Railway Global System for Mobile Communications GSM-R

Railway Global System for Mobile Communications GSM-R

The railway Global System for Mobile Communications is also known as GSM-R & ‘GSM-Railway’.
GSM-R Global System for Mobile Communications) is an international standard, covering railway communications.
It is a sub-system of the European Rail Traffic Management System, or ERTMS .
ERTMS is used for communication between trains and the railway control centres.
The ERTMS system is based on the EIRENE – MORANE standards specifications.
The EIRENE – MORANE specfications guarantee that the system will operate, at train speeds of up to 310 mph / 500 kph, with zero communication loss.
Communication Security
GSM-R offers secure voice and data communication amongst railway staff.
Users include train drivers, engineers, station controllers etc.
Communication security is important, both for commercial and security reasons.

Communication Hardware
Components of a typical GSM-R include the base station, mobile units installed in trains, and handheld units.
Antenna masts, connected to the base station are installed close to the railway track.
Tunnels present a communication challenge, due to blocking and attenuation of the RF signals.
The solution used, is to either use a directional ‘yagi’ antenna, directed through the tunnel entrance, or to use a ‘leaky feeder’ type antenna.
A Yagi antenna when used as a transmit antenna, directs most of the Rf power in one direction, rather than in all directions.
The Yagi antenna works similarly, when operating as a receive antenna, in that it receives most of the signal from the direction it is pointing in. A tv aerial on a house roof is a common example of a receive Yagi.
The other solution for tunnels, is the ‘leaky feeder’ antenna.
The leaky feeder is like a long piece of coaxial cable, which is designed to emit & receive RF (Radio Frequency) signals along its length.
This allows communications to take place in tunnels and underground stations.
The Leaky Feeder antenna is used in underground stations, where radio communications are required.
The advantage compared with the Yagi antenna, in such locations is that leaky feeders can be positioned round tunnel bends.
As Yagi antennas operate on frequencies that provide ‘line of sight’ signal transmission, bends will affect the signal path, attenuating them at best, blocking them at worst.
The spacing distance on the surface between the base stations, is 4.3 – 9.3 miles (7-15 km).
The system is built with high levels of reliability and redundancy built in, and if communication is lost, the train will stop.

The GSM-R specification standard forms part of the European Rail Traffic Management System, or ERTMS.
The ERTMS is comprosed of the following parts:
European Train Control System (ETCS)
Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R)
European Traffic Management Layer (ETML)
European Operating Rules (EOR)
Operating frequency band

GSM-R uses similar frequencies to the public mobile phone (cell phone) servcice, in most regions, namely around 900Mhz (E-GSM) & also at 1800 Mhz (DCS 1800).
The exact frequency used by Railway operators, is dictated by national and regional regulation bodies, but the 900 Mhz & 1800 Mhz bands are used worldwide.


Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories

Induction Motor Servicing.

Induction motors are used widely in factories and on ships.

They are very reliable machines, but faults can develop over time.

That is why you need Induction motor servicing to be carried out.

Potential faults include burnt out Stator windings, worn bearings, and water damage which causes low insulation resistance.

This article covers tips on Induction motor servicing.

Safety & Isolation of supply of induction motors.

Correct electricity supply isolation procedures are critical for safety.

Taking a casual approach to electrical supply isolation can prove fatal.

Three phase Induction motors, typically operate in factories at around 400 Volts AC (Alternating Current).

Marine installations typically operate at an even higher 440 Volt Alternating Current (440 VAC).

It is important that no one works on a piece of three-phase machinery, such as an Induction motor unless you are qualified to do so.

On board ship, proper authorisation, such as a valid ‘permit to work’, signed off by a ships chief engineer, should be in place before carrying out any Induction Motor servicing.

On land seek authorisation from the responsible senior managers, with appropriate responsibilities for safety.

For work to be carried out aboard Ships, permission from someone such as the Chief Engineer is appropriate.

Once permission has been gained, and the appropriate paperwork issued, only then can work commence.

Certainly in the marine environment, and normally onshore as well, ‘locks and tags’ will be issued.

The lock is to ensure that once an isolator switch has been turned off, no one can switch it back on accidentally.

The ‘tag’ details who has isolated the supply, and is working on that circuit.

Only the person who has been issued with the lock and tag set, can remove them.

Double check that circuit is dead.

Don’t assume that just because you have locked and tagged the appropriate electrical isolator, that you are safe to work on a circuit.

