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Power, Building/Facility Alarms, and Environmentals

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2. Power supplies: commercial AC power, battery plants, rectifiers, backup generators, UPS systems, etc.

Monitor your power supplies as thoroughly as possible - power outages are the most common cause of remote site failures. Just as your power supply has multiple fail-safes and backup systems, every one of those backups should be monitored.

At the basic level, you must monitor commercial power availability and battery level. Getting more advanced, it's also a good idea to monitor rectifiers and generators, including whether the generators perform their regular self-start tests. If you want the earliest possible warning of any problem that might interrupt your power supply, monitor every link in the power supply chain, right down to the fuel levels in generator diesel tanks.

3. Building and facility alarms: intrusion, entry, open door, fire, smoke, flooding, etc.

It's vital to monitor the physical safety of the buildings that house your essential equipment. Since remote sites are usually unmanned and often in isolated locations, they're highly vulnerable to vandals and intruders. Accidents like short circuits and small electrical fires, even if they're small, can become disasters if you don't have any way to detect them and intervene in time.

Your facility monitoring should begin with at least monitoring open doors and fire alarms. For added security, you may want to consider integrating an electronic building access control system and video surveillance to your alarm system.

4. Environmental conditions: temperature, humidity, etc.

Most electronic equipment operates best within a defined range of temperature and humidity - monitoring these factors will give you early warning of potential problems.

You'll probably want to monitor different environmental conditions, depending on the physical location of the remote site. If the remote site is in a desert, humidity might not be a concern to you, but temperature probably will be. On the other hand, if your remote site has to function through an Iowa summer, humidity may be a major concern to you.
Another consideration is the sensitivity of your equipment. If it's rated to operate under extreme ranges of temperature and humidity, you won't have to monitor environmental factors quite so closely, but you'll still want to make sure the site stays within the range specified for your equipment.

If your remote site is an environmentally controlled facility, you have a different set of factors to worry about. You need to monitor the continued operation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment that maintains the facility environment, plus you must be sure to monitor the power supply to the HVAC system. On top of that, you should still monitor temperature and humidity, as another safety check to make sure the HVAC is doing its job.

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