State-of-the-art in diesel electric locomotives: optimization of diesel electric locomotive performance through the use of a microprocessor based control system

Seliskar, John J. , Electrical & Computing Engineering, University of Virginia
Ramey, Robert L., School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Diesel electric locomotives that represent the state-of-the-art today are those which have the highest level of productivity. Productivity is related to several factors which include reliability, traction, adhesion, available horsepower, and fuel consumption. Productivity is maximized by improving component design, and in particular, by employing a digital control system which uses a microprocessor. State-of-the-art technology can be seen in General Electric's new Dash 8 series locomotives.
A diesel electric locomotive is essentially a rolling electric power plant with the power source being the diesel engine. The diesel engine turns an AC generator, on current locomotives, to produce power. Its many parts include the auxiliaries which primarily cool the locomotive. By reducing the amount of power the auxiliaries consume, traction is increased and fuel consumption is decreased. Other general improvements in component parts increase reliability.
The high voltage electrical system is an important part of locomotive, and primarily consists of the alternator and the traction motors. Improvements in the high voltage electrical system increase performance and reliability.
Demands to increase locomotive productivity have led to the use of a digital control system using a microprocessor. The high speed computing capacity of computer control allows closed loop feedback control of many functions efficiently. In addition, it allows on-board diagnostics and error correction. This reduces maintenance costs and increases locomotive productivity greatly.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
locomotives, diesel electric, microprocessor, railroads, high voltage electrical system

Electrical Engineering

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