Saturday, November 18, 2017
 

NotifEye FAQs

 

 
General Questions

 

 

 

Q: Can I use a NotifEye USB Gateway with a laptop and aircard?

A: Yes, we have several customers currently using aircards to connect their sensors to the NotifEye online wireless monitoring system. However, the gateway is not a data logger, and if communications are interrupted, data can be lost until the network connection is restored. To aid in this, we have added a 15 second retry to all messages. However, if the connection is still not available after 15 seconds, the data will be lost.

 

Q: How does the wireless sensor network notify the user there is an incident that requires an action?

A: The NotifEye online wireless sensor monitoring system notifies the designated contact(s) via SMS (text message) or email.

During the set-up process through your NotifEye online portal, the administrator can program in cell phone numbers and email addresses of the individuals requiring notification, establishing the contact criteria for each method of communication.

 

Q: How much will I be charged for text message notifications?

A: You will not be charged by NotifEye for text messages issued by the NotifEye Sensor Network. The text messages you receive from NotifEye are routed through your cellular provider. Thus, any text message notifications you set-up to receive from NotifEye are covered under your text message plan. If you do not subscribe to a text plan through your cellular carrier, you will be charged their standard rate for receiving a text message.

 

Q: Why is there a delay in my sensor notifications?

A: Having a delay in notifications is not typical, however there are some things that can cause this. Both Email notifications and SMS notifications are sent over SMTP. Our SMTP relay server is configured to ensure timely delivery of your notifications.

If the receiving server (your mobile phone company in the case of your SMS text notifications) is too busy or down for maintenance, the SMTP Relay will try to re-send the message again, several times within the first hour. Then it will attempt to deliver every 4 hours until the receiving server is ready to receive (for up to 2 days). After two days it is assumed the notification must have a bad address and it is discarded.

 

Q: Will I need to buy or replace the batteries for my wireless sensors?

A: Batteries are included with the purchase of every wireless sensor that ships from NotifEye. Under normal operating conditions a sensor in your NotifEye wireless sensor network (WSN) will last for 3,000 transmissions  (2-3 years with a 2-hour heartbeat.) The online system will show your current battery life status. Once the battery has been depleted, you can push the battery out through the battery hole and replace with a new CR2032 coin cell battery.

 

Q: What are some environmental attributes that may affect RF range of sensors?

A: Wireless sensors transmit their data using wireless radios, and are subject to the same environmental limitations found in all wireless communications. Elements that effect radio transmission are severe inclement weather, trees, heavily constructed walls (cement, cinder block), sheet metal, wall board, wood, tile, buildings, vehicles, etc. Unless you have direct line of sight, every obstruction impedes wireless transmissions, even the human body.

There are four factors to keep in mind for maintaining peak performance of your wireless sensor network:

• distance from sensor-to-sensor and the wireless gateway
• power output of the radio
• data rate transmission
• frequency of the radio link

 

 
Hardware

 

 

 

Q: How many wireless sensors can be supported by the NotifEye Wireless Gateway?

A: One NotifEye Wireless Gateway (USB or Ethernet) can support up to 100 sensors. To expand the network beyond 100 sensors, simply add another NotifEye Wireless Gateway to the network and continue expanding.

 

Q: Can I add additional sensors to the wireless sensor network at a later time?

A: Yes. You may expand your network as needed at any time, up to 100 sensors per gateway.  You can also set up multiple networks running on one account and have multiple gateways running on each network.

 

Q: What frequencies do the wireless sensors communicate on?

A: NotifEye’s wireless sensor networks currently operate on the ISM 900 MHz (902-928 MHz).

 

Q: What is the average life span of the battery in the wireless sensors?

A: The life span of the battery is dependent on a number of factors: how long the sensor is "sleeping" (a sensor will draw nominal power during sleep state ~.5µ Amps); how long it takes the sensor to reach its awake state, and how long it is on, using the radio to transmit the data to the NotifEye Wireless Gateway. Through normal usage, a battery in the field should last over 2 years (at a 2-hour heartbeat) before it needs to be replaced. If the heartbeat is shortened, the battery life will shorten as well.

 

Q: What should I do with my wireless sensor when the battery dies?

