Sometimes, setting up your remote tank level monitoring system is not just about picking the right sensor technology. In some circumstances you may need to provide support equipment to have a complete system.
We have helped many customers over the years find the right tank level monitoring solution. While we are the tank level sensor experts, we also have extensive experience supporting infrastructure. So we thought we would list some questions you need to ask yourself to ensure your remote tank monitoring solution is complete.
Where are your tanks?
This question really has to do with the distribution of your tanks rather than the actual geographical location. What we mean is: Are your tanks all grouped together in one location? Or are they spread out across the country, miles apart from each other?
We ask this because this will have a direct effect on the sensors-to-Internet-connection ratio. The more sensors you can have on one Internet connection, the more you will save in data costs.
If your tanks are all in one location next to each other you will be able to have multiple sensors on one Internet connection. Tank Cloud, our remote tank level monitoring solution, is built for this. It uses Modbus protocol to form a network of slave sensors reporting to one master sensor. The master sensor transmits the readings through one Internet connection. This strategy reduces both equipment and data management expenses.
On the other hand, if your tanks are spread out then each sensor will require its own network connection. Tank Cloud sensors work fine in this scenario as well.
What power supply options are available to you?
You will also need to evaluate what kind of power infrastructure you have available at your tanks.
If your tanks are at a location where power supply is available then you won’t need to worry about this. Just remember to ensure that you are supplying your equipment the proper voltage and you should be set.
In other cases your tanks may be in locations where there is no grid. You may consider using batteries, and even solar panels, to provide your sensor and communications equipment with the required power.
What are your communication options?
This is similar to our last question. If your tanks are installed in a location where there is an existing infrastructure with Internet connectivity, then you are good to go. You can use the Ethernet connection to network to either a direct landline connection, or to a wireless gateway.
On the other hand, if your tanks are in areas where a traditional landline is not available, you will need to consider alternative technologies.
Many places have cellular coverage (even some remote areas). So simply purchasing an Ethernet-to-Cellular modem may solve your problem.
If a cellular network is unavailable you may contemplate using either radio or satellite technology. Just remember that Tank Cloud sensors integrate with any Internet connection, as long as you can plug into it using an Ethernet cable.
How do you want to access your data?
Finally, you will want to think about how you want to access your data.
The first option is to use the online services being offered by your sensor provider. For example, Tank Cloud allows you to access your data from any device with Internet connectivity via our website levelandflow.com.
If you prefer not to have your data online, and are more comfortable with keeping it on your own local network, then you have a few additional options. Tank Cloud sensors come with internal network sites that you can access on a LAN. Basic readings and sensor adjustments are available here. You can also tie into a Modbus PLC or display to access your readings.
If a display is enough, our MND (Modbus Network Display) is a simple yet powerful tool for cycling through your sensor readings. It can even act as the power source to a single sensor.
If you have any other questions about Tank Cloud or setting up a remote monitoring solution, feel free to give us a call.