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Vaisala Sigmet Radar and Antenna Control Processor RCP8™

Vaisala Sigmet Radar and Antenna Control Processor RCP8™


      Connecting a weather radar to the outside world

      The purpose of a controller is to provide a simple interface between high-level user applications to the various electrical signals that are required to control and monitor a radar and antenna system. The Vaisala Sigmet RCP8™, our new PCI/Linux based controller, provides the flexibility to connect to radar systems from a variety of manufacturers. With comprehensive BITE monitoring, wide range inputs and programmable control logics, the RCP8™ offers outstanding versatility in the field. We provide a fully documented API so that sophisticated users can develop their own application software. Specify the RCP8™ for weather radar upgrades or for new weather radar systems. Of course the RCP8™ is 100% compatible with the Vaisala Sigmet IRIS software for UNIX workstations.

      Flexible algorithms for ground-based and stabilized moving platform applications

      The Vaisala Sigmet RCP8™ implements digital position and velocity servos that are more flexible than traditional analog servos-there are no pots to tweak to tune the servos. Because of the digital approach, the servo feedback can be easily adjusted to stabilize virtually any weather radar antenna system. The RCP8™ is so flexible that it is the favorite controller for shipboard weather radar applications since it can connect to an inertial navigation unit and compensate for ship motion to 0.1 degree.

      Comprehensive over voltage protection for I/O lines

      The Vaisala Sigmet I/O-62 PCI card serves as the gateway for signals in and out of the RCP8™. Each I/O line is configured with a fast switching diode to protect it against transient high-voltage spikes from lightning or other sources. This is important since radar systems are often sited in locations that are prone to lightning strikes.

      Fail-safe protection for your investment

      A radar antenna is a costly item. To protect this investment, the RCP8™ provides the most comprehensive fail-safe features in the industry. For example, a watchdog program constantly checks for consistency between the tachometer vs position angles, for velocity over-speed, unresponsive antenna and out of tolerance elevation angles. Aside from these built-in safety checks, the RCP8's™ programmable control logics allow users to create their own custom monitoring/response actions (e.g., alarm bells, warning lights, transmitter shutdown, etc.)

      Technical Specifications

       Technical Specifications

      RCP8™ I/O Characteristics

      Expandable I/O

      SIGMET I/O-62 PCI card (one standard) with RCP8™ rackmount panel

      AZ and EL angle inputs

      TTL 16-bit binary of BCD for AZ and EL or Synchro/Resolver (various frequencies supported)

      AZ and EL angle outputs

      Parallel TTL Binary angle up to 16 bits, or serial RS232 Asynch

      Tach inputs

      Analog up to +80 V

      Antenna drive output

      + 10 V to servo amplifiers for AZ and EL

      Status bit input range

      Switch closure or wide range +27 V triggering at +2.5V. 330K input impedance. +5V pull-up/down configurable by software

      Control bit output range

      RS422 and TTL. In addition 6 DIP relays are provided for switch closure output

      A/D inputs

      20 A/D inputs nominal + 6V, 12 bits @ 100 Hz

      Host interface

      10/100/1000T Ethernet or RS232C asynch serial selectable to 39 Kbps

      Antenna control/Monitoring features

      Servo types

      Digital position and velocity servos for both AZ and EL (independent)


      Analog TACH or "Virtual Tach" from differentiated angle input

      Velocity servo accuracy

      0.5% at 3 RPM typical


      0.1 degrees typical

      Fail safe checks

      Soft limiting, out-of-bound elevation request limiting, out of bound elevation, limit switch diode clamping, limit switch shutdown, out of bound antenna speed, unresponsive antenna, tach and angle changes inconsistent, "dead" host computer


      Front panel 2-line user configurable display to show AZ and EL positions and velocities as well as status parameters and faults. Optional keyboard, mouse and monitor

      Radar conrol/Monitoring features

      Dedicated control outputs

      Servo Power, Radiate, T/R Power, Pulse Width (4), Reset Signal

      Dedicated status inputs

      Servo Power, Radiate, Standby, Wave Guide Pressure, Interlock, Cooling Airflow, Pulse Width (4), Antenna Local Mode

      Arbitrary BITE monitoring and control features

      BITE Status/Control outputs

      Up to 80 lines configurable in groups of 8 to be either input or output, TTL/CMOS

      Moving platform option

      Motion reference

      Honeywell or Seatec INU with GPS update and serial output

      Physical and Environmental


      2U or 4U EIA 19" rackmount chassis. 3U rackmount connection panel

      Input power

      85-264 VAC, 47-63 Hz

      Power consumption

      70 Watts


      0°C to 50°C operating, 0 to 95% (non condensing) R.H.


      >50,000 Hours MTBF

      Related Services
      • Warranty 
      • All Vaisala products and services are covered by a 12-month warranty as standard, with selected products covered for up to 24 months. During this period you benefit from free repair or replacement of faulty equipment.
      • Acceptance Testing 
      • Our extensive testing procedures, carried out at our factory and on site, verify that your systems are operating according to specifications. After our acceptance test your equipment is optimized and ready to use.
      • Site Survey 
      • A comprehensive site survey from Vaisala is the first step to ensuring successful installation and integration for environmental observation systems. It guarantees the delivery of a reliable and accurate system with optimal positioning and performance.
      • Installation 
      • Vaisala’s installation service ensures that your equipment is set up correctly and optimally. An installation may include everything from hardware set-up to integration of the equipment into your infrastructure, making sure that you enjoy a smooth start up and reduced maintenance costs.
      • Warranty