ptt over cellular mast

Advantages of Vertical Dipole Antenna

A vertical dipole antenna is a type of antenna that consists of two conductive elements oriented vertically in parallel. This antenna design offers several advantages that make it a popular choice for various applications, particularly in the field of radio communication. Let’s explore the key advantages of a vertical dipole antenna:

  1. Omni-Directional Radiation Pattern: One of the primary advantages of a vertical dipole antenna is its omnidirectional radiation pattern. This means it radiates and receives signals equally in all directions around the vertical axis. This characteristic makes it suitable for applications where communication needs to occur in multiple directions without the need to constantly reorient the antenna.
  2. Simplicity of Design: Vertical dipole antennas are relatively simple in design, consisting of just two vertically oriented elements. This simplicity makes them easy to construct, install, and maintain, making them an attractive choice for amateur radio operators, radio enthusiasts, and temporary setups.
  3. Ease of Ground Installation: Vertical dipole antennas can be easily installed on the ground or mounted on a shorter mast, which simplifies the installation process. Their vertical orientation requires less vertical space compared to other antenna designs.
  4. Low Angle of Radiation: Vertical dipole antennas tend to have a lower angle of radiation compared to other types of antennas. This can be advantageous for long-range communication, as the signal can propagate more effectively over longer distances.
  5. Reduced RF Ground Current: The vertical dipole design inherently minimizes RF ground currents, which can help reduce interference with nearby objects or structures. This is particularly useful in locations with limited space or in environments where grounding issues may arise.
  6. Effective for Local and Regional Communication: Due to their low angle of radiation and omnidirectional pattern, vertical dipole antennas are well-suited for local and regional communication. They can provide reliable communication within a specific area, making them useful for community radio stations, emergency communication networks, and local amateur radio activities.
  7. Minimal Interaction with Surroundings: Vertical dipole antennas are less prone to interactions with nearby objects, buildings, and terrain compared to other types of antennas. This characteristic can help reduce signal blockage and signal distortion, ensuring more consistent and reliable communication.
  8. Balanced Current Distribution: The vertical orientation of the dipole elements helps maintain a balanced current distribution along the antenna, which can contribute to efficient signal transmission and reception.
  9. Compact Footprint: Vertical dipole antennas have a relatively small physical footprint, making them suitable for installations in locations with limited available space.
  10. Variety of Frequency Bands: Vertical dipole antennas can be designed and tuned for various frequency bands, allowing them to be used across a wide range of radio frequencies.

While vertical dipole antennas offer these advantages, it’s important to consider factors such as height above ground, nearby objects, and local terrain when installing and using them to optimize their performance. Overall, the vertical dipole antenna’s combination of simplicity, omnidirectional coverage, and ease of installation makes it a versatile choice for various communication needs

industry 4.0

Build a Lorawan Gateway

What is  Lorawan

First of all, what is Lorawan.  It is a wireless technology that allows small amounts of data to be sent between a remote sensor (such as a river level detector), and the Internet.

Lorawan technology is very efficient at sending the sensor data over long distances, whilst consuming very little power. This means that a the sensor devices can be battery powered, whilst the batteries last for years.

What is a Gateway then

A Lorawan Gateway is the device that receives the wireless signals containing data, that has been transmitted (using Lora wireless technology) from the remote sensors (river level monitoring, air quality etc).

Once the  Gateway has received the  wirelessly transmitted data, the gateway forwards the data onto the Internet.

Gateway connection to the Internet can be via a variety of means, such as Wifi, Ethernet, 3G, 4G, 5G etc.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.

The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used https://etcher.io/    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.

Type:

sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi

Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.

network=

{
ssid="The_SSID_of_your_wifi"
psk="Your_wifi_password"

}

Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi https://github.com/ttn-zh/ic880a-gateway.git ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./install.sh spi

Identifying the Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pin Description RPi physical pin
21 Supply 5V 2
22 GND 6
13 Reset 22
14 SPI CLK 23
15 MISO 21
16 MOSI 19
17 NSS 24

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only Lorawan Gateway instructions.

For help, as to which pin is which on the Concentrator and Raspberry Pi boards, why not get in touch.

I also offer workshop training, where I can train your students to build their own Lorawan Gateways.

@acraigmiles

www.craigmiles.co.uk

Craig Miles (C) 2018 – 2023 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

    Internet of Things | Two Way Radio Wireless Communications – Yesway Communications

    LPWAN

    LoraWAN Advantages for IOT

    lincoln things network

    Lincoln Things Network LoraWAN IOT

    What is it

    The Things Network is a worldwide crowd funded LoraWAN

    Internet Of Things Network, which started in Amsterdam.

