CENTURION Mini Product Catalogue

Friday 25 November 2016

Security Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are magical. There’s more time to spend with loved ones, traffic is a tad less soul-destroying and there’s a general sense of good cheer that pervades everything. Even if you’ve heard Boney M’s rendition of The Little Drummer Boy a thousand times, it’s not cloying because it means that the holidays are in full swing.

Unfortunately, it’s also the time when criminals are most active, taking full advantage of the fact that many homes are left unattended for extended periods of time. It’s open season, but instead of hunting wabbits like loveable old Elmer Fudd, these crooks are hunting vulnerable houses.

Fortunately, your friends at Centurion Systems are here to provide you with some great holiday security tips to help keep you and the contents of your home safe from those wanting to do some last minute “shopping”:
·         Dispose of the packaging your gifts came in where it is out of sight. You don’t want to advertise the fact that you now have a brand new 50” flat screen TV
Be wary of posting your vacation plans on social media
Test your alarm system thoroughly and notify your armed response company before leaving for holiday
Have a neighbour collect your mail. A full mailbox is a tell-tale sign that the residents haven’t been home for a while
Have a friend or neighbour maintain your pool while you’re away, or use a GSM module
Ensure that doors and windows are properly secured before you hit the road
Ask someone to come switch on or two lights on at night. A GSM module can also be used for this
Suspend newspaper and magazine deliveries
If possible, leave one car in the driveway and ask one of your neighbours to come and move it a small distance every once in a while to give the appearance that it is being driven
Criminals know all about Christmas bonuses. Do not carry around large sums of cash, but make use of Internet banking where possible
If you have a garden, arrange for the grass to be cut and the plants to be watered while you are away
If you are travelling to a country with a known crime problem, avoid carrying handbags and cellphones that can be easily snatched and do not walk around on your own, especially after dark
Do research on the Internet for travel warnings before booking your trip. You want to avoid travelling to areas with ongoing armed conflicts and political unrest. Wiki Travel is a fantastic website to do research on

Friday 18 November 2016

CENTURION vs. Nature

Mother Nature is a notoriously fickle – and at times downright ruthless – dame. While she may occasionally do something whimsical like giving us a monkey’s wedding, there are also times that it’s quite evident that she’s had a fight with her boyfriend or something. This year especially was fraught with meteorological curve balls including, but not limited to, tornadoes. Freaking. Tornadoes.

It’s also starting to become pretty clear that Al Gore was onto something with the whole global warming thing. According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Earth’s overall temperature has increased by 0.8°C since 1880. While this may seem insignificant, the effects are dramatic and far-reaching and, regrettably, climate change is showing no signs of slowing down.
Earth's overall temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees centigrade since 1880

While there’s not too much that we can do about the weather, we can set your mind at ease by telling you that CENTURION products have been designed to handle very extreme environmental conditions.

According to senior electrical engineer Tony Baia, reliability as a design philosophy and something to be sought with relentless fervour has been ingrained in CENTURION’s DNA since the very beginning.

CENTURION senior electrical engineer, Tony Baia
“From its inception,” begins Tony “Centurion Systems’ founding fathers and design engineers understood that, to ensure the reliability of its now-famous D5 [sliding gate motor] and other electronic products, they had to tame one of nature’s most awesome and powerful phenomena: lightning”.

Lightning has for long been the bugbear of electrical appliances, the lure of so much sweet, conductive metal in one spot simply too much for heaven’s own electricity to withstand. It’s a siren song as old as time, but the tune is no easier to hum along to. Every year, insurance companies pay out millions in lightning-related claims, and some firms do not compensate for lightning damage as it’s seen as a vis major.

“With this in mind,” continues Tony “the design engineers approached the CSIR [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research] and other institutions who had the equipment and knowledge to tame lightning.

“A cost-effective and highly efficient circuit was designed that has remained with Centurion Systems to this very day, ensuring that our control cards continue to function when other equipment has failed”.

Tony provides a detailed description of the kind of technology that goes into such a sophisticated and robust piece of equipment.

“CENTURION uses a layered approach to protect against lightning; all inputs exposed to the outside world are protected by multiple components”.

Layer 1

Right up front is a high-power resistor that absorbs and slows down the lightning surge.

This is followed by a Zener (analogous to a clamp) that prevents the lightning-induced voltage from going above levels that are harmful to the rest of the electronic components on the PC board.

Layer 2

The lightning-induced voltage sometimes climbs much faster than the Zener is able to respond; to further protect the sensitive electronic components, another capacitor and resistor are used to slow down the rising voltage allowing the Zener time to respond and clamp the harmful voltages.

Layer 3

The TRG [trigger] input is the one that is most exposed to lightning surges due to it having the longest connection length – this connection could run from the gate motor all the way to the indoor intercom system.

To ensure that this input has even more protection against lightning surges, a gas arrestor is placed in front of the high-power resistor to further absorb the energy of the lightning surge.

