Bristol Industrial & Research Associates Ltd (BIRAL)

- Model VPF-710 - Visibility Sensor 710

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The VPF-710 Visibility sensor provides high quality visibility measurement in a compact and highly robust package. The open design of the sensor head allows the free passage of air ensuring the visibility measurement is as accurate as possible in all conditions. Other features of the design ensure the correct response to all precipitation types as well as smoke and dust. The VPF-710 is highly resistant to disturbance from nearby light sources such as aviation obstacle warning lights, both constant and flashing. Even the latest generation of IR obstacle lights are not a problem.

The sensor is well suited to use in aviation applications due to the measurement accuracy, overall reliability and longevity. Full compliance with the visibility measurement requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Runway Visual Range specification and easy integration of the Biral ALS-2 ambient light sensor makes VPF-710 particularly suited for use in Runway Visual Range (RVR) applications.

As standard the sensor is fitted with an extensive self-test monitoring capability which includes window contamination monitoring and output compensation. The VPF-710 can be AC mains or low voltage DC powered and hood heaters are available for use in areas prone to snow.

  • Reliable measurement in all weather conditions
  • Highly corrosion resistant hard coat anodised finish
  • Window contamination monitoring and compensation
  • Unaffected by obstacle warning lights
  • Easy integration of Biral ALS-2 Ambient Light Sensor
  • Mains or DC powered
  • 10m to 75Km measurement range

Like all VPF series sensors the VPF-710 enclosure is constructed from dip-brazed aluminium with a hard coat anodised finish. This combination results in a sensor that offers superb abrasion and corrosion resistance. It is not unusual for VPF series sensor to be still operating after 20 years’ service in harsh environments.

The 45° forward scatter angle and 850nm infrared light source used by the VPF-710 provide the best possible visibility measurement accuracy in all weather conditions. Visibility is output as atmospheric extinction coefficient (EXCO).

In common with all Biral visibility and present weather sensors the VPF-710 uses 2kHz modulation of the light source combined with narrow pass band optical filters and synchronous detection at the receiver to ensure the measurement is not affected by bright or flashing lights. This design also ensures the sensor accurately reports visibility during precipitation. The horizontal hood design eliminates the problems caused by surface reflections that are a source of error in sensors employing look down hood geometries.

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 allowing cleaning to take place in a convenient manner.

Communication with the sensor is over a RS232 serial data link; RS422 or RS485 communications are optionally available. ASCII encoded data is used and the sensor can operate in either a polled or broadcast modes. The data message can include a time stamp from the internal real time clock in addition to the standard visibility and self-test information.

The VPF-710 is available in both low voltage DC and mains AC power configurations. Optional hood heaters are available for use in environments where blowing snow may block the optical windows. The sensor is supplied with cables for connection to the sensor using circular connectors or with fixed cables through plastic cable glands. The standard length of all cables is 6m; other lengths are available on request.

The ALS-2 ambient light sensor can be connected directly to the sensor using an optional interface. The ALS-2 takes its power form the VPF-710 and the light sensor output is integrated into the VPF-710 data message.

The VPF-710 is a single lightweight unit that can be easily transported and installed by one person. It is designed for use in all weather conditions and has a wide operating temperature.

  • Measurement  :  Visibility, EXCO
  • Output  :  RS232, Optional RS422/RS485
  • Measurement Principle  :  Forward scatter 45°
  • Measurement Error  :  2% at 2,000m
  • Sensor Power  :  12 V DC, 24V DC, 120 V AC or 240 V AC (6W Approx)
  • Hood Heating Power  :  30W
  • Window heating and contamination monitoring  :  Fitted
  • Operating Temperature  :  -50°C to 60°C
  • Operating Humidity  :  0 – 100% RH
  • Protection rating  :  IP66
  • Weight (Sensor Head)  :  4.9 kg DC: 6.1kg AC

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