Temperature Telemetry
Deliver Temperature Information From Anywhere, To Your Computer

Temperature telemetry systems let you measure the temperature of just about anything, when you either can’t be there or don’t want to be... or perhaps you just want to measure the temperature of something that moves!

Temperature telemetry means measuring temperature at a distance.

But in a wider definition we often consider it to be two-way data communications where, in addition to temperature measurement data, there is often an exchange of operational information and control commands.

If something gets too hot, we can remotely command it to turn off, or cool down.

Telemetry brings temperature information back to you, to wherever and whenever you want it. Want to measure the temperature of something in the next room, in the next building, across town, in another country… or even on Mars?

Wireless Telemetry is the answer.

Benefits of wireless temperature telemetry

Get your temperature data as soon as it happens.

No need to wait. Receive your temperature measurement information in near real-time.

Sometimes you can't afford to wait. What if you've had to leave your dogs in the RV... and it's the middle of summer. It's just not possible to take your pets everywhere you go. 

But you do want to make sure they aren't overheating... if you know, it relieves their anxiety... and yours.

Here's a nice product that will send an alarm email to your Smartphone if the temperature exceeds a threshold that you can set.


It may not suit everyone, but if you have a laptop computer with a USB port, you can plug this device into it. It gets its power from the USB port. You may need to do a couple of simple things, such as disable the sleep function on your computer and load the software that set this up.

You'll also need a web connection so the alarm gets sent. 

I haven't tried this product, but it looks promising and has some good reviews. It telemeters humidity too.

Click on the image if you'd like to know more.


Measure temperature in inaccessible places.

Hard to get at places such as sealed bulkheads or engines.


Measure the temperature of things that move.

Whether it’s a rotary kiln, the brakes or the engine of a racing car, or the muscle temperature of a swimming seal. 

And if it moves, you need a wireless connection. The information is usually carried by radio – that is, electromagnetic radiation in the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is sometimes just called RF (Radio Frequency).


Control temperature.

Temperature affects our lives so much that it’s important to be able to measure it. If you measure it, you can control and manage it.

  • Lower the cost of temperature measurements.

    With temperature telemetry you don’t have to go and get the data... it comes to you!

    This reduces travel costs and greenhouse gas emissions if you don’t need to use a vehicle to collect it. It may even allow you to measure things you wanted to before, but couldn’t, because it was too expensive.
  • You can be sure the measurements are actually being recorded.

    Assure yourself that the data is of good quality. You don’t want to find, at your next monthly data download, that nothing was recorded. It’s reassuring to see good data coming in, in real time, especially when it’s coming from somewhere far away.
  • Monitor extreme temperatures without risk.

    When you want to know the temperature of blizzards or blast furnaces, you really don’t want, or need to be there carrying out the measurements yourself. A temperature telemetry system will let you stay at a safe distance.

When you free yourself from the constraint of wires, the applications are only limited by your imagination…



What can you use wireless temperature telemetry for?



  • Manage the temperature of things in hospitals

  • Monitor and control temperature of things at home

  • Guarantee the quality of perishable items

  • Ensure safety in the food industry

  • Study animal behaviour

  • Monitor and control temperature in industry

  • Monitor environmental temperature



Manage the temperature of things in hospitals


Here are the benefits. Wireless temperature telemetry can…

  • Improve patient safety and comfort

  • Improve the quality of service and support

  • Reduce the workload of doctors and nurses

  • Reduce errors and accidents

  • Generate alarms on abnormal conditions

  • Simplify regulatory compliance / quality assurance

  • Let you add new temperature monitoring points when needed…

  • And remove them when you don’t need them

  • Make it easy to integrate with other (non-temperature) measurements, and

  • Let you incorporate it into an overall hospital management system

  • Spread initial costs – you can implement a system in stages

  • Lower ongoing operational costs


And yes, there are some disadvantages with wireless temperature telemetry...

  • Repeaters may be necessary if there are gaps in radio coverage

  • Capital cost of telemetry system planning and hardware

  • There may be occasional interference to and from other items of equipment


... however, the advantages easily outweigh the disadvantages and these can usually be minimized or overcome.


Here’s the big picture...

Temperature telemetry lets you wirelessly monitor the temperature of many things continuously, 24/7, freeing up hospital staff for more productive tasks.


Set alarm thresholds so that relevant response personnel can be deployed in an emergency.

