Reliability of a device like Electron

Hi,
I would like to use the electron on a construction elevator

It will be used to publish the encoder data to the cloud realtime.

The whole setup will be inside an ip 67 enclosure.

Would like to know any precautions to be taken. And how reliable would the device be in being connected to cellular network and constantly publishing data to the cloud.

Your suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks to the community.

Keep it out of direct sunlight so the heat stays as low as possible.

It should be as reliable as a cell phone that works all the time except when the cellular service goes down sometimes.

Look into using the Watch Dog timer so the system will automatically reset should the code you write ever freeze up.

Size the battery right if you’re not running off grid power.

Make sure it’s placed so the antenna has good reception and is not surrounded by the metal cage as much as possible.

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Thanks for your suggestion Ryan

We have the device installed on the hoist and testing it. We are having to reset the electron frequently as it looses connectivity.

The device is inside an enclosure (Not exposed to direct sunlight). And we have an external antenna installed with a base plate.

antenna1

Does anyone have Electron working reliably in a commercial environment?
Suggestions on making the product more reliable will be helpful.

Thanks

It might have something to do with the code you’re running. If you could show us that, we might be able to make suggestions for improvements.

Sent you the code as a direct message.

Hi,

Question about electrons in a commercial environment

I work along side Pari on this project and I would like to reiterate his question to the forum about Electron devices working reliably in a commercial environment.

We would really like to hear if there are others that currently have Electron driven products in the field (ideally in an industrial or out door environment) that are working reliably enough to be of solid business value.

We understand that we do need to improve our code, but we would like to hear from others, with a similar setup, to help provide us confidence to continue investing time and money into this project.

Technical issues we are experiencing

Thus far, we are reading sensor data fine and connecting to the cellular network at all building floor levels (current highest floor is 45 floors).

However, as noted by Pari, we are having intermittent issues with the device itself. On recent occasions, when the device goes offline we have been told by the client on site that the Electron LED was showing a solid blue light.

Thanks for the reply @Moors7 One of our developers will reply with input and / or the code.

Marcus

I’m not so sure how good the antenna your using is compared to the original antenna. There may be a better antenna to use. Maybe one that they make for cars with a magnetic base on it.

You’re in New York and around tons of metal and tall buildings so that may be affecting your cellular signal, especially since the elevator is all metal.

I would buy some different 3G cellular antennas with magnetic base and see if attaching it to the top of the elevator helps with the signal.

There is nothing in your code that should affect the cellular performance.

Thanks @RWB

We have been working with Panorama antennas and the current antenna which is built for moving vehicles LTE, M2M and IOT solutions, seems to be working fine.

The antenna has been placed away from metal obstructions, is facing the ground, and we are using a base-plate to improve signal (we are receiving signal with the antenna right up to the current top floor (45 stories high)).

I don’t think this current issue relates to the antenna.

Fyi, The antenna is installed on top of the hoist outside the metal cage.

Ping @rickkas7, @KyleG

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The solid Blue LED usually means the SIM card is not present if I remember correctly.

The elevator is probably bumpy so I would try to remove the SIM card, bend the thin metal cross bar that goes over the top of the SIM card when it’s inserted so it applies more pressure on the SIM card.

I would also add the signal RSSI number to your Particle publish’s to see if there are levels where the signal is worse than others which could help you identify if it’s a signal issue.

Cellphone signals in big cities near tall buildings can very challenging sometimes. Just because your getting good signals at the top and bottom doesn’t mean the signal is clean along the whole path of up and down.

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For general info, here is shot of the nema enclosure (which houses the antenna)

And how we have setup the antenna within the enclosure

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And here is a short video of the blue light seen when our device in the enclosure on top of the hoist was inspected (about 2 days after connection was lost, as it is not easy to get to): http://bit.ly/2rRhosJ

The hoist engineer then reset the electron and since then (last two days) it has been breathing cyan and tracking sending hoist data to the cloud (i.e. appears to be working again, for now).

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@marcuslp You do have External Antenna selected in your code right?

That looks like the regular successful connected the cellular and Particle Cloud Breathing Cyan color and not the dark blue SIM card issue indicator.

Looks like it may be freezing up at some point for some reason?

Is there any pattern to when this happens? How often does it happen?

Yeah, appears to be freezing up periodically. I think this has happened at least twice before in the same manor, after a few days of being operational (but I don’t have videos of the LED apart from that last video).

I’m not sure if ‘External Antenna’ has been selected in the code, but one of our developers @Falcon should be able to clarify on that.

We are hoping to have the Electron device moved inside the hoist car (keeping the antenna where it is) so that its easier to monitor and reset the device when needed, though that in itself will not help the issue at hand.

Thanks

@marcuslp, @RWB may be thinking of a Photon. The Electron only has one antenna connector. I believe you sent your code to @Moors7, correct? The freezing sounds like a possible heap or other creeping issue so perhaps @Moors7 can provide some feedback.

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Ok, noted - thanks.

Our developers (@Falcon and Pravi) will wait to hear if @Moors7 has any feedback after looking at the code.

Cheers

Yes, my BAD, I knew this was an Electron.

@marcuslp @Falcon Share the code with @peekay123 if he as time to look it over.

@peekay123 They sent the device to me because it was locking up in a flashing RED condition and they were letting the battery drain to empty which caused other issues.

I reflashed their 2 electrons with the 6.0.2 firmware and then updated their code so it went to sleep when battery hit 50% to prevent the battery drain to an empty condition when it’s unplugged. They are powering with a USB Mains adapter now.

I added the Watchdog code also but it seems to not be working.

I left the units running for a full day here without any problems so it may be a heap build up issue with the way the code is laid out. That’s beyond my understanding so if you take a look you might find something the original programmer didn’t notice. They other units working with the same code in other locations based on what I was told.

If it’s okay with you guys, I’ll invite @peekay123 and @ScruffR over on the PM, since those guys always have some meaningful insights beyond my own ;)?

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