Remote monitoring??

Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
If you were setting up an off grid system in a remote location, how would you monitor remotely?? In Layman's terms! Lol

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It depends on what you have at the site. If you have an ISP at the site of the house, it quite easy with systems from Outback and Schneider. There are others also but these two are what I use because they are easy for the client and for me to walk them thru.

    Without an ISP there are cellular and landline methods but they are a little more effort and less information.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,155 ✭✭✭✭
    Also Satellite ISP, but the speeds are not good, ie almost non existent when everybody else is You Tubing or Net/flckin'
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    edited April 2017 #4
    Yeah this system is going to be at 10,000' in the Rockies.  No ISPs or landlines and cell signal is not the greatest. I know that limits me substantially.  Just trying to figure out my easiest option. I am fairly certain I am stuck with some sort of cell device.  I just do not even know where to start with that or what it's capabilities might be.  
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,155 ✭✭✭✭
    somehow you need to measure signal strength....  not familiar with the' how', I know the guy who set up our satellite had a device to read from and chose a good spot.....
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    I have a remote trail camera that measures signal. Dbm iirc.  I have enough signal for it to send me low resolution pictures and I have enough signal to get half of a phone call in. Lol. Would the amount data sent be more than say an image from a trail cam? 

    Would the device need a constant connection or would intermittent service be sufficient?

    I have a small window to work on all this.  Unfortunately I live 1,800 miles from the location.  Doesn't leave a lot of time for testing.  
  • HorseflyHorsefly Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭✭✭
    There are some vendors that provide point-to-point RF Internet for remote cabins in Colorado. My brother built a house in a pretty remote place, and the P2P RF was his only choice. It was a bit pricey, as I recall. I can find out more if you want.  The vendor supplied a small antenna that mounted on the roof and pointed it at their transceiver on a hilltop several miles away. He also supplied a receiver that then provided the Ethernet connection for the WiFi router in the house. 

    As I recall the connection remained pretty good even in heavy snow storms.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,155 ✭✭✭✭
    Digital Data, ie bits and bytes 'only' is a lot less demand than a picture... or sound.... 

    What does 1/2  a phone call look like???  :o
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,127 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Digital Data, ie bits and bytes 'only' is a lot less demand than a picture... or sound.... 

    What does 1/2  a phone call look like???  :o
    Like a politicians speech, omitting the important bits of information.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    Lol. Thanks for the help fellas!

    Horsefly, that sounds perfect!
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Also Satellite ISP, but the speeds are not good, ie almost non existent when everybody else is You Tubing or Net/flckin'
    That is what a few of my folks use, I forgot. Probably not a problem if people are not there using data/energy. You do need to make sure how the comms from Outback or Schneider will respond to the sat system going down. Not good if you have to reset the system from far away. One I remember caused the modem to reset and we had to get a different brand of modem. The pix is of an unattended home I monitor from Schneider. There is alot of information but all I look at is the highlighted on the bottom right. Did it charge yesterday and is it trying to charge today. Outback is very similar with their web portal.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    edited April 2017 #12
    Thanks Dave! 

    I have a Magnum inverter and Classic 200. 

    EDIT: IF (big IF) something had to be reset, it wouldn't be the end of the world.  I could pretty easily get a buddy up there in his snow cat. 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,119 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you have at least a weak (1-2 bars) cell signal, you may be able to get something usable with a cell booster system. I use a Wilson auto/cradle type on my boat, and a Uniden fixed type at the cabin with a yagi directional antenna up on a flagpole at the cabin.

    As well as the "bars" indicator, many phones have a way to report signal strength.

    One issue I ran into is with frequency band. Carriers may use higher frequency (eg 1900) band because higher frequency allows for higher data rates among other reasons. This works really well in densely populated areas where towers can also be dense and individual cells small. The problem is higher frequency doesn't propagate as well and is more prone to blockage by trees etc.

    In my case, the carrier defaults to 1900. Devices (phones and wi-fi hotspot) think they have a connection, but really don't have anything usable. I had to set up new profiles in the devices so they would only connect at lower frequency (850). Both frequencies are available in the cabin area, and by only using the lower one it usually works okay. In the city, the carrier only uses 1900, so I just switch connection profiles when I go from one area to the other.

    The cell booster will only work if you have at least some signal. It can't amplify a signal that isn't there.

    One alternate to satellite or fixed wireless if you have zero cell signal is single sideband. It's used on boats in very remote locations for email etc. No netpics on that, but could maybe be used for small data files in monitoring.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    edited April 2017 #14
    I actually do have a Wilson Cell booster in the cabin with a directional antenna on the roof.  I bought the most powerful unit I could buy 2 years ago.  It gets us just enough signal inside the cabin to be able to get a text out MOST of the time.  It also helps that we have cleared about 5 acres of huge fir trees so far. 

    Interesting to hear about the different frequencies. A lot of times, with the booster turned on, cell phones do show a couple bars but do not act like they have any connection at all and will struggle to send a text.    

    I would rather not have to buy another booster just for the solar shed. I have contacted a local internet company like Horsefly mentioned.  They actually put atennas up in the mountains and distribute WiFi, which is very very cool.  I had no idea.  They are looking into my location so we may have a great solution signal-wise. 

    I would still be totally clueless on components! I just imagine wires going all over the place and I start to twitch Lol

    Thanks everyone for the input. 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,119 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The two bars thing sounds exactly like what I was seeing with the 1900 connection.

