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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Voyager 3: Wireless Vibration Monitoring Platform for CbM Paul Golata

I Am Picking Up Good Vibrations: Voyager 3 Wireless Vibration Monitoring Platform


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In 1966, American rock band the Beach Boys had one of their biggest hits, “Good Vibrations.” The premise of the title and lyrics is that a guy could sense through some other than one’s normal five senses whether or not sparks of love would fire between them. The lyricist claimed that the vibes (vibrations) he was picking up from the girl were “good,” and thus, their destinies would be colliding.

Picking Up Vibrations

I am not sure how one extrasensory perceives good vibrations. As an engineer, I am more in tune with sensing vibrations through my senses or scientific instruments. In physics, vibrations are mechanical oscillations that may be described by frequency, amplitude, phase, and shape. Vibrations allow the transfer of potential (stored) energy into kinetic (movement) energy. Analog Devices is a global leader in putting precision signal chains to work. One of the technical areas in which they excel is in inertial microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors. This blog will cover how designers can use the Voyager 3 Platform as a system evaluation solution for a wireless signal chain for MEMS-accelerometer-based vibration monitoring (Figure 1).


Figure 1: The EV-CBM-VOYAGER3-1Z from Analog Devices is an evaluation tool for a wireless signal chain for MEMS accelerometer-based vibration monitoring. (Source: Analog Devices)

Condition-based monitoring (CbM)

Engineers want to know about the health of industrial equipment. Health of this type may range from motors and pumps to bearings and encoders. Sensing physical vibrations and taking measurements is a source of data helpful in isolating mechanical noise from electrical noise, improving machine diagnostics. Condition-based monitoring (CbM) enables early detection and diagnosis of machine and system abnormalities in real-time. Identifying and isolating these issues creates opportunities for optimizing replacement part inventories, scheduling downtimes for planned maintenance, and making run-time process adjustments that can extend the useful life of the equipment. These machine health insights result in increased productivity, improved efficiency, and maximized uptime, accelerating the path to Industry 4.0.

Voyager 3: Wireless Vibration Monitoring Platform

This is where the system solution provided by Analog Devices comes in. It enables users to rapidly deploy a wireless solution to a machine or test setup. It also allows engineers to evaluate ADI’s MEMS sensor technology for vibration monitoring and ADI’s SmartMESH technology for industrial wireless networking.

It combines mechanical attach, hardware, firmware, and PC software to enable rapid deployment and evaluation of a three-axis vibration monitoring solution. The module can be directly connected to a motor or fixture via a ¼"-28 (M6-0.75) stud. It can also be combined with other modules on the same wireless mesh network to provide a broader picture with multiple sensor nodes as part of a Condition Based Monitoring (CbM) system; allowing rapid evaluation of the platform.

Solution Overview

The CbM hardware signal chain consists of a three-axis, ultra-low power, ultra-low noise ADXL356 MEMS accelerometer mounted to the module’s base. The outputs of the ADXL356 are conditioned and converted to digital with three low-power AD7685 16-bit daisy chain ADCs. The ADC outputs are buffered and transformed to the frequency domain in the ADuCM4050 low-power microcontroller and from there streamed to the SmartMESH IP mote (Figure 2).


Figure 2: A look inside the Wireless Vibration Monitoring Platform. (Source: Analog Devices)

From the SmartMESH chip, time domain and FFT data are wirelessly streamed to the SmartMESH IP Manager. The manager connects to a PC and visualization and saving of the data can take place. Data is displayed as raw time-domain data and FFT data.

Additional summary statistics information on the time-aggregated data are available. The complete Python code of the PC-side GUI and the C firmware deployed to the module will enable customer adaptation. It offers mechanical mounting and measurement capability of up to 1.5kHz bandwidth.


If you are an engineer looking at industrial CbM, a MEMS-based wireless vibration monitoring kit for accelerating asset monitoring and solution development might be precisely what you need. Analog Devices’ Voyager 3 Platform will ensure that any vibration you pick up is only used for the good. And these “good vibrations” can go a long way to optimizing uptime and operating efficiency that can extend the useful life of equipment.

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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).

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