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Telemetry Applications

Photo of river level monitoring telemetry equipment.
River flow/level monitoring -
one of many telemetry applications

Literally "measurement at a distance", telemetry is used for monitoring environmental conditions or system and equipment status at remote locations. Examples of environmental monitoring include weather, river flow rates and water levels, seismic activity, pollution levels, and traffic/road condition monitoring. Typical system monitoring and equipment status applications include pipelines, electric power transmission lines, water and wastewater treatment plants. Any time you need to measure something located in an inconvenient, inhospitable, or moving location, on a continuous or periodic basis, you have a good application for telemetry.

Kantronics offers a several products addressing the needs of telemetry applications. Our Talon UDC Data Radios combine a radio modem and transmitter in a self-contained, compact package. All you have to add are power and an antenna. These data radios are available with built-in analog and digital inputs and outputs, further minimizing external cabling and equipment. These data radios are available for VHF or UHF Land Mobile Radio bands. For telemetry applications requiring location, velocity, or extremely accurate time information along with the sensor data, these data radios are available with a built-in GPS module. For applications where the data to be monitored is already in serial form, the Talon offers a serial port.

Screen capture of the Talon Telemetry Demo program
Screen shot of the Talon Telemetry Demo program

Kantronics provides a user-configurable sample telemetry application free for use with our Talon data radios. You can download a copy (ZIP, 353k) to get a glimpse of what is possible. The program requires Microsoft .Net framework to run. See the readme.txt file in the .zip file. While you obviously won't see live data unless you have a Talon data radio, you can configure the sites and displays without the radios.

If you need to operate in other radio bands, or dual-band configurations as part of a network, or simply wish to re-utilize existing radio equipment, consider our commercial radio modem/TNC products. These include the KWM-1200+ single-port, low-speed modem, and the KWM-9612+ dual port, high speed modem. Both modems include built-in A/D and serial inputs.

All of these products are designed to meet the needs of telemetry applications. They offer high reliability, operate well even in rugged environments, and require low power. They are just as well suited to remote or mobile application as to urban, fixed location use.

Compare the Kantronics-based solutions to the disadvantages of the following alternatives in today's marketplace:

  • Land lines
    These incur monthly costs (frequently increasing with physical distance), and are not an option in remote or mobile locations. They are also more susceptible to outages requiring repair, due to their physical link (vulnerable to induced surges and cable cuts).
  • Cell-phone based systems
    While cellular companies are increasingly offering data options, they come with high recurring monthly costs, limited coverage areas, and spottier reliability. Data needs are being addressed as an afterthought, with corresponding problems such as difficult and non-standard cabling to user data acquisition equipment, little provision for external antennas to address poor site-line to the cell network, and lack of control over device power. (Some equipment specifically sold as cellular modems has no way to turn the unit on or off except via the handset, making power management difficult!) In addtion, most cellular equipment is not designed for harsh environmental conditions.
  • Satellite-based systems
    While satellite-based systems can offer excellent coverage area, it comes at high initial and ongoing costs. It also comes with high power consumption and equipment environment constraints. Satellite communications is also subject to rain fade (loss of signal during rain between the ground station and satellite), and signal delay due to the increased distance the signal must travel.

 

Kantronics  •  14830 West 117th Street  •  Olathe, Kansas 66062
Phone (913) 839-1470  •  Fax (913) 839-8231  • 
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