Frequently Asked Questions
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is the use of smart sensors and actuators to enhance manufacturing and industrial processes. Also known as the industrial internet or Industry 4.0, IIoT uses the power of smart machines and real-time analytics to take advantage of the data that "dumb machines" have produced in industrial settings for years. The driving philosophy behind IIoT is that smart machines are not only better than humans at capturing and analyzing data in real time, but they're also better at communicating important information that can be used to drive business decisions faster and more accurately.
Connected sensors and actuators enable companies to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner and save time and money, while supporting business intelligence efforts. In manufacturing, specifically, IIoT holds great potential for quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain traceability, and overall supply chain efficiency. In an industrial setting, IIoT is key to processes such as Predictive maintenance (PdM), enhanced field service, energy management and asset tracking.
Source: Definition provided by TechTarget, By Brien Posey, Linda Rosencrance, https://www.techtarget.com/iotagenda/definition/Industrial-Internet-of-Things-IIoT
Volley Boast’s VoBo product line is designed to connect to and in many cases provide a power supply to existing wired sensors and transmitters. The VoBo bridges wired instrumentation to wireless LoRaWAN networks. Volley Boast can provide guidance to customers in their selection of instrumentation and also vet compatibility of existing instrumentation the customer may wish to connect to a LoRaWAN.
LoRa (short for “Long Range”) is the RF technology, and LoRaWAN is the protocol. Standards for LoRa/LoRaWAN are maintained by the LoRa Alliance. LoRaWAN is part of a family called LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network). LoRaWANs can be managed as either public or private networks. Public LoRaWANs are operated by service providers (such as Actility, Orbiwise, and Loriat) and allow customers to deploy LoRa enabled devices without having to worry about the gateways and all of the other network management issues. Private LoRaWANs are generally used by larger customers with the technological skills in house necessary to manage a network.
VoBos use 3.6 V Primary lithium-thionyl chloride batteries. Replacement batteries can be procured directly by the customer from any number of vendors and installed by the customer.
Battery life depends on a variety of factors such as types of sensors used, how long the sensors need to be powered to take an accurate reading, how often readings are taken, and a few other less determinant factors. Under most use cases, a single 13 Ahr battery will last 2 or even 5 years depending on the combination of these factors.
Development is underway for an externally powered VoBo, the XP model. This model is expected to commercialize in first quarter 2024.
Yes, there are commercially available current and voltage transducers and relays that produce an output that the VoBo can receive.
The VoBo is not designed to be an asset tracker. However if a VoBo is attached to a piece of equipment that is not fixed in one location, the geolocation feature of LoRaWAN can be used to provide the proximate location of the VoBo.
SCADA (“Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition”) systems generally require constant power and are well-suited for large, complex industrial operations requiring real-time, continuous two-way communication. LoRaWAN is a technology that gathers data relatively inexpensively and is most frequently used for monitoring the condition or state of various equipment. It very scalable and straightforward to deploy. It is not widely used for critical control functionality. SCADA and LoRaWAN are frequently used in conjunction with each other in an industrial setting.
The VoBo is the only industrial grade device on the market designed to bridge wired instrumentation to a LoRaWAN. The universe of industry standard instrumentation is now open to use in a LoRaWAN. The VoBo is designed to be installed directly in harsh environments without the need for additional protective enclosures. Soon the VoBo family will have the ability to perform customer defined analytics in the background and report by exception.
No. VoBo’s work with any network that meets the LoRa Alliance standards. There are several public networks in operation that may have coverage in your area of interest.
Yes. VoBos are available as devices certified for use Class 1, Division 2 location in USA and Canada.
Yes. VoBo’s come with a default configuration. These can be modified by the customer by sending downlinks through the network server or directly with a configuration cable connecting the VoBo to your computer.
Absolutely. As long as you comply with laws, code, and your particular industrial regulations, you can easily install VoBos on your own equipment. LoRa radios operate in the unlicensed radio spectrum, which means an FCC license is not required to operate a LoRa network. The Volley Boast team will be happy to provide guidance.
You can purchase here, directly on our website. Corporate accounts and integrators: please contact us at email@example.com or call us at +1 250-412-5679.
