All,

as you  might have heard in the past, Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremen (awi) has been using Barix products (namely, Barionet and Instreamer) in a science mission (PALAOA) in antarctica since quite some years now. The Barionets are used for general control and power management, while the Instreamer is used to realtime encode audio from Hydrophones and stream to Neumeyerstation located in Antarctica as well.

There is a very nice, detailed paper available from the PALAOA website (link: here), explaining details and difficulties of the whole setup.

Here is another link to the story, this time in german, with more the scientific view, sound samples etc: PALAOA.

And here is a direct link to the live stream from Antarctica, encoded by a Barix Instreamer: http://icecast.awi.de:8000/PALAOA.MP3

One thing to notice .. Barionet and Instreamer, both standard “consumer temp range” Barix products, work flawlessly since years in the setup in Antarctica, being operated sometimes at -50′C, constantly (24/7) delivering control and monitoring of the station and an IP Audio feed of the hydrophone(s).

What works that reliably in this remote location under extreme conditions should do well for you too, ain’t it ?

Johannes

Have you ever lost food due to a broken fridge or freezer, or did you ever find a door not shut on your kitchen fridge – after one day ?

Worst, of course, if these things happen in a place you do not regulary stay, such as a weekend cottage or vacation home !

I did this even better …. unplugged the freezer because i needed the power outlet to recharge the car battery .. then forgot to plug back in the freezer …. result, after 5 days …. quite a loss of food ! And a mess to clean up …

Barix Barionet devices can come to the rescue here ! If done right, you can monitor the fridge or freezer for both breakdown as well as open doors etc, without doing any modification or adding sensors to the fridge.

Here’s the secret: get a current sensor such as the RIBXKTF from Functional Devices (costs around $15 if you search online). you will need to install it, best in the electrical cabinet, so the source power for the fridge runs through it. The output of this specific type resembles a “contact closure” (it’s probably a transistor), so you can connect, depending on the type of Barionet you use, up to 4 or even up to 8 of these sensors.

The sensor will not detect the usual “standby” current of a fridge (while the compressor not being active), but it will definitely transmit “on” when the compressor runs.

A fridge/freezer should not be active all the time, there should be alternating periods when the compressor is active and inactive.

A typical graph is here:

Freezer Activity example

Freezer Activity Example

By monitoring the sensor for activity, you can now derive quite some information about your fridge !

- constant “off” tells you the fridge is probably plugged out, switched off or fuse blown, compressor dead etc
- constant “on” tells you the fridge is using a lot of energy, probably because the door is not shut correctly or ice buildup

By calculating the duty cycle (percentage of the fridge being on in a certain period) over time, you can even detect growing inefficiency, when a de-icing makes sense etc – of course, the “nominal” values vary by fridge and average load and need to be determined.

Calculation and alarming can be programmed right into the Barionet or done in a higher level home automation system (such as XTension for the mac – i’m using that myself).

One time rotten food/loss of content can easily cost more than the “Barionet freezer monitor”, if you already use Barionets in your house, just add the sensor …. and of course, this functionality can also be applied to heaters, fans, pumps – about anything which is meant to be on “some times” but not always …

If you want a programming example for the Barionet, contact me – happy to provide that to you as source code.

Home automation that makes sense – with the Barionet, the real-world I/O interface from Barix !

All the best,

Johannes

Folks, i just wanted to share the picture of the recent installation of a Barionet with the C-MOR video solution.

The photo nicely shows how the Barionet works as a central component of the video surveillance solution.
The IP based IO device does not only integrate sensors to trigger alarms, but also actors to activate visual and audible notifications.

Barix Barionet in Police showroom

Barionet in Cmor demo

Johannes

A Barionet is a great product to monitor environmental parameters, power useage, contact closures etc.

If the Barionet detects an alarm condition, it will need to notify you. But how?

Sample code for sending email, operating a SMS modem etc is already available from us.

Here is a very nice method to do this via the popular iPhone by using an application called “prowl”. The Prowl makers operate a public server and manage the delivery to the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch “prowl” app via the standard iOS notification scheme (so, very little consumption of power/bandwith on the iOS device).
You need to purchase the prowl app from the app store ($2.99), register and generate an API key on the prowlapp website, and you are good to go!