    It consists of sensors, such as air quality sensors that transmit data wirelessly via ‘Gateway’ devices to the Internet Cloud.

    It is rapidly expanding around the world, including the UK.

    Why do we need this network?

    The world is undergoing rapid change in the world of work, and it has been predicted that many jobs will become automated in the coming years.

    The Internet Of Things, or IOT for short, along with Virtual Reality & 3D Printing  is part of this new industrial revolution.

    It is therefore vitally important that we educate the current and future generations quickly, so we don’t get left behind as a nation.

    The Network helps educate people, and lets businesses cost effectively develop new IOT products.

    Where Does The Lincoln Network Cover

    The Network is based on a wireless technology called LoraWAN.

    As with all wireless technologies LoraWAN, which the Network runs on is range limited.

    One of the great features of LoraWAN technology is that the signal can travel a long distance, using low power.

    However as with all wireless technologies, buildings and natural objects in ‘line of sight’, will reduce the signal range.

    The Network uses devices called ‘Gateways’ to receive the signals transmitted wirelessly from the remote sensors and puts the data onto the web.

    The Lincoln LoraWAN LPWA network is now live, and ready for use by business, schools and the public.

    The network is expanding around the City of Lincoln, and we are always looking for new sites.

    As the Network is essentially a voluntary community effort, we welcome help from schools and local businesses.

    Please get involved, as any help is appreciated.

    Who is behind the Lincoln things Network?

    The Lincoln TTN was initiated by Craig Miles, who can be contacted via the community page at https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/community/lincoln/

    Alternatively, he can be contacted via his personal website at  www.craigmiles.co.uk

    Yesway sponsored the components to build the first Lincoln LoraWAN Gateway.

    Internet of Things | Two Way Radio Wireless Communications – Yesway Communications

    two way radio services

    Product Design & Re-Engineering

    Product Design & Re-Engineering

    Have an idea for a new product, or wish to improve and existing product or industry by integrating wireless IOT (Internet of Things) technologies?

    We are experienced in:-

    Research

    Our staff have experience of working for Astrium Space, now re-named Airbus Defence & Space.

    Experience in researching X- Band Space Communications Satellite component and subsystem reliability data, and obtaining NATO Codification Numbers (NCN) for un-codified component parts.

    Experience of working with classified documentation, and under the Official Secrets Act.

    NATO security clearance, and working on the reliability of NATO military satellite communications, ground stations, ships radomes, and aircraft communication system updates.

    Staff Interviewing, as part of AS9100 Quality Manual internal update process. Checking existing departmental and process procedures are still current, to enable updating of Quality Manual revision level. Undertaken as short term contract, and completed 1 week ahead of the allocated time period.

    Solution finding & development

    • Development, and integration.

    Questions to ask

    Who is the product aimed at?

    This is also known as the product’s target market.

    This is an important first step in the product design process  and will influence the finished product.

    As Yesway has ‘in house’ marketing degree expertise, as well as engineering development expertise. We approach and incorporate marketing tools into the product planning process.

    Example tools include ‘Slept Analysis’, which stands for Social, Legal, Economic, Political, Technological.

    Social: Is your proposed product going to appeal, or acceptable to your target market?

    For instance, a new type of bikini aimed at the Iranian market is likely to be a sales failure.

    This is because Iran is an Islamic country, where clothing modesty, is the social & cultural norm.

    Another example I could give was when I worked for an International Defence Aerospace organisation. The company had previously sold a piece of military communications equipment to a foreign government

    The company had previously sold a piece of military space communications equipment to a foreign government. The equipment was a standard

    The equipment was a standard design and was shown to another foreign government, who were also interested in purchasing a system.

    The ‘Social’ issue in this example was that Country ‘A’, & County ‘B’ were neighbours and rivals.

    Country ‘B’ believed that their country & military were superior to Country ‘A’.  This was a social factor, which meant that once they heard that Country ‘A’ had bought the same system

    This was a social factor, which meant that once they heard that Country ‘A’ had bought the same system, they wanted a better system.

    The solution was to re-engineer the same system to have extra ‘indicator bulbs’ on the control monitoring system.

    Country ‘B’ was thus satisfied and bought the ‘improved’ system.

    Legal: What laws affect your product?

    One of the first questions to ask yourself when researching the answer is where are you planning to sell your product.

    This matters, as you need to consider not only national laws but international laws also.

    For example, if you were developing a LoraWan wireless connected sensor ‘node’, different regions use different radio frequencies.

    Therefore you could not develop a product for the North Amercian market, and sell it in Europe, without complying with the relevant frequency laws.