Level 4

To protect against lightning surges, the energy that is being absorbed by the abovementioned layers needs to find a path to earth or ground; to achieve this, another gas arrestor connects to the mains power supply earth.

Level 5

CENTURION power supplies like the CP84SM have an earth tab that connects to an earth spike, allowing the lightning surge energy to find a very quick and easy path to earth, thereby avoiding damaging the sensitive electronic components on the control card.

Layer 6

The power supplies like the CP84SM also have protection against lightning surges coming down the municipal power lines. These take the form of metal oxide varistors, or MOVs. MOVs limit the voltage supplied to an electrical device by either blocking or short-circuiting to ground any unwanted voltages that are above a safe threshold.

“Lastly,” Tony concludes “it must be remembered that, if the lightning surge is too powerful or too close to the gate motor then something has to give. That is when most of the components referred to above will be damaged, sometimes leading to unseen damage of other components on the PCB”.

In addition to superior lightning protection, CENTURION operators boast a number of sophisticated design features intended to moderate Ma Nature’s onslaughts. These include:
  • · Insect-ingress protection – insects are a big problem throughout continental Africa
  • High water-level lines for reasonably good immunity to flooding
  • Black-out and brown-out failure protection – CENTURION’s products are purpose-built to address these classically Third World-type infrastructural problems

Sunday 13 November 2016

Experience the Future of GSM Device Management

Just in time for the holidays, the new-look G-WEB PLUS interface has just been launched by the hard-working CENTURION elves (read: the R & D department) with a fresh, cleaned-up design and loads of yummy new features to gorge on before the festive season is even in full swing.
Since it was first launched in 2012, CENTURION’s online portal for the offsite administration of GSM devices has undergone myriad changes, and none more dramatic than this latest batch of cosmetic and functional enhancements.

Sink your teeth into these delectable techno-morsels:

The site is now mobile friendly
Copyright: bacho12345 / 123RF Stock Photo
In keeping with the times, the site’s layout will now automatically detect the user’s screen size and adapt the layout of the content accordingly, meaning that users can comfortably navigate and interact with the system whether they’re using a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Faster synchronisation

The time that it takes for the website to synchronise with a GSM device has been dramatically reduced thanks to some clever coding and, as an added bonus, the system now provides detailed user feedback of the synchronisation transaction as well as the ability to synchronise all selected devices, and not just one device at a time.

Custom fields

These enable you to customise the information displayed for a mobile number anywhere on the site.

Secondary user feature

You can now share ownership of a device by adding a Secondary User. You’ll also be able to adjust how much control the Secondary User has over the device by giving them either read only or read and modify privileges.
Copyright: martialred / 123RF Stock Photo

Clone a device

This incredibly useful, time-saving feature enables you to copy all the settings and numbers from one device to another.

Export in multiple formats

G-WEB PLUS allows you to export numbers in PDF, XLSX or CSV. You also now have the facility to export selected transaction logs for specific time-periods.

Improved user experience

A number of powerful tools including Sort, Filter and Group have been added to the interface’s arsenal of features.

Smarter searching

The Searching facility has been optimised to get you results faster.

Go to http://gweb.co.za to register and experience the future of GSM device management. You can also go and check out some really cool G-WEB PLUS tutorials here

Friday 11 November 2016

5 Things You Can Do to Save Time Onsite

Of all the platitudes and folk wisdoms you’ve heard in your life, time is money is probably the most enduring.

It’s a logical equation, when one gets right down to it. The more time one has, the more work one can get done, and the larger the profit one stands to make. Think of the two as being directly proportional.

The problem is that one variable in the aforesaid equation is of a decidedly fixed nature: for all our imagination and seemingly limitless ingenuity, Mankind has not yet found a way to increase the number of hours in a day. One can make more money, but one can never make more time. We are forever bound by its rigid laws. In the words of US founding father Benjamin Franklin, “lost time can never be found again”.

Carry some spares

Sure, it’s much easier to operate in a workshop environment and, in many instances – especially where a lot of stripping down is required – taking the recalcitrant operator back to your office might be your only course of action. But just think how much time you can save by swapping out easily-replaceable parts onsite.

Spare controllers, power supplies and commonly-used fuses should all be part of your site arsenal.

Check your tools regularly

Few things can be more frustrating than getting to site only to find that a certain screwdriver or allen key has gone to that mysterious no-man’s-land usually reserved for single socks after laundry day. Do an inventory of your tools at least once a week, and make a note to replace missing items before undertaking your next big job.

Have a site checklist

You’d be surprised at how much time you can save just by having a list of standard things to check with every installation. Just by ensuring that you’ve checked each item on the list saves you having to return to site at a later stage, which could also be to the detriment of your reputation.

Do a site visit

So much time is wasted onsite just running around and setting up, making sure there’s electricity at the installation site, etc. It’s always a good idea to visit the site a day or two before the installation is due to take place, just to get clarity on what exactly the job demands, and that you’ll have everything needed for the installation within easy reach. This is especially important when it comes to traffic barriers, as there are many variables that need to be taken into account, including traffic direction and the orientation of the boom. Compile a pre-installation checklist to make things easier for yourself.

