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Wilmore Electronics Co. Inc. Perspective: An array of power conversion equipment for PTC

By John Thompson, sales manager

PTC relies on a sophisticated array of electronics and communications systems both onboard and trackside, and Wilmore Electronics Co. Inc. designs and manufactures a wide array of power conversion equipment to operate and protect sensitive PTC equipment in the harsh railway electrical environment. Whether the application requires voltage conversion, ground isolation, undervoltage/overvoltage protection or a combination thereof, Wilmore provides field-proven solutions for all of these power-conversion challenges.
The time pressures of PTC implementation have necessitated many parallel design and installation efforts, drawing on both proven and new equipment from various hardware providers. Consequently, no unified definition of power bus characteristics had time to emerge, and the power input requirements for this hardware can vary substantially from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Moreover, railroads may have their own differing expectations with regard to power requirements, and these may not match up with the PTC equipment available. For example, locomotive 220-MHz radios generally specify a minimum operating voltage of 45 volts, but some users would prefer that the radio continue to operate through abnormal events such as locomotive “cranking” conditions that may cause the input to dip to as low as 20-25 volts.

Wilmore offers several power conditioners in a variety of power levels and mechanical packages that continue to provide 50 volts or more during these dips, allowing users to install and rely on these radios through abnormal power bus excursions. As another example, many users want to power these same 220-MHz radios on vehicles other than 74-volt locomotives for testing, maintenance and other purposes. These vehicles often have 12-volt or 24-volt electrical systems, and Wilmore makes several models of dc-dc converters to allow 74-volt locomotive electronics to be operated from these lower voltages.
This ability to pair a wide array of standard electronic and communications equipment with users’ varied power bus requirements removes a significant obstacle in the timely implementation of PTC hardware.