The Blog

Toroidal tank cleaner

In high tension terminals there are many components to prevent damage of the system or serious injuries on human. One of these components are toroidal tanks. These are used to store insulating oil in the terminals. Quality of these is as important as any other part of the terminal. They are needed to be clean and tested before using. One of our customers from Italy uses UniPi to do exactly such task.

Toroidal tank on the top of the ceramic insulator

Toroidal tank on the top of the ceramic insulator

UniPi is a controller for the toroidal tank cleaner and stress test machine. This machine uses oil and air which runs under high pressure into toroidal tanks to perform necessary cleaning and stress testing.

UniPi controls a power inverter powering motor-pump with a 4KW, two valves to control oil flow and one that controls the airflow. It also reads values of pressure in the tank via pressure transducer.

Sample pressure transducer

Sample pressure transducer

Pressure transducer scheme

Pressure transducer scheme

Raspberry Pi is connected to the network and after each testing and cleaning it writes a report and uploads it to the company’s server. The software RPi’s running does not have GUI. Instead it has a simple control panel with buttons. See the control panel below.

 

Detail of the machine’s control panel

Detail of the machine’s control panel

Detail of the cleaning and stress testing machine

Detail of the cleaning and stress testing machine

Meet openBC – wood chip boiler controller

One of our Swedish customers found an excellent use for UniPi board controller. He has created a smart controller for wood chip boiler. His project called openBC is opensource and he works on it in his free time.

image06

 

Let’s have a closer look on hardware. In his project he uses these components:

Raspberry Pi functions as a processing unit combined with our UniPi board controller which provides necessary inputs and outputs. HDMI 7’’ touchscreen display gives access to GUI while digital air/fuel ratio controller gives system necessary info when to let more air into the boiler. Centrifugal fan then regulates the air/fuel ratio as is necessary.

System uses custom made scripts written in python (using version 2.7) along with EVOK software. GUI is very simple as can be seen below.

gui

GUI

Whole project is published on github and you can also follow where is more detailed information along with software resources and you can also follow project’s creator on twitter.

Detail of boiler controller

Detail of boiler controller

Detail of UniPi and Raspberry connection inside

Detail of UniPi and Raspberry connection inside

 

We are always glad whenever our product can be part of some great project and are always willing to find out more. If you have an interesting project you want to share with us contact us at info@unipi.technology.

Standalone parking system

Introduction

One of our customer has found an excellent way how to put UniPi in good use. He has thought up a completely standalone parking system which was subject of his diploma at university. The system takes place in Croatia and consists of open source software and modern IoT hardware.

As for the hardware, he uses two UniPi board controllers altogether with Raspberry Pi microcomputer. He also uses barcode readers with the protocol RS232, barcode scanners, serial printers for barcode tickets, LCD monitors, inductive loops and various additional hardware.

Speaking of software, system makes use of custom-made software along with open source. Everything runs on OpenSUSE linux distribution. Everything necessary handle POS application written in Lazarus IDE.

How does it works

Inductive loops in on the arrival side gives signal to the system to enable printing button. User then print a barcode ticket by pushing it. After printing of the ticket the entrance opens and allow driver to drive in. Inductive loop on the other side gives signal to close the gate after the car passes by.

When leaving, driver scans the barcode ticket at the parking payment machine. Operator on the other side in the toll station charges the bill. After the driver pays, receives exit barcode ticket. Then arrives to the gate. Inductive loop on the inner side sends signal of car’s presence, driver scans the code and then the gate opens. After passing outer inductive loop the gate closes and system resets to the original state.

GUI preview:

image2image4image8image7

With UniPi you can heat up or cool air as you wish

Nice to meet you, smart heating!

A certain Czech company focusing on security and residing in Brno has decided to improve both air conditioning system and central heating in order to clearly monitor building’s temperatures, automatically optimize temperature only when necessary and also make working environment more comfortable for their employees.

Before, the company has already invested into similar system given by Honeywell with the same goals. Nevertheless, the former system did not offer satisfying configurability, suffered malfunctions and over the 15 years stopped to be usable.

Looking for suitable substitution they have chosen UniPi over the other controllers as it not only provided everything they needed but also made further extending of the system easily possible.

What does it consist of?

The project make use of almost 30 UniPi board controllers for direct communication between software and hardware with a help of one 4 analog output extension and one 8 relay addon. Whole system makes use of approximately 180 thermometers for a very detailed control of temperature of every room, pipe or any necessary spot. There are also magnetic contacts placed in windows.

Whole heating system distributes water from boiler in pipes directed and pumped by 3-way valves and circulator pumps whenever it’s cold inside. On the contrary, air conditioning distributes cold water for cooling inner climate. Both is controlled by one centralized system. Each room has also indicator diodes.