Use a Pinion SPYDER

Fear not, fellow arachnophobes, it’s not an actual spider (phew!, am I right?). What it is, however, is an innovative new tool from Centurion Systems designed to help you get the all-important mesh between the gate rack and the motor pinion just right. The SPYDER fits snugly between the teeth of the 17-tooth pinion (yes, like a bug in a rug) and the thickness of its legs is exactly equal to the space needed between the rack and the pinion. 

Friday 4 November 2016

5 Things You Should Know About Your Garage Door (Before You Automate It)

You and your garage door have been seeing each other on and off for what, like, 10 years? You bump into each other every time you leave home. Heck, you’ve even introduced it to your parents. Things are serious, and it’s time to take the relationship to the next level: automate. But before you take that next big step, there are some crucial things that you should know about your garage door.

No, we’re not talking about whether it likes romantic picnics and long walks on the beach. We’re talking about things like:

1. What kind of door is it?

A typical tip-up garage door
Everyone has a type, am I right? Some like the strong, silent type while others get along just fine with the boisterous extrovert. When it comes to garage doors, it’s important to know whether you’re dealing with a tip-up, sectional or roll-up type garage door as this will determine what type of operator you’ll need to install. Sectional and tip-up doors can generally use the same type of operator (though with different rail kits), but roll-up doors will require a special roll-up door motor that sits inside or directly adjacent the drum. 

2. How well is it balanced?
A small child should be able to lift the door with relative ease

Probably also a good question to ask if you’re in the dating game! Most garage doors rely on counterbalance springs to do the lifting (not the motor!), and it’s important that these springs are well-balanced. A good rule of thumb is that, if your granny or small child is unable to open or close the door with relative ease, the springs are probably about as well-balanced as Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho. The door also shouldn’t rise or fall more than about 100mm if left in any position between fully open and fully closed.

3. Will there be enough space to install a motor? 

It's important that there is enough space to install a garage door motor
Hey, man, we all need some space every now and again, am I right? Garage door motors do, too! Especially when it comes to roll-up garage door operators, it’s important to first check that there’s sufficient space to fit the operator adjacent the drum. If there isn’t, you may need to get your hands on a special adaptor

4. Will it be a left- or right-hand installation?

This has nothing to do with the door’s political leanings, but it’s a very important consideration with regard to roll-up garage doors. You may find that your RDO has been factory-set to be installed on the right-hand end of your garage door (when viewed from inside the garage looking out), and some minor modifications are necessary in order to convert it to a left-hand installation. 

5. What are you looking for in a motor?

Much like a potential suitor, every garage door motor offers something unique in terms of specifications and functionality, and it’s a good idea to be clear on what you’re looking for. Are you after something very basic that opens and closes the door and nothing more? Or would you prefer something more feature-rich that can, for example, be locked electronically and has the ability to close automatically? Whatever your unique requirements, rest assured that, somewhere out there, there’s a garage door motor for you.

The CENTURION RDO II with onboard multichannel code-hopping receiver is available now from your nearest CENTURION branch or distributor. . 

Thursday 3 November 2016

CENTURION Helps Out Local Animal Shelter

The great spiritual leader and human rights activist Mahatma Gandhi once said that “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
Above: instant happiness

Our fur-babies, Man’s best friend – whatever name you know them by, one thing is for certain, life just wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged companions. A wagging tail and a wet nose is an instant antidepressant. 

But the plight that our animal friends suffer is a very real one, with scores of pets getting lost or being abandoned and ending up in animal shelters that are more often than not painfully short on resources.

The vast majority of these organisations operate on a non-profit basis and rely on donations from the public to make the time that the animals spend in their care as comfortable as possible, but even with the help of generous benefactors, things are often touch and go.
Our driver, Vusi, loading pallets onto his bakkie bound for the Randburg SPCA

Centurion Systems was able to help one local animal haven make things a bit easier for their fluffy wards by donating wooden pallets which are used to elevate the animals’ beds when it rains in order to keep them nice and dry. 

According to CENTURION regional sales manager Rene Ogden, she first read about the plight of the animals cared for at the Randburg branch of the SPCA on the Randpark Ridge community Facebook page and, being a pet-owner herself, she knew she had to help.
“Now that the rainy season is officially here,” says Rene “it’s easy for the animals to get wet, which is not only unpleasant for them, it can also result in them getting sick. The SPCA uses the pallets to elevate the beds off the ground so that the animals remain dry”.

CENTURION regional sales manager, Rene Ogden
Rene went on to say that there is currently a need for so-called sandpit shells at the SPCA. These are used as makeshift swimming pools for the animals to help them cool off, especially in light of the heat wave currently sweeping the country.

To find out how you can help, visit SPCA Randburg’s website, http://www.spca-rbg.org.za/, or their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SPCA.Randburg/