In addition to the standard features, Local, in place of the GSM board used in Global, can utilise alternative expansion boards to cater for different communication protocols, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or for additional IO connections or extra sensors (see ‘Expansion Cards’ at the end of this section). The same external D connector (as Global) is available for 6 inputs/outputs (IO) that can be configured, typically for logging data, attaching external sensors or for switching on/off attached devices (actuation), such as a pump or lights. Local comes with default settings for the 6 IO’s, however, customers can change the configuration of these IOs to meet their specific requirements and so create a tailor-made solution. To utilise different expansion cards these can be discussed with Trak365 to meet your specific needs.
The Local motherboard and any attached slave board can also be wired directly into other machinery. One example for attaching external sensors would be for monitoring a number of conditions on machinery in a factory. Sensors, for example measuring vibration, heat, gas emissions, etc. can be attached to e.g. a milling machine where the data is used to establish a profile of ‘normal’ performance. These data can be used to establish high and low thresholds against which alerts can be set. This will provide proactive warning to those involved and, if relevant, can be used for example, to shut down a machine through actuation (the endpoint being connected to the power switch) to mitigate negative consequences. A second example is equipment in remote areas, such as at sub-stations, where there is power, but no or unreliable mobile reception. With LoRa’s long range and low power requirements, if there is no broadband connectivity at the sub-station, the LoRa Gateway can be located some distance away in a property with broadband for internet connectivity. The endpoints at the sub-station will still be able to communicate with the gateway. Again, monitoring of equipment can be undertaken, as well as using endpoints, with or without additional sensors, to enhance security of the site. Should anyone attempt to break in, alerts would immediately be sent to nominated people, also lights and/or other devices, such as CCTV could be switched on through actuation.
Local uses 2 x 1.5V alkaline cells (AA batteries) accessible from the separate battery compartment for ease of changing. A ‘battery low’ warning is provided to allow plenty of time to change the batteries. Local can also be powered through the mains and external batteries, such as a car battery, via the IO connector. When connected to external power, the internal circuitry prevents the internal batteries being used. However, should the external power fail, the internal batteries can then be used for back-up power.
The expansion card connector is multi-purpose so it can be used for other sensors or interface cards (such as RS485 or TCP/IP). The connector includes connections for power, UART, I2C, SPI and analogue IO.
The external D connector can be substituted for other types of connector or even a special purpose PCB serving as an additional expansion card.