Remote Monitoring For a Hangar Backup Generator

Cellular Modem Logger Saves Millions in Repair Costs

Recently CAS DataLoggers provided the remote monitoring solution for a company working on a new method to reduce condensation damage to aircraft kept in a hangar under simulated desert conditions. This damage resulted in millions of dollars in maintenance and repair costs each year, so crews were evaluating new dehumidifying equipment to combat corrosion developing in joins in the metal. This equipment was powered by 2 large solar panels atop a remote trailer along with a large lead acid battery used for backup. During the day the panels charged the battery, and as a fail safe measure, the company installed a generator to back up the trailer–critical on cloudy days and in bad weather when the solar panels couldn’t generate enough power. On paper this precaution seemed like a good enough solution, but supervisors needed to collect real data to ensure that the solar panels and generator were sized properly to meet real-world conditions. Therefore the company needed a single system capable of automatically tracking the generator’s critical values. Key requirements for this device included a modem for remote monitoring and remote data retrieval/accessibility, the ability to send data through FTP and emails to certain personnel, real-time calculations, and reliable data storage.

The company installed a dataTaker DT80M Intelligent Universal Input Data Logger in the trailer adjacent to the backup generator. The dataTaker was chosen for its flexibility and built-in 2G/3G cellular modem. The dataTaker monitored the generator’s run time, fuel consumption, and current/voltage, along with the output of the solar panels, current/voltage of the solar battery, and power usage of the dehumidification system. The DT80M recorded at 18-bit resolution and could store up to 10,000,000 data points on its internal memory. USB memory stick support was also standard for convenient data and program transfer.

The DT80M provided cost-effective real-time recording and remote monitoring. The device featured a built-in LCD display and 5 to 15 universal analog sensor channels (expandable to 100 channels using channel expansion models) as well as a built-in web and FTP server to enable remote access to logged data, configuration and diagnostics. The data logger also featured a serial ‘smart sensor’ channel for interfacing to SDI-12 and Modbus sensors, and utilized slave and master functionality to allow connection to Modbus sensors and devices and SCADA systems. Additionally, the DT80M’s rugged design and construction provided dependable operation even in the hangar’s extreme heat.

Equally importantly, the data logger’s communications capabilities saved personnel the need to repeatedly travel out to the trailer to collect the data or receive alarms, both of which were remotely accessible on the modem’s internal FTP server and also transmitted via emails and SMS text messages to designated inboxes and mobile phones.

The dataTaker also included free dEX configuration software for hassle-free logger setup and configuration directly in a web browser, and users could perform live data analysis and post-treatment functions. The software also allowed users to view the real-time data as mimics or charts. As an added convenience, the DT80M’s internal modem arrived predominantly preconfigured, letting hangar crews get a rapid start to the project, and for additional ease of use, dEX allowed remote reconfiguration over the Internet.

The dataTaker DT80M formed a versatile remote monitoring solution enabling the company’s crews to ensure the reliability of the backup generator, which prevented millions of dollars of repair and maintenance to the hangar’s aircraft. Additionally, the dataTaker’s advanced communications features enabled local, remote, and Internet connections via Ethernet and USB ports. The customer didn’t have to purchase a compatible modem separately, so the inbuilt modem’s automatic data delivery features guaranteed scheduled emails of all captured data to specified addresses–personnel now had access to this remote data anytime, anywhere via FTP and SMS text messages. All these features provided crew supervisors and corporate personnel the data and calculations they needed to realize further savings.