Particle.io based Industrial IoT Controller


#1

Hi Particle.io Community,

This is my first post and I want to start it with giving a short introduction to my self. My name is Simon and I am working as the head of r&d department for a Germany based industrial company.

I grew up with using computers and at the age of eight I found a book about Assembler in the company of my father. Since then I am addicted to code.

I have been working a lot with resin.io in the past month but two weeks ago I stumbled (not really I just forgot about particle.io) over Particle.io (again).

It was quite amazing to see how far you guys have come since the last time I read about Particle (or Spark I guess). What fascinates me a lot is the fact that you guys care about product making and offer a complete ecosystem.

In germany the industry currently is experiencing a change in technology. We sum this into the word “Industrie 4.0”. And a few days ago a good friend and I decided to build an industrial product based on Particle.io

Here are some details about it:

  • Will be based on Particle.io Photon or Electron (as a plug-in module).
  • External Hardware components allow integration into industrial products.
  • 24V (up to 30V) Power Supply
  • 2x Analog Input (0-10V) / 4x Digital Input (24V) (both isolated)
  • 6x Digital Output via Relays (up to 230V AC / 6A)
  • Connector for UART
  • The whole controller will be wrapped in a din-rail enclosure and feature a self made top.
  • RGB-LED and Buttons will be integrated into the enclosure
  • Price Tag of about 100$ - 150$

We have some larger version planned but we’ll keep that for future at first since we want to see how the market reacts on such a controller. Reason we believe in this is since we are experiencing a strong need of such a controller in our own companies.

Since you guys know Particle.io I don’t have to explain what using Photon or Electron adds up to such kind of controller. When working with existing controllers we cannot find any that offers OTA Update or that can be used with Arduino like language.

So at this early stage I just wanted to share this Idea (that has already turned into a project) with you to get some feedback / Advices, etc. Please feel free to comment, share, etc. Feedback is greatly appreciated!

Oh and before I forget. We were thinking of using Kickstarter to ramp up volumes so that we reach a lower end-price. So I will keep updates coming from time to time to let you guys know how the project progresses …

Best,

Simon


#2

Simon, Welcome!

You’ve made a good choice in using Particle Photon/Electron for your product. I’ve also recently started to use these for my work. So far I’m very pleased with the hardware. Besides the Web IDE, I don’t use any of the other infrastructure Particle provide it’s customers, so I can’t speak for those.

Here are some of my observations with the Photon

Analog Input
There is no internal reference voltage. The “reference” is your supply voltage. So if you need accurate readings. I’d suggest using an external (accurate) voltage reference for your work.

I don’t see any mention of Wi-Fi. I’m guessing you intend to use it for remote control and monitoring?


#3

Simon

Are you considering WiFi/3G reception with a photon or electron in a steel enclosure? Presumably you are planning to use an external antenna to the DIN-rail. I am saying this because photons (I am building products with these and not electrons) really need a reliable internet connection.


#4

Yes. The controller will connect over WiFi/3G with cloud to allow remote controlling / programming.

We have planned to integrate an external antenna for WiFi/3G so that there is good signal strength. I know that a bad internet connection leads to issues so we will make sure that this won’t happen!


#5

Hi Simon,
What is the current status of your project / idea? What status are you in? There are now almost two years since your first post and I didn’t find anythink likly on the Internet.

@Community: does somebody knows a product which integrates the particle software and can be mounted in a control cabinet?

Regards,
Michael


#6

@zingix I am so sorry. I have changed my account / added a second one for my company - and haven’t looked this up for some time.

We have indeed developed something based on the E Series module. The so-called Datacake D Zero. And it’s for the DIN rail. See here:

We (Datacake) are currently selling the D Zero and we already have 150 modules in the field. Our customers come from the industry and are e.g. manufacturers of gas supply systems or machines for air purification.

It features:

  • 6x 4-20mA analog Input
  • 8x digital Inputs - up to 27 Volts - up to 2kHz edge counting
  • 3x PT100 Temperature inputs
  • 2x solid state relais output
  • 1x RS485
  • 24 Volts input (12-27 Volts)
  • SMA-Antenna connector

It also comes with:

  • full cloud service to:
  • create dashboards
  • set limits, send sms alerts
  • invite people via e-mail
  • create workspaces for customers, third parties

Most important fact is that you don’t need to program the D Zero. It comes with a generic firmware. You hook up sensors and set parameters via cloud portal.

This allows only a few minutes to elapse between connection of the sensors and transmission of the measured values. We have implemented some projects within half an hour

How this is going to work and how it looks can be seen in this in-depth video about the D Zero:

https://youtu.be/mHn42j-h8Wo

Oh, and there’s something else:

The D Zero and it’s cloud - the Datacake IoT Portal - features managed Node-RED, called Cake Red. More about this in the following video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MAcVkv6X28

(this video is more about Cake Red - less about the cloud - and not about the D Zero but it will give you more detail)

Let me also attach some screenshots:

If you have questions, or a concrete project in mind, just write me, we can help!

Best, Simon