OMTDR technology provides analysis without impacting network traffic

Bon-en-Chablais, France: The SmartCo smart connector system
from Nicomatic, the leading manufacturer of high performance
interconnect systems, brings in-built intelligence to aircraft
electrical wiring interconnection systems (EWIS) and reduces aircraft
downtime by solving the problem of fault-finding in aircraft electrical
cable runs.

The EWIS is the backbone of complex systems in modern aircraft and is
subject to the same harsh environmental and operational conditions as
other aircraft systems.  Detecting and tracing faults in aircraft
electrical cable runs is time-consuming, frustrating, costly, and the
cause of disruption to flight schedules.   Nicomatic and the CEA LIST
Institute collaborated to jointly develop Orthogonal Multi-tone Time
Domain Reflectometry (OMTDR) technology that enables network analysis
and sensor intelligence to be distributed in the EWIS without impacting
network traffic. Distributed analysis enables complex networks to be
analysed, solving the problem of fault ambiguity as diagnosis
information from several sensors can be aggregated. Integrating OMTDR
into an aircraft wiring harness by embedding it into SmartCo aerospace
connectors adds an “always on” distributed wire diagnosis and sensor
communication system in real time to the EWIS.

In a further collaboration, Nicomatic and the ECA Group integrated OMTDR
into a portable all-in-one electrical troubleshooting test tool, the
Electrical Ground Support Equipment (E-GSE) TC50 e-tool. The TC-50 is a
multi-function tool in a case that simplifies wire troubleshooting and
testing.  Validated on most popular aeronautic cable types, it plugs
into a wire network and measures voltage/current/resistance, checks
phase order, tests diodes, tests insulation and thermal imaging.  The
TC-50’s user interface is web-enabled for access on the included rugged
smartphone or any mobile device.

Using the TC-50 with Nicomatic’s SmartCo reflectometry technology
provides precise wire-fault localization, enabling quick diagnosis and
thereby minimizing aircraft ground time. The Wire Fault Localization
feature enables the detection and localization of faults such as open-
and short-circuits and the measurement of impedance variations with an
accuracy of 0.1% across a cable length of 1m to 100m.

Phil McDavitt, Managing Director, Nicomatic Ltd. comments: “SmartCo
connectors bring in-built intelligence and capability to commercial
aerospace connectors, and together with the TC50-eTool, deliver a unique
off-the-shelf tool for all generic electrical tasks for maintenance,
repair, overhaul, diagnosis and troubleshooting of electrical systems
and equipment in aircraft.”

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