A: You should expect 2-3 years of battery life from a battery with a heartbeat of 2 hours. (Longer heartbeat intervals increase battery life.) Once the battery has been depleted, you can push the battery out through the battery hole and replace with a new CR2032 coin cell battery.

 

Q: What hardware do I need to run a NotifEye wireless sensor network?

A: To deploy a NotifEye wireless sensor network, you will need a NotifEye Wireless Gateway and NotifEye Wireless Sensors, these are available in two kits. The NotifEye USB Gateway Kit comes with 4 temperature sensors and a USB Gateway. The USB Gateway must be installed and running on a PC for the online system to gather sensor data; the USB driver software is not MAC compatible. If you are not using a PC, or need to monitor temperatures while a PC isn’t running, you can purchase the NotifEye Ethernet Gateway Kit. This Kit includes 4 temperature sensors and an Ethernet Gateway which will allow your sensors to communicate with the NotifEye online wireless sensor monitoring system without the need for a computer.

 

Q: Should I expect interference from other wireless networks (Wi-Fi, walkie-talkies, cordless phones, cellphones, radios, etc.) operating in the vicinity of my NotifEye wireless sensor network?

A: No. NotifEye's wireless sensors currently operate in the 900 MHz ISM band. Most wireless sensors today operate in the crowded, 2.4 GHz space where cellphone, Wi-Fi networks, wireless telephones, and many wireless accessories for networks and PCs operate. NotifEye chose the 900 MHz frequency for its performance characteristics (much better range through obstacles than 2.4 GHz) and "openness" of the frequency.

 

Q: Do the USB gateways look for a clear RF channel when they are powered up? Can they switch channels if noise or interference is high?

A: During testing of sensor networks, prior to shipping, the networks are formed and the gateways choose a channel to transmit on. When you receive the product, that channel stays constant until reset by the user.

If you want to have the USB gateway search for the clearest channel in your environment, follow these steps:

1. Start the NotifEye gateway application
2. Insert the USB dongle into a PC and wait for the network to go active
3. Select "Reform Network" within the gateway software and wait for 30 seconds
4. Once the new network has reformed, begin putting the batteries in the sensors

Q: What happens to my wireless sensor network if the gateway being used (or the PC being used in conjunction with the USB gateway) goes into sleep mode or is powered off for some reason?

A: If the NotifEye Wireless Gateway is unable to receive transmissions from the sensors due to it being unplugged, or for USB gateways, the PC being off or the gateway application not being installed, the sensors will continue to try and link with the gateway (two times by default). If it is unable to link to the gateway it will enter “link mode” where it will search for a nearby gateway. If no gateway is found, the sensor enters "power save" mode, and will sleep for two hours before entering link mode again, and scanning all available channels for a gateway. This process will continue until the sensors find a gateway to communicate with.

Note: While the gateway is inactive, no data is being collected and no exceeded temperature notifications can be sent out.  Inactivity alerts can be set up for both sensors and gateway, so you can be alerted when no power is reaching these devices.

 

Q: Does the NotifEye USB Wireless Gateway need to be plugged directly into the computer, or can I plug it into a USB port expander?

A: If you are using an unpowered USB port expander/hub, the NotifEye USB Gateway will not operate properly.

To insure best performance of the NotifEye Sensor Network, plug the USB gateway into a powered port expander, or plug the USB gateway directly into a USB port on your PC.

 

Q: How do I mount the wireless sensors for my particular application?

A: NotifEye has provided a number of mounting options for the sensor technology. In the kits we have included screws and hook & loop tape. These options should allow you to mount the hardware to most surfaces.  When mounting with the double-sided tape, be sure the mounting surface is clean and dry for best results.  Instructions on mounting your sensors can be found in the NotifEye Manual and the Installing Sensors Video on the NotifEye Support Page.

 

Q: My temperature sensor is giving me a reading of 257°F (125°C), what does this mean?

A:A reading of 257°F signifies that either the thermistor wires have broken, or the battery has not been fully inserted causing a short between the thermistor leads on the sensor board. If this happens; try removing the battery, wait 45 seconds then re-insert the battery making sure to push the battery all the way to the back of the sensor housing. When the sensor comes back online, check the reading to see if it has been corrected. If the problem persists you will need to contact NotifEye customer support at Techsupport@cooper-atkins.com for more information.