    Economic: Can your target customers afford your product?

    What might be considered a mass market product in some markets (i.e, western Europe & USA), might be considered a luxury item in the developing world.

    The product selling price is an important consideration, as not only will affordability been a consideration, but also desirability.

    Studies have shown (such as Mercedes 190 case) that when a product is sold at too low a price, then it can be perceived as being desirable.

    In the case of the Mercedes 190, those people looking for a prestige car, assumed the 190 was not as good as other Mercedes, as the price was similar to mainstream alternatives.

    A model relaunch, with increased spec & price, resulted in sales taking off.

    Political: What changes might affect your product?

    Political changes are closely linked to Legal changes.

    If you wished to produce novelty domestic incandescent light bulbs, then the ban on them, would affect you.

    Research into what is happening politically is an important consideration, for both new and existing products.

    Existing products, may be able to be ‘re-engineered’ to adapt them to new political policy changes, such as fitting more efficient engines to the ‘Land Rover Defender’, which enabled it to be produced for so long.

    Technological: New technologies & disruptive ideas.

    The world is changing faster now, than at any time in human history.

    While once upon a time we used Thermionic Valves in our radios, transistors bought about product miniaturisation in the 1960s.

    The 1970s saw ‘Silicon Chips’ being introduced, revolutionising computers, making them smaller and more powerful than their predecessors.

    Want to buy shares in a VHS video recorder company? Thought not!

    Constant analysis of new technologies, and what your competitors are doing with them, is essential.

    Latest technology trends include VR (Virtual Reality), and the IOT (Internet of Things).

    The above are examples of new disruptive ideas and innovation, which did not exist a few years ago.

    (01522) 740818

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Save

    Retrofitting the Internet of Things to Industry

    Things to Consider When Retrofitting the Internet of Things to Existing Industrial Equipment

    The Internet of Things or IoT for short is already known to the public through innovative products, such as body-worn fitness monitors, that record and upload data to the internet.

    In the industrial sectors, such as manufacturing, new systems are being developed to replace existing infrastructure, to improve efficiency.

    However, what about perfectly good existing equipment that you, as a business, do not want to replace. The answer is to retrofit equipment, to make it ‘Smart’.

    It is convenient to break down the IOT process in terms of:-

    Input-Process-Output

    Therefore retrofitting the Internet of Things….tb continued

    This is the first of our videos on retrofitting the Internet of Things to existing industries, such as factories, agriculture and cities.

    Internet of Things

    Retrofitting the Internet of Things to Industry

    Star-Delta Starter Adaption for The Internet Of Things

    Star-Delta Starters are used to start larger ac induction motors used in industries, such as Manufacturing and Marine.

    Like ‘Direct Online’ (DOL) starters, which are also used for ac induction motors starting (though smaller, lower current motors), Star-Delta starters only turn the motor on and off at a single speed.

    With the growth in the internet of things, industries, such as Mining and Marine (who use Star-Delta starter systems) need to consider how to keep their business efficiency as good as their competitors.

    Competitors are always seeking a competitive advantage. This can be achieved through cost and efficiency savings, and IOT (Internet of Things) connectivity allows close monitoring of system processes, and so-called ‘machine learning’.

    In the case of a Star-Delta motor starter, their area number of outputs that we may wish to measure using sensors.

    Firstly, the current being drawn by the Star-Delta starter. This includes both the starting (or Inrush) current, and the FLC (Full Load Current).

    Monitoring of the Full Load Current (FLC) for example is useful because an increase in current been drawn through a phase might be due to a break in one of the other phases. This causes what is known as ‘Single Phasing’ to occur.

    Single Phasing can potentially damage both the motor windings and cabling from the starter to the motor, due to the current doubling in the two phases still connected.

    The motor windings, for example, would not be designed to handle the excess current flowing through the two (still) connected ones, potentially causing damage, expense, and downtime.

    The Star-Delta Starter normally has a current limiting device installed, called an Over Current Relay (OCR).

    There are three types of OCR, Electronic, Magnetic, and Thermal.

    The OCR will detect higher than normal currents, caused for example by ‘Single Phasing’.

    When single phasing is detected by the OCR, it will disconnect the three-phase supply going to the induction motor (after a short delay, dependent on overcurrent size).

    To be continued………

    (c) 2016 Craig Miles

    what is lora

    Things Network

    LoraWAN IOT

    Things Network Lincoln is a worldwide crowdfunded and community operated IOT

    The network uses a narrowband radio technology called LoraWAN.

    LoraWAN operates in the UK and EU on 868MHz frequency.

