Here are some questions we often get asked. If your question isn’t here, please send us a message.
What do I do when I receive my sensor(s) and gateway(s) for the first time?
The first time you receive your sensor(s) and gateway(s), you will also recieve an email from us with your login details. In the top right corner of our site you will see ‘Portal Login’. Clicking on this will take you to a login page. Once entered you will see that your sensor(s) and gateway(s) have been added to your account.
When first turning on your sensor(s) and gateway(s) you must first turn on the gateway(s) and allow them to connect. Allow 2-3 mins for this. Only then should you put in the batteries to the sensor(s). Once batteries are installed allow 2-3 mins for the sensor(s) to communicate to the gateway(s).
Any questions regarding the above please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
What is IoT?
IoT, the Internet of Things, is a system of interrelated devices that work a communicate with each other to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
What is the Wireless Range from the Sensor to the Gateway?
All Sense IoT wireless sensors communicate via RF (radio frequency) which gives the sensors capability to have up to 350m+ NLOS (non-line-of-site) range.
Selecting the Right Radio Frequency For Your Wireless Sensor Network
When selecting a wireless sensor network there are few things you should consider to ensure that you are selecting the right frequency for your specific needs.
Radio Strength Over Distance
When a radio transmits a signal, that signal gradually loses strength over time and distance. When the transmitter and receivers are too far apart, the receiver can not “hear” the signal.
Obstructions to Radio Signal
Something to consider when selectiong a wireless sensor network frequency is the environment where it will be used.
Radio Frequency Congestion
An advantage of the 433MHz frequency is that it is not nearly as crowded as higher frequency bands. Blue Tooth devices, standard WiFi networks, Zigbee and other 802.15.4 devices all share the 2.4GHz frequency band creating radio interference. Most consumer electronics on the market today, run in the 2.4GHz band, making it the most crowded band in the market.
How does the 24/7 monitoring work?
Once our sensors are installed and connected to your gateway, the will immediately begin collecting data and monitoring the performance of your equipment. This information is then relayed back to the gateway and automatically uploaded to the Sense IoT Cloud server. From here, you can comfortably monitor your equipment via your customer portal from your desktop, laptop and mobile.
What are NEMA Ratings?
NEMA ratings are standards that are useful in defining the types of environments in which an electrical enclosure can be used. The NEMA rating system is defined by the National Electrical Manufacturer Association, and frequently signifies a fixed enclosure’s ability to withstand certain environmental conditions.
To download a NEMA Ratings Chart click the link: NEMA Ratings Chart
What is the cloud-based server?
The Sense IoT cloud server is a logical server built, hosted and delivered through a cloud computing platform over the internet. Unlike normal physical servers, cloud servers can be accessed remotely at anytime.
How do I access the portal on my mobile?
You can access the portal on your mobile app—you can download the Sense IoT app from the iTunes and Google Play Store.
What do I need to have in my possession to run a Sense IoT wireless sensor network (WSN)?
To run a Sense IoT wireless sensor network, you will need a Sense IoT wireless gateway and any Sense IoT wireless sensor(s) that are needed for your application.
If using a Sense IoT USB wireless gateway, you will need to have a Windows PC with Internet access to transmit the sensor data to the online sensor monitoring system.
Should I expect interference from other wireless networks (Wi-Fi, walkie talkies, cordless phones, cellular phones, radios, etc.) operating in the vicinity of my Sense IoT wireless sensor network (WSN)?
No. Sense IoT wireless sensors currently operate in the 433Mhz ISM band. Most wireless sensors today operate in the crowded, 2.4Ghz space where cell phone, WiFi networks, wireless telephones, and many wireless accessories for networks and PCs operate.
Do the gateways look for a clear RF channel when it is powered up? Can it switch channels if noise or interference is high?
During testing of sensor networks prior to shipping of the product, the networks are formed and the gateways choose a channel to transmit on. When you receive the product, that channel stays constant until reset by the user.