That depends on the VoBo model, the type of sensor, and the sensor power requirements. The VoBo GP-1 and HL-1 in standard configuration can accept analog, digital, and serial inputs, up to 8 input channels and optionally more. The VoBo TC can accept up to 12 thermocouple input channels.
Some common sensor configurations are below.
- 4-20mA Analog sensors.
- Up to three 4-20mA sensors can be read by the VoBo GP-1 and HL-1. A chart with the total current available to power sensors at a given voltage, can be found in the VoBo GP-1 and VoBo HL-1 Installation Manuals. Since the voltage requirement is typically specified as a range of voltage, it may be necessary to adjust the applied voltage in order to have enough total current available to power the sensors.
- If a 4-20mA sensor is powered externally (to the VoBo), it requires almost no power from the VoBo and would not enter into the calculation of the total current required of the VoBo.
- 0-5V and 0-10V Analog sensors.
- Up to three voltage output sensors can be read by the VoBo GP-1 and HL-1. The chart with the total current available to power sensors can be found in the VoBo GP-1 and VoBo HL-1 Installation Manuals.
- If the voltage output sensor is self-powering, it requires no power from the VoBo and would not enter into the calculation of total current required of the VoBo.
- Discrete (digital) switches.
- Up to three dry contact or voltage switches/relays (including solid state relays) can be read by the VoBo GP-1 and HL-1. If configured for voltage, a high value of 1 is for voltages greater than 2.4V and a low value of 0 is for voltages less than 0.8V.
- The wakeup input can accept a dry contact switch or relay, with the exception of solid state relays.
- Modbus RTU serial devices.
- The VoBo GP-1 and HL-1 has one RS485 serial input, which in the standard configuration can read (16 or 32 bit) registers from one Modbus RTU device.
- The multiple Modbus RTU read/write option allows more than one daisy chained Modbus RTU devices to be read by and written to.
- Thermocouple sensors.
- The VoBo TC is specifically designed for thermocouple sensors and can read up to 12 thermocouples per VoBo.
- Millivolt and Hart/4-20mA sensors
- The VoBo SL model line will have models to accept a single millivolt sensor or single Hart/4-20mA sensor per VoBo. The VoBo SL is in development.
- Other sensors via interface.
- Interfaces/adapters exist for many other sensors which produce an analog, digital or serial output that the VoBo can accept.
- The interfaces from sensor to Modbus RTU in particular, provide exceptional flexibility for the quantity and type of sensor input to the VoBo.
When the VoBo does not have a gateway connection or when placed in offline mode, it functions as a data logger. Logged data can be recovered locally with a serial connection.
Yes, by utilizing the optional VoBoSync, the exact time sensor measurements are taken is coordinated between VoBos. A LoRaWAN network server that is compliant with LoRaWAN 1.0.3 is required.
Yes, profiles and decoders for VoBo models are currently available on these LoRaWAN network servers. The VoBo decoder is also available for download in the Volley Boast Customer Portal, along with other useful tools.
- Actility – Things Park
- The Things Stack
There are several options to configure your VoBo.
- Locally connected.
- The most common method is to configure it locally, prior to deployment, connected to a computer in the lab using a USB to RS232 configuration cable. A terminal emulator such at Putty can be used to communicate with the VoBo, using the serial menu to make changes to the parameters.
- The new Volley Boast Configuration Tool can be downloaded from the Volley Boast Customer Portal and used to change a configuration using a graphical interface.
- Over the air.
- On a deployed VoBo, a downlink sent through the LoRaWAN network server over the air, can make changes to configuration parameters.
- A downlink can be sent to prompt the VoBo to send all or a subset of its configuration parameters in a payload. A utility function included in the Volley Boast decoder, will create a file from the configuration payloads that can be saved.
- Pre-installed configuration.
- Volley Boast can work with you to determine the configuration needed for your application and pre-install it on your new VoBo. There is an additional charge for pre-installed configurations.
Yes, by utilizing the optional VoBoAnalytics, sensor measurements can be collected at regular intervals, the VoBo analyzes the data, and if the condition is met, sends a transmission.