TruSail is a UK-based performance sailing specialist and the name of a modular wireless sensing telemetry system that provides a unique scientific and measurable tool for racing sailboats. Used for expert training by elite sailors and coaches, typically competing at national, international and Olympic level, the system includes real-time measurement and advanced analysis of the most significant dynamic forces that influence sailboat performance. Armed with this data, which may be analysed instantly whilst on the water, sailors can react and improve their performance technique affording a solid team advantage compared with traditional and delayed classroom debriefing methods.
As part of the measurement components used on the TruSail system, Ixthus Instrumentation is supplying Euro-CMRK series angle sensors for the TruSail’s rudder and boom position feedback as well as application expertise that helped the sailing specialists meet its stringent marine environment and performance specifications.
TruSail’s technical director Glynn Lloyd explains the requirements in detail: “Our products need to be light because any additional weight on the boat will potentially slow it down or change the ‘feeling’ of the boat to the sailor. TruSail systems have to work in all weather conditions and because the sailors perform to the limits – with meticulously fine margins between winning and losing – every fraction of a per cent in performance really matters. At such extreme limits, high-speed capsizing can be frequent so our systems need extreme durability and waterproofing. The Euro-CMRT angle sensors specified by the engineers at Ixthus Instrumentation have proven ideal for these conditions and their miniature design helps keep the TruSail’s size and weight to a minimum.”
At only 10mm in diameter and 15mm housing length, and with an M8 threaded mounting and a 3.175mm flatted shaft, the Euro-CMRT programmable angle sensor now used by TruSail features Hall Effect non-contacting technology in a very lightweight IP68 sealed design. Manufactured by Variohm EuroSensor – Ixthus’ sister company in the Variohm Group – this new product is the latest version of a comprehensive range of Hall Effect angle sensors that excel for proven durability, long life, high duty-cycle and exceptional reliability. As the smallest angle sensor in Variohm’s range, it is well suited to precision angle measurement tasks where light weight and restricted installation space are important design considerations.
Support during training
For the rudder sensor, the Euro-CMRT is mounted inside the TruSail housing which also includes telemetry electronics. Measuring the rudder angle through the tiller link mechanism, the sensor’s angle is transmitted to a large display at the front of the boat that sailors are able to monitor as well as to a tablet on the coaches’ boat which runs the main telemetry and performance analysis application software. A similar TruSail system with a further CMRT sensor provides the team with the sailboat’s boom angle position, and up to four boats may be linked at the same time with information shared between sailors and coaches. As the sailors are directly able to adapt their sailing style using the monitors, and coaches can support them on the water during the actual training session, sailing performance, boat set-up and learning are all optimised.
The Euro-CMRT is part of a new family of Hall Effect long-life angle sensors that include the 18mm PCD flange mounting Euro-CMRS and the puck-and-magnet design of the Euro-CMRK. The new products are based on preceding Hall Effect sensors that enjoy a good reputation in measurement applications that include industrial automation, motorsports, mobile construction machinery and agricultural vehicles. Improved production and assembly techniques have led to smaller footprint products with added flexibility that allows straightforward mechanical and electrical adaptation to exactly match the customer’s requirements.
Across the new Euro-CMRx range a choice of single or dual redundant output, with CW or CCW direction, includes ratiometric or PWM signal levels from an industry standard 5V DC input. Programmable angles from 30 degrees up to 360 degrees in 1 degree increments are specifiable, with independent linearity to within +/- 0.5 per cent of each signal range. The CMRx family offers a vibration rating that meets IEC 600068-2-6 and a temperature range from –40deg C to +125deg C, with short-term operation to 150degC. Working life is rated in excess of 50 million movements for the housed sensors, and the completely contactless puck and magnet version has a virtually unlimited life. Encapsulated sensor electronics combined with high-grade anodised aluminium housing and stainless steel shaft materials further ensure reliability and performance for the most demanding environments.