If you want to have the gateway search for the most clear channel in your environment, you will need to follow these steps:
USB Wireless Gateways
1. Start the Sense IoT gateway software.
2. Insert the USB dongle and wait for the network to go active.
3. Select “Reset/ Reform Network” within the gateway software and wait for 30 seconds.
4. When network has reformed, begin putting the batteries in the sensors.
Ethernet and Cellular Wireless Gateways
1. Launch a browser and log into your Sense IoT portal.
2. Click the “View Gateways” link.
3. Click into the row where the gateway is to drop down the gateway details.
4. For Ethernet: Click the “Edit tab”, then the “Commands” tab and click the “Reform” link.
5. For Cellular: Click the “Edit” tab, then click the “Reform” link.
Your sensor network is now operating on the most-friendly RF channel available in your area.
What are the voltage input requirements for the RF wireless sensor circuit boards?
Sense IoT RF wireless sensors require 2.0 – 3.6 VDC max.
What is the power draw of a wireless sensor?
In sleep mode the sensor consumes .5µ Amps and during transmit the sensor consumes 35 mA.
What happens to my wireless sensor network if using a USB wireless gateway and the host computer goes into sleep mode or is powered off for some reason?
If the USB wireless gateway is unable to receive transmissions from the sensors due to the PC being off or asleep, the sensors will continue to try and link with the gateway (two times by default). If it is unable to link to the gateway it will enter “link mode” where it will search for another nearby gateway. If no gateway is found, the sensor enters “power save” mode, and will sleep for two hours before entering link mode again, and search for a gateway. This process will continue until the sensors find a gateway to communicate with.
Note: While the gateway is off, no data is being collected and no notifications can be transmitted.
Does the USB Wireless Gateway need to be plugged directly into the computer, or can I plug it into a USB port expander?
If you are using an unpowered USB port expander/hub, the Sense IoT USB Gateway will not operate properly. To ensure best performance of the Sense IoT Sensor Network, plug the USB gateway into a powered port expander, or better yet is to plug the USB gateway directly into a USB port on your computer.
What are the size of the data packets being transmitted by the sensors to the gateway?
The application data is 18 bytes in length and the total TX packet size is 40 bytes.
How do I mount the wireless sensors for my particular application?
Sense IoT have provided a number of mounting options for the sensor technology. In the deployment kits we have included screws and double-sided tape. These options should allow you to mount the hardware to almost any type of material.
My temperature sensor is giving me a reading of -999.9C, what does this mean?
A reading of -999.9 signifies that the thermistor wires have broken or the battery has not been fully inserted causing a short between the thermistor leads on the sensor board. If this happens; try removing the battery, wait 60 seconds then re-insert the battery making sure to push the battery all the way to the back of the sensor housing. When the sensor comes back online check the reading to see if it has been corrected. If the problem persists you will need to contact Sense IoT support on 03 8640 0123 for more information.
How do my wireless sensors connect to the monitoring software on the internet?
Each Sense IoT wireless sensor comes ready to connect to a Sense IoT Wireless Gateway.
If using a USB gateway, make sure that the USB driver has been installed and the Sense IoT gateway software is installed and running, then simply insert the USB gateway into the PC. Once the gateway establishes a connection with the Sense IoT online wireless sensor monitoring system and communicates with the servers, simply insert the batteries into their holder on each sensor. The sensor will power up and connect to the wireless gateway and communicate with the Sense IoT portal, assigning each sensor its own unique id number.
Will a wireless sensor notify me when I need to change the battery?
Each time the sensor transmits data to the online sensor monitoring system, it reports the battery power as well. Notifications can be set to alert you by email or text message, when a sensor’s battery is about to expire.
Do Sense IoT gateways support HTTP proxies?
The Ethernet Gateways won’t be affected by many of the HTTP proxies, but if they are affected, they will need to be whitelisted. If a proxy works at the socket level, it will have to be whitelisted.
What is the best way to mount a Liquid Level Sensor?