Staff can also be alerted to non-urgent tasks automatically. This can help bring certainty and order to a potentially chaotic situation.


Here are some practical temperature monitoring applications…

  • Patients at risk of extreme body temperature changes

  • Cool stores containing medicines or vaccines

  • Storage for blood bags, organs or tissue

  • Storage of food or breast milk

  • Incubators

  • Sterilizers

  • Air temperature


Monitor and control temperature of things at home


  • Monitor and manage air temperature throughout a house

  • Display indoor and outdoor air temperature

  • Monitor swimming pool temperature

  • Monitor the meat on your barbeque rotisserie

  • Monitor smoker cooking temperature

  • Monitor and alarm the temperature of a fish tank


Guarantee the quality of perishable items


Temperature telemetry lets you monitor items such as food or medicines. Many chemical reactions double in speed for a 10 degree C rise in temperature. Temperature affects the storage time of perishable goods such as food and medicines.

If you don’t know the temperature history of these items, you can’t have confidence in their quality and may have to dispose of them simply because you can’t guarantee that quality.


Now you can monitor the temperature history of perishable products...


You can track this in real time, locally or even from country to country, allowing food, medicines and other perishable products to be moved internationally - with confidence that their quality is being maintained – or know when it hasn’t been!


Ensure safety in the food industry


It’s essential not to "break the cold chain" when food, especially meat, poultry and egg products are being produced, processed, transported and distributed.


Why?

Keeping food products at a low temperature is the best way to prevent the growth of bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. Wireless temperature telemetry makes this practical.


  • Monitor and control food items during manufacture and processing

  • Monitor fridges and freezers where food products are stored

  • Continuously monitor food while it’s being transported

  • Simplify compliance with food and hygiene standards (keeps the auditors happy!)


Study animal behaviour


Body temperature is vitally important to all animals, so the more we can learn about their dependence on it, the easier it is to understand their behaviour and how to manage them.


Here are some things you can do with animal temperature telemetry…

  • Measure the core body temperature of animals

  • Measure the stomach temperature of free-ranging animals to study feeding patterns

  • Measure nest or burrow temperatures

  • Indicate when ovulation is taking place to help optimize successful fertilization


Monitor and control temperature in industry


  • Profile kiln temperature in real time to ensure the correct distribution of heat

  • Measure and control temperatures of automated processes

  • Measure the progress of chemical reactions from the heat they absorb or give out


Monitor environmental temperature


  • Measure air or soil temperature. Wireless weather stations measure air temperature, along with other parameters. If you monitor the soil temperature you can make an informed decision on when to plant.

  • Monitor the water temperature of rivers, lakes or sea. In a natural waterway, where there are fish and other animal life, the temperature can sometimes indicate indirectly when oxygen levels maybe getting dangerously low.


What to look for when choosing a temperature telemetry system


A temperature telemetry system starts with a temperature sensor...

Decide what type of sensor is best for your measurement

Most temperature sensors are designed to be in close contact (thermally coupled) to the thing they’re measuring.

These are good for measuring the temperature of specific objects, such as a pump or motor, or the air temperature in specific locations such as a factory or laboratory.


If you want to measure environmental temperatures, say between –20C and +50C, then an electronic linear sensor is a good choice.


However, if you want to measure higher temperatures, say up to 500C, then a thermocouple is a better choice. Unlike an electronic sensor, it will work happily at higher temperatures.


But there is a downside to using thermocouples...

Thermocouples aren’t linear (output doesn’t follow temperature directly). However, some temperature telemetry modules are specially made to use thermocouples and these convert the non-linear output to a linear one.


Some sensors, such as Infra-Red thermal imaging types, are non-contact, and can give a good big-picture view of temperature variations over a wider area such as a room or a building.


Other types of IR sensor can be used for non-contact monitoring of point sources of heat. Both types sense the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the heat source – in the IR part of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Decide how many temperature points you want to measure?


Consider what you need now... but also consider your future needs. If you make the right choice now you may not have to purchase another bigger system later.


Initially you may only want to measure one temperature point at one location but want to add more points later, as the size of your operation (or budget) increases.


Or you may want to measure several temperature points at each of a number of different places.


If you think you may want to up-size your temperature telemetry system later...


Consider a system that allows extra sensors and nodes to be added


A good temperature telemetry system should be scalable (up and down) and easy to reconfigure when you want to add new temperature measurement points, or remove them.