On the Barionet, you will need a small application which
- opens a TCP connection to the prowl api server, api.prowlapp.com, port 80 (http)
- sends an “add” command with a meaningful notification message to the server (see example below)
- close the connection.

That’s it!
The alarm message will arrive within very short time at your iPhone, where you can configure quiet times, alarm tones etc.

here is an example for a string you would need to send (replace the xxxxx… with the API code you get from the website):

“GET /publicapi/add?apikey=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx&event=alarm%20temp%3e65F%20too%20high&application=fridge HTTP/1.0″ (plus 2x CR/LF)

Note: you will need to do the URL encoding (%20 for space etc) in your program if your message contains blanks or special characters.

We can provide a sample BCL program on request.

Johannes

P.S: Once you have implemented this, let us know so we can feature your application!

Multicast routing between (remote) networks
icon4 07 15th, 2010| icon3Comments Off

Have you ever faced the situation that you want to use Multicast between subnets, but Routers don’t forward it OR the application/device generating the Multicast traffic is using a TTL of 1, so the blocks don’t get forwarded by the router?

Barix developed a “Multicast routing/tunneling” firmware for the Barionet which turns that device into a flexible, multi site multicast forwarder/router. Effectively, it bridges multiple multicast groups between multiple sites, and can also include single hosts. The functionality is independent on the actual protocols used with the Multicast, being it automation, IP Audio, Video, VoIP, SIP or RTP.

Here is the rough concept:

  • A Barionet is installed in every subnet where multicast traffic needs to be pickeed up or delivered.
  • The device(s) does “UDP” tunnelling to forward the Multicast packets to the other Barionet(s) in the other subnet(s). At the same time, they serve as a tunnel receiver/endpoint to receive encapsulated Multicasts from the other networks.
  • Up to 8 independent multicasts (address/port) can be configured, and up to 8 destinations – either Barionets in other networks as tunnel endpoints, or hosts which then receive the packets unicast.
  • The TTL field of the multicast blocks can be “ignored and set to configured value” or handled as usual (decrementing).
  • Tunnelling can be configured to use “IP over IP” or plain UDP – both have advantages and disadvantages.
  • Monitoring of the application is possible via SNMP.

The first customer uses the application to route VoIP/VHF radio traffic between multiple operations centers in a large company. However, applications can be found wherever multicast needs to be routed between subnets and routers, IT providers or policies prevent that.

Please contact Barix if you are interested in that solution!

Johannes

Barionet can tweet alarms via Twitter
icon4 07 6th, 2010| icon3Comments Off

What if …

the Barionet, the IP Automation device from Barix, would tweet ?

This is quite simple to achieve. We have sample BCL code, which allows you to do just that. Being it contact closures or temp sensors, these can be monitored, and in case of out-of bound data, the Barionet can directly talk to the twitter servers and “tweet” an alarm message.

Contact us for the source code (and beware, it’s sample code ..)

Johannes

First day of ISE today – Barix is on site, showcasing the complete product portfolio of Audio over IP and IP control applications, including the new IO device server “Barionet 50″.

Visit us at the booth, mention this blog post to Marcel or myself and get invited for a Coffee !

Johannes

This post is in regards to the Barionet – control products, not audio products …

As you know, the Barionet is securing infrastructure, measuring and managing energy, voltages, controlling HVAC systems and supervising power substations since many years.

And, yes, quite some systems also use it for home automation applications ..

One request we hear quite often is that the device should have a RTC (realtime clock), so that it knows the time when it starts up, even if there is no network connection (once it gets the time via NTP from a server, it can maintain it locally, so the RTC is really only needed for having the time after startup with no network).

Good news: the current firmware supports the Dallas Onewire DS1904 RTC button. You can either connect it to the onewire interface, or you can even put it inside the barionet case if you can solder and mount it with velcro or the like.