The isolator may be incorrectly labeled, or even worse, you have taken someone else’s word for it.

Before you stick your fingers in, and potentially kill yourself, you need to use an appropriate device to check that the circuit is safe to work on.

Induction motor servicing can be dangerous, if proper procedures are not followed.

There are three possible devices that can be used:

  1. Test Bulb
  2. Multimeter / Voltmeter
  3. Line Tester

Firstly lets look at the test bulb as an option.

A test bulb with appropriate leads and clips attached, can provide indication of a live circuit, but has a flaw.

If the bulb filament breaks, then you could falsely assume that the circuit is safe to work on, with possibly fatal outcomes.

The second option is the Multimeter / Voltmeter which these days will probably be a ‘solid state’ digital type, rather than the older analogue types, which are commonly referred to as ‘AVO’s’ in the UK.

The Multimeter / Voltmeter being ‘solid state’ is more likely to be a bit more reliable than, a filament bulb tester. However it still may be broken, and you would not necessarily know. An example being the test probe wires may be ‘Open Circuit’.

The third option, the ‘Line Tester’, will provide the most reliable indication of whether a circuit is safe. Therefore this is the preferred option.

The reason that a line tester is safer is because it contains four separate Neon bulbs (some modern ones are LED).

The bulbs light up according to how high the voltage is, for example a 400 VAC supply would light not only the 400VAC light, but the lower voltage indicator lights as well.

So imagine that the 400VAC indicator bulb has broken.

The lower voltage indicator bulbs will still light up, for example the 230VAC and 110VAC indicator bulbs.

Therefore the engineer will still have an indication that there is voltage in the circuit, and can investigate further.

Before using a Line Tester you should use a ‘proving unit’. A proving unit is a small hand-held device capable of producing a voltage such as 250 Volts.

The Line tester can thus be tested using the proving unit, prior to testing a real live circuit.

To test the Line Tester the two probes are pushed against the Proving Unit which then produces a voltage.

This will be indicated by an indicator LED lighting up on the proving unit itself.

The Neon or Led indicator lamps of the Line Tester should also light up at the same time, to indicate the voltage being supplied.

Tips when changing bearings on Induction Motors

Bearings on Rotor

The bearings on an induction motor, allow the ‘Rotor’ to rotate inside the ‘Stator’ which surrounds it.

Over time they can become worn, which may increase noise and vibration of the motor.

Bearings are not usually adjustable, so replacement is required.


Importance of  Bearing identification code facing outwards.

When refitting bearings to an induction motor you will notice that the bearing itself has a code written on the one side of it.

This code is the product identification code, and is what you need to quote in order to order the correct replacement bearing.

Once the correct replacement bearing has been obtained, and is ready for fitting, ensure the following.

Firstly, that the bearing identification code is facing away from the Stator, and outwards towards the end of the motor shaft.

This will help you in the future, if you ever have to replace the bearings again.

The reason for this is that you can just remove the end plate of the induction motor, and read the bearing code easily, provided it has been fitted with the code facing outwards.

If the bearing code was facing inwards, then it is harder to read the bearing code, and might mean that the motor shaft has to be disconnected from its mechanical load.

This adds to the motor downtime, and hence has financial and productivity implications.


Ways to remove bearings from induction motor shaft.

The ideal way to remove an old bearing from the induction motor rotor shaft is to use a bearing puller tool.

Removal is then just a matter of fitting, the tool into position, and winding in the screw thread in a clockwise direction.

As this happens, the bearing is slowly pulled up and off the shaft.

If however you don’t have a puller, other methods, such as  using a metal bar to leverage between the bearing and the end of the shaft can be tried.

However this is not the way I recommend, and you do it at you own risk of injury and damage to the motor shaft.


Methods for fitting a new induction motor bearing.

Ideally you will have a hydraulic bench press, that you can use to put massive pressure down onto the bearing to ‘press it’ onto the shaft, in the correct position.

When using such a press, a number of precautions should be observed.

Firstly, ensure that you are fully competent to use the hydraulic press. Even fairly cheap versions are capable of exerting many tons of pressure, which can be dangerous to human health.

Secondly, ensure that the tube or sleeve that you fit over the shaft of the motor is only just wide enough.

The reason for this is that a wide metal tube (or sleeve) put over the motor shaft in order to push against the bearing, can damage it.

This is because too wide a tube will make contact with the plastic middle of the bearing, or the outer metal edge.

