The RWS uses a 45° forward scatter angle and 850nm infrared light source to provide a flexible, cost effective, visibility solution specifically tailored to road weather applications. Visibility is output as both Meteorological Optical Range (MOR) and Extinction Coefficient (EXCO) to provide compatibility with the widest range of control systems.
In common with all Biral visibility and present weather sensors, the RWS-20 uses our established, reliable, 2kHz modulation of the light source, combined with narrow pass band optical filters and synchronous detection at the receiver. This established technique ensures the measurement is not affected by bright or intermittent (flashing) lights, and is optimised for road usage. This unique design also ensures the sensor accurately reports visibility during precipitation. The horizontal hood design eliminates surface reflections problems that are a source of error in sensors employing look down hood geometries.
The sensor hoods can be fitted with optional hood heaters to ensure blowing snow does not block the optical path. The hood heaters have their own supply connection, allowing the use of unregulated supplies which can help to reduce infrastructure costs. The hood heating only operates when the temperature drops below 2°C and can be disabled through the sensor interface if required.
The optical windows of the sensor are fitted with low power heaters to prevent the formation of condensation. Window contamination monitoring and compensation allows the visibility output to maintain its accuracy even as dirt builds up on the optical surfaces. The sensor reports the window contamination in the output message, using two stages of warning flags to allow cleaning to take place in a convenient manner.
Communication with the sensor is over a serial data link that is user configurable for RS232, RS422 or RS485. ASCII encoded data is used and the sensor can operate in either a polled or broadcast modes. The sensor’s standard analogue voltage and optional current outputs can be configured to report either MOR or EXCO. The sensor also has the option of being supplied with two threshold relays and one fault relay. The threshold relays can be configured by the user as either two user defined visibility thresholds relays, or one visibility threshold relay and one window contamination alert relay.
The sensor operates from a low voltage (9V to 36V) DC supply and requires just 3.5W. The low power window heaters which can be set to only operate when condensation is detected take an additional 1.7W (5.2W total). The optional high power hood heaters have a separate power connection allowing the use of an unregulated heating supply.
The RWS-20 is a single lightweight unit that can be easily installed by one person. The sensor enclosure is constructed from aluminium which is surface passivated and finished with a grey powder coat paint. It is designed for use in all types of weather and has a wide operating temperature.