The liquid level tape/ribbon performs best when it is straight and not allowed to bend. To achieve this, mount the tape along the wall of the tank by securing it with an appropriate adhesive or tape. If this is not possible, the next best practice is to attach a mild amount of weight (around 100g, less than 400g) to the bottom of the tape so that when it is immersed in the liquid, the tape does not float. Depending on the liquid, the tape may bend a little due to the surface tension of the liquid. It will not float outright, but without being weighted at the end, it may not hang straight.
This sensor may also be used to monitor the level of other solid substances such as: grain, sand, powdered substances, gravel, pellets, etc.
How do I make changes to the wireless sensor parameters?
When you are logged into the online monitoring system, you can make changes to a wireless sensor’s configuration settings by clicking on the sensor information bar on the overview page. The row will expand to show the sensor’s detailed information. Click on the “Edit” tab to access the sensor’s configuration information.
Why can't I edit my sensor settings?
Because sensors are battery powered it is critical that customers leave the radio inactive between transmissions to conserve power. A CR2032 battery that can last multiple years transmits a signal every hour or two, thereby conserving power and in return preserves battery life. (Sense IoT recommend heartbeat is not more than once every hour.)
If transmissions from the sensor are increased and left listening for continual communication, the battery life is impacted harshly (maximum battery life could be as little as approx. 2 hours). This forces Sense IoT portal to pass sensor updates to the sensor only after the sensor has turned on its radio and listens for an acknowledgment. During the acknowledgment, Sense IoT can notify the sensor that the database (DB) has a configuration update and from there the network can communicate the update to the sensor. At this point the sensor acknowledges the configuration update and Sense IoT marks the transaction complete (removing the pending transaction flag).
Similar to the sensors, Sense IoT can’t instantly initiate communication to the gateway. The reason is many firewalls and security measures keep intruders from accessing the customer’s network. Out of the box the gateway is configured to communicate with the Sense IoT portal once every five minutes. (It uses the same communication protocol as your web browser does while communicating to your bank.)
Because of the five minute heartbeat of the gateway there is a lag (delay time) between the time the user saves the configuration settings on Sense IoT’s server and the time the gateway checks in to receive the updates. Only after the gateway has acknowledged the updates the sensor checks in and receives them.
During pending transactions it is impossible for Sense IoT to know which stage of the process the configuration is in. For example, if a user has set a configuration change to set the sensor’s new heartbeat to 30 minutes, the gateway received the request while the sensor still hasn’t.
There are certainly other network stability cases such as if Sense IoT modified the configuration to a 3 hour heartbeat to conserve battery life, the following could occur to cause network instability.
The 3 hour change is observed in the portal, from here the gateway is ready to talk to the sensor and inform it that the heartbeat should be 30 minutes now. When the sensor checks in and receives the configuration change it will receive the 30-minute heartbeat rather than the 3-hour heartbeat. If the sensor was to communicate up to the server that it has successfully updated its configuration, Sense IoT must assume it has been updated to 3 hours and marks the transaction as complete. This is the reason Sense IoT marks transactions that require communication with the sensor as “Pending”.
To be able to update sensor configurations the user needs to make sure the sensor is communicating well to the portal and wait until the pending configuration completes.
How do I turn OFF/ON email and text notifications for my sensor network?
Sense IoT has a global feature so you can stop notifications from sending emails and text messages to your devices. To turn this feature on and off, do the following:
1. Login to your account.
2. Once logged in, from the top pull-down menu, find and select “My Account”.
3. On the left-hand side, find “Sensor Networks” and select the edit pencil next to the network for which you would like to the notifications turned off.
4. The second feature down is titled “Send notifications for this Network”.
5. If notifications are being sent, deselect the check box. If notifications are NOT being sent, select the check box.
6. Click “Save”.
How do I get my sensors to stop sending alerts to my email or phone when they are inactive?
