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Getting Started With ncd.io IoT Wireless Sensors

ncd.io offers more than 30 types of Industrial IoT Wireless Sensors. These IoT wireless sensors are designed to interface with major cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Losant, etc. These wireless sensors can be used with Local PC, MAC, Linux, or any embedded computer. These wireless sensors work at very low power and are designed to last for years. The power sources of these sensors can be 2AA, 4AA or a 5-12V DC power supply. 

Industrial IoT Wireless Sensor Supported by ncd

Here are the few kind of sensors supported by ncd.io

  1. Temperature and Humidity Sensor
  2. Push Notification
  3. Digital Input Detection
  4. Analog Input ( 0-3.3V)
  5. 0-10V ADC
  6. 4-20mA Receiver 
  7. Light Sensor
  8. Proximity Sensor
  9. Frequency Meter
  10. Digital Counters
  11. Vibration and Temperature Sensor
  12. Activity Detection Sensor
  13. Asset Monitoring Sensor
  14. Impact Detection Sensor
  15. Current Monitoring Sensor
  16. AC Voltage Monitoring Sensor
  17. Thermocouple Sensor
  18. Pressure Sensor
  19. Air Quality Sensor
  20. Differential Pressure Sensors

All sensors are based on modular design principles which make them easy to modify. If you are looking for a special kind of sensor and don’t find it over here feel free to contact ncd.io technical support staff and we will build one for you.

To know more about the wireless sensors, check out the ncd.io Enterprise Solutions category.

Industrial IoT Wireless Sensor

Hardware needed to build an IoT Solution

IoT and Sensor monitoring are still a new field of technology for most people. The most common question we get is “what do I need to start my project?”.

  1. Identify the requirements — The first step is to identify what you want to monitor or sense. If you want to monitor environmental conditions in your building you can look into getting a Wireless Temperature Humidity Sensor or Wireless Environmental Sensor which senses temperature, humidity, pressure and air quality.

    If you want to monitor the health of a machine then you can look into getting vibration, temperature, and current monitoring sensors.

  2. Modem — ncd.io offers a few kinds of modems. The most popular one is a USB modem. This modem works with PC, MAC, Linux, Edge Computers, or any embedded device. The modem will translate the wireless data from the sensors into a packet that your Gateway can easily read.
  3. Using With 3rd Party Gateways — It is possible to connect these sensors with 3rd party gateways and PLC systems as long as the third party devices supports one of these hardware interfaces:
    1. USB
    2. RS232
    3. RS485
    4. Ethernet
    5. UART/Serial Communication

The most common gateways used for these devices are Linux computers, Windows PCs, ESP modules, and Particle Modules. The Gateway can be nearly any computer with internet access that can accept and parse Serial Data over a USB connection.  

You will only need one gateway and modem to read hundreds of IoT Wireless sensors. The same modem can be used as a repeater as well. We will learn more about repeaters in future articles.

Sotware needed to build an IoT Solution

All ncd.io sensors and modems can be used with any cloud service or embedded platform including Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Onion, and Particle. ncd.io provides Labview, Visual Studio, C, Python and Node-Red libraries to read and analyze the sensor data. 

All IoT wireless sensors send real world data. This data is transmitted in a fully documented API format so interfacing with any gateway or embedded device is super easy.

On the gateway side you will need a Wireless Modem to translate the wireless data from the sensors to Serial data capable of being read and parsed by the gateway.

Pushing Wireless IoT Sensor Data to the Cloud

ncd.io sensors can be interfaced with any cloud service and here are few ways to push data to the cloud

  1. USB modem and PC
  2. node red
  3. Edge gateway
  4. Wifi gateway such as ESP32
  5. Embedded gateway such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Particle
  6. Cellular Module such as particle electron

We recommend using node red and wifi gateway ( coming soon). node red a ui based drag and drop software platform and ncd has devolved wireless sensor libraries which can be used to visualize the data locally and the same data can be pushed to cloud services like Azure, AWS and Losant. 

Decoding ioT Wireless Sensor Data

IoT Wireless Sensors send data in an API format as raw bytes. All of these API formatted packets contain common info like:

  1. Sensor MAC Address
  2. Sensor Node ID
  3. Sensor Type
  4. Sensor Firmware version
  5. Sensor battery level
  6. Sensor Data

A sample data packet from a vibration sensor looks something like this:

7E 00 32 90 00 13 A2 00 41 58 1C C9 FF FE C2 7F 00 03 03 FF 25 00 28 01 00 0C 73 00 0C 1C 00 0B 46 00 39 5C 00 3A 4D 00 35 78 FF DB B3 FF CF 6B FF DE CF 00 17 61

 The Device Mac address is — 00 13 A2 00 41 58 1C C9

The sensor payload is this section: 7F 00 03 03 FF 25 00 28 01 00 0C 73 00 0C 1C 00 0B 46 00 39 5C 00 3A 4D 00 35 78 FF DB B3 FF CF 6B FF DE CF 00 17

All the above info can be found on the respective product pages under resources section. All the product manuals can be found here.

Industrial IoT Wireless Sensors

Configuring The Wireless IoT Sensor

The IoT Wireless sensor has user defined parameters like

  1. Data Transmission frequency/Delay — This setting can be used to change the data transmission frequency. 
  2. Node ID
  3. Network ID
  4. Encryption Key
  5. Sensor Destination Address
  6. Other sensor specific parameters

How to put a sensor into config mode

All Wireless IoT Sensors come with two Buttons marked RESET(RST) and CONFIGURATION(CFG). To put the sensor in configuration mode hold CFG button down, press and release the reset button, and release the CFG button after 6 seconds.

All sensors come with LabView Samples, Alpha Station( A visual Studio Software), and Node Red software. Any of these can be used to change the configuration settings through a UI.

Wireless Communication Frequency and Mesh Protocol

ncd.io primarily builds all wireless sensors with a 900Mhz frequency. These sensors can be built with 868Mhz and 2.4Ghz as well. If you want any other frequency, please reach out to ncd.io technical staff.

Why 900Mhz

Our wireless sensors are deigned to work in very harsh and remote locations. These sensors are designed to transmit data through walls and floors and will work in steel and concrete building where most other sensors won’t. The indoor range of these sensors is around 1200-1500 feet and the outdoor range is up to 2 miles. The outdoor range can be increased to be 28 miles using an aftermarket high gain antenna.

In today’s world the 2.4 GHz frequency band is overcrowded due to the prevalence of Wifi, Bluetooth, and and a plethora of every day technologies. The longer wireless range and better penetration of 900 MHz makes it ideal for factory floor or outdoor remote locations.

All ncd.io sensors support wireless mesh. You can use modems as repeaters. These repeaters will ensure that the data arrives at the gateway. There is no special programming or configuration needed to enable or build a wireless mesh network. 

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