Here is a link to a wiki article which describes how to do this: Barionet with RTC

What do you get from that ? A low cost universal, network connected I/O controller with RTC, speaking Modbus/TCP, SNMP as well as ASCII protocols, fully programmable …

Please stay tuned for news on the new Barionet 50 model, coming out in the next couple of weeks.
Johannes

Audio over IP and Voice over IP converge !
icon4 09 2nd, 2008| icon3Comments Off

As you probably have seen, Barix is supporting SIP since about 15 months now. A complete SIP stack and application, which is provided in source form, is in the Barix ABCL kit.

While requirements for an Audio over IP and a Voice over IP (VoIP) system are typically quite different, the Barix solution can serve both!

The SIP application can be used for emergency call posts on Annuncicoms (full duplex communication, initiated by a button press from a user), but also for output only applications, such as Paging speakers or interfaces to existing PA systems. In that case, the application supports multicast and also Auto Answer.

For use in Parking Systems or door access control, the built-in relay of an Annuncicom can be controlled via SIP Info.

So – where comes Audio over IP in place ?

Supporting MP3, AACplus, Ogg Vorbis and WMA (select hardware), the devices provide excellent capabilities for IP Audio distribution.

We are working on integrating both the Audio and Intercom/Voice/Paging functionality into one single application, when available, this will allow you to
do IP Audio distribution in high quality (for example, in Hotels, Cruise ships etc), yet, at the same time, have the device register as a VoIP “phone extension” on an IP based phone system.

For the Audio over IP functionality, the high quality music encoding can be used, and the devices automatically switch over to VoIP codecs when such functionality is required.

An alternative is to use one Barix device as a SIP gateway, allowing easy paging zone selection via “DTMF” (actually, SIP Info): The advantage here is that only one extension is used, which could save license cost on the PBX, and also enable synchronous paging on multiple devices via Multicast, which is not supported by many VoIP PBX’es so far.

A third option, available now, is the use of Bell Commander from Acrovista , a partner. It provides the same functionality on a PC, with an extensive Bell Scheduling and PC based Paging solution.

Hi,

This is a quick post in regards to how to present and calculate “analog” values or other things you want to express with a decimal point in the Barix Barionet and also on our Audio platforms (when programming in BCL):

Let’s assume you want to use input #1 on the Barionet to measure a current of 0.00-20.00 Amperes, and you have the necessary converter which delivers an analog voltage of 0..5V representing the full scale range of the measured current.

Connecting the converter to the Barionet will allow you to instantly see the corresponding voltage on the UI using a browser.

But .. how do you get the shown values converted to 0-20 Amp ?

The analog resolution of the current Barionet inputs is 10bit, so “full scale” is 1023. You probably want a higher resolution than just the integer part 0..20, so i would suggest to use 2 decimals.

Calculations can easily be done in integer if you just calculate/use the value, converted to 10mA units.

How ?

a=(iostate(501)*2000)/1024

…. this gets the value, multiples by the full scale value (20.00->2000) and divides by the 10 bit fullscale value, resulting in values which are 100 times the current Amp reading.

For example, a voltage value of 2.5V will be digitzed to 512, resulting in a value of 1000 (which is 10.00 Amp).

BCL supports a special format to easily display these values with a decimal point:

sprintf$(“Value: %.2F”,a)

will return a string with “Value: 10.00″ content you can use for writing, displaying, storing.

If you just want to display the value on the UI using dynamic HTML tags, things are even easier, no programming in BCL is required ! The following term will emit (for our example) the string “10.00″ on the Barionet if used in a dynamic HTML page:

&LIO(2,”%0.2F”,501,2000,0,1024);

Note the multiple parameters here. The decimal point is set in the format sting (%0.2F) to be 2 decimals. The first parameter after the format string is the I/O point (501), the second parameter is the multiplicator, the third parameter is an optional offset (if you put -1024000 here, you will have a reading of -10.00 …+10.00 for the example), and the term is divided by the last parameter before being displayed.

So, as with the above example, the value of IO point 501 (let’s assume it is 512) is taken, multiplied with 2000, nothing is subtracted, and the resulting value is divided by 1024. The result (1000) is then formatted as 10.00.

I hope this sparks some ideas how to use the products !

Johannes

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