Put smart recording in the driver's seat

Paul Boughton

An intuitive new sound and vibration recorder lets engineers analyse their measurements on the go, using an iPad to manage data and listen to recordings.

Using the portable Sonoscout system, engineers can validate recordings in real-time, to remove the risk of recording bad data and then having to repeat expensive testing.

Sonoscout is unique among mobile noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) recorders in offering real-time monitoring and analysis. It is fast to set up for ‘grab and go’ measurements - and so easy to learn that it doesn’t require a manual.

The Sonoscout system teams a portable data acquisition front-end, with an iPad and binaural microphone headphones, to record and replay sound. Sound, vibration and auxiliary data from up to 12 channels is streamed wirelessly to the iPad from the front-end, which is powered by a seven-hour battery.

Maximum test confidence comes from viewing continuous information on the iPad’s screen, which is clearly visible from the driver’s seat. By connecting to the vehicle’s CAN bus, Sonoscout displays all important test parameters including engine speed, vehicle speed and NVH signals. The user marks events and time periods with a single tap, which can then be displayed in Google Earth, along with GPS route information.

Setting up the system is very fast and engineers can simply wear the microphone headset to record sound at the ear positions. Cabling is minimised with battery power and Wi-Fi connectivity. Smart features,  such as the automatic transducer recognition using TEDS, minimise setup time, while input ranging is unnecessary thanks to Brüel & Kjær’s Dyn-X technology. This avoids over-ranges, under-ranges and signal clipping -and gives an effective dynamic range of over 160 dB.

The analysis functionality includes Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) analysis, order extraction, synthesised 1/3 octave analysis, spectrogram displays and sound quality metrics. The user can quickly choose to display up to four analyses of up to four different tests.

A stand-alone recording option saves data to SD card. Using this option, data is first recorded directly to SD card in the front-end and then, after the recording is complete, quickly transferred to the iPad by Wi-Fi for analysis and use as normal.

Downloading data to PC for further analysis - and sharing - is done by simply entering the IP address of the iPad into a browser’s URL bar and transferring by Wi-Fi. Other options include iTunes and DiskAid.

For more information, visit www.bksv.com