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INDEX

SR.NO.

Contents

1.

Acknowledgement

Pag
e
NO
3

2.

Summery

3.

Abstract

4.

Introduction

6-7

5.

History

8-9

6.

Working

10-1

7.

Types of Stroboscope

20-2

8.

Advantages

22

9.

Features

23

10.

Block Diagram

24

11.

Application

25-3

12.

Components Used

38

13.

Future Scope

39

14.

References

Acknowledgement
The use of strobe lights started many years ago and
many have written about their use over this period. It is
difficult to credit any one person or company with specific
applications. Much early work has been done by Entek
IRD, Ralph Buscarello in his Update International, Inc.
training notes, Charlie Jackson, Consultant and author of
a Vibration Primer series and so many other users in
various industries and in plants all over the world.

SUMMARY
The basic strobe light is a handy tool for any plant.
It allows the user to find and replace worn belts, springs,
valves and dampers. Adjustments to machinery can be
made to improve performance. Even nonrotating
machinery can be observed and adjusted to maximize
product handling.
A strobe light with the added functionality for
phase analysis offers the user another level of machinery
diagnosis and problem solving. These tasks include
balancing, alignment verification, looseness checks and
platform or piping system motion studies.
Phase analysis offers the user the ability to find
out how a machine is vibrating or moving. Once the
pattern of machine deflection or movement is known, a
combination of vibration frequency analysis, phase
analysis and knowledge of the mechanics of the system
allows for an accurate diagnosis of a problem.

ABSTRACT
A Stroboscope is an instrument for studying
periodic motion or determining speeds of rotation by
shining a bright light at intervals so that a moving or
rotating object appears stationary. It consists of either a
rotating disk with slots or holes or a lamp such as a
flashtube which produces brief repetitive flashes of light.
Usually the rate of the stroboscope is adjustable to
different frequencies. Thus stroboscopes are also used to
measure frequency.
The frequency of the flash is adjusted so that it is
an equal to, or a unit fraction of the object's cyclic speed,
at which point the object is seen to be either stationary or
moving slowly backward or forward, depending on the
flash frequency. Neon lamps or light emitting diodes are
commonly used for low-intensity strobe applications.
Xenon flash lamps are used for medium- and highintensity strobe applications.
The electronic strobe light stroboscope was
invented in 1931, by Harold Eugene Edgerton

Introduction
A stroboscope also known as a strobe, it is an
instrument used to make a cyclically moving object appear
to be slow-moving, or stationary. It consists of either a
rotating disk with slots or holes or a lamp such as
a flashtube which produces brief repetitive flashes of light.
Usually the rate of the stroboscope is adjustable to
different frequencies. When a rotating or vibrating object is
observed with the stroboscope at its vibration frequency
(or a submultiple of it), it appears stationary. Thus
stroboscopes are also used to measure frequency.
The principle is used for the study of rotating,
reciprocating, oscillating or vibrating objects. Machine
parts and vibrating strings are common examples. A
stroboscope used to set the ignition timing of internal
combustion engines is called a timing light.
Stroboscope provides sufficient white light for
strobe photography and for "stopping the motion" during
laboratory experiments. The light is produced with a
Xenon flash tube in a 14cm diameter polished reflector.
Flash rate is adjustable from 1-300 flashes per second
and a digital display reads the flash rate in either flashes
per second or in RPM. For added convenience, a
threaded hole (1/4-20 UNC-2B) is provided in the bottom
of the unit for mounting the stroboscope onto a tripod.

A variety of special features enhance the utility of this


stroboscope. For situations requiring synchronized flashes
to large or isolated areas (e.g. separate rooms), it is
possible to synchronize the strobe flashes of a number of
Model SF-9211 Stroboscopes. Each stroboscope
produces a 5 volt output pulse with every flash. This output
may be used as an external trigger that will cause a
simultaneous flash in a second stroboscope. By using the
output signal from each stroboscope to trigger the strobe
flashes of another unit, any number of stroboscopes may
be synchronized. The ability of the stroboscope to respond
to an external trigger also allows strobe flashes to be
synchronized with some external event. This feature can
be used to provide automatic adjustment of the flash rate
in response to rate changes in the event being observed.
It can also insure a photograph is taken at a critical instant
when performing strobe photography. To trigger the
stroboscope from an external event, a 3-50 volt pulsed
signal will trigger the stroboscope.

