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Automation software/hardware

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by flyingsparks, 30 Mar 2015.

  1. flyingsparks

    flyingsparks

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    Anyone out there with much knowledge on smartphone controlled automation software and hardware?
    Not just home automation but automation out in the field (literally!) such as controlling devices in a tractor cab from a smartphone elsewhere. I guess this kind of system relies on a SIM card and uses a mobile signal?
    I have someone who already has systems like this in use and wants more, but I have never done anything to this line of work.
    With the way the world is going, it's going to become more and more popular so need to get up to date! Cheers
     
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  3. jj4091

    jj4091

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    Doesn't sound very safe! :eek:
     
  4. flyingsparks

    flyingsparks

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    Perhaps I should explain.. ;)
    When spreading slurry there is one tractor in the field with a long pipe which runs all the way back to the slurry store at the farm. At the farm is another tractor with a pump attached to pump slurry up the pipe. The man in the field tractor needs to be able to turn this pump on and off from the field. It is a hydraulic pump, no PTO's or rotating parts which could cause a danger, and the area is always cordoned off anyway around the tractor.
    This method saves him having two people, one of which is simply sat on the pump to turn it on and off as required.
     
  5. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    There are ( or were ) radio frequencies allocated for this type of remote control of industrial equipment. If memory serves me right it is ( was ) either 335 or 355 MHz and is licence exempt.

    There may be Health and Safety regulations involved so use of appropriate equipment is best.


    One company that might be able to supply suitable equipment or advice

    Tele Radio LTD
    sales@teleradiouk.com
    0844 77 666 87
     
  6. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Neither is crop duster flying, but people do it.
     
  7. flyingsparks

    flyingsparks

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    Crop duster flying? :?:
     
  8. Simon35

    Simon35

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    What sort of distance are you working over?

    I've used wireless crane pendants on automation jobs, they work well, but maybe the range (up to 100m) is a bit limited for you.
     
  9. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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  11. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Had a bit of a think. And memories of a burst slurry pipe remind me there is a need to ensure pump can be stopped when necessary.

    Since there is a flexible pipe connecting the two tractors would it not be possible and maybe more reliable to run a cable with the pipe.

    The cable could be taped onto pipe sections with connectors so it is laid out as the pipes are laid out..

    Feed 12 or 24 volt DC from the spraying unit via the cable to the coil of a relay on the pump unit. The pump only runs when that relay is energised.

    If using radio then a "keep pumping" signal should be sent at regular intervals when pumping is needed. If communications fail then the pump will stop when there is a gap in the "keep pumping" messages.
     
  12. Simon35

    Simon35

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    If there is a need to stop the pump when necessary, then anybody doing this work needs to decide if that necessary reason is because of a risk to people.

    That means a proper risk assessment, identifying any safety related electrical control requirements, then the design and implementation of those circuits in accordance with the relevant standards.
     
  13. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    There is also the risk of polluting a water course if the pipe bursts or joint disconnects and the pump keeps pumping. That could be more of a hazard ( expensive clear up and fines ) than one person being coated with sludge ( good shower and laundry ).

    A few seconds after the pump has been started the pressures at both pump and sprayer should be continuously measured and if any significant drop or increase occurs then the pump shut down.
     
  14. Simon35

    Simon35

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    All true Bernard, but if there is no risk to people then the circuits don't require implementing as safety circuits, just normal start/stop control circuits.

    It might be that those pressure switches need incorporating into the safety circuits, if a burst hose might hurt somebody, even if it's not permanent damage to health. I don't know what pressures this stuff works at but a burst hose could potentially harm someone. It's all down to frequency of exposure/severity of harm/possibility of avoidance.

    Bit more complicated than sticking a big red button on it.

    Good luck, OP. Just be aware that whatever you do, it's your name on the paperwork...
     
  15. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    My experience is that where there is a risk of pollution then automatic shut down is, if not a legal requirement, still a sensible way to avoid being fined for pollution due to negligence.
     
  16. Simon35

    Simon35

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    Automatic shutdown is different to the provision of emergency stop circuits.

    You can have automatic shutdown on burst hose detction, and I would fully agree that this may be required here.

    For safety related circuits, you have to prove by calculation that the circuit design, the equipment used and the method of installation will meet or exceed the required Performance Level or Safety Integrated Level. There is no way to calculate either of those without risk assessment of potential harm to human life. The assessment doesn't care about harm to rivers/tractors/cows, only farmers...[/u][/b]
     
  17. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    I know the sort of application being talked about - running cables along with the pipes is "impractical" as without spending a lot of money you'll have something that will work in the lab, but won't survive working in the field (pun intended).
    One very simple method could be to simply detect a phone ringing (mobile or landline as appropriate) and have it toggle a relay. You then make a call to start, another one to stop.
    Probably no less reliable than someone reading the paper and not paying attention !
     
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