a wireless HUMS sensor node, designed to be mounted directly on the rotor head, are described and the possible power solutions considered. The very best energy-dense batteries currently available could power this node for many 100's of flight hours (for a reasonable battery volume) but it is unlikely these chemistries would be acceptable in the high stress rotating environment; battery technologies that are proven for high g environments would power this node for just a few 10's of flight hours. A vibration-powered generator is described which can produce up to 50mW average power during flight, potentially providing the 1000+ flight hours desirable for whole lifetime monitoring of rotor head parts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication40th European Rotorcraft Forum 2014
PublisherRoyal Aeronautical Society
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781510802568
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event40th European Rotorcraft Forum, ERF 2014 - Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sep 20145 Sep 2014


Conference40th European Rotorcraft Forum, ERF 2014
CountryUnited Kingdom

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