HISTORY OF THE STROBOSCOPE


The first stroboscopes were invented in 1832 by
Stampfer of Vienna and Plateau of Ghent, each working
independently of the other. Plateau called his device
"phenakistoscope. Stampfer chose the name
"stroboscope," which is derived from two Greek words,
meaning "whirling watcher. Whirling watcher" may be a
curious name for the modern electronic stroboscope, but it
described the first stroboscopes perfectly. These were
disks, with slots at regular intervals. As the disk whirled,
the "watcher" looked through the slots. Thus the vision
path between an object and the eye was interrupted,
producing the stroboscopic effect. Some of these
mechanical stroboscopes featured disks driven by
chronometer motors, with speed accurately controlled by
spring governors.
The primitive stroboscope was put to many
ingenious uses, both as a tachometer and as a device for
permitting slow-motion observation. Its tachometric talents
were put to use by GenRad in 1930, in the form of a
stroboscopic frequency meter. In this instrument, a disk
was rotated at exactly 10 revolutions per second by a
motor synchronously driven by a 1000-cycle frequency
standard. The spinning disk, on which were concentric
rings of 10, 20, 30... .etc. dots, was illuminated by a neon
lamp turned on and off by an oscillator of unknown
8

frequency. To adjust this oscillator to exactly 1000 cycles,


it was necessary simply to adjust the lamp flashing rate to
100 times the disk speed in other words, to adjust the
oscillator until the 100-dot ring on the disk appeared
stationary. Another early example of stroboscopic
instrumentation by GenRad was a precision chronograph,
introduced in 1931. A disk with a ring of 100 uniformly
spaced holes was rotated at 10 revolutions per second
between a light source and a photocell. The photocell was
thus energized 1000 times per second, and a string
galvanometer operating from the photocell output
produced a series of timing markers, 0.001 second apart,
for the chronograph chart. The principles of stroboscope
were therefore well known to GenRad engineers in the
early 30's when, just down the street from GenRad's
Cambridge plant, MIT Professor Harold Edgerton
developed a way of producing a very brief light flash by
means of a high-intensity mercury arc lasting only five
microseconds. The flash rate could be controlled
accurately at speeds up to 10,000 per minute. Thus the
intermittency essential to stroboscopes occurred at the
light source, rather than somewhere in the light path, as
with mechanical stroboscopes. In the Edgerton
stroboscope, a capacitor was discharged through a
mercury-vapor tube to produce the intense, brief flash.
Later stroboscope tubes used other gases - argon,
krypton, and xenon. Xenon became the preferred gas
because of its high efficiency of conversion from electrical
energy into light and because the spectral distribution of
the light produced approximates that of daylight.
9

Working
In electronic versions, the perforated disc is
replaced by a lamp capable of emitting brief and rapid
flashes of light. Typically a gas-discharge or solid-state
lamp is used, because they are capable of emitting light
nearly instantly when power is applied, and extinguishing
just as fast when the power is removed .By comparison
,incandescent lamps have a brief warm-up when
energized, followed by a cool-down period when power is
removed. These delays result in smearing and blurring of
detail of objects partially illuminated during the warm-up
and cool-down periods .The frequency of the flash is
adjusted so that it is an equal to, or a unit fraction of the
object's cyclic speed, at which point the object is seen to
be either stationary or moving slowly backward or forward,
depending on the flash frequency .Neon lamps or light
emitting diodes are commonly used for low-intensity
strobe applications ,Neon lamps were more common
before the development of solid-state electronics, but are
being replaced by LEDs in most low-intensity strobe
applications .Xenon flash lamps are used for medium- and
high-intensity strobe applications. Sufficiently rapid or
bright flashing may require active cooling such as forced10

air or water cooling to prevent the xenon flash lamp from


melting.
The principle of operation of stroboscopic
instruments is as follows: the object performing periodic
motion is illuminated and made visible in separate time
intervals that are very small by comparison with the period
of the objects motion. If the frequency (fstr) of the light
pulses is the same as the frequency (fobj) of the period of
the objects motion, then the object appears stationary.
When these two frequencies are somewhat
different, the object appears to be executing a motion that
is slower than the actual motion. The frequency F of the
slowed motion is the difference between the two
frequencies that is, F = f obj f str.