 

Q: How do my wireless sensors connect to the monitoring software on the internet?

A: For the Ethernet Gateway, make sure it is connected to both the power supply and the ethernet cable. For the USB, make sure that the USB Drivers have been installed, the application is running on the PC, and the USB gateway is plugged into the PC. The gateway establishes a connection online with the wireless sensor monitoring system and communicates with the NotifEye servers. Each NotifEye wireless sensor comes ready to connect to the NotifEye Wireless Gateway once batteries are inserted. From the online system, you can add sensors to your account and they will communicate with their assigned gateway.

 

Q: Will a wireless sensor notify me when I need to change the battery?

A: Each time the sensor transmits data to the NotifEye Wireless Gateway, the sensor reports the battery’s life as a percentage and displays this reading on the online system. It is not an exact reading, but will provide you with enough information to know when the battery is about to expire. Alternatively, you can set up a notification to be alerted when a sensor’s battery life gets below a certain percentage. You can refer to the NotifEye Manual or Instructional videos to learn how to set up this type of notification.

 

Q: How do I update my Ethernet Gateway firmware?

A: If there is an update available you can click on the gateway name and there will be an upgrade link.

Note: Updating the gateway will reset to factory defaults. This includes the heartbeats. Factory heartbeats for an Ethernet gateway are 5 minutes and for a Cellular gateway are 60 minutes. For the Ethernet gateway, if there is a static IP Address or similar setting, it will revert to DHCP. It will then need to be taken to a network with DHCP to be configured with the static IP Address again.

After you press the upgrade link the server has to wait until the gateway checks in (see your heartbeat setting). Then the upgrade process takes about 30 seconds to download the new firmware and then it will reboot and be ready to go.

 

 
Software

 

 

 

Q: Why can't I edit my sensor settings?

A: Sensor Availability
NotifEye sensors are battery powered so it is critical that customers leave the radio inactive between transmissions to conserve power. A CR2032 battery, that can last for multiple years, transmits a signal every hour or two, thereby conserving power and in return preserves battery life. NotifEye's recommended heartbeat is once every 120 minutes (2 hours).

Sensors only receive updates from the online system at their set heartbeat interval.  When a sensor sends a transmission to the online system, it will also check to see if any updates to their settings have been made.  If so, the sensor acknowledges the configuration update and NotifEye marks the transaction complete (removing the pending transaction icon – the pencil with the red x inside it).  Alternatively, if you would like your changes to take effect immediately, you can manually reset the sensor by removing its battery, waiting 60 seconds, and re-inserting the battery.

Gateway Lag:
Similar to the sensors, NotifEye cannot instantly initiate communication to the gateway. The reason is many firewalls and security measures keep intruders from accessing the customer's network. Out-of-the-box, the gateway is configured to communicate with NotifEye once every 5 minutes.

Because of the 5 minute heartbeat of the gateway, there is a lag (delay time) between the time the user saves the configuration settings on NotifEye's server and the time the gateway checks in to receive the updates. Only after the gateway has acknowledged the updates does the sensor check in and receive them.

Network Stability:
During pending transactions it is impossible for NotifEye to know which stage of the process the configuration is in. For example, if a user has set a configuration to change the sensor's new heartbeat to 30 minutes, the gateway will receive the request but the sensor will not receive the request until it’s next scheduled checked in.

To be able to update sensor configurations, the user needs to make sure the sensor is communicating to NotifEye online system and wait until the pending configuration completes.

 

Q: What energy levels are represented by the displayed battery graphic in the online software?

A: The battery graphic in NotifEye's software is represented by five different images:


• Above 75% it shows Full
• Above 50% it shows Three Quarters
• Above 25% it shows Half
• Above 10% it shows One Quarter
• Above 0% it shows red
• At or below 0% it shows Empty

Since the power reservoir is small in the CR2032 battery, the voltage can fluctuate between readings. This can cause the reading to change from 50% to 0% by only having a .15V drop at the time of the battery read. For example, if the network encounters any interference and the sensor has to transmit more than once, the battery will display lower than subsequent readings that don't have to send retries.

