CENTURION Mini Product Catalogue

Tuesday 30 July 2013

10 Uses for Your GSM Module

We have officially declared August GSM month! Why? Because we can, and because we want to share with you some of the cool things that you can do with a GSM module, that you probably never even thought was possible! We’re generous like that.

Just in case there’s any doubt as to how absolutely, positively fantastic this technology is, let’s take a moment to reflect on the fact that all of the things mentioned in this article can be done using your phone! Yes, you heard that right, it turns out it’s good for more than playing Angry Birds on while pretending to be hard at work.

1.       Open your gate

Okay, we cheated a little with this first one since most of you probably knew that you can use a GSM module for this. But still, no more bulky remotes that can be lost or stolen you say? Count us in!

2.       Switch on a fridge

Fridges are notoriously heavy on electricity and, if it’s one that you only use occasionally – say, a fridge aboard your boat or in your “man cave” - it’s probably rather impractical (not to mention expensive) to keep the thing running year-round until it has run up a utility bill that looks like a teenager’s phone bill. So what do you do? Just hook that puppy up to a GSM module, missed call or SMS the unit an hour or two before the big game – and enjoy your ice cold brewskies right on cue. Now that’s a bro move.

3.       Arm an alarm

Allow us to posit the following bone-chilling scenario: You’re on your way to the dam armed with your rods and your cooler box, the sun has just started to creep over the horizon painting the sky in majestic shades of ochre. Today, you fish. And nothing is going to stop you. Suddenly you realise, much to your chagrin, that you forgot to arm the house alarm and there has been a spate of burglaries in your neighbourhood. Do you turn the car around and miss out on the opportunity to show the bass who’s boss (see what we did there?)? Not if you have a GSM module installed!

4.       Warm up your bed

It’s an icy July evening, you’re working late, and the only thing you want right now is to go home and get into bed with Volume III of A Game of Thrones. If only there was some way of switching your electric blanket on remotely and letting it warm up your bed (which is presently as cold as Dracula’s sarcophagus) while you’re driving home. Oh wait, that’s right, there is. GSM!

5.       Irrigation

The MyGSM onlineuser portal allows you to set up your module to perform automatic activations, for example activating your sprinkler system at 4 o’ clock every afternoon. Even when you forget, your GSM module won’t – this is automation working for you.

6.       Keep tabs

Up until this point we’ve mostly been focussing on our GSM products’ switching capabilities, but did you know that you can use them for monitoring as well? Receive SMS notifications on your phone when your alarm is activated, mains power has failed or even when someone is blocking the infrared gate safety beams in front of your gate!

7.       Time and attendance

If you have people working for you, whether it be a single domestic worker or you head up a slightly larger undertaking, CENTURION’s GSM modules and accompanying web interfaces allow you to keep tabs on when they report for work and when they knock off. Both G-WEB and MyGSM.co.za store transaction logs containing the date and time of the transaction, the access number used, the name of the person assigned to that number, and the output triggered. These can then be viewed at the administrator or employer’s leisure and used for tallying the hours worked, calculating salaries and overtime, etc.

8.       Control the aircon

“But Charl,” I hear you saying, “air conditioners have remotes! Why would you want to control them with your phone?” That’s a fair point, but what if you’re not in the physical vicinity of the aircon unit? Say, for example, that you’re the proprietor of a bed and breakfast and you’d like guests to be greeted by a nice, cool room upon arrival but you don’t necessarily have the time and resources to go to each and every room and switch on the aircon (or to switch it off once the ambient temperature has been sufficiently cooled down). Then, kemo sabe, you simply whip out your cell phone and issue the command, as it were.

9.       Lock down your entrance electronically

So the fishing trip you went on in point number 3 didn’t work out exactly as planned, and you ended up catching no more than a bad cold. You have now set your sites on going down to the coast, but that means leaving your home unattended for at least a week and you worry that your domestic staff, all of whom have remotes to your property, will use this opportunity to help themselves to your stuff. Well, you probably already know where this is going...

All CENTURION operators offer a unique little feature known as Holiday Lockout that, when activated, causes your gate motor to ignore inputs from all devices except the one that invoked it. Connect the GSM module to your gate motor’s Holiday Lockout input and ensure that “there ain’t no one gettin’ in ‘cept you”.

10.   Monitor fluid level

Whether you want to know when your Koi pond is full, or you’d like to be notified when a diesel generator needs refilling, you can’t go wrong with a GSM module acting as sentry. Since the module will notify you via text alert once the fluid reaches a certain level, there’s no need to check on it manually and thus you’ll have time for life’s more important things (read: fishing and watching rugby).

In what creative way have you used your GSM module? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Your Free Site Check List

The world of site visits can be a vast and uncharted no-man’s-land, laden with peril and uncertainty, and performing diagnostics when you really have no idea what you’re looking for can be a bit like entering a dark room of innumerable size with the world’s smallest flashlight. You are forced to feel your way around blindly, hoping against hope that the answer will present itself to you with an accompaniment of splendid light and sweetest angel-song.
Fortunately, CENTURION gives this sort of counter-intuitive behaviour no quarter. From the very early days of our now world-renowned access automation enterprise, we have outfitted our operators with some sort of diagnostic notification system – usually a flashing LED – and the operators have now evolved to the point where they feature fully comprehensive LCD displays which visually indicate diagnostic conditions.
But there is list of preliminary checks that you can perform when arriving onsite that will help you save time and get to the root of the problem as quickly and painlessly as possible. These constitute the very foundations of a well-functioning site, and by simply going through this list, ticking off items as you go along, you’re almost guaranteed a client that is impressed by your diagnostic prowess.

1.       Mains isolator – is the switch in the ON position?

2.       Origin magnet – is the distance between the magnet and the sensor between 13mm and 20mm and is the orientation correct?

3.       Guide-rollers – check the condition of the guide-rollers and ensure that they rotate freely.

4.       Wheels – check the condition of the wheels and ensure that they rotate freely, are not rusted, seized, etc.

5.       Endstops – check that endstops are secure and do not move when subjected to force.

6.       Anti-lift brackets – is the gap between the anti-lift bracket and the gate less than 5mm?

7.       Rack – is the rack in an acceptable condition; i.e. no missing teeth or gaps in the rack?  Also ensure correct meshing between the rack and the pinion, there must be a 2mm to 3mm gap between the teeth of the pinion and the rack.

8.       Charging voltage – the charging voltage should be approximately 14V DC for 12V DC operators and 26V DC for 24V DC operators.

9.       Battery voltage – For 12V DC operators, the battery voltage should NEVER fall below 11V DC when subjected to load.  For 24V DC voltages, the combined battery voltage shouldn’t be less than 21V DC under load.

10.   Oil – ensure that there is no oil leaking into the DOSS chamber.  Unscrew the thumbwheel and check for evidence of oil contamination on the screw.

11.   Connections – check for loose connections on DOSS/sensor harness, battery terminals, etc.

12.   Fuses – are all fuses making proper contact with their holders?  Also check for continuity.

13.   Origin sensor – does the sensor switch when the magnet passes?  Listen for an audible “click”.

14.   Cabling – is the appropriate cable used for all electrical connections?

15.   Foundation – is the foundation stable?

16.   Pinion – is the pinion still in a good condition, i.e. not worn?
       And don't forget that our handy diagnostic booklet, Diagnostics Made Easy, is available as a free download from our website!