The stroboscope is in some respects like a movie


camera. The camera shutter, operating at very high speed,
11

chops up the action into a series of very small elements in


which movement is not apparent in any one element. The
film can then be projected at any desired speed,
recreating the original motion at a rate faster than, slower
than, or equal to the original motion. The series
of projected frames takes on the appearance of
continuous, rather than interrupted, motion because of
what is known as persistence of vision the ability of the
human eye to hold each image for a fraction of a second,
thus filling in the gaps between frames. The enjoyment of
movies and the optical illusions of stroboscope depend to
a great extent on persistence of vision.
A movie-camera shutter can produce a
stroboscopic effect if it is at or near synchronism with
some cyclic motion. If, because of the chopping action of a
camera shutter, we are allowed momentary glimpses of a
spinning wagon wheel exactly 200 times a minute, and if
that wheel is spinning at the rate of 200 revolutions a
minute, then at each glimpse of the wagon wheel, it will be
in the same position. Since the camera shutter never
allows us to see the wheel in any other position, it appears
to stand still. If the camera speed is advanced so that we
are now given, say, 205 frames a minute, then each frame
occurs 1/205 of a minute later than the previous frame
.However, the wheel needs more time (1/200 of a minute)
to return to a given position so that each successive
picture catches the wheel at a slightly earlier part of its
cycle. The effect, not uncommon in motion pictures, is that
12

the wheel appears to rotate very slowly backwards. If we


slow down the camera speed to 190 frames a minute,
each frame captures the wheel at a slightly later part of its
cycle, and the wheel appears to rotate slowly forward.
Thus, by controlling the rate at which we interrupt vision,
we can produce a replica of the high-speed motion at
almost any slow speed we desire, forward or backward.
Intermittency of observation can be provided by
mechanical interruption of the line of sight (as with the
motion picture camera) or by intermittent illumination of
the object being viewed.
The modern industrial stroboscope is basically a
lamp plus the electronic circuits necessary to turn it on an
off very rapidly - at rates, in fact, as high as 150,000
flashes per minute. Electronic control of flashing lamp
permits accurate setting and knowledge of flashing rate,
and this capability leads to the widespread use of
stroboscopes as tachometers. If one can make a moving
device appear stationary by illuminating it with a light
flashing at a rate equal to the device speed, one can also
adjust the flashing rate until the device appears stationary
and then determine the device speed from knowledge of
flashing rate.
How the stroboscope produces a slow-motion
image. The stroboscope above is flashing once every 11/8
revolution of the disk. In A, a single flash catches the disk
in its 0position. In B, while the stroboscope is not flashing,
the disk, rotating clockwise, makes better than a full
13

revolution. In C, the next flash catches the disk at its 45


position. The next flash, in E, occurs after the stroboscope
has made another 11/8 revolution. The eye, retaining each
image it receives for a split second, weaves A, C, and E
into an image of apparent slow forward motion.

A stroboscope, also known as a strobe, is an


instrument used to make a cyclically moving object appear
to be slow-moving, or stationary. The principle is used for
the study of rotating, reciprocating, oscillating or vibrating
objects. Machine parts and vibrating strings are common
examples.
In its simplest form, a rotating disc with evenlyspaced holes is placed in the line of sight between the
observer and the moving object. The rotational speed of
the disc is adjusted so that it becomes synchronized with
14

the movement of the observed system, which seems to


slow and stop. The illusion is caused by temporal aliasing,
commonly known as the stroboscopic effect.
In electronic versions, the perforated disc is
replaced by a lamp capable of emitting brief and rapid
flashes of light. The frequency of the flash is adjusted so
that it is an equal to, or a unit fraction below or above the
object's cyclic speed, at which point the object is seen to
be either stationary or moving backward or forward,
depending on the flash frequency.
An oscillator is made to produce a pulse wave of
a known frequency. This is then used to drive a bright
LED, which can cope with the fast rate of flashing (note
that an incandescent bulb is no use since when it is driven
at a high frequency, the filament remains hot when the
power goes off, and you end up with a light that is not
flashing at all, but is permanently on).
A mark is made on the object that is rotating that
you wish to measure, and the object is spun up to speed.
The oscillator is set to a low frequency to start with, and
the LED is shone at the object where the mark is. At first,
the mark will appear at random points around the object.
The stroboscope works by producing very brief yet
very bright pulses of light. If the frequency of the light
pulses is correct, the rotating object will be illuminated at
the same position during each flash of light, giving the
appearance that is stationary. This phenomenon is called
the stroboscopic effect.
15

