Engine generator control

Remote management of the engine generators is a very important application for installers and maintainers. You can setup an application based on AirQ Networks products in a simple way. Knowing if an engine generator is on or if there are some anomalies is very useful for maintainers.

For instance you could detect:

  1. If engine is on;
  2. if network is up (and engine generates electricity).

You may also control:

  1. engine ignition;
  2. engine shutdown.

Usually an engine generator provides a control switchboard, from which you can turn on the engine by holding a button until engine starts, because button is linked to a starter motor. Another button is used to turn off the engine. Switchboard provides also alarm signals by outputs

You could set up alarms, for instance send an SMS to mobile number if engine doesn’t generate electricity.

An engine generator

An engine generator

 

Required stuff

We need following things to setup this application:

Since you have to power the AirQ 305 control board, you can get power directly from engine battery. If you need, you can add to the list also one DIN rail power supply.

Step by step instructions

The next paragraphs show how setup both the hardware and the software.

Hardware setup

The first step is to mount the control board AirQ 305 (or 325). You have to place the board close to or in the engine switchboard. You can place the board on a DIN rail inner the switchboard.

You have to link:

  • power supply (ground and +12V) from the switchboard to the control board;
  • Relay 1 to the ignition button;
  • Relay 2 to the shutdown button;
  • IN1 to the “engine ON” alarm;
  • IN2 to the “network ON” alarm;

Finally, you have to link the HomeNet control unit to the network device (ex. a router) using an UTP cable and use a switching adapter for the power supply.

control board linked to switchboard

This image shows how to link a control board to a switchboard of an engine generator

Software setup

The second step is the software. No installation on your PC/Smartphone is required: in order to use the system with the full capabilities, the HomeNet control unit provides an embedded web server (also called HomeNET).

HomeNET is the application that allows you to do basic configuration and define all the system logic.

You can access to the application using a browser, like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, and enter the IP address of the control unit. Control unit IP address is generated by DHCP. To obtain your control unit IP, you have to use HomeNET Finder.

http://192.168.1.210:9090

For basic configuration, we suggest you take a look at page Support.

After control board is installed and paired, if you access to the devices status summary view, you can see the box of the control board:

control board for an engine generator

A control board box from the devices status summary, used to manage an engine generator

Clicking on the icons for relay 1 and relay2, you can command the engine ignition and the engine shutdown. If you click on the names of the I/O, you can assign new names. In the previous picture, relay1 has the name engine ignition and relay2 has the name engine shutdown. IN1 and IN2 ha respectively the names Engine ON and Network ON.

Dashboard setup

You could prefer to use a graphic panel that focuses only what you need: the first two inputs and the first two relays. So you can use the dashboard. Following the guide of the dashboard, you can obtain a panel like in following picture:

dashboard for manage engine generator

A dashboard configured for manage engine generator

Next video shows hot to configure the dashboard for the application:

Define the system logic

For alarms and complex behaviours of the application, you need to use rules.
Since the commands on the switchboards are buttons and that the relays of the AirQ control boards are bistable (they work like an interrupter), you have to define a little of logic to use relays as ignition buttons. On the switchboard of the engine, the ignition button is linked to a starter motor. If you hold ignition button, the starter works in order to turn on the engine. When you release the button, the starter stops. During the button hold, the engine must start; else there are some problems. Practically, this behaviour is like the key ignition of a car.

After hardware installation and basic configuration of HomeNET, if you click on Relay 1 from the dashboard, the starter try to ignite the engine and if you forget to turn off the relay, the starter continue to works, so you might break it or discharge the engine battery. You can define special behaviour of the Relay1 adding a rule. Supposing that the starter allows starting the engine in 5 seconds in worst case, you would define these behaviours:

  1. If the Relay1 is on, it must turn off after 5 seconds;
  2. if engine is started, the Relay1 has to be turned off;

The point one ensures that when you click on Relay1, application try to start the engine. The point two ensures that Relay1 turns off if engine is started within 5 seconds. In terms of rules:

  1. Condition: if <BOARD>.<RELAY1>=True; action: <BOARD>.<RELAY1>=False DELAY 5 seconds.
  2. Condition: if <BOARD>.<IN1>=True; action: <BOARD>.<RELAY1>=False.
turn off relay1 after five seconds

A rule that turns off the relay1 after five seconds

Turn off the relay1 if the engine is started

A rule that turns off the relay1 if the engine is started

 

Since also shutdown is a button, you have to define a rule for the Relay2:

  • If the Relay2 is on, it has to turned off it after 5 seconds.

 

turn off relay2 after five seconds

A rule that turns off the relay2 after five seconds

 

Rules are used also for alarms definition. The system can send a SMS to a mobile number if engine doesn’t generate electricity

To test if the engine doesn’t generate electricity you have to control if engine is on while the network is down. You can define a rules composed by:

  • Conditions: if engine is on and network is down;
  • Action: send SMS to mobile number.
send SMS if network is off

A rule that sends a SMS if the engine doesn’t generate electricity