To deactivate a single notification, log into your Sense IoT account and do the following:
1. Click on “Notifications” from the main menu.
2. Find the Notification you would like to deactivate click the green on/off switch to “No”.
3. To reactivate a notification, slide the same indicator so that it says “Yes”.
To deactivate notifications for entire sensor network, do the following:
1. Click on “Manage” from the main menu.
2. Click on “Edit Network Details” under the sensor networks information section.
3. Uncheck the box for “Send notifications for this network”.
(Check the box to reactivate all notifications for the network.)
4. Click “Save”.
If you have additional questions regarding this feature, please email us at email@example.com
Why do I see two messages of the same type in a row from one of my sensors?
One of the strengths of the Sense IoT protocol is that the sensors can both transmit and receive. After a sensor transmits its data it waits to hear an acknowledgement back from the gateway that the sensor data was received. If the sensor does not hear back from the gateway in a certain period of time it will retransmit the data. By default the sensor will resend up to three times if needed before it goes back to sleep.
The most likely cause of the duplicate data is that the sensor sent the data and the gateway received it, but when the gateway sent the acknowledgment back to the sensor, the packet was lost. The sensor resent the data to the gateway, then the second acknowledgement made it to the sensor and the sensor went back to sleep (Turned off its radio).
There are several reasons that packets can be lost. The most common are weak signal strength or another sensor (or other equipment in the 433Mhz range) transmitting at the same time as the wireless gateway.
What happens to the data from my wireless sensor network if the power to my Wireless Gateway is off or disrupted?
While the gateway is off, no data is being collected and no notifications can be transmitted by the sensor. In short, the data is being discarded by the sensor.
If the wireless gateway is unable to connect to the Internet, a limited amount of sensor data is stored on the gateway, and transmitted when Internet communications is re-established.
Can I export sensor data from your database to my own application?
Yes, you can! An API exists which allows you to make calls from our DB by your application. You can access the API via your portal.
In addition to the API, you can have Sense IoT push the sensor readings from the portal to your database with our external configuration tool. This tool allows you to pass data from your wireless sensor network devices to another service in real time. This is done by coding the data into a URL query, then sending the data via HTTP get request at the time data is received. There is an extensive list of parameters that can be passed, allowing you to send detailed information about both the data and the sensor.
What does the "x" mean next to my sensor in the portal?
The “x” next to a sensor in the software, signifies that changes have been made to the sensor’s configuration and they are queued to be sent to the sensor hardware on next heartbeat. Once a sensor checks-in, the “x” should disappear signifying that the sensor has received the configuration changes. Note: when a sensor has pending configuration changes, you will have to wait until the sensor updates before additional changes can be made.
What happens if I push "Reset/Reform Network" in the Sense IoT Gateway Application?
Pressing the “Reset or Reform Network” button in the Sense IoT Gateway application will release the USB Gateway’s wireless channel and re-scan for the clearest available wireless channel. On each sensor’s next heartbeat, it will enter link mode and rescan to find the Gateway. It is recommended to reset your network if any of your sensors are have problems checking in regularly.
How secure are the communications on the wireless network?
Sense IoT uses the same encryption methods used by websites to transmit financial data. Secure socket layer (SSL) protocol is employed with 256-bit data encryption making data hosted on your network secure.
What software do I need to install for a wireless sensor network using a USB wireless gateway?
In order to use a Sense IoT Wireless Sensor network you will need to download and install the USB drivers from Sense IoT’s website via the Gateway tab and the Sense IoT gateway software which will allow your sensors to communicate with the online system. No additional software or drivers are required.
Is it possible to control a remote device using Sense IoT wireless sensors?
Sense IoT Wireless Sensors can communicate with a 30amp control, which allows the switching of something up to 30 amps.
In order to get the best performance out of your Wireless Sensors, it is important to note proper antenna orientation and sensor positioning. Antennas should all be oriented in the same direction, pointing vertically from the sensor.