The system uses altered version of EVOK software and also custom-made scripts. Each separate part of the system can be controlled via the internet with commands entered in terminal prompt.

Detail of chiller

Detail of chiller

Detail of chiller's controller

Detail of chiller’s controller

How does it work?

Whole system turns boilers or air conditioning on and off, releases valves when necessary, monitor temperatures and switches on circulator pumps for only required pipes. It is all based on algorithms and software installed into the UniPi board controller.

Based on statistics and user’s configuration the system knows when exactly it has to turn on the heating or cooling on and how long it has to remain turned on to provide hot water and optimal room climates for the whole day.

Each room can have it’s own configuration while if it has not its control is based on global settings. Some rooms are badly isolated and require more temperature regulation while other rooms such as server room always requires to maintain a cold environment. This exactly can be solved by specific configuration for each room.

Each window holds magnetic contact. Whenever anyone in the room opens a window, system is acknowledged it is necessary to reduce heat distribution into this room to prevent wasting of energy.

Doors has also its system to monitor which room is currently used and which is not. At the beginning of the working hours whole building’s climate is optimized to the demanded temperatures. Afterwards in rooms which are not used and locked it is not necessary to put the thermoregulation in action. So the system checks whether somebody is inside and then decides whether it should go on keeping the temperature or not.

All necessary spots are equipped with thermometers. As the sun changes its position particular side of the building is heated by the sunshine and requires to be cooled down. Thanks to these many thermometers the system knows exactly when and where it is necessary to turn the cooling on during the whole day.

Thermometers also serves to another function. If there is a malfunction in boiler, pipes, ventilation fans or any valve thermometers show exactly where the heat distribution stopped and allows much easier and less time-consuming service and repairs of the system. All units also control each other. Not only central unit controls the other but also the others control the central unit.

Extension board controller connected to three-way digital valves

Extension board controller connected to three-way digital valves

Detail of extension board controller

Detail of extension board controller

Additionally, two indication diodes were put into every regulated room – red diode and green diode. These diodes inform room inhabitants of the state of heating. Green diode light signifies the temperature in the room differs from the preset temperature and that the heating or air conditioning is activated. On the contrary, red light signals there is a problem in the system or there is somewhere a window opened and needs to be closed. No light means that it is an ideal state – everything is all right.

Fans helping with air circulation in rooms are also programmed to make the whole thermoregulation pleasant and comfortable for people inside. For example when the cooling is on more fans are activated by default in order to circulate air more efficiently so the person sitting next to the radiator does not feel unpleasant cold coming from the behind and there is no risk of getting ill.

Fan coil controller detail

Fan coil controller detail

Fan coil connection scheme

Fan coil connection scheme

 

Conclusion

The system brought definitely an improvement. Not only employees work in much more pleasant and comfortable environment but also it is much easier for boiler operators to control the whole system. It has also advantage of clever activation of both systems – air conditioning and central heating. Everything is balanced and minimizes unnecessary energy waste.

The company has also better overview of the heating during the whole year, figures out which room requires better isolation and what is the most important servicemen reveal malfunctions quickly and conveniently. And after all UniPi allows effortless extending of the whole system of another functionality.

UniPi in action: UniPi handles village water supply

Our product was put in use in order to monitor and maintain water supply in a little village Hvozdec in South Moravia, the Czech Republic in the spring of the year 2014. The task was to provide clear statistics of consumption as well as make sure residents of the village have always sufficient supply of water at their disposal all handled automatically without a necessity of man’s encroachment.

Continue reading

UniPi controller for security system

UniPi controller board was used on demand of agricultural company residing in the South Moravia, the Czech Republic. This company came up with a task to ensure security of their estates used for plant growing.

Perimeter of their estate is approximately 750 meters of fence. To monitor any movements in the area there were put photoelectric sensors making a secured barrier all around the place. There were also put three motion sensors at strategic posts.

Whole security system is handled by two UniPi controller boards communicating with the server. After possible intrusion person in charge will be alerted immediately by both email and in the user interface.

This is one of the many examples how to use universal controller originally developed for PLC, HVAC and IoT technologies.

Have another marvelous idea or project using UniPi? We will gladly hear about it at info@unipi.technology.

 

Photoelectric sensors

Photoelectric sensors

 

Conveyors up and ready with UniPi

Can UniPi handle roller conveyors in factory? Off course it can, with ease and smartly! One of our customers used it exactly this way. He was willing to send us detailed photos of his great project with description. You can view these just below the article but first let’s get to tell you about what this project consists of.

Continue reading