Every day, we monitor and measure our environment even more than yesterday, then we use those measurements to try to build ourselves a better future. We aim to improve our health, our economy, the condition of our planet – nearly every aspect of our existence.
But utilising data effectively is more than just collecting and analysing it at random. We need a deep understanding of the data we obtain – what it means, and ultimately, what is the best way to use it. So it’s not helpful to gather all measurable data. Instead, we must fully define the overall system and be very selective if we want to get the best possible results with our measurement data.
With the huge range of sensors available, you can find at least one, often more, for just about every kind of measurement you can imagine. But the nature of the data points you collect is not the only issue to consider. Different sensors frequently offer a choice of installation methods, and operators must take into account environmental and safety requirements.
Here are some examples of sensors in use today:
- Temperature (and humidity) sensors
- Monitor the heat (and moisture) in a defined space (e.g. trailer compartments) or on solid surfaces.
- Motion sensors
- Sense movement with technologies such as passive infrared (PIR), microwaves or ultrasonics.
- Most often used in security systems, as well as automated systems such as doors, air conditioning, and heating.
- Level sensors
- Monitor the level of liquids or solids.
- Specific technology depends on what material is to be monitored.
- Pressure sensors
- Monitors weight or direct pressure.
- Proximity sensors
- Monitor objects that approach the sensor
- Utilise technologies such as:
- Electromagnetic induction for metal objects
- Capacitive sensing can detect and measure anything has a different dielectric constant to the air
- Photoelectric sensors transmit a beam of light that reflects back from nearby objects
- Ultrasonics bounces a high frequency sound signal from approaching objects
Aplicom devices offer a large selection of interfaces to cover the needs of different users. All devices include an internal acceleration sensor to monitor movement. Positioning is handled with internal GNSS. Input signals vary from digital (0 or 1) to analogue (voltage and current) and pulse counters.
There are several bus level interfaces available in Aplicom devices:
- RS232 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-232) – standard serial communication port widely used in communication between devices. In Aplicom devices, the serial port accommodates a very large selection of RS-232 sensors, including humidity, temperature, motion, pressure, level measurement and distance.
- RS485 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-485) – balanced serial communication bus supporting multipoint systems. Aplicom supports RS-485 sensor networks with a large array of different types of sensors.
- SAE J1939 CAN (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1939) – vehicle communication bus used for communication and diagnostics in vehicle components. Sensors that support SAE J1939 can be connected to the Aplicom CAN bus.
- K-line (ISO-9141) (https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:9141:-2:ed-1:v1:en) – a single-wire serial communication bus used on vehicles. It is a commonly used diagnostic connection between the Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) on the vehicle and the diagnostic equipment (scan tools and data loggers) and is based on the ISO9141 specification. The Aplicom tachograph receives real-time data (D8) with K-line. It includes information about driver status, vehicle condition, and many other variables.
- 1-wire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Wire) – device communication bus that provides data, signalling, and power over a single conductor. In Aplicom devices, 1-wire is used for identification purposes (iButton or RFID reader) and for temperature measurements, using up to 12 sensors.
- BLE (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_Low_Energy) – connectionless mode, where BLE sensors advertise their data to the Aplicom A11 device with a BLE option.
From the earliest stage of planning a project using sensors, be sure to check your Aplicom devices and their interfaces. This will help you to select the right devices for your specific needs. Then the project will run smoothly and you will be more effective and time efficient.
If you have any questions, Aplicom is always available to provide support. Just contact us at: email@example.com