Wireless Remote Condition Monitoring Solutions

Sometimes a test conducted at a proving ground in Michigan needs to be controlled by engineer in California or a wind turbine in Germany requires observation by designers in Japan. That’s when wireless remote monitoring is the tool of choice and wireless service providers have expanded rapidly to support worldwide connectivity. 

In the United States, cellular carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have covered the most populated areas of the country with 4G LTE technology and the transmission bandwidth can easily reach to 10 to 20Mb/s. Other developed countries have wireless networks that reach and surpass that of the United States’ and even developing countries are rapidly expanding wireless internet connectivity. 

A Crystal Instruments Spider system connected to a Mobile Gateway modem can be wirelessly linked to a PC in an office which is running EDM (Engineering Data Management Software). This means that a Spider system placed in a moving car can be remotely monitored and controlled by a PC with an internet connection running EDM software. The Mobile Gateway modem makes the remote in-vehicle operation of Spider system possible. Crystal Instruments has developed several competitive features that help its line of Spiders succeed at wireless remote condition monitoring.

The hardware and software of the Spider system are designed so that the network control terminal (comprised of EDM and the PC) is not in the critical control loop. If the connection fails or slows due to limitations in the transmission, such as the wireless connection becoming bad, neither the data acquisition nor the monitoring functions on the Spider system will be interrupted. The Spider would default into “Black Box mode” which is a self-sufficient system. The design function resilience of the Spider system assures that no external failures will compromise its smooth operation. 

Power consumption is a big concern for remote monitoring and the Spider excels in this area. A Spider has an internal flash memory that stores all the software code, configuration parameters and the measurement data. This design runs the system at a low power consumption. A typical Spider-80X unit, which can acquire data at 102.4 kHz with 8 inputs will only consume about 10 watts of power and a four input Spider-20E only consumes about 6 watts. 

Another advantage of the Spider system is its independence of a PC in a remote area. All of its input channels use patented dual A/D technology that can achieve more than 160 dBFS dynamic range, completely eliminating the input gain setting. 

Signals as low as a few microvolts or as high as 20 volts can all be accurately measured without human attention to their amplitude. This unique feature is especially beneficial when the measurement is taken remotely without attendants. Applications could include a test performed on a train traveling long distances over a railroad, a test performed high in a wind turbine, or a test of a vehicle conducted by a professional driver.  

Reliability, low power consumption, “Black Box mode,” and a very high dynamic range make the Spider system uniquely capable of wireless remote condition monitoring. 

Providing Power to the Spider and Wireless Gateway Modem

The active power consumption of one eight-channel Spider module is less than 10 watts. The power consumption of wireless gateway modem is 1 watt or less. The modem also has an idle mode that consumes much less power. It is feasible to use battery power, or solar assisted power source to power the units. 

Crystal Instruments developed an intelligent power control module that can shut down and power on the Spider system through the modem. 

Wireless Remote Monitoring Features

  • Low Power Consumption
  • 160 dBFS Dynamic Range
  • "Black Box" Mode - No PC Required
  • Reliable in all circumstances