Technical Article: What is EN50155 Compliance to Railway Standards?

EN50155 Computer Systems

To install electronic equipment on a train it must comply with certain criteria for environmental, shock, vibration, power supply, EMC, power surge, ESD and transient factors that could occur when in use. For obvious reasons, systems must be reliable and able to withstand more abuse than a standard embedded computer, especially if employed for telematics, engine control or other critical roles within the vehicle. The standard assumes that systems on rolling stock will need to operate 24/7 for 30 years or approx 250,000 hours, without failure. This means that train control systems must be designed to withstand the toughest environmental conditions. It's also important that systems do not interfere with each other when installed in close proximity; space is often tight in control panels so equipment can be mounted close together. You can see a copy of the bs_en_50155-2007, at 44 pages it's tough reading; the document is multi-layered and calls on 36 other related standards in an attempt to make it 'clearer' to the reader in the parent document. We have tried to summarise the basics of the EN50155 regulations below:

Temperature

Systems must be able to operate over a wide temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, although only some of the parts need to cover this ambient temperature range for 10 minutes during start up. The power supply, specifically, must work efficiently (85% or higher).  This is to reduce the dissipated power that would otherwise be lost as heat.  The supply must be efficient over a wide range of voltage and load conditions, and must have thermal management, usually a heat sink arrangement.

Shock and Vibration

As expected, shock and vibration requirements are strict with systems entering a harsh environment like rolling stock. The spec calls up a separate standard (BS EN 61373:2010 Railway applications. Rolling stock equipment. Shock and vibration tests). Shock and vibration requirements are split in to three categories - body mounted, bogie mounted and axle mounted; the latter being extremely severe.

Power Supply

The power supply is a critical component for electronic equipment used in trains.  A wide range of voltages are used on rolling stock and the standard includes 24, 48, 72, 96 and 110VDC. Normally a 4:1 input voltage range is practical for system designs - 10-40V, 18-72V and 40-160V are common converters used. The standard also includes a requirement for the power supply to deal with interruptions by still delivering an output during a 10ms power outage.

Electromagnetic Compatibility

The EN50155 standard calls on the EN50121-3-2 standard (Railway applications. Electromagnetic compatibility. Rolling stock.) which is 20 pages long and calls on a number of other standards. Needless to say, the requirements for passing the desired standards are strict to ensure the equipment does not produce noise levels that could interfere with other equipment located in the same vicinity.

Performance and Reliability

This is always of the highest importance within a certification like EN50155 and the standard calls for a very particular quality process to be in place by the manufacturer. Clearly, quality components and manufacturing standards are included as part of the design for any system with such high MTBF requirements.

Type Approval Tests

At the end of the EN50155 document there is a checklist of all the type approval tests and how to carry them out on a particular piece of electronic equipment alongside the pass/fail criteria. These are as follows:

  • Visual inspection
  • Performance test
  • Low temperature operation test (minimum operating temperature for 2 hours)
  • Dry heat test (maximum operating temperature for 6 hours)
  • Confirmation of operation over the full input voltage range
  • Surge, ESD and transient tests
  • Electrical insulation test
  • Vibration, shock and bump test
  • EMC Test

There are also a set of optional tests depending on the final application:

  • Damp heat cyclic test
  • Water-tightness
  • Production stress screening
  • Low temperature storage (-40°C for 16 hours)

How we can help

Assured Systems has over 15 years combined experience selling computer systems and associated products for transportation and mobile applications. Embedded systems are now employed ubiquitously across transport infrastructure; therefore our portfolio is positioned to include a wide range of products purpose built for applications throughout this sector. Our range of EN50155 products can be found in the following sections:

Our experienced sales team can offer the most up to date information and suggest options which fit your specification and budget; depending on location, please call the numbers listed at the top of the page or use the contact form to send us your requirements.

About Assured Systems

Assured Systems is a leading technology company offering high quality and innovative applied computing solutions to the embedded, industrial, and digital-out-of-home markets across the world. Headquartered in Stone, England and with offices in North America and the UAE (coming 2015), our reach is truly global. Our impressive product portfolio includes a full range of Fanless Embedded Computer Systems, Digital Signage & Multimedia Computer Systems, Touchscreen Panel PCs, Human Machine Interfaces, Vehicle Mount Computers, Rackmount Computer Systems, Single Board Computers, Rugged Laptops & Tablets. Please call the numbers listed above or visit our website at www.assured-systems.com for more information.

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