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How To Monitor Your Power Supply and HVAC By Escalating Alarm Notifications

By Ziad Alezabi

January 26, 2024

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I recently went to a routine site visit to one of my clients. I was giving them a presentation about a previous installment that we've done at an overseas company.

I remembered our initial interactions during our conversation, and I thought it would be a great idea for people looking to monitor their HVAC units (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

The overseas company needed to monitor their HVAC and UPSs on a centralized monitoring software dashboard. It had to be capable of escalating alarms in Email, SMS, and Call-out in the event of an alarm.

Understanding Existing Site Configurations

I knew right away that what my client was asking for was something in our wheelhouse, so I asked more questions that would help me figure out his exact needs.

When you contact a good alarm monitoring system manufacturer, regardless of your monitoring needs, they will be able to ask you the right questions to provide you with the right equipment for your situation. If not, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

My first question to my client was how many sites he had with HVAC and UPS equipment installed. He needed to meet with a more technical person who would know the figures, but he gave me a ballpark estimate of about 25 HVACs and 7 UPSs total.

This number was sure to grow according to my client. I also found out that the UPS being used by him was from one of many other manufacturing companies that DPS Telecom has a history of interfacing with.

Initial Requirements For HVAC and UPS Monitoring

Monitoring battery terminals is a pretty big deal when you want to monitor your equipment, especially a UPS. I found that it did indeed have an accessible battery terminal, along with SNMP cards. This is an important reporting mechanism, otherwise we would need to monitor the voltage and other measurements directly. The same was true for the HVACs on my client's sites.

Knowing what we now know, my client would now need a master alarm monitoring station, such as a T/Mon with an SNMP software package to receive communication from the HVACs and UPSs.

As for my client's initial request for alarm escalation via Email/SMS/Call-out, I explained to him that DPS Telecom's notification system uses a concept of "steps". This is when the alarm will escalate from step 1 (ex. an Email notification) to step 2(ex. an Email to SMS or phone call) via a gateway.

My client was hoping that the phone call messages could be customizable as they speak a different language entirely at his site. I assured him that this is also something we are very capable of doing through methods such as a Site Dialer G3.

This would be an easy installation that is hooked up to a master monitoring station. It requires no configuration unless you need to change and configure your text-to-voice messages accordingly. This can send our phone calls through either a POTS line or through a system call-out using a GSM network.

Key Q&As About HVAC and UPS Proposals

After a few proposal offers that were revised through his higher-ups, we came to a final configuration that we could agree on. During this process, it was very important for me to take my client's company budget and need for flexibility. I did a video demonstration web call with my client and a few executives from the company to help him sell the configuration for them.

A good alarm monitoring systems manufacturer will aid you in proposing the alarm monitoring solution that you are, in turn, proposing to your higher-ups for justification. This is not just because they are virtuous people, but they also get to make money.

We will now look at two things -- first the finalized offer, and second the questions my client had about the components of the finalized offer during the web chat. If you have any questions about the configuration, keep reading and the questionnaire part will more than likely include the answer to your question.

The finalized offer had the following:

  1. A T/Mon Mini G3
  2. The T/Mon is DPS Telecom's alarm monitoring master station. This version came with Dual NICs, an SSD, and 6 core/12 thread. The T/Mon mini is a smaller version of the household T/Mon LNX with the same power but is scaled down for companies with smaller a budget or scale.

  3. T/Mon Voice Dialer G3 (Site Dialer) and a Voice Dialer Software Module

    This would be paired up with an additional SNMP Trap Processor to have a text-to-email processing capability that complies with my client's needs for alert escalations.

Escalating HVACs alarm notifications if not attended to

My client had these questions and I provided him with the following answers:

  1. What are the server hardware and software requirements for the trap processor software?
  2. The T/Mon is its own hardware and software solution. The trap processor software would come installed on the T/Mon.

  3. Can the customer be able to access or view the status of their devices outside the office using either a workstation or mobile device?
  4. If the customer has remote access to their company network, they would be able to browse the T/Mon via their workstation or mobile device.

    What is the database used by the T-Mon trap processor software?

    The T/Mon uses a MySQL database to store all alarms, including SNMP traps.

  5. Can it work in a Windows environment? What version does it support?
  6. The T/Mon is its server that would be installed in a server rack at their main office/headquarters. To use the T/Mon, you would simply browse to its IP Address whether you're on a Windows/Mac/Linux PC. Google Chrome is the recommended browser.

  7. What is the maximum data point a T-Mon device can support?
  8. The T/Mon MINI can have 16 devices configured which can be expanded to 64 devices. It will support up to 10,000 configured alarm points.

    If we're asking how many alarms can be stored in history, there is no limit. For example, it takes about 5 years on a large network to use 1GB of storage. The T/Mon has dual 1TB SSD drives.

My client is now working with our installations at their site. Seeing as they are on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, our readily available tech support has helped them numerous times since then, and we have been able to use them as an example like I am right now when teaching our potential clients about our products and how we help them gain limitless alarm monitoring scalability.

If you have any questions about what you just read, or if you have a need to monitor your HVAC and UPS units (or any other application that requires alarm and sensor monitoring) please feel encouraged to reach out to me. Even if I can't come to a compromise with you on a solution with us, I will do my best to point you in the correct direction.

Call today at 1-800-693-0351 or email me at sales@dpstele.com

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Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a Application Documentarian at DPS Telecom. He reviews successful DPS client projects and reports on the best practices that you can use to successfully reach your own project goals.