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'[EE] Wireless Sensors'
2005\06\01@182938 by Bradley Ferguson

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This is more of a marketing (ugh) question as opposed to technical...

There is so much talk about wireless sensors in the industry
publications, but I don't know anyone who knows anyone who uses these.

There are quite a few companies (start-ups, most likely) that are
offering different transceiver options that do routing and mesh
networking and all sorts of fancy stuff or just simple point-to-point.
The DOD is looking for "smart dust" to be deployed in war zones.
Berkeley has their (open-source, I believe) "motes" with custom
software that is being marketed and developed in parallel by another
company (Crossbow Technologies).

Does anyone on the list have any knowledge or experience of these
things leaving the theoretical domain to be used in somewhat large
scale?

I'm thinking along the lines of building automation where the danger
of having wireless sensors unavailable due to interference isn't a
real big deal and people might be interested in the technology to
reduce installation costs.  The use of wireless sensors in laboratory
settings seems more of a gimmick than something with very much
practical use in the near future; although, I expect that will change
in time.

For example, Kele has some stuff on their website:
http://www.kele.com/cgi-bin/navigate.cgi?section=Network%20and%20Wireless

I would also suppose that oil well operations might be leaning towards
wireless due to scale of the plants and the harsh conditions that
sensor cables might otherwise have to contend with.

Any thoughts on these matters or parallel matters?

Thanks
Bradley

2005\06\01@191249 by D. Jay Newman

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face
> This is more of a marketing (ugh) question as opposed to technical...
>
> There is so much talk about wireless sensors in the industry
> publications, but I don't know anyone who knows anyone who uses these.

I don't know about wireless sensors, but I thought the same way about
wireless computer networking a few years ago.

> Any thoughts on these matters or parallel matters?

Well, I can think of a few places where wireless sensors would
make sense:

1. Retrofitting sensors into an existing building without having to
  rewire the place.

2. Anyplace where you need to move sensors around very often.
--
D. Jay Newman           ! Polititions and civilations come and
spam_OUTjayTakeThisOuTspamsprucegrove.com     ! go but the engineers and machinists
http://enerd.ws/robots/ ! make progress

2005\06\01@191608 by Richard Prosser

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Look at ZigBee (http://www.zigbee.org ?)
Chips Maunufactured by Freescale, Atmel, Chipcon & a few others.
Microchip support for the Chipcon version using an 18 series micro.

RP

On 02/06/05, Bradley Ferguson <.....bradleyeeKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2005\06\01@205314 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
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In the industrial automation sector, cabling is one of the
large portion of the cost. Therefore comes the idea of fieldbus.
Instead of one to one cable connection (each sensor to PLC/DCS),
you will have multi-sensors connected to a bus (eg. ASi bus --
actuator sensor interface), then through a gateway (eg: ASi
to Profibus gateway), all the sensors are connected to the
PLC/DCS.

Now comes the wireless, you cut the last "mile" of cable from
the system. The problem with Zigbee is still the with current
consumption and cost. Adding 10s of mA to a sensor which only
consume less than 100mA is a lot. Adding US$5 to a US$25 sensor
is as well quite a lot. The space is another issue even though
PCB antenna is getting smaller. Another obstacle is that this
sector is quite conservative. The PLC/DCS makers control the
market (Siemens, ABB, Honeywell, Rockwell, Invensys, Yokagawa,
Omron, AB, etc).

Chipcon seems to be the leader now. Parts from Freescale are
now very expensive.

Regards,
Xiaofan

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Prosser [rhprosserspamKILLspamgmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 7:16 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Wireless Sensors


Look at ZigBee (http://www.zigbee.org ?)
Chips Maunufactured by Freescale, Atmel, Chipcon & a few others.
Microchip support for the Chipcon version using an 18 series micro.

RP

2005\06\01@212753 by rosoftwarecontrol
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face

remote sensing/managing, is SCADA system. very expensive
and powerful.

with SCADA sit there in high price, every one have to be
expensive.




----- Original Message -----
From: "Chen Xiao Fan" <.....xiaofanKILLspamspam.....sg.pepperl-fuchs.com>
To: "'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'" <EraseMEpiclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 8:53 PM
Subject: RE: [EE] Wireless Sensors


{Quote hidden}

> --

2005\06\01@213250 by Richard Prosser

picon face
yes -we have a case where installation cost is equal to hardware cost.
By going to radio we could knock this back to less than 20%!.
The current consumption issue can be reduced by putting things to
sleep for a while - depending on application.

The Nordic chips also seem to be a good compromise between performance
& cost, but are a single sourced solutiion, as opposed to ZigBee,
which is at least "supposed" to conform to a standard.