If the sensor is mounted flat on its back on a horizontal surface, you should bend the antenna as close to the sensor housing as possible giving you the most amount of antenna pointing vertical. You should make the antenna wire as straight as possible, avoiding any kinks and curving of the wire.
Please click here to find out more: Antenna Placement
Will I need to buy or replace the batteries for my wireless sensors?
Batteries are included with the purchase of every wireless sensor that ships from Sense IoT. Under normal operating conditions a sensor in your standard Sense IoT wireless sensor network (WSN) will last for 3,000 transmissions (2-4 years with a 1+ hour heartbeat).
What are some environmental attributes that may affect RF range of sensors?
Wireless sensors transmit their data using wireless radios, and as such are subject to the same environmental limitations found in all wireless communications. Elements that effect radio transmission are severe inclement weather, trees, heavily constructed walls (cement, cinder block), sheet metal, wall board, wood, tile, buildings, vehicles, etc. Unless you have direct line of sight, every obstruction impedes wireless transmissions, even the human body.
In short, there are four factors to keep in mind for the health of your wireless sensor network and maintaining its peak performance:
• distance from sensor-to-sensor and the wireless gateway
• power output of the radio
• data rate transmission
• frequency of the radio link
How much will I be charged for text message notifications?
You will not be charged by Sense IoT for text messages issued by the Sense IoT Sensor Network. The text messages you receive from us are routed through your cellular provider. Thus, any text message notifications you’ve set-up to receive from Sense IoT’s notification service are covered under your text message plan through your provider. If you do not subscribe to a text plan through your cellular carrier, you will be charged their standard rate for receiving a text message.
Why is there a delay in my sensor notifications?
Having a delay in notifications is not typical however there are some things that can cause this. Both Email notifications and SMS (text) notifications are sent over SMTP. Our SMTP relay server is configured to ensure timely delivery of your notifications.
If the receiving server (your mobile phone company in the case or your SMS (text) notifications) is too busy or down for maintenance, etc. The SMTP Relay will try to re-send the message again, several times within the first hour. Then it will attempt to deliver every 4 hours until the receiving server is ready to receive for up to two days. After two days it is assumed the notification must have a bad address and it is discarded.
How does the wireless sensor network send notifications?
The Sense IoT online wireless sensor monitoring system notifies the designated contacts(s) via SMS (text message) or e-mail.
During the set-up process through your online portal, the administrator can program in cell phone numbers and e-mails of the individuals requiring notification, establishing the contact criteria for each of the above methods of communication.
What is Link Mode?
When the batteries are inserted into the sensor it tries all the available channels looking for a gateway this is called “Link Mode”. It starts on the first channel and sends a message “I’m number 12345 can I talk to you”. If it doesn’t hear anything back it assumes there is not a gateway on that channel and tries the second channel. After it has tried all the channels and determines that there is no available gateway it stops sending messages for two hours. Each scan cycle takes about 30 seconds but uses over a day’s worth of battery, so if it just continued to scan continually when the gateway wasn’t powered on it would burn out its battery very quickly. After two hours it starts the process over again starting at the first channel. Similarly if for instance the sensor was talking to the gateway on channel 15, but has multiple failed transmissions, (2 heartbeats that each have a report plus two retries, 6 missed communications in a row) it assumes the gateway it was communicating with is no longer available and enters the same “Link Mode”.
The reason this is important is because if the battery is put in the sensor before the gateway is active and ready to listen for the sensor than the sensor will miss the gateway and not scan again for it for two hours. In order to get the sensor to scan again more quickly you must remove the batteries for 60 seconds allowing the processor to completely un-power, then put the batteries back in allowing it to start scanning right away. If the batteries are only out for a few seconds the processor is still running off of capacitance on the board and doesn’t “re-boot” when the batteries are put back in.
In order to have the best start up experience make sure the gateway is powered on and active, then put the batteries in you sensors so they can boot up and scan to find the gateway. If the batteries are in the sensors before the gateway has gone active, then it will take two hours for them to join the network and start reporting temperature.