Power Electronics / Power Management


Remote generator monitoring system

10 November 2010 Power Electronics / Power Management

Gentick Electronics, a company born out of the 2008 generator boom which resulted from Eskom’s load shedding during that period, has designed a new DIN-rail mounted generator monitoring unit.

Previously, Gentick produced hundreds of automated mains fail (AMF) changeover electric panels, and established its name in the generator management industry as a result of these products. The company now develops a wide range of electronic solutions to a broad market sector, and generator management is still a critical focus for the company. MonTICK was developed specifically to manage diesel generators.

MonTICK monitors fuel level, fail-to-start events as well as low battery voltage, and can then send SMS messages to 10 user programmable telephone numbers. The user can configure the inputs which will trigger SMS messages to defined recipient telephone numbers.

Says Michael Beukman, owner of Gentick Electronics, “With one generator an owner can manage fuel levels and general maintenance without any problem, but if your organisation has several units in the field, refuelling and maintenance can easily become a major headache. It is for this reason that we designed MonTICK – the unit can send failure-to-start events directly to a maintenance technician who has been allocated to the particular generator. Low fuel events can be sent to the person responsible for refuelling, and low battery can be sent to the electrician. In parallel, all events can be reported to a central server or computer, which will store the events in a CSV file. The system is simple and effective, without the use of overly complex user software. It is an easily understood and scalable system aimed at providing a practical solution for users with any number of generators in the field.”

Beukman goes on to add, “We chose the SIM900 GSM engine, supplied by Otto Wireless Solutions, for a number of reasons. Good local support, short product lead times, excellent pricing, friendly, prompt and accurate sales people, and also ICASA, Vodacom and MTN network approval; all of these considerations were critical to us at the time of making our product selection. Add to this the fact that the SIM900 solders directly onto our base board, eliminating the need for costly connectors, and the embedded TCP/IP stack on the device, and our selection was basically made for us.”

In addition to the SMS functionality, the TCP/IP stack on the SIM900 also provides Gentick with the possibility of having the MonTICK connect and report data to a centralised server via GPRS. MonTICK can be powered by any generator battery from 12 V to 30 V, as it utilises a special load dump protected switch mode power supply. There are six optical isolated digital inputs and two analog inputs. The unit also boasts two relay driver outputs, enabling the customer to use a suitable 12 V or 24 V external relay, as the specific application need may demand.

The modular design approach, housed in an industry standard DIN rail mount enclosure, makes it possible for Gentick to produce varying I/O options, tailored for specific market requirements, at short notice. The SIM900 GSM engine, power supply and microprocessor are fitted to the motherboard, whereas I/O conditioning, indication LEDs and reset features are all made available on an easily customisable daughter board. Communication is handled via RS232 or RS485, and these ports can also be used to monitor the status of the UPS units.

For more information contact Gentick Electronics, +27 (0)82 374 9842, Otto Wireless Solutions, +27 (0)11 791 1033, wireless@otto.co.za, www.otto.co.za





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