Both of these two scenarios are bad, because pressure applied to anywhere but the centre metal part of the bearing, will cause damage.

This damage can result in the replacement bearing being ruined, which defeats the object of replacing it.

Using a hydraulic press is the method that we would recommend, however this option is sometimes not available.

In particular to engineers working at sea in a marine environment, such as a cargo ship.

If you find yourself in this situation, then there are other ways to re-fit a replacement bearing to an induction motor.

One method is to take advantage of the fact that metals contract and expand due to cold and heat.

This method involves carefully wrapping up the Stator part of the induction motor in a polythene bag, and putting it in the freezer overnight.

This will very slightly shrink the size diameter of the bearing shaft.

The second part to the operation involves gently heating up a pan of engine oil, so that it is warm.

Obviously extreme care needs to be taken, so that either a fire is not caused by the oil igniting, or the engineer receiving burns while trying to handle the hot bearing.

Once the bearing is warm, the Stator can be removed from the freezer, and the warm oiled bearing should slip fairly easily onto the shaft.

The oil can then be wiped off the bearing with a non fluffy cloth, and motor reassembly can begin.





Electric Morris Minor

This blog post is about my design suggestions for an electric Morris Minor.

There have already been some prototype electric Morris Minor conversions already, which I will discuss.

In addition I have designed alternative ways to successfully convert classic cars such as the Morris Minor.

History & background

The Morris Minor is a British car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, that was launched in 1948.

The Morris Minor originally was produced with an 918cc Side valve Petrol engine, but this was replaced in the early 1950s by an Overhead Valve (OHV) engine.

The OHV engine was improved and its size increased during the remainder of its production. and the later models were 1098cc in cubic capacity size.

The standard Morris Minor had the engine connected to a four speed longitudinal mounted gearbox, attached at the back of the engine.

The gearbox output is connected to a long single drive shaft, which runs underneath the car.

The drive shaft connects the gearbox to the rear axle.

The rear axle incorporates a ‘differential’ which fixes the speed ratio, between the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and the rotational speed of the road wheels.

Therefore as the engine power is transferred via the gearbox and drive shaft, to the rear axle, it is a rear wheel drive car.

Any design for an electric Morris Minor, will probably stick with the rear wheel drive configuration.

The reason for keeping the electric Morris Minor as Rear Wheel Drive, or RHD for short, is engineering design simplicity.

The front suspension on a Morris Minor was advanced for a British car of its time (1948).

The front suspension used torsion bars, as the springs, and featured ‘rack and pinion’ suspension, that is still used in modern cars.

The shock absorbers are different to the type used in modern cars, and are known as ‘lever arm shock absorbers’.

To convert an electric Morris Minor into powering the front wheels, known as front wheel drive, would require major suspension modifications (unless hub motors were used).

This is because the original Morris Minor steering and front suspension system, would need a lot of component changes.

Of course its possible to make a front wheel drive Morris Minor, but more expensive, and also changes the cars handling characteristics.

If however you are hell bent on a front wheel drive electric Morris Minor then its possible.

My solution would be to use hub integrated motors.

Hub integrated motors consist of an individual electric motor powering each driving wheel.

For instance to create a front wheel drive Morris Minor, you would have two motors driving each of the two front wheels.

If you wanted to use hub motors, but to keep the traditional Morris Minor rear wheel drive configuration, you would fit the motors to the two rear wheels.

So let’s decide to stick to the original rear wheel drive layout for our electric Morris Minor.

There are four ways that you could configure the electric motor layout. This also applies to many other classic cars, which share the same basic layout.

Firstly, the original internal combustion engine can be removed, whilst leaving the Morris Minor gearbox, driveshaft and rear axle (Inc differential) in place.

An electric motor is then attached to the original Morris Minor gearbox.

Some electric motor conversions that use this layout configuration, are clutch less in design. The torque & high rev range of many electric motors mean that the car can be driven in the same gear for most of the time.

Other electric car conversion designs still incorporate a conventional clutch.

The advantages of retaining a clutch are better motor speed control, and more importantly more retention of the original Classic Car experience.

A second option for mounting the electric motor in your Morris Minor, would be by removing the gearbox and either mounting the electric motor at the front end of the drive shaft, and directly attached to its front end.

Or alternatively the drive shaft could be removed, and the motor mounted directly to the rear axle differential input shaft.