The stroboscopic effect is really a phenomenon of


aliasing, which is the result of under sampling. If you are
familiar with digital signal processing, you may be aware
that a signal that is sampled can produce aliases
depending on the sample rate used. A signal that is
sampled at less than twice its frequency can produce a
result called an alias, which has a lower frequency than
the original signal.
If a signal is sampled at a rate which is exactly the
same frequency as that of the input signal, then the
sample will take place at the same point in its cycle, and
so the same value will always be read. Because the
sampling results in the same value each time, the resulting
sampled signal representation appears as DC value
instead of the alternating waveform of the actual signal.
The original signal has therefore been downshifted in
frequency to a DC signal. The same concept applies to the
stroboscope. The actual rotational speed will be
downshifted to zero in the eyes of the observer, giving the
false perception that the object is standing still.
The object will also appear stationary when the
strobe frequency is some integer fraction of the rotational
frequency, such as one half, one third, or one forth, etc.
This is because these cases will also result in the object
being illuminated when it is in the same position each
time.
If the strobe frequency is slightly lower or higher
than the rotational rate (or an integer fraction of the
rotational rate) of the object, it will appear to rotate slowly
16

forward or backward. In these cases the rotational speed


has been downshifted to a speed slightly greater than zero
in the eye of the observer.
The appearance of a rotating object illuminated by
a strobe can show more complex behavior if the rotating
object has multiple identical sectors, like the spokes of a
wheel or the blades of a fan or propeller. In these cases,
the object can appear stationary when the period of the
strobe frequency is an integer multiple of the rotational
period divided by the number of sectors. If the individual
sectors are similar enough in appearance that they are
identical to an observer, then the object will appear
stationary for any strobe frequency where any of the
identical sectors is in a given position. As the strobe
frequency is swept, the observer may notice several points
at which the rotation appears to first slow, then stop, and
then begin rotating in the opposite direction.
The pulses of light which are generated need to be
very short and very bright. They need to be short, because
the longer the light is on, the more the object will change
position during this time. If the object moves significantly
during the time it is illuminated, it will appear blurry to the
viewer. This is analogous to the shutter speed of a
camera. Since the pulse needs to be very short, it also
needs to be very bright, to provide sufficient illumination
during the brief time that it is on.
Stroboscopes typically use a Xenon flash tube to
17

generate the brief, intense pulses of light. This project


uses white LEDs instead of a Xenon flash. Xenon flashes
are capable of much greater intensity than an LED array.
The resulting pulses are not as bright as that produced by
a Xenon tube. Because this LED based strobe does not
provide nearly the level of illumination of a Xenon version,
it helps if it is used in lower light conditions.
The driver circuit described later is designed for
use with an LED array. A suitable LED array can be
created by modifying an off the shelf LED flashlight or
lantern. There are some modifications that I made to these
off the shelf products to make them more suitable for use
with the driver, and I discuss them in the details in the
following steps.
In normal use, the LEDs in the flashlight are
powered continuously with DC current from the battery. A
flashlight of this type typically consists of just the LEDs,
one or more current limiting resistors, and a switch to turn
it on and off.
When driven continuously for use in a flashlight,
the current in each LED is usually limited to a level of
about 10 to 30mA. For use in a strobe light, the LEDs
need to be as bright as possible, but they must also be
driven by very brief pulses to keep the object from
appearing too blurry. In other words, the duty cycle of the
LED drive will be very low.
LEDs can be made to generate a brighter output
if they are driven with higher current. In order to get the
18

most illumination out of the LEDs with such a low duty


cycle drive, they should be driven with as high a current as
they can handle without risking damage.
The most commonly used size of LEDs in flashlights
are the T-1 size. You most likely wont be able to find a
part number or data sheet for the actual LEDs used in an
off the shelf flashlight, but you can get an idea of a
reasonable maximum current they can be driven with by
examining the specs from other low cost LEDs of the
same package. I examined the datasheets of several low
cost white LEDs of the T-1 size, and found that a typical
rating for a maximum pulse current is 100mA.
To get the most illumination out of the light, it
should be configured so that each LED will carry a current
close to the maximum pulse current rating. When I
modified the lights described in later steps, I chose to drive
them at about 75% of the maximum pulse rating,
approximately 75mA each. I chose not to drive at the
assumed 100mA pulse current, to give some margin to
help ensure they would not be damaged.
The driver described here was designed for 12
volt operation. The flashlights I modified were designed to
be powered by lower voltages, usually from 3 or 4 AA or
AAA batteries in series. The increased drive current and
different supply voltage makes it necessary to modify
these off the shelf lights before they can be used with the
driver circuit.
19