    The 868MHz frequency is what is known as an ISM band.

    ISM stands for Industrial, Scientific, Medical.

    ISM bands are unlicensed bands, so can be used by anyone.

    The first Wireless Gateway device was built by the Lincoln Things Network Community, using components sponsored and supplied by Yesway Communications.

    Lincoln IOT Service

    The Lincoln Public IOT service is now live, and can be used by local business and academia for education and research into new IOT connected products, that they may wish to develop.

    Check out the local page for the Lincoln ‘Things Network’

    http://thethingsnetwork.org/c/lincoln

    or watch this video introduction:-

    The Things Network from Soda Content on Vimeo.

    Its a brilliant idea, and I think that this will really help businesses and the general public develop products using the Internet of Things that will improve this world for the better.

    For enquiries about the Lincoln Things Network, contact me via the page link above, rather than through Yesway, which is not connected with the network. I just happen to work for Yesway, and are also personally the Things Network initiator for Lincoln.

    The two are separate, and I am only putting the details on the yesway site to spread publicity to our social media subscribers, so that more people know about this great free idea.

    single phase as sine wave picture

    Applying the Internet of Things (IOT) to Induction Motor Monitoring

    Applying the Internet of Things (IOT) to Induction Motor Monitoring

    Induction motors are found in all sorts of industries and applications, both on land and offshore.

    Smaller Induction Motors (roughly drawing up to 10 Amps Full Load Current) most commonly use Direct Online Starting (D.O.L) methods.

    Larger motors typically use starting methods such as Star-Delta starting, which keeps the starting current (surge / inrush) down.

    The Internet of Things offers 24/7 monitoring of systems, which can intelligently react based on the input data provided by the networked sensors.

    The main parameters of induction motors that could be measured are:-

    Voltage (individual phase)

    Current being drawn by motor.

    Over current in individual phases, such as imbalances due to single phasing faults.

    Phase Winding temperature based on measurement using thermistors.

    Vibration Monitoring, indicating bearing failure.

    Motor speed (inc comparison of actual to Synchronous field speed calculated speed).

    What do we mean by the above parameters:-

    Firstly lets consider the term, ‘Voltage (Individual Phase)’.

    Voltage (individual phase)

    The term ‘individual phase’ is applicable in three-phase supply systems.

    Three-phase supplies are commonly used in industrial factories and workshops.

    It is rare to have a three-phase supply in a domestic home.

    To understand a three-phase supply, lets first consider a single-phase voltage supply.

    In single-phase voltage systems (as found in most homes), an ac sine waveform ‘cycles’ above and below the centre zero volts level, at a frequency of 50 times a second.

    This is known as 50 Hertz, or Hz, and is the supply frequency used in most, but not all, countries around the world.

    single phase as sine wave picture

    ac sine wave.

    The picture above, shows a representation of an AC (Alternating Current) Sine Wave. The line through the middle would be zero volts, and as you can see the voltage rises and falls over time (time periods, starting at the left of the picture, and moving right).

    For an AC voltage supply frequency of 50 Hz, 50 complete sine waves would be completed, per second.

    Now that (hopefully) you understand what a sine wave is, you need to know that in a single-phase system, you have one sine wave, that goes up and down over time (as in above picture).

    A three-phase voltage supply, has three sine waves at the same time. NOT ONE, BUT THREE!

    Each of the three sine waves, is spaced 120 degrees apart, which means in plain English, that they rise and fall, at different times to each other.

    For the purposes of Induction Motor Monitoring, you might want to monitor the phase wire, to check whether the voltage is on or off.

    If the Induction Motor was a single-phase type, then obviously if the voltage supply was off, the motor would stop.

    However, the single-phase motor may be tucked away from view, in a corner of the factory. Therefore being able to monitor the single individual phase supply, is still useful for an IOT induction motor monitoring system.

    Being able to monitor all three voltage supply wires, to a three-phase induction motor, is even more useful.

    If one of the three voltage supply wires, to the induction motor stopped supplying voltage, the motor would continue to run.

    The motor would not run well on only two supply wires, but may go unnoticed, if in an out of the way location.

    This is why using an IOT monitoring system, to detect the voltage of each of the three voltage supply wires, is useful.

    Current being drawn by motor

    Each Induction Motor will have a manufacturers specification for how much current is drawn, both at startup, and when fully running.

    For more information on induction motor monitoring , get in touch.