RP



On 02/06/05, Chen Xiao Fan <@spam@xiaofanKILLspamspamsg.pepperl-fuchs.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2005\06\02@060132 by nick weldin

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This company are part of Siemans and are developing battery free
radio transmitters.

http://www.enocean.de/indexe.html

I haven't used them though so don't know how well the real world
performance relates to the publicity.
Cheers

Nick Weldin

>The PLC/DCS makers control the
>  > market (Siemens, ABB, Honeywell, Rockwell, Invensys, Yokagawa,
>  > Omron, AB, etc).
>>

2005\06\02@093310 by jrem

picon face
> In the industrial automation sector, cabling is one of the
> large portion of the cost.

Cost of installation, not operation and total cost over the life-span
of the installation cabling cost can be insignificant.  


> Therefore comes the idea of fieldbus.

Any bus is a nice idea, but you also need to identify determinism.  EU
Class 4 industrial automation requires deterministic control which
pretty much eliminates "fly-by-wire" for safety controls, unless you
look at some pretty high-end solutions, which negate the cost of
running several 110 or 24 volt wires.

> consumption and cost. Adding 10s of mA to a sensor which only
> consume less than 100mA is a lot. Adding US$5 to a US$25 sensor
> is as well quite a lot. The space is another issue even though

Adding $5 to the cost of a $20k+ industrial project is nothing if it
eliminates service problems and increases the uptime of the equipement.






               
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2005\06\02@131107 by Bradley Ferguson

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On 6/1/05, D. Jay Newman <KILLspamjayKILLspamspamsprucegrove.com> wrote:
> > This is more of a marketing (ugh) question as opposed to technical...
> >
> > There is so much talk about wireless sensors in the industry
> > publications, but I don't know anyone who knows anyone who uses these.
>
> I don't know about wireless sensors, but I thought the same way about
> wireless computer networking a few years ago.

I think from this comment stems the root of the issue with wireless in
industrial settings.  Wireless networking is successful (as far as I
can see) as a consumer product.  Coffee shops, et al. offer wireless
as a value-added product.  Lay-people use wireless because they don't
want to string wires around.  The increase in the use of laptops as
they've improved has helped wireless networking.

Wireless sensors, on the other hand, are more the domain of the
professional engineer, who, if they are good, should not automatically
specify the newest glitzy technology.  They will first look to use
what actually works and then they will try to improve it.  Wireless
has to offer a lot to get them to move away from the reliability of
wires.  This well-founded trust in the technology doesn't come into
play in the consumer market.

I don't think wireless sensors are going to have the same growth curve
as wireless networking because of this.  The question is, then, what's
going to spur adoption?

> > Any thoughts on these matters or parallel matters?
>
> Well, I can think of a few places where wireless sensors would
> make sense:
>
> 1. Retrofitting sensors into an existing building without having to
>    rewire the place.
>
> 2. Anyplace where you need to move sensors around very often.

Yes, this seems to be what the limited market is.  You don't have to
drill holes in finished walls.  I can't really think of moving sensors
very much except on very large machines or rotating machinery.  Both
these seems like such limited markets, that they won't be able to spur
a real boom.

> D. Jay Newman           ! Polititions and civilations come and
> RemoveMEjayTakeThisOuTspamsprucegrove.com     ! go but the engineers and machinists
> http://enerd.ws/robots/ ! make progress

Politicians...  Looked weird, I had to look it up.

Thanks
Bradley

2005\06\02@140542 by Bradley Ferguson

picon face
On 6/1/05, Richard Prosser <spamBeGonerhprosserspamBeGonespamgmail.com> wrote:
> Look at ZigBee (http://www.zigbee.org ?)
> Chips Maunufactured by Freescale, Atmel, Chipcon & a few others.
> Microchip support for the Chipcon version using an 18 series micro.

That's part of the reason I bring this up.  It seems every industry
magazine I receive has ZigBee somewhere on the cover.  I've not found
any real (not vaporware) products that are actually being installed
yet.  As another poster mentioned the industry is very conservative
and I'm wondering where the inroads are (if there are any) and where
this technology is /really/ going.

I had forgotten that Microchip has a ZigBee demonstration board.  I
might buy a couple of those.

Bradley

2005\06\02@214220 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Adding $5 to the cost of a $20k+ industrial project is nothing.
And most of the industrial project is above $100k or even
$1m or higher. But the problem is that the project's main
electrical contractor does not provide all sensors. The
subcontractors provide the sensors and sell them at $25.
They are the one who need to consider the $5.

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

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