IIoTuesday – When does a wire become wireless?

Cities, industrial companies and network operators of all kinds typically have some long wires going through conduits or buried in the ground carrying simple control signals like on/off signals and current loops from a sensor to an indicator or controller.  These might be measuring water levels in a tank for flood protection or might be driving indicator lamps for automatic pump controllers.  The problem with burying these cables in the ground is that over time they are susceptible to water, rodents, etc. causing the reliability to suffer.   And if you want to move something or add a new location, the cost is prohibitive.

A new feature in cnReach called ‘Wire Replacement’ simplifies the replacement of these wires by leveraging the built-in general purpose IO capability.  With no need for any external RTU or PLC, cnReach can now send an analog or digital voltage or current ‘over the air’ to a remote radio.   So if a switch gets turned from off to on at point A on radio A, the signal light at point B on radio B can automatically turn from off to on as well – even if point A and point B are miles or kilometers apart from each other.  Similarly, if a pressure sensor input at point A goes from 4 mA to 12 ma, the output at point B can also go from 4mA to 12 mA.  This is all configured through a simple GUI directly on the cnReach radio or IO expander with no requirement for external hardware or software.

There are dozens of examples where this ability to send a voltage or current reading ‘over the air’ can be useful:  fire control panels, water pumping stations, flood control districts, security systems, etc. 

What are some applications you can think of that can take advantage of this new capability?

- Bruce

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