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Data Communications protocols in the rail industry

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A central communication network within a product or a system can be likened to a human’s nervous system. Networks continue to evolve, but the protocol that has been widely adopted to be at the heart of the modern systems is the Controller Area Network (CAN).

CAN bus, which was originally developed for data communications in automobile networks, is a robust, differential signalling, serial communications system. It has quickly gained acceptance into a variety of other industries including aerospace, industrial machinery and medical systems, as well as numerically controlled tools and intelligent robots, and is now being adopted widely within the railway industry, both in train-borne and trackside applications.

The CAN protocol allows individual parts of a system to be controlled via a two-wire differential bus which can run throughout the core of the system. Functional elements are placed along the bus at ‘nodes’ and converted by transceiver modules. Traditional transceivers can only receive and send data, which require external isolation chips, opto-coupler and an isolated DC/DC converter to complete the solution.

Integrated modules

Mornsun has developed a range of fully isolated bus transceiver modules. Each module integrates a transceiver, isolation chip and high-efficiency isolated DC/DC converter in one single package. Their compact size, low power consumption and high reliability make them suitable for use in harsh industrial environments. Modules are available in either CAN bus, RS232 or RS485 formats.

Mornsun’s CAN transceivers solve specialised networking requirements for various applications and power supply systems, providing solutions for 5V and 3V operation as well as being compatible with the new CAN FD (Flexible Data rates) standard.

Mornsun has also developed a full suite of products which are easy to integrate and offer the following advantages over discreet solutions:

  • a) Simplicity of design with just one module to integrate – plug and play;
  • b) Two-part isolation (3kV) on power supply and signals;
  • c) Known EMC performance;
  • d) Baud rates up to 5M (CAN FD);
  • e) Modules with suffix CAN FD meet ISO11898-5;
  • f) Operating temperatures from -40 to +105ºC;
  • g) Low cost, short lead-times.

Train power

Mornsun and its UK distributor, Relec Electronics, are also specialists in the field of DC power on trains. With a portfolio of EN50155 and RIA-certified DC/DC converters and filters, systems can easily be put together using off-the-shelf modules.

As a leading supplier of specialist products, Relec Electronics offers support to the electronics industry with a wealth of experience going back over 40 years. The company offers AC/DC power supplies, DC/DC converters, DC/AC inverters, displays and EMC filters.

Through working closely with manufacturers like Mornsun, with its range of fully integrated transceiver modules, the Relec team can bring the latest technologies and products to the railway industry and dramatically reduce design and integration time.

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