Carrying Out Self-Powered Wireless Level Monitoring

Does your application require you to know how high the water level is under the bridge, how much diesel fuel is in the tank, or whether the chicken feed will outlast the chickens? By using novel LoRa spread-spectrum wireless technology, Senix ToughSonic Level Sensors can rapidly, safely and economically transmit answers to these questions to any desktop or mobile device.

Some benefits include:

  • Non-existent cellular charges
  • Full ownership
  • Most up-to-date IoT standards
  • Secure wireless
  • Extremely low power
  • Excellent range

ToughSonic Sensors are now Augmented with AirWire

These regular ultrasonic sensor applications can be IoT-connected to any business:

Tank Level

  • Inventory
  • Delivery or pickup
  • High and low alerts
  • Closed or open tanks
  • Multiple solids and liquids
  • Benign & chemical liquids

Level & Flow

  • Open channel flow
  • Weirs and flumes
  • Historical data logging

Bodies of Water

  • Flood warnings and alarms
  • Historical data acquisition
  • River, stream and pond levels
  • Tidal monitoring

Field-proven sensors since 1990

Field-proven sensors since 1990

What is AirWire LoRa?

Senix wireless products are branded with AirWire. The wireless system detailed herein is an emergent technology known as AirWire LoRa. This technology has been engineered to function at distances up to 10 miles, depending on the line of sight, antenna elevation, and terrain. LoRa, which derives from the words Long Range, handles multiple applications at low cost and power, and with strong range performance.

Functionality

  • Collection and utilization of level data from monitor sites
  • Display and alert volume or level conditions
  • Usage inside or outside
  • Real-time quantifications
  • 50,000-100,000 quantifications on D-cell batteries
  • Measurement of liquids up to 50-feet away with ToughSonic sensors

Cost Savings

  • More cost-efficient than running conduit inside buildings
  • No wiring or power required at monitored sites
  • No cellular connection costs within the LoRa network
  • Reduction of labor and enhancement of safety with a lower number of site visits

Example Display

Why Use LoRa?

  • Relative long-range deals with multiple nearby applications
  • Extremely low power consumption
  • Optimal for measurement rates of a few times per hour
  • Measurement rate can be as rapid as 15 seconds and can be scheduled to satisfy particular criteria
  • High Security for measurement integrity, authenticity and privacy
  • Data can be connected to cloud services or limited to company LAN
  • Adheres to contemporary IoT standards and is capable of integrating with extant applications

How Does it Operate?

At every monitored site, a Level Transmitter and integrated non-contact Level Sensor quantify the distance to the monitored material or liquid. Periodically, that distance information is wirelessly sent to a Receiver-Gateway. This is capable of serving multiple purposes, such as the presentation of the level(s) in a web page on a Local Area Network (LAN), the transmission of email alerts for low or high level conditions, and/or the transfer of data to an external application, either on the cloud or locally. Although levels can be presented simply as height, conversion to volume (gallons, liters, etc.) is also possible.

AirWire Level Transmitter

After connecting to a Senix RS-485 interfaced ultrasonic level sensor, the controlling battery-powered Level Transmitter subsequently transmits every level measurement to the Receiver-Gateway. It can maximize battery life by functioning for a very short duration while it powers the sensor and sends the data and then reverts to “sleep” mode until the next measurement. In that extremely brief time, the transmitter and receiver-gateway are in communication as a means of scheduling the next measurement and collecting service statistics.

  • One or multiple transmitters can transmit level measurements to one Receiver-Gateway
  • Attach to sensor cable or relocate to augment wireless range utilizing extension cable
  • Compact IP66 enclosure with waterproof cable entry gland
  • 50,000-100,000 transactions utilizing three industrial D-cell alkaline batteries
  • Battery alternatives and solar options in development
  • Designed for applications with measurements rates of a few readings per hour

AirWire LoRa Receiver-Gateways

A Receiver-Gateway takes level measurements from one or more level transmitters and can:

  • Function as a web server to display levels to users on a LAN
  • Transmit email alerts at low and/or high-level conditions
  • Instruct every transmitter the required sleep duration before the next quantification
  • Record time-stamped levels for importing to Excel or alternative applications
  • Send level data to additional applications either in the cloud or on the LAN

Basic Receiver-Gateway

Basic Receiver-Gateway

The Basic Receiver-Gateway is plastic-housed with an internal antenna and can be ceiling, wall or surface mounted. It can function as an Ethernet gateway and/or server, and can datalog 115,000 measurements (about 20 days’ worth, at 15 minutes per quantification).

Flex Receiver-Gateway

Flex Receiver-Gateway

The Flex Receiver-Gateway is metal housed with a rear-attached bendable antenna and is surface-mounted. It can function as an Ethernet gateway and/or server, and can datalog up to 22.8 million measurements (over 10 years worth, at 15 minutes per quantification). The antenna may be substituted for a coax cable as a means of extending and elevating an outdoor or indoor antenna for extra range. There is also availability for cellular gateway options.

Outdoor Receiver-Gateway

Outdoor Receiver-Gateway

The Outdoor Receiver-Gateway is sealed within an IP67 aluminum housing with attached antenna, and is engineered for elevated mounting outdoors, to enhance system range performance. It can function as an Ethernet gateway and/or server and can datalog up to 22.8 million measurements (over 10 years’ worth at 15 minutes per quantification).

There is also availability for cellular gateway options. If the level transmitters are in range of Public LoRa services, a cloud-based application can be utilized instead of the receiver-gateway. Similar or enhanced features can be supplied within a cloud-based architecture. Cloud-based services can also be supplied at the same time by transferring the level data stream to the cloud through the receiver-gateway.

Receiver-Gateway configuration occurs in accordance with customer-specific requirements. Some options for the Basic and Flex Receivers are presented below:

Receiver-Gateway Capabilities Basic Flex Outdoor
Receive level data from any number of Level Transmitters
Display levels and link status, indicate high or low levels and send email alerts *
Time-stamped datalogging to simultaneous CSV and JSON file formats, whether operating stand-alone or while performing server and/or gateway functions 115,000 records 22.8 million records 115,000 records
Gateway to other systems with latest IoT and standard interfaces (MQTT, JSON, HTTP post, etc.)
Gateway to Ethernet (LAN or beyond)
Gateway to cellular network (GSM, LTE) and/or Wi-Fi (options) cellular
Outdoor elevated mounting for extended range performance

* If desired features exceed receiver-gateway capacity, expansion is provided by cloud services

How We Work

A comprehensive AirWire LoRa System possesses multiple parts:

  • Hardware: Sensor(s), Level Transmitter(s), Receiver-Gateway and connected options and accessories
  • Software: Functional setup of the Receiver-Gateway to satisfy customer needs
  • Setup: Initialization of the necessary data fields integrating the system components, and connection to any external customer systems
  • Support: Provision of remote support or assistance to the user with customization or changes.

Senix provides comprehensive operation-ready systems, while also supporting customers who wish to “roll their own”. Systems differ from straightforward one-tank displays to multiple tanks at more than one location.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Senix Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Senix Corporation.

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