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Wire integrity is a growing concern with aging vehicles, especially high vibration variants like helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and many mobile ground weapons systems. Wiring failures on these systems present a growing safety concern and can lead to loss of equipment and life. This paper presents a novel adaptive time domain reflectometry (TDR) algorithm to analyze artifacts found on the reflected time domain waveform of a high-voltage, low-energy pulse transmitted down wires with uncontrolled or controlled impedances. This method allows for detection of intermittent and hard faults. Most time domain reflectometers (TDRs) are used to measure cable lengths and distances to hard opens or shorts. Existing technology has extended TDR measurement capability to intermittent faults. Current detection methods for intermittent faults require an experienced engineer to interpret the returned measurement and waveform to confirm its accuracy. To make this technology more accessible, the repeatability and accuracy of the automated measurements need to be improved. The following method improves the unadjusted accuracy by three times. This paper reviews the theory of TDR and presents implementation and results of the proposed algorithm on real-world data.
Date of Publication: August 2012