This second method of attaching the electric motor directly to the rear axle differential connection, has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is a saving of weight, by removing the drive shaft which runs underneath the car, from front to back.

Less weight is a good thing for performance of your electric car.

The disadvantage is that it makes it a bit harder to mount, than if you mounted the electric motor at the front end, and retained the driveshaft.

It is harder to mount, because you need to create a mounting cradle which attaches to the rear axle, and supports the weight of the electric motor.

Morris Minor Hybrid

You may well of heard of Hybrid cars.

If not, then let me explain what they are.

A hybrid car is a car that uses a combination of combustible fuel, such as petrol or diesel, and electric power.

A hybrid car might drive the wheels using an electric motor at low town speeds, and petrol at higher speeds.

Alternatively, the petrol (or diesel) motor could be used, if the battery was low on charge.

The use of electric motors at low speeds around towns, has obvious environmental advantages.

However you might also still want a traditional petrol motor for long distance trips.

My design for a Morris Minor Hybrid, keeps the petrol engine, whilst also adding electric front wheel drive.

The rear wheels continue to be driven by the Morris Minors petrol motor.

Whilst the front wheels are driven by ‘in-hub’ electric motors.

A simple solution would be to have a manual switch, to be able to select the drive system.

Alternatively an automatic electrically controlled system could be used.

I am currently considering the design for an automatic system, and will provide further details in the future.

Gearbox Considerations

If you want design simplicity for your electric Morris, then keep the original gearbox.

The electric motor is simply attached to the gearbox, in place of the original petrol motor.

This is done via a special adapter plate, and a coupler.

The potential problem with using the original gearbox is excess motor torque.

Vehicle Electric Motors produce a lot of torque at low RPM (Revolution Per Minute).

The standard Morris Minor gearbox was designed to handle a maximum engine torque of 60 lb/ft (81 N·m) at 2,500 rpm.

The above torque figure is for the most powerful Morris Minor, built from 1962 onwards.

The gearbox was upgraded in 1962, along with the engine size (to 1098cc from 948cc), and gained Baulk-Ring-Synchromesh .

To ensure that you do not suffer premature gearbox failure, it is important that you consult electric motor manufacturers datasheets.

For an ordinary road going car, this should not be an issue, if precautions are taken to select a suitable motor.

For those looking to upgrade their Morris Minors performance, then this is definitely a consideration.


Electric Alfa Romeo GTV Conversion

Alfa Romeo GTV History

The Alfa Romeo (916) GTV was produced between 1995 – 2004, with only around 40,000 GTV models, and a similar amount of the open top Spiders, being manufactured during the whole period. They did not produce an electric Alfa Romeo GTV.

Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons For Electric Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons to convert a petrol Alfa Romeo GTV, or any Alfa Romeo to electric are both environmental and performance.


The smaller engined Alfa Romeo GTV, that was available to the Uk market, still emits 220 grams of CO2.


The smaller two litre ‘twin spark’ engine produces around 155 BHP.

Its possible to create a higher performing electric powered car.

The decision to re-engineer my own Alfa GTV, to run on an electric motor, rather than the original petrol engine, which emits a high CO2 level of 220.

I will be improving and updating this blog post on a regular basis, so check back regularly.

Why am I doing this? – Well for starters there is the high CO2 level.

The car failed its MOT in December 2012 on emissions and a small hole on the underside inner sill.

The car was put into my garage shortly after, and almost forgotten about, until recently.

Although I have successfully managed to get the engine going, the car would need a new rear exhaust silencer, radiator (as in poor condition), and new cambelt and balancer belts (not a cheap job).

The last items, are the main reason I took the car off the road after it failed its MOT in 2012.

The belts need replacing every three years, or 36,000 miles according to Alfa Specialists, and mine were way over due (time wise).

A second reason for wanting to convert my Alfa Romeo GTV to be powered by an electric motor is performance, yes you did read that correctly.

The Alfa Romeo GTV came in two basic variants, four cylinder, and six cylinder (V6) petrol variants.

The original 2 litre four cylinder version that I have, is a fantastic high revving motor, with a unique Alfa Romeo 8 spark plug design.

However it gets overshadowed (unfairly in my opinion), by the tyre shredding V6 version.

My objective is to create an Electric Alfa Romeo GTV that has faster acceleration, than the V6 versions.

But aren’t electric cars those off looking slow things, that oddball eccentrics drive? Electric cars have come a long way in recent years, due to advances in technology.