    Wi-fi is typically done at even higher unlicenced frequencies, but that shouldn't matter if they're planning to put a hotspot fairly close to you (and you don't have others nearby with cordless phones or whatever to interfere. If I was building out a network like that I might use low frequency point to point licenced spectrum to backhaul wi-fi to fiber co-lo or whatever. I'm hoping to see something like that in my area. Currently they're only doing satellite backhaul here :-(
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭✭✭
     I remember my SSB on the boat. For Ham e-mail it was 300 baud. You could see the letters go by and read a boats e-mail if it was close... That was 1990's :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • AnawaAnawa Solar Expert Posts: 211 ✭✭✭
    If you have 1-2 bars on your cell, you may want to explore this option. 

    http://mofinetwork.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=189

    I use it with my ATT unlimited data cell service. Insert an iPad SIM card into the unit and setup your Wifi network. 
    Paul 
    in Georgia

    System 1: PV- 410w Evergreen, Mppt- Blue Sky Solar Boost, Batt - 225ah Deka AGM, 12v led house lighting,
    System 2: PV- 215w Kyocera, PWM - Morningstar PS30, Batt- 225ah Deka GC's, 12v led house lighting, Dankoff 12v water pump,
    System 3: PV- 1.5kw Kyocera, Grundfos 11 SQF well pump, 3000 gal above ground water storage, dom water & irrigation,
    System 4: PV- 6.1kw Kyocera, Mppt- Outback FM80-2ea, Inverter- Outback FX3648-2ea, Batt- 804ah GB traction, Grundfos BMQE booster pump 240v, Mitsibushi mini-splits 240v, 18k and 15k
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    Thank you for the heads up!
  • HorseflyHorsefly Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭✭✭
    @Anawa - Do you by any chance now how much power that device uses?
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,119 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The specs say 9-18vdc, so could be run without an inverter. I'd also be curious on the current use. I suppose it would depend a lot on wifi and wan traffic.

    I read a review claiming flaky firmware and a bad UI. I assume it works for Anawa.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • AnawaAnawa Solar Expert Posts: 211 ✭✭✭
    The Mofi router has worked for me for about year. I was very dissatisfied with Hughsnet for internet service (for a variety of issues with the cost per Gb of data primarily) and started looking for alternatives. Shortly after setting up the system, the cellular service was constantly being interrupted, I called tech support and they walked me through a firmware update. No problems since.

    I went online and looked over the Mofi site and noticed that they have additional electronics that were unavailable a year ago. One item is a 12v car adaptor for their router which may work for you "non-inverter" guys. 
    Paul 
    in Georgia

    System 1: PV- 410w Evergreen, Mppt- Blue Sky Solar Boost, Batt - 225ah Deka AGM, 12v led house lighting,
    System 2: PV- 215w Kyocera, PWM - Morningstar PS30, Batt- 225ah Deka GC's, 12v led house lighting, Dankoff 12v water pump,
    System 3: PV- 1.5kw Kyocera, Grundfos 11 SQF well pump, 3000 gal above ground water storage, dom water & irrigation,
    System 4: PV- 6.1kw Kyocera, Mppt- Outback FM80-2ea, Inverter- Outback FX3648-2ea, Batt- 804ah GB traction, Grundfos BMQE booster pump 240v, Mitsibushi mini-splits 240v, 18k and 15k
  • I_BoondockI_Boondock Registered Users Posts: 3
    For monitoring at my remote cabin I use a MagWeb. I have a Magnum MS4448PAE inverter, BMK,  AGS and an XW MPPT 60-150 charge controller. The Magweb has worked well for me for a little over 4 years now. 

    The Magweb comes configured to first ping the server, wait for a reply and then send the data. If you have poor connectivity, that can cause problems because the reply may not come back. It is possible to configure the unit to send data without waiting for a reply from the server. I had to go with that setup and it has worked without issue for me. Other than that change, it's plug and play if you have an "always on" internet connection, which leads to the communications:

    For communications I use a Surf SOHO router with a Sierra Momentum cellular modem connected to a 3G/4G Omni antenna. The modem is powered through the router and the router is powered by 12V DC, I don't leave the inverter on. All of the comm gear was purchased from the 3Gstore, including the antenna cable to get from the roof to the modem in the cabin.

    This setup has worked well and now that cellular service has improved in that area I've been able to added IP cameras for security and it's even possible to surf the internet on the Wifi provided by the Surf SOHO. 
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    The interenet company I talked to is called Mountain Broadband.  They have a plan for as low as $50 per month that I think will work for the limited data I need. Hopefully my cabin is in Range. I really do not want to have to rely on cellular. 

    Boondock I am glad you posted.  I will be using the MS4448PAE as well and the guy at NAWS told me about the Magweb. 

    If IP cameras are what I think they are, I would imagine they eat up some data?? 
  • I_BoondockI_Boondock Registered Users Posts: 3
    edited April 2017 #24
    "If IP cameras are what I think they are, I would imagine they eat up some data?? "


    I definitely don't want them streaming full time. :) I store the video local and send a few hi-res photos out for each event, in case the camera gets destroyed. Then download the video remotely if necessary. I have a $50/5GB per month plan through AT&T and generally stay under the data limit.

    As info, my MagWeb uses less than 1MB per day.
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭
    Wow, very cool! Thanks again for all the info!! 
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