Ensure the sensor temperature range matches the measurement temperature range closely


There are many types of temperature sensor available and one size does not fit all.


You’ll need sensors that are suitable for the range of temperatures that you want to measure, otherwise…


  • Your temperature data might go over-range (go right off the scale!).


  • Your temperature data might under-range and the temperature variations become too understated to be of much value.


  • Your sensor may malfunction or be permanently damaged if you expose it to extreme temperatures that it wasn’t designed for. Don’t use a sensor with a maximum temperature rating of 120 Degrees to measure the temperature of a furnace. It would fry!


When carrying out temperature telemetry you should ideally select a temperature sensor range that’s slightly wider than the range of temperatures you want to measure.


Say you want to measure temperatures between zero and 20 degrees. Select a sensor with a range as close as possible to this, but a little wider, say 0 – 25 degrees, depending on what’s available. Don’t select a sensor with a range of –50 to +150 degrees as you’d only use 10% (20 degrees out of 200) of the available range and the temperature changes would be under-represented.


Avoid this trap when measuring air temperature


With a temperature telemetry system, or any air temperature measurement, you need to mount the sensor...


  • away from surrounding objects

  • in shade, or have a radiation shield

  • in a vented enclosure

Here’s why...

Say you want to measure outside air temperature.

All you want to measure is the temperature of the air! It’s obvious, but sometimes people think they are measuring air temperature but may be also measuring the heat contributed by the sun’s direct radiation… or measuring heat re-radiated from the wall that the sensor’s mounted on, after the sun’s gone down.


This is one reason why there’s so much variation in (unofficial) reported temperatures.


When you measure air temperature you need to screen the sensor from any direct radiation from the sun, or re-radiation from nearby objects, especially concrete, brick or stone walls that can absorb and store solar energy during the day and re-radiate it at night – sometimes for hours!


Understand that...


Heat only flows from hotter things to colder things


It’s the temperature difference that drives heat flow. Put two things at the same temperature together and what happens?


Nothing. No heat flows from one to the other because there’s no temperature difference to drive it.


But if one of those things is a degree hotter than the other, heat will flow… from the hotter one to the colder one, until they are at the same temperature. Then there’s nothing left to drive the heat flow, so the flow stops... equilibrium!


On a good temperature telemetry system, the air temperature sensor will come with a screen to reflect the sun’s rays away from the sensor, so that direct radiation can’t significantly raise the temperature of the sensor.


You want the sensor to respond to ambient air temperature so the only thing around it should be air! The sensor should be out in the open and air should be allowed to flow freely over it. If the sensor is in an enclosure, this needs to be vented to allow airflow.


And if air circulation is poor...

Mount the sensor in an enclosure with a fan, to draw the air over the sensor. This is sometimes called an aspirated system. And because a fan may get warm during use, it’s important that it draws the air in and doesn’t blow fan-heated air over the sensor or the temperature may appear to be higher than it really is (in error).


For an aspirated wireless temperature telemetry system, you may want to use a solar panel and battery to power a small fan.


What do you want to happen if temperature exceeds normal limits?


If your temperature telemetry system won’t be monitoring a critical process then you probably won’t want to do anything. However if you happen to be monitoring the core reactor temperature of a nuclear power plant!! then you’d want to generate alarms and initiate an automatic shutdown.


But there are lots of options between these extremes. Here are some for alerts and alarms that can be sent automatically...


  • Send an email to queue a non-urgent request

  • Send a report

  • Send a text message to a mobile phone if not urgent

  • Activate a pager

  • Bring up a message on a computer screen

  • Activate a wireless visual display

  • Activate wirelessly-controlled flashing lights or sirens

  • Send a pre-recorded announcement over a PA system


Decide what’s appropriate for you and check that the temperature telemetry system has what you want before you buy it.


How do you want your temperature information?


If raw temperature data consisting of rows of numbers doesn’t do it for you...

there are alternatives. Look for a temperature telemetry system that delivers an intuitive colorful graphic display right to your PC screen.


Choose a system with a good software package that processes the raw temperature data right on your PC and presents it as a graph or bar chart, showing minimum, maximum, average, trends and other statistics, and maybe even generates a professional-looking report that can be pulled out of the printer...

...and handed straight to the boss! And if you can customize your reports, better still.

Read more about wireless telemetry systems.










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Temperature too high? Send an alarm email to your Smartphone. Click on the image for more information.