Types of Stroboscope
Mechanical
In its simplest mechanical form, a rotating
cylinder (or bowl with a raised edge) with evenly spaced
holes or slots placed in the line of sight between the
observer and the moving object. The observer looks
through the holes/slots on the near and far side at the
same time, with the slots/holes moving in opposite
directions. When the holes/slots are aligned on opposite
sides, the object is visible to the observer.
Alternately, a single moving hole or slot can be
used with a fixed/stationary hole or slot. The stationary
hole or slot limits the light to a single viewing path and
reduces glare from light passing through other parts of the
moving hole/slot.
Viewing through a single line of holes/slots does
not work, since the holes/slots appear to just sweep
across the object without a strobe effect.
The rotational speed is adjusted so that it
becomes synchronized with the movement of the
20

observed system, which seems to slow and stop. The


illusion is caused by temporal aliasing, commonly known
as the stroboscopic effect.
Electronic
In electronic versions, the perforated disc is
replaced by a lamp capable of emitting brief and rapid
flashes of light. Typically a gas-discharge or solid-state
lamp is used, because they are capable of emitting light
nearly instantly when power is applied, and extinguishing
just as fast when the power is removed.
By comparison, incandescent lamp have a brief
warm-up when energized, followed by a cool-down period
when power is removed. These delays result in smearing
and blurring of detail of objects partially illuminated during
the warm-up and cool-down periods. For most
applications, incandescent lamps are too slow for clear
stroboscopic effects. Yet when operated from an AC
source they are mostly fast enough to cause audible hum
(at double mains frequency) on optical audio
playback such as on film projection.
The frequency of the flash is adjusted so that it
is an equal to, or a unit fraction of the object's cyclic
speed, at which point the object is seen to be either
stationary or moving slowly backward or forward,
depending on the flash frequency.
Neon lamps or light emitting diodes are
commonly used for low-intensity strobe applications, Neon
lamps were more common before the development of
21

solid-state electronics, but are being replaced by LEDs in


most low-intensity strobe applications.
Xeon flash lamps are used for medium- and
high-intensity strobe applications. Sufficiently rapid or
bright flashing may require active cooling such as forcedair or water cooling to prevent the xenon flash lamp from
melting.

Advantages
The electronic stroboscope has so many
advantages that we can date the beginning of stroboscopy
as we know it from the date of the first GenRad Edgerton
stroboscopes.
The advantages of the electronic stroboscope are:
The effective illumination on the object is increased.
The flash duration is shortened to a few
microseconds.
The flashing rate could be easily and precisely
adjusted and accurately calibrated.
Several observers could view the object
simultaneously. (A rotating disk or a mechanical
shutter could accommodate only one observer at a
time.)
It is a non-contact type of Tachometer.
Its maintenance cost is low.
It can be highly precise.
It is small in size so it is Portable and its weight is low.

22

Features
8K Bytes of In-System Programmable (ISP) Flash
Memory
Endurance: 1000 Write/Erase Cycles
4.0V to 5.5V Operating Range
Fully Static Operation: 0 Hz to 33 MHz
Three-level Program Memory Lock
256 x 8-bit Internal RAM
32 Programmable I/O Lines
Three 16-bit Timer/Counters
Eight Interrupt Sources
Full Duplex UART Serial Channel
Low-power Idle and Power-down Modes
Interrupt Recovery from Power-down Model
Watchdog Timer
Dual Data Pointer
Power-off Flag
Fast Programming Time
Flexible ISP Programming (Byte and Page Mode)
Complete specifications at 1A load
23

Output voltage tolerances of 2% at Tj = 25


Line regulation of 0.01% of VOUT/V of VIN at 1Aload
Load regulation of 0.3% of VOUT/A
Internal thermal overload protection
Internal short-circuit current limit
Output transistor safe area protection