Just look at the acceleration figures for a Tesla Car, if you have any doubts.

The second part of this blog post on the Electric Alfa GTV project will appear soon.

My other project the Electric Morris Minor

Advantages of Electric Car Conversion

What is Electric car Conversion

The advantages of electric car conversion, mean that more people are becoming interested, but what is it.

Electric car conversion is the removal of the petrol or diesel internal combustion engine, and replacement with an electric motor.


Advantages of Electric car Conversion

The advantages of electric car conversion include being less polluting to the environment.

More often electric car conversion will be taking place on older vehicles.

These older vehicles emit more pollution from their exhaust pipe, than the latest models.

Take for example my own 1996 Alfa Romeo GTV Coupe.

It has a two litre petrol engine, that emits 220 grams of CO2 (manufacturers figures when it was new).

This CO2 figure is high by modern standards for a two litre engine.

Another advantage of electric car conversion is the potential for greater reliability.

This is because electric motors have fewer moving parts than a conventional petrol or diesel engine.

If we consider the Induction Motor, which is used in some electric car conversions.

The Induction Motor consists of an outer casing, a Stator, and a Rotor.

The Stator does not move, and the Rotor rotates inside the stator.

Therefore the only moving part in an Induction Motor, is the Rotor.

Disadvantages of Electric car Conversion

Converting a car to electric power is not cheap.

Even the cheapest secondhand electric motors, such as from the Nissan Leaf will cost around £1500 upwards  on ebay.

You also need the control electronics to make it all work.

You also need to consider the actual cost of labour, unless you are doing your own conversion.

But it doesn’t stop there, as you will have costs involved in making the car road legal, etc etc.

The list of parts that have to be changed, will be the subject of  a future blog post.

So why not subscribe, so that you don’t miss out.







Minimalist Living Decision to make my life simpler and happier

Discovering Minimalist Living

Yesterday I came across a fascinating youtube video on minimalist living, and de-cluttering your life.

The woman on the TED talk was explaining how she felt happier by getting rid of all of her items, and moving abroad.

Well that’s a bit extreme for many people, and I am not sure that is what I want to do, but it sparked my curiosity about minimalist living.

What I did next was seek out further youtube videos on minimalist living lifestyles, and those who have embraced it.

I came across a quote from the Victorian designer William Morris. In the quote Morris advised that people should only have objects in their homes, that are either useful or beautiful.

This quote resonates deeply with me, and I wish I had heard it before.

Take a look around your own home, and think in terms of the above advice.

Are you keeping items in your home because it is useful or beautiful.

If it is neither useful or beautiful then why are you keeping it?

Personally I have realised that I have too much stuff, that is neither useful, or beautiful.

Why do we keep stuff, instead of be Minimalist?

As I am new to minimalist living, I have not had a great deal of time to consider this question.

My initial thoughts are that personal items are like comfort blankets, to a nervous child.

The media can often portray the world as a scary place, which it can be.

Perhaps we hoard items as a way of feeling protected and safer.

They say that the human mind is like an iceberg, namely that only a small part (the conscious part) is visible.

What goes on within our unconscious mind is a fascinating subject, but could have an influence on many peoples need for things.

Personally I feel uncomfortable about getting rid of my ‘things’.

Take for instance my cars, of which I have three.

Car one is a comfortable road legal car that I can get to places in.

Car two is an old Italian sports coupe, that is beautiful, but has sat in my garage for over 5 years.

Car three is an old ‘people carrier’ , that is very useful, but not road legal at present.

Car Three

In fact car three has not been on the road for over 1.5 years now.

Car three is kept because it has little value, is (in theory) useful and as a spare car.

At least that is what I tell myself about car three.

Car three is a symbol of the clutter in my life.

As I look around my house, I see so many items that I don’t use, but keep for ‘just in-case’.

Car three is neither useful (its not road legal), nor beautiful (its an original shape Citroen Picasso).

Email Clutter

My minimalist living journey also extends to my digital life.

One aspect of clutter is emails.

If you are anything like me, then you do not act immediately on every email you receive.

Instead we maybe take a quick look at them, and then move onto the next one.

Despite meaning to deal with emails later, they often just get forgotten about.

In my quest for a more minimalist lifestyle, I have carried out an audit of my email accounts.

I currently have four personal email accounts, and four business email accounts, that’s eight in total!




Further Thoughts

This blog post is the start of a personal journey, and will be expanded as my minimalist living journey progresses.

