Wireless developments: the editor's pick
11 February 2013
Editor Les Hunt reviews some recent additions to the industry's wireless product portfolio.
Phoenix Contact WLAN 5100
Banner Engineering's new SureCross B2Q gateway module, which provides a dependable communication link to the company’s Q45 wireless sensor network, features discrete outputs and DIP switches to map inputs from up to two wireless sensors to the gateway’s outputs. The product’s single board design and easy mounting ensures easy embedding inside equipment and enclosures.
The battery operated SureCross B2Q initiates communication with the wireless Q45 sensors, while controlling timing and configuration for the entire network thanks to several performance features. 'Site Survey' analyses the network’s strength and reliability and conveys the results of this analysis via bi-colour LEDs. DIP switches allow users to select one of eight defined I/O mapping configurations to map the Q45 inputs to the gateway’s outputs, fully automatically.
Transceivers provide bi-directional communication between the gateway and Q45, including fully acknowledged data transmission, while lost RF links are detected and relevant outputs set to user-defined conditions.
Wireless maintenance aid
Fluke’s new CNX wireless system is a set of test tools that wirelessly connects multiple measurement modules and sends simultaneous readings to a master device up to 20m away, allowing users to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently. Ideal for maintenance operations, this rugged, customisable tool set allows users to choose various measurement modules based on their own specific troubleshooting needs.
At its core is a CAT III 1,000V/CAT IV 600V multimeter with a screen that displays its readings along with live readings from up to three other measurement modules. For more complex troubleshooting, users can view live measurements from up to ten modules simultaneously on a computer equipped with the CNX PC adapter.
The modules, which include ac voltage, ac current clamp, iFlex ac current clamp, and K-type temperature units, can take live measurements or log up to 65,000 sets of data, which can be saved to a computer in .csv format.
The Fluke CNX system allows users to place modules in hazardous or awkward places and then watch the readings from a safe distance. For example, a technician can de-energise a panel, connect voltage or current modules to all three phases, close and re-energise the panel, and then conveniently read the measurements outside the arc flash zone.
IEEE 802.11n compliance
With its industrial WLAN access point/client WLAN 5100, Phoenix Contact is offering a new device for wireless communication that is compliant with the WLAN standard IEEE 802.11n. The wireless component supports MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology with three antennas. It is much faster compared with current WLAN802.11a/g systems, achieving data rates of up to 300Mbit/s.
A special feature is the new ‘cluster management’ function, which facilitates central configuration and monitoring of the WLAN network. Access point is suitable for wireless data transfer in manufacturing automation, logistics and transportation systems.
Meanwhile, Radiometrix has released its BL118 bi-directional control device, which, unlike the existing CTA88 family of one-way wireless link control products, uses a half duplex radio transceiver to establish a two-way wireless link for remote control applications. The radio link, which can be set up with a minimum of effort and no software input, operates continuously, providing a valid communication link indication.
The BL118 boards are used in pairs, a master/initiator and a slave/responder. The relays are activated when the state of the input on one board changes and vice versa. Compatible with any Radiometrix BiM-pinout wireless module, the best power-versus-range performance is achieved using the VHF BiM1 module. With a 10mW BiM1-173.225-10 module fitted, the average current consumption is only 1mA (relay off), achieving an open-field range which exceeds 500m. This enables a two-year operating life from D cells with a continuous data link.
Each unit consists of a 76 x 62mm board, mounted radio module, output, input, and support circuits, LED indicators and the BL118 chip itself. System address is set via an eight-way DIP switch and an SMA/MCX connector is provided for the antenna. Both 5V and 12V versions are available, differing only in the relay type fitted.
Radiometrix recommends its BL118 boards for high-integrity wireless applications, including security and fire alarm systems, RF remote control systems, industrial controls and long range telecontrol with narrow band FM radios.