Wireless Remote Connectivity with Handheld Digital Multimeters
Work safety and productivity are the top priorities for technicians and engineers who are working in hazardous conditions or troubleshooting live machinery. Having a person to make an electrical measurement with a handheld digital multimeter in some areas in an industrial facility may be prohibited due to safety concerns. In some instances, more than one person is required to troubleshoot an operating machinery as the control panel and the equipment are in different locations. These are common issues that will impact a company’s ability to predict equipment failures leading to unplanned downtime and increased maintenance expenses.
With the advent of wireless device technologies, companies are starting to adopt cost-effective and dependable automation solutions at their workplace. A personal mobile device like a smartphone or tablet is now being widely adopted as a work tool to replace manual tasks that relied on human intervention. These devices offer reliable data transfer and storage, flexibility to customize solutions to suit applications and availability.
Agilent Technologies offers a solution that embraces these technologies with the introduction of a wireless connectivity link for remote monitoring and data logging with handheld digital multimeters. This Bluetooth enabled solution links up to three Agilent handheld digital multimeters to Android-based smartphones, tablets or Windows PC. The core of the connectivity is the U1177A, a compact Bluetooth wireless adapter that plugs into any of Agilent’s 11 handheld DMMs built-in infra-red (IR) port. Each Bluetooth adapter has a unique Media Access Control (MAC) address and a straightforward Bluetooth pairing with an Android device will turn the handheld digital multimeter into a networked instrument. With this connection, a handheld digital multimeter can now send information to a consumer network seamlessly to any designated point for remote measurement, control and reporting.
The software enabler of this solution is two Android apps, the Agilent Mobile Meter and Agilent Mobile Logger. The Mobile Meter app enables real-time interaction with the connected handheld digital multimeter on the screen of an Android-based smartphone or tablet. Users can now connect and monitor up to three handheld digital multimeters in three different locations and be at four places at the same time within the Bluetooth range of 10 meters. The app also allows sharing of the multimeter reading via email or social networking apps such as Facebook or Twitter. Multimeter serial number information, battery life indicator and identification function are also included in the app.
The second Android app, the Mobile Logger expands the three multimeter monitoring capability with a datalogger. Users can view real-time measurement on a trend graph or table format while saving the readings in the memory of the Android device. Logged data can then be shared via email as a comma- separated values (.csv) file for further data analysis. Upper and lower limits of a reading can also be configured to trigger alerts via email or SMS to a mobile phone. This capability expands the use of this solution beyond the 10m Bluetooth range. Users can now leave their multimeters to perform data logging over time, leave their work premises and be alerted only when an anomaly occurs.
Faster, safer way to work
Multitasking is now possible where the user can attend other problems while data logging is in progress to detect intermittent problems. These greatly enhance the efficiency and reduce time as well as cost. In hazardous environments, users can monitor multimeter readings from a safe distance. The risk of human error in manually taking down measurements on a piece of paper and walking back and forth from one measurement location to another is now a thing in the past. With the open-sourced Android platform, customized apps to suit application and reporting needs can easily be developed in the future. The possibilities are endless and the potential savings in maintenance and operating costs to companies are immensely hard to ignore.
About the Author:
Edwin currently serves as the market development manager for the Basic Instruments Division in the Americas. David is responsible for strategic marketing activities in this region, and is based out of Santa Clara, California. In Agilent, Edwin was responsible for worldwide product marketing before assuming the regional market development role in the Americas. Prior to joining Agilent, Edwin was responsible for product management in Intel Corporation. Edwin graduated with a degree in Electronics Engineering majoring in Computers.
Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor
March 12, 2012