To be continued……

Twitter: @acraigmiles


Further reading about minimalist living on other external websites:

What Is Minimalism?


School for the World is a Great Idea

Why a World School is a Great Idea

Education is a fundamental right in many developed nations, but many world citizens miss out entirely.

A report from the ‘Global Campaign for Education’ (https://www.campaignforeducation.org/en/)  in 2010, claimed that there are 70 Million Children that miss out on an Education.

The lack of an education does not just effect these children economically.

Lack of knowledge, could also potentially make them vulnerable to exploitation, and disease.

What is a World School

My suggestion is that we leverage the Internet to eliminate ‘education poverty’.

My concept of a world school would have regional teachers, connected to remote villages via the Internet, and delivering lessons. A bit like the way they used to deliver education to remote communities in Australia, over two-way radio.

Local Resistance

Of course humans being humans means that there could be some local resistance to educating ever child.

Resistance could potentially come from local leaders, who may themselves not be educated.

Other forms of resistance might come from vested interests, such as those who wish to continue to exploit child workers.

The third issue could be resistance to the education of girls.

In many cultures girls are discriminated against, when it comes to being educated.

To be fair, it was like that the in the UK not that long ago in history. However that certainly doesn’t make it right.

A solution might be the involvement of local government partners (National Governments), to ‘sell the benefits’ of upskilling the countries population.

Benefits such as the potential for higher living standards, would temp resisters to change.


Why Knowledge Can save Lives

Some years ago I read a report on an health campaign in Africa.

The campaign had the aim to reduce unwanted pregnancies among young women, and to help reduce the spread of HIV / Aids (among both Women & Men).

It was realised that the Condoms were being received in damaged condition by those who would benefit from using them.

What was happening was that the Condoms were being ‘stapled’ to a piece of paper, before being handed out.

The staff responsible for distribution had not realised this was a problem, through lack of appropriate education & training.

Technology Challenges & Solutions

The Internet is currently only available to 56.8% of the world population (Source:https://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm).

Whilst this is rapidly increasing, we still have much work to do, to enable a ‘World School’ service.

Companies such as Google have announced that they are planning to provide worldwide Internet coverage in the near future https://www.theverge.com/2014/6/2/5771322/google-reportedly-launching-180-satellites-for-worldwide-internet

To be continued……








Are you studying hard for your lifelong degree?

Why need to keep learning

Whether you studied for a university degree, or vocational qualifications, it took hard work.

Many hours of ‘hitting the books’, (or Internet browser) were involved.

However what happened after you passed all your exams, and graduated.

Some people of course go on, to study for higher qualifications, such as a PGCE, or Masters Degree.

However many people get a good job, and slowly study less and less.

In the early years of peoples work life, they are keen to learn their new job.

But what about when you are 40 or 50?

A New Chapter

For many people, this age can be the beginning of a new chapter.

I once taught a class of Marine engineers, which included two career changers.

One was a man who had a degree in Chemical engineering, and had worked in a related sales role for most of his working life.

The second was a grandmother in her mid 50s, that was formerly a college lecturer.

The above two people had the confidence to reinvent themselves.

Reinvention of ourselves will become more necessary in the coming years, and everyone will have to make a choice.

Technological Change

Technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), and Machine Learning (Industry 4.0 etc), will replace many of the existing jobs.

For example, why do we need many of the admin roles that currently exist.

If you work in such a role, you surely need to ask yourself, could I be replaced by a machine.

Of course its human nature to say, ‘of course not’,….but are you really sure about that.

Lets take a moment to think about a vending machine company.

The company owns and operates vending machines in places like Swimming Pools and Motorway service stations.

Currently when the cans of  ‘Cherry Cola’ run low (or totally out) in an individual vending machine, the companies admin team needs to be involved.

The admin team will recieve notification from the admin staff at the Swimming Pool, that the vending machine needs more Cherry Cola.

Alternatively, service operatives from the vending machine operators, will have to periodically visit each retail site, to manually check product levels.

As is already happening in the vending machine industry, automated notification, can be employed.

Automated notification of low product levels at individual retail locations, means that you need less admin staff.

The next question is, do we need any admin staff?

Technologies such as 5G will further connect machines to the Internet.

Another example of the decline in the ‘administrator’ role in business, is the car dealership.

One of our own cars is going to be serviced in a couple days time.

We thought it was about due, but had to check the mileage reading (a personal admin task), and then perform a second personal admin task by phoning the Toyota main dealer.