Block Diagram

24

Application
THE STROBE LIGHT AS A TROUBLE SHOOTING
TOOL
The strobe light can be a very useful tool for helping
determine the causes of rough running machinery,
vibrating brackets or pipe hangers and for adjusting
machinery that is supposed to vibrate as in the case of
nonrotating product conveyors. If the strobe light has the
ability to measure phase it can be used for balancing,
verifying alignment, checking for looseness and platform
or piping system motion studies.
RUNNING SPEED CHECKS
With a strobe light tuned to running speed there is much
that can be learned by visually observing machinery. If the
strobe can be tuned externally by once per turn event
signal you can be assured of it flashing at the correct rate.
Otherwise it must be manually tuned to running speed. It
is a good practice to adjust the strobe to running speed by
25

starting at a flash rate above running speed and slowly


make the adjustment until rotation appears to stop. The
reason for starting above running speed is that the
stopped rotation will occur with the strobe tuned at half
running speed as well as other sub-multiples. There is less
chance for error if you start above running speed. Many
times the exact running speed of a machine is unknown.
By tuning the strobe and "freezing" motion, the speed will
be displayed on the digital readout. Tuning is easier if you
can focus on a shaft keyway or some other distinct
feature. If none is available a mark should be made using
a paint spot or tape. For repeated use a durable mark is
best.
With the strobe set to the rate where motion is frozen,
slowly survey the machines parts. Every moving part that
is frozen is rotating or vibrating at running speed
frequency while parts that are not frozen are rotating or
vibrating at a different frequency. This information in itself
is often very helpful in determining the cause of excessive
wear, looseness or breakage. A word of caution; if you are
working around people who have not seen a strobe light in
use they might be inclined to reach for a part that is frozen
and appears to not be moving. Severe injury could result.
Belts on belt driven machinery can be examined for
irregular operation using a strobe light. For example, in the
26

case of multiple belts, a loose belt will exhibit more motion


than belts that have the proper amount of tension. This
condition will cause vibration. The strobe light is tuned to
the belt speed.
A strobe light can be used to check over speed trips on
machinery. This is accomplished by first tuning running
speed and then following speed as it is slowly increased
until trip speed is reached. At this point release the tuning
knob and read the speed on the digital display.
WHAT CAN BE LEARNED BY THE ADDED
ADVANTAGE OF PHASE
The ability to measure phase from the vibration signal
offers the user many advantages when trying to diagnose
machinery problems. Vibration phase is the Victorial
direction of the predominant force responsible for machine
vibration. Think of it this way; if a rotor could come out of
its bearings, which way would it go? Or if a machine could
jump off of its mounting, which end would go first?
Vibration phase provides this type of information. One
phase reading has one bit of information that by itself does
not offer much insight about a vibration condition. But a
group of phase readings begins to "paint a picture" for the
user. For example, if you thought you had an unbalance
condition, phase analysis could reveal the problem was
actually misalignment.

27

SOME BASICS ABOUT PHASE MEASUREMENTS


Phase is a relative measurement. Placement of the sensor
determines the phase reading. When measuring radial
vibration in a vertical and horizontal direction on a bearing,
the phase readings will show a 90 degree difference (a 90
degree phase shift). Knowing this is used to the analysts
advantage. It is important to put the sensor back in the
same location when trying to repeat measurements for
trending or when balancing.
Since phase is being read by observing a part of the
machine that is rotating with the strobe light, it is important
to establish some general practices. One is to take along a
tripod to hold the strobe if you are going to be taking a lot
of phase measurements. It makes the job easier and it
also allows for consistency.
Of course, the mark being observed must be unique. The
most common part of the machine to observe is the end of
a shaft. It is important to have only one mark on the
surface. If the end of the shaft has two keyways, mark one
so it can be distinguished from the other.
It is good practice to have a standard convention for
measuring phase. While you are going to want to relate
phase shift findings in terms of degrees, it is a lot easier to
28