    (c) Craig Miles 2015-2020. All rights reserved. www.craigmiles.co.uk @acraigmiles

    Internet of Things | Two Way Radio Wireless Communications – Yesway Communications

    Challenge of Installing IOT Sensor Equipment in Explosion Proof Areas

    Challenge of Installing IOT Sensor Equipment in Explosion-Proof Areas, by Craig Miles

    IoT, or the Internet of Things is already changing the way that businesses function, and this is set to explode in the forthcoming years.

    IoT is all about improving business efficiency by collecting information (via sensors) about the physical world (Inputs such as temperature, pressure, location, etc), and then using this data to trigger an automated action, based on the data.

    Installing the sensors that provide the ‘inputs’ to your IoT system is usually fairly straightforward in most environments, however potentially explosive environments require special considerations.

    When installing any electrical or electronic device in a potentially explosive environment, the device must be rated as ‘EX’ , also known as ‘intrinsically safe’.

    Intrinsically safe electrical equipment is available as components such as electric fans, cable glands, and hand-held two-way radios.

    This is a business opportunity for IoT device manufacturers to create ‘EX’ rated sensors.

    The main thing to consider at all times when designing your install is will my equipment cause a spark, potentially causing an explosion.

    First, consider your sensor itself. An example is a sensor located in a ship’s battery room to monitor and report on voltage and a specific gravity of the lead-acid batteries, used for emergency backup.

    The sensor you use to collect the information MUST be EX rated / intrinsically safe, to be compliant.

    The next consideration is how you are going to get the data from the sensor ‘out’ of the potentially explosive area and to the location where the data is processed.

    Wireless technologies such as Zigbee, WIFI, and LORA could be used, but by definition produce RF radiation which could potentially cause an explosion. Therefore it is crucial that only equipment that is EX rated is used.

    In the case of environments hostile to RF (Radio Frequency) Radio Waves, such as ships, oil rigs, and other buildings with high metal content, an alternative would be a fixed wired solution.

    When using wired methods to transmit sensor data, the cable gland must be designed so that the explosive area remains gas-tight, to prevent explosive gases from interacting with electrical components outside the intrinsically safe area.

    Glands for this purpose exist and can be found online.

    To conclude, the key to installing the Internet of Things (IOT) in a potentially explosive environment is to ensure that every piece of IoT equipment that is installed is EX rated to prevent explosion risks.

    You also need to think about and ensure that any wiring that leaves the intrinsically safe/explosive area goes through properly rated EX glands, to ensure safety.

    For more information on the Challenge of Installing IOT Sensor Equipment in Explosion-Proof Areas, why not contact us.

    The author is Craig Miles (me) and I can be contacted via www.craigmiles.co.uk

    All content is copyright, and copying and all rights are reserved (c) Craig Miles 2015

    Internet of Things | Two Way Radio Wireless Communications – Yesway Communications

    Lincoln Farmer with poor radio coverage

    Lincoln Farmer

    Recently we were contacted by a farmer, based just outside of the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

    He had had a system supplied and installed by another company a few years ago, however, the performance had decreased over time.

    The first task was to carry out a through audit of the installed equipment. This included radio RF performance tests of the installed radios to verify that the correct power output was being achieved from each radio. We also checked on-air speech quality, and receive audio.

    Once we were satisfied that the equipment was working properly (there is no point fitting a new aerial to a vehicle with a bust radio), we checked the aerial systems for forward and reflected power. This is done with an SWR (standing wave ratio) meter.

    A number of the aerials fitted to the tractors and combine harvesters were in a poor state. Some whips were missing/damaged, while others were simply the wrong length.

    The length of the aerial will vary depending on the frequency that the radio operates on.

    The farmer had bought a replacement mag-mount aerial from a high street supplier, however, these come ‘un-trimmed’. Therefore some of the power was being reflected back into the radio, and not going out into the ether (as it should).

    This is why choosing an experienced company like Yesway, is always a good idea, as part of business process improvement.

    After trimming to the correct length, the output power increased. They also reduce the risk of radio equipment damage.

    Benefits of LoraWAN for Farmers

    A recent development that can benefit Lincoln farmers is LoraWAN and the Internet of Things.

    Recently near Wainfleet in the Lincolnshire Wolds Farmers and householders experienced extensive flooding.

    The Wainfleet floods were caused by heavy rains causing the river banks to be breached.

    By using LoraWAN wireless connected sensors, river levels could be monitored, and the data put onto the Internet cloud via a device called a ‘LoraWAN Gateway’.

    There are both public and private LoraWAN networks available, and we have even custom built our own experimental LoraWAN gateway ourselves.

    If you are a Lincoln or Wainfleet Farmer who wishes to find out more about how LoraWAN wireless sensor technology could be used to monitor River levels, get in touch.