When the admin staff at the car dealer answered the phone, they manually checked for free appointments, and booked the car in for service.

So to book a car in for its service, we have involved in effect, two administrators. One is the customer (us), and the second is the vehicle service centre.

Both of the admin ‘staff’ in the above booking, have created what they refer to in Economics as ‘Opportunity Cost’.

Both have ‘paid’ , the customer (us) with their time, and the Toyota car dealer, with paying for an administrators time (employing them).

Its human nature to want to improve systems, otherwise we would still be living in caves, or even not on land at all (still in the seas)!

With 5G connected cars, the need to manually interact in order to get your car serviced, can be eliminated.

The car will do the communicating for you, via wireless technologies, such as 5G.

You can then be automatically notified of a range of available service appointment times.

In fact the process can be taken a step further, with integration into your online diary, and other commitments.

Whilst the idea of having machines planning your day, might well horrify some people, it could work for businesses (if not members of the public).

Business car fleets for example, can be run more efficiently, by automatically booking the vehicles in for service and maintenance. This can be done in free timeslots, within the set working day.

Ok, so by now you may be thinking that I have gone rather ‘off topic’, as this post is entitled ‘Are you studying hard for your lifelong degree’, but its relevant.

Its relevant because learning now needs to be from Cradle to Grave.

My personal view on a good education in 2019, is one which equips a person with broad transferable skills.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and can only speculate.

In my own personal experience, my degree was useful, and my PGCE (Economics) got me the job I wanted.

But it was the practical engineering skills (Soldering, Repair, Welding, Milling etc) that I learnt aged 17, on an EITB work apprenticeship scheme, which gave me the edge in life and work.

I have a Technology Business Marketing degree, and many of the rules I learnt, are still applicable and relevant.

However, as someone who has been involved with Internet & Marketing since the 1990s (teaching it mainly), it changes rapidly.

If I was still relying on my 1997 final University dissertation about the opportunities & threats of the Internet, I would be severely left behind.

You have to keep learning, you never really leave education. Well not if you want to remain relevant.















Electric Alfa GTV – Electric Motor Conversion Choices

So far in my previous blog post, I talked about the history of the Alfa Romeo (916) GTV.

I also talked about my intention to convert into an electric vehicle.

In this blog post we will look at the various types of electric motors commonly used in electric vehicle conversions.

DC or AC Electric Motors?

Lets first understand what the heck I am talking about.

DC stands for Direct Current, whereas AC stands for Alternating Current.

In Direct Current, the positive (+) terminal is always positive, and the negative (-) terminal is always negative.

With AC Current, in a two wire system (known as a ‘Single Phase’ supply system), the electricity alternates, so that sometimes one wire has a positive voltage, and sometimes the ‘other’ wire instead.

The rate at which the voltage changes fully between the two wires, is known as the Frequency, and is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Notice I used the word ‘fully’, as the voltage does not instantly change from one wire to the other, but changes over a very short time period.

If you were to measure an AC voltage using a multimeter set to measure AC voltage, you would measure the RMS.

RMS is short for Root Mean Square, and is 0.707 of the peak voltage that occurs during a alternating cycle.

So if ‘wire A’ had a peak voltage of 100 volts AC, then the volt meter would read 0.707 of 100 volts, and therefore 70.7 volts AC.

It is necessary to measure the RMS figure because unlike DC, AC voltage is constantly changing (Alternating, hence the name Alternating Current).Single and Three Phase AC Motors

So now you hopefully understand what AC electricity is, lets look at the two main types of AC motor supplies you will come across.

Firstly ‘Single Phase’ is the two wire AC supply system that I described previously.

It is called Single Phase because it has a ‘phase wire’ which is often called the ‘live’ by the public.

Of course it has a second wire, known as the Neutral also.

Three Phase Supply systems have three Phase wires.

To understand better, first consider the Single phase AC system. The electricity is represented as a single sine wave, which goes up and down, above and below to zero volts point, over a period of time (picture to follow soon).

By contrast, a Three Phase AC system has three Sine waves, representing the three individual phases.

These three phases are 120 degrees apart (3 x 120 = 360 degrees), and therefore ‘peak voltage’ of each one occurs in sequence, at different time periods.

Three phase systems are the type that you will most likely be using in an electric vehicle build, as bigger more powerful motors, use three phase supplies.

DC Motors… to be continued, check back soon.