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Remote Power Monitoring for Reliability in Harsh Conditions

Remote monitoring the power at your remote sites is an important task because it ensures the reliability of your network. It makes sure your backup power will work properly in case of a commercial power failure.

Remote Power Monitoring
For telecom, utilities, railroads, and large industrial companies that have remote sites located in harsh environments, it's important to develop and deploy a robust monitoring system for remotely managing power sources.

That is especially important if you have remote sites located in harsh environments. After all, you need to make sure your equipment will remain operational even during extreme weather conditions.

Let's take a look at how this can be done.

Power Sources at Remote Sites

Whenever commercial power is lost, remote sites depend on having remote power readily available. Power sources at remote telecom facilities generally operate in this order:

  1. Commercial power for routine operation.
  2. Backup UPS batteries to fill gaps when commercial power is offline.
  3. Propane (LPG) or diesel generator to recharge UPS batteries when they run low.

Remote Power Monitoring That Works Anywhere - Even the Alaskan Wilderness

I've visited remote sites all over the country, and all of them depend on reliable remote power to stay running. One that particularly springs to mind is Brian, who works for a major transit company in Alaska.

He has some of the most remote sites you can imagine. And we've worked with him on all sorts of clever improvements to his remote power reliability.

First, there's the basic remote monitoring that every remote site should have:

  • Discrete (on/off) monitoring of commercial AC power status.
  • Battery string voltage monitoring for basic "remaining life" measurements.
  • Generator fuel tank monitoring (needle gauge replaced with machine-readable R3D standard gauge that outputs 0-5 VDC).
  • An RTU to collect data from this suite of sensors.
  • Load shedding on less important devices when backup power is running low.

From this point, you can consider more advanced tactics to keep remote power flowing at your sites. You can install more granular sensor nodes that monitor the status of each individual battery cell. You can move to analog voltage monitoring of the commercial AC to protect your equipment from overvoltage or under-voltage conditions.

Balancing Your Propane Consumption in Very Cold Climates

I also had an awesome project with Brian to make a custom remote box to keep 4 propane tanks at a single site balanced at 50% capacity. The reason for this was unexpected to me, but will probably be instantly familiar to anyone who operates in cold climates.

Propane, as it turns out, is liquified petroleum gas (LPG) stored under pressure. The liquid in the tank slowly boils as gas is used to make new gas available for the next use.

This is true as long as the temperature isn't deeply negative. Once temperature drops to -20 F or -30 F, propane vaporization becomes much more difficult. At this point, the challenge is to maintain as much surface area as possible in the tanks.

In a cylindrical tank lying horizontally, the maximum surface area is achieved at 50% capacity.

That was the scenario that Brian brought to us. We had to make a box that would monitor 4 propane tanks and toggle valves to keep those tanks as close to 50% capacity as possible.

The result: The NetGuardian LPG Controller

Remote Power is Mission-Critical, So Protect It

Your customers depend on 100% reliable service. Whether you're a power utility or a telco or a public safety agency, your systems just have to work. Establishing a top-notch remote power system is critical to your success.

However, not all monitoring systems can attend all your requirements. That's why as a vertical integrated remote monitoring solutions manufacturer, we aim to give you exact what you need. Our goal is to have you treat us as your personal engineering department, and simply tell us what your requirements are. We can design and build a device that will be the perfect fit for you.

Call our application engineers today and start protecting your network.