make your notes in the field in terms of the clock face,


especially when you are beginning. That is, 12:00 o'clock
is 0 degrees and 6:00 o'clock is 180 degrees. It is very
easy to recognize a mark appearing at 4:30 as opposed to
trying to relate to its location directly in degrees.
When you are setting up for your reference
reading and you are locked onto the vibration signal,
rotate the phase adjust knob on the strobe light to bring
the mark up to the 12:00 o'clock position. Make all other
phase readings relative to this initial condition but do not
rotate the phase adjust knob for relative readings. Make
good pictorial notes recording phase readings using the
clock face reference as you proceed. It is a good idea to
put an "R" for radial and an "A" for axial readings below
the clock face for reference after you return to the shop.
You cannot make too many notes when you are in the
field!
Remember, the only good phase is that which occurs at
running speed. We have not learned to consistently
interpret phase at multiples of running speed. Be sure the
strobe light is locked onto the once-per-turn vibration
signal. Do not use the speed reference signal. No relative
phase measurements can be made with the strobe light
connected to the tachometer signal.

29

If you have a data logger that records phase and the


strobe light you are using has a phase reference signal
output, you can use the data logger to record both
vibration level and phase.
RADIAL PHASE ANALYSIS
Making phase measurements in the radial direction on a
bearing or bearing support structure can confirm a
suspected unbalance condition. When unbalance is the
problem phase will follow the sensor. As the sensor
location is moved around the bearing the phase angle
remains the same. This is because the heavy spot is
rotating with the shaft and does not change due to
rotation. Since the strobe light is firing based on the
sensor seeing the heavy spot go by, moving the sensor is
not going to change what it sees in terms of phase. It may
change in vibration level but not in phase.
Phase in this case is the delay in time or distance
(measured in degrees) from when the heavy spot passes
beneath the sensor until the sensor can respond to the
forces produced. The delay comes from the "mechanical
path" that the energy must travel through to get to the
base of the sensor. (Technically referred to as the transfer
function characteristics of the mechanical system.) As long
as the mechanical path does not change as the sensor is
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moved, the phase response in the previous paragraph will


hold true.
If the phase reference angle changes slowly and
continuously it is due to a separately rotating unbalance
component of the shaft. This can be caused by a loose
collar or thrust ring. As the shaft rotates the loose
component rotates at a slightly lower RPM distributing the
loose component unbalance around the shaft, adding and
subtracting with any shaft unbalance during each rotation
cycle. This results in a constantly changing heavy spot and
causes a continuously changing phase angle. This
condition will also follow the sensor as its location is
changed radically on the bearing.
As the sensor location is changed, if the phase angle also
changes so the spot remains in the same location (does
not follow the sensor) the bearing cap is being forced in
only one direction. Severe misalignment or a locked
coupling could cause this.
PHASE AND UNBALANCE
Three ingredients are required for balancing. These are
speed, running speed vibration level and phase. The
strobe light can be used for balancing since it provides
speed and phase data. It can be connected to a data
collector which reads vibration but needs a phase
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reference signal. Some data collectors have built-in


balance programs for single and dual plane balancing.
Balancing is a subject of its own so it will not be covered
extensively in this writing. What is covered is some hints
on how the strobe light might be used to help understand
some characteristics of an unbalance problem. After
setting up the strobe light and taking a vertical or
horizontal reading (depending on the bearing support
stiffness), move the sensor to the bearing on the other
end. It is very important to keep the position orientation of
the sensor the same on both bearings. Do not move the
strobe light, only the sensor. Check the phase by
observing the position of the mark. Make notes according
to the following:
UNBALANCE BEARING PHASE RELATIONSHIP
Same Phase

Static Unbalance

180 Difference

Couple Unbalance

90 Difference

Combined Static and


Couple

Less than 90

Combined, more Static

More than 90

Combined, more couple

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The solutions for correcting these types of unbalance


problems are explained in many writings on the subject.
Using the strobe light to diagnose the type of unbalance
you are dealing with before you attempt to correct it can
be very helpful.