 

Q: How do I turn OFF/ON email and text notifications for my sensor network?

A: NotifEye has a feature that will allow you to disable email and text notifications from being sent to your devices.  This applies to all notifications set up for all devices on the network. To turn this feature on and off, do the following:

1. Login to your account
2. From the top navigation menu, select "Manage"
3. On the left hand side, in the “Network Settings” Panel, select the network for which you would like to have notifications turned off. In the Network Details Pane, click the pencil icon next to the “Edit Network Details”.
4. If notifications are being sent, deselect the check box. If notifications are NOT being sent, select the
check box.
5. Click "Save"

 

Q: How do I get my sensors to stop sending alerts to my email or phone when they are inactive?

A: To do this, you must be logged in as the administrator. To halt the alerts, doing the following:

1. In the sensor list, select the sensor you wish to edit.
2. From the Sensor’s overview page, select the Notifications Tab in the middle of the page.
3. Find the Notification you’d like to edit, and click the pencil icon next to that notification.

4. From this window, uncheck the “Notification is active” box.
5. Click "Save."
7. Your sensor will now stop sending you notifications that the sensor is inactive.

Q: Why do I see duplicate messages from one of my sensors?

A: One of the strengths of the NotifEye protocol is that the sensors can both transmit and receive. After a sensor transmits its data, it waits to hear an acknowledgement back from the gateway that the sensor data was received.

If the sensor does not hear back from the gateway in a certain period of time, it will re-transmit the data. By default the sensor will resend up to three times if needed before it goes back to sleep.

The most likely cause of the duplicate data is that the sensor sent the data and the gateway received it, but when the gateway sent the acknowledgment back to the sensor, the packet was lost. The sensor resent the data to the gateway, then the second acknowledgement made it to the sensor and the sensor went back to sleep (Turned off its radio).

There are several reasons that packets can be lost. The most common are weak signal strength or another sensor (or other equipment in the 900 MHz range) transmitting at the same time as the wireless gateway.

 

Q: What happens to the data from my wireless sensor network if the power to my NotifEye Wireless Gateway is off or disrupted?

A: When the Ethernet gateway is off, no data is being collected and no notifications can be transmitted by the sensor. In short, the data is being discarded by the sensor.

If the NotifEye Wireless USB Gateway is unable to receive transmissions from the sensors due to the PC being off, the USB not connected to the PC or the gateway application not being installed, the sensors will continue to try and link with the gateway (two times by default). If it is unable to link to a gateway, it will disassociate itself from the gateway and enter “link mode” where it will try to find another gateway within range to link to.

 

Q: How do I make changes to my wireless sensor configurations?

A: Configuration data is setup through the NotifEye online system by the administrator and stored in the database on the server. At regular intervals the NotifEye Wireless Gateway requests configuration data from the server and stores this data locally. Independent of this sequence, sensors wake up and start communicating with the gateway. If there is data for the sensor stored in the NotifEye Wireless Gateway then the data is transferred to the sensor. After the data (if any) is transferred, the sensor goes back into sleep mode.

 

 Q: What does the "x" mean next to my sensor in NotifEye?

A: The "x" next to a sensor in the NotifEye software signifies that changes have been made to the sensor's configuration and they are queued to be sent to the sensor hardware on the next heartbeat. Once a sensor checks-in, the "x" should disappear signifying that the sensor has received the configuration changes. Note: when a sensor has pending configuration changes, you will have to wait until the sensor updates before additional changes can be made. Explanations of all sensor icons can be found in the NotifEye User Guide.

 

Q: What happens if I push "Reform Network" in the NotifEye USB Gateway Application?

A: Pressing the "Reform Network" button in the NotifEye Gateway application will release the USB Gateway's wireless channel and re-scan for the clearest available wireless channel. On each sensor's next heartbeat, it will enter link mode and rescan to find the Gateway. It is recommended to reset your network if any of your sensors are have problems checking in regularly.

 

Q: What software do I need to install to initiate the wireless sensor network?

A: If you are using a USB gateway, in order to use a NotifEye Wireless Sensor network, you will need to download and install the USB driver and the USB Gateway Application to allow your sensors to communicate with the online system.  No additional software or drivers are required for the Ethernet gateway.

 
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