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How to Install The 10 Most Important Sensor Types

By Morgana Siggins

November 19, 2020


If you have mission-critical electronic devices at remote locations, being able to keep an eye on their status from wherever you are is critical. That's where monitoring systems come into play.

The starting point of any remote monitoring system is the sensors you will be using. Sensors are responsible for collecting the equipment data that ultimately will be sent to you. So, deploying different kinds of sensors allows you to have a complete picture of what's going on with your network - 24 hours a day.

Knowing how to install and configure sensors for the first time is the first step to achieve monitoring efficiency. If you don't do it right, you might lose visibility over your important equipment - sometimes without even realizing it.

In this article, you'll learn how you can properly hook your sensors up and perform the initial setup.

D-Wire sensor
We provide a line of sensors called "D-Wire". There's a variety of sensor types. They provide easy-to-use, easy-to-install functionality and reliability.

The 10 Most Important Sensor Types

The types of sensors you will use will depend on exactly what you need to monitor. But here's a list of the ten most important sensors that most companies rely on to monitor conditions and to keep their network up and running:

  1. Temperature/humidity
    If you need to know the environmental levels inside your remote facility.
  2. Temperature/airflow
    This sensor keeps an eye on your HVAC's vents and lets you know if the air is flowing and if it is at the correct temperature as it comes back into the room.
  3. Vibration
    This is useful if you want to monitor a generator or any other type of equipment that vibrates when it's working.
  4. Wind speed
    This sensor is especially important if you need to know if the winds are at a reasonable level before sending your techs out to the field in a helicopter.
  5. D-Wire node
    Simply put, this sensor allows you to monitor your propane tank levels. It also helps you detect problems such as tank leaks.
  6. Analog module
    This module gives you a traditional analog for 0 to 5 volt, 0 to 60 volt, or 4 to 20 mA, expanding the capacity of your RTU.
  7. Battery cell voltage
    This probe is ideal to monitor the battery voltage of your cells, allowing you to be able when your backup batteries are about to die.
  8. Water
    With this sensor, you will be alerted if any flooding occurs in your facilities, which helps you to have time to remotely turn off equipment or send techs for repair.
  9. Door sensor
    Door sensors help you keep your mission-critical equipment secure at your remote locations. When one of your doors is opened at a time that it's not supposed to, you'll know in a timely manner.
  10. Motion sensor
    Placing motion sensors at any point of entry in your facilities, helps you enhance your physical site security. These devices will detecting intrudes or any other unwanted people, allowing your RTU to send immediate alerts to you.

At DPS, we make all the previous sensor types. But, of course, not all the previous sensors will be applicable to your unique scenario. That's why, if you have an application for a sensor that we don't currently make, we will work with you to design and make custom sensors that will attend your requirements.

Installing Your Sensors For The First Time

For the purposes of this article, we'll be talking about how to install our daisy-chainable sensors to your RTU (in this case, a TempDefender G2). Our daisy-chainable sensors are called D-Wire Sensors, and they are a great way to expand the capabilities of your RTU.

The D-Wire are small, bus-powered RJ12 sensors, making them easy to set up. And when connected to your DPS device, supported sensors are almost completely auto-configured.

When daisy chaining your sensors, you can have up to 600 feet across up to 16 sensors on a single strand.

Log into your TempDefender Web interface

First of all, log into your TempDefender web interface. By using this interface, you'll be able to configure your sensors, set up thresholds, and perform all kinds of sensor settings. We start by accessing the default IP address of the TempDefender in your web browser - There, you'll get a login prompt. The username will be "admin" and the default password will be "dpstelecom".

RTU login

Make sure to change your login information once you get your system set up.

When you log in, click on the "Provisioning" green button on the left-hand side of your screen.

From there, find the green button called "Sensors" also on the left-hand side of your screen. This will take you to a list of sensors connected to your device. Even though we haven't plugged in any sensors yet, you'll see a sensor in the list already. This is the TempDefender's built-in internal sensor.

RTU login

Plug in our first sensor

The cables used for the D-Wire sensors are very telco simple cables - they are J11 or J12 types.

First of all, plug one side of your cable into the TempDefender's port (this RTU has four D-Wire ports) and plug the other side into the In port of your sensor.

RTU login

To daisy chain your sensors, simply connect a cable between the Out port of the D-Wire that is already linked to the RTU and the In port of the new D-Wire you want to connect. Then, after that always start plugging the cable in the Out port on the previous sensor to the In port of your new sensor.

Go back to the TempDefender's web interface

Back in the web interface, click on the "Rediscover" button. You should see your connected sensor in the list. Keep in mind that you have two sensors in one, such as Temp/humidity or Temp/airflow, you'll see two new sensors in the list.

RTU login

When you open up the details for your newly connected sensor, you'll see that the sensor type is auto-detected by the RTU. The TempDefender knows automatically which kind of sensor is plugged in.

You'll also see that the thresholds are automatically filled in as well - you will see: 32F, 42F, 110F, and 158F. The MnU (minor under) and MnO (minor over) are what we call yellow alerts, they basically mean that something is becoming a problem. MjU (major under) and MjO (major over) mean that serious problems are happening and you need to respond to them quickly.

RTU login

You can change your thresholds values to whatever makes sense to your network.

Also, notice that you can change the analog gauge type that will display your monitoring information. After making all the configurations you'd like, click on Save at the bottom of the page. Then click on the Device Access menu on the left-hand side of the screen, and go to Write (required) - this will right the settings changes to the unit.

In the blue Monitor menu on the left-hand side of the screen, click on Sensors. There, you'll see the sensors monitoring information through gauges or through a simple analog value - if you didn't set up a gauge.

RTU login

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, D-Wire sensors are a great way to expand the capabilities of your RTU. These sensors are very popular among products due to various reasons, such as:

  • They're handy
  • They're compact
  • They're easy to set up
  • They are durable - they are made from aluminum in our metal shop and then we powder coat them.
  • They can be daisy-chained across long distances - you can have an aggregate length of up to 600 feet encompassing 16 total sensors on the string.
  • If your RTU has more than one D-Wire port, you can have more than 16 sensors. The TempDefender for example has 4 ports and supports up to 32 sensors.
  • They're wall mountable

Most network managers that need to monitor environmental levels in their facilities, choose to pair the D-Wire sensors with the TempDefender. This is because by deploying this RTU, you will immediately gain the following benefits:

  • Support for daisy-chained D-Wires to handle any sensors you need, such as temperature, humidity, floor water, and AC-power-out.
  • It sends an email to your wireless provider that will be automatically converted to a text message. Multiple users can be notified at the same time if needed.
  • The TempDefender and all external sensors (floor water and AC-power-out) can be powered with simple 110 VAC wall transformers. Each pair of sensors can be tied to the same transformer, saving you money.

Do you want to know more about our D-Wire sensors and RTU options? If you have particular monitoring needs that the sensors listed in this article can't satisfy, contact us and talk to our experts. With in-house design and manufacturing, we can offer custom products made specifically to your specs, this way you can achieve a perfect-fit solution.

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins is a marketing writer, content creator, and documentation specialist at DPS Telecom. She has created over 200 blog articles and videos sharing her years of experience in the remote monitoring industry.