AXIAL PHASE ANALYSIS


Axial phase measurements can reveal useful
information about machinery faults. A series of axial
measurements at a bearing taken at the top, right, bottom
and left (12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 positions) will indicate
characteristics about the shaft. If the phase angle stays
the same so the mark follows the sensor as it is moved,
the bearing is wobbling. A bent shaft or bow in the shaft
due to unbalance is forcing the bearing away from the
machine as the rotor turns.
Axial phase measurements can be used to determine
which machine in a train is misaligned. Phase is measured
at each bearing. Set the strobe light to read a convenient
mark on an exposed shaft or coupling. A coupling is not a
good place due to limited visibility but it is often the only
place. With the sensor at one end of the train, adjust the
phase knob to see the mark at 12:00 o'clock. Move the
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sensor to the next bearing at the opposite end of the first


machine and read the phase by the position of the mark.
Since the sensor orientation is reversed an "in phase"
condition puts the maker t 6:00 o'clock (180 degree phase
shift) so care must be taken when analyzing the results.
You will see another 180 degree phase reversal at the
next bearing across the coupling.
Since a 180 degree phase shift is imposed by the nature
of the sensor locations, an out of phase condition is found
when the 180 degree shift is not seen. The bearing on the
machine that shows the axial phase to be out of phase
indicates which machine is out of alignment.

PHASE AND MECHANICAL LOOSENESS


Mechanical looseness is another problem which can
be detected using the phase comparison technique. When
mechanical connections (bearing cap to pedestal or
machine foot to base) are tight they will vibrate together or
in phase.
By making phase measurements (vertical sensor
orientation) at each mechanical connection from the
ground to the bearing cap, looseness will be seen by an
out of phase condition. If all the phase measurements

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show no change in the phase angle then no looseness


was encountered.
Cracks can be found using a measurement technique
similar to looseness. A vibration sensor is moved along the
surface in question while observing phase. An abrupt
change in phase angle will occur as the sensor is moved
past the separation. Cracked shafts in machinery can be
found using phase analysis to help detect a lowering of
critical speeds during coast down. The strobe light does
not lend itself to analysis tasks where speed is changing
too fast. A tracking filter analyzer that can make a Bode
plot is better suited to finding cracked shafts.
PHASE AND MOTION STUDIES
Changes in processes, running speeds or machines
themselves can often cause vibration where there was no
vibration before. These changes can cause shifts in
resonances of the mechanical system that will cause a
piping system to vibrate and break brackets or cause a
bearing vibration to be higher than what was seen before
the change was implemented.
A strobe light can be setup to observe a mark on the shaft
of a machine to which a questionable piping system in
connected. The vibration sensor is mounted on the piping
system near the machine end flange. The sensor is moved
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to locations at measured intervals along the piping system


while recording the phase as noted by the location of the
mark. Plot the phase on a graph and also note the location
of hangers or brackets on the same graph.
The phase readings show the direction of motion
(deflection shape or Mode). Study the graph for areas
along with the piping systems where changes in direction
were recorded. Pick points between the noted readings
where a change occurred. These points have little or no
motion because they are the pivotal points (called node
points) for motion.
Now compare the node points with the noted locations of
hangers or brackets. If a hanger or bracket is located at a
node point, it is doing little to restrain movement of the
piping system. If you have been breaking hangers or
brackets, chances are they are located between node
points (called anti-nodes) where maximum deflection can
be found. In general, a fix will comprise moving hangers or
brackets away from node points and adding them to the
anti-node point area.
The motion, caused by vibration, of a machine platform or
skid can be measured and plotted in a manner similar to
that outlined for the piping system. It is not unusual to find
a resonance of a platform being excited by a machine's
running speed. This is especially true after modifications to
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the machinery have been made. A motion study, using


phase analysis, will reveal nodes and anti-nodes which
can be used to modify the structure.
There are software programs available that help the user
understand the results from motion studies. Such
programs display this data in what is called an "Operating
Deflection Shape. It is an animated display showing
deflection. Amplitude is exaggerated but nodes and antinodes are clearly illustrated. Often the user is able to
determine possible corrections by moving braces or by
adding new ones. The phase data for these studies can be
derived from using the strobe light.

37

Components Used
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
Atmega IC
Transformer

38

Future Scope

39

Reference
Books:
The 8051 Microcontroller- Architecture, Programming &
Application.
By-Kenneth J. Ayala.
The 8051 Microcontroller and Embedded Systems.
By-Mazidi & Mazidi.
Magazines:
Electronics For You
Electronics Maker
CHIP
DIGIT
Web Sites Referred:
http://www.google.com
http://www.atmel.com
http://www.hobbyproject.com
http://www.8051projects.com
http://www.edaboard.com
http://www.wikipedia.com
http://www.alldatasheet.com
http://www.efymagazine.com

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