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SENSORS & SENSING SYSTEMS FEATURE


receptacle wakes up the system. “We based this part of our design around the USB specification requirement that a device must indicate its presence and speed with a pull-up resistor on the USB D+ data line. We use a low power microcontroller to watch for such an event and as that is its only responsibility where USB is concerned, we did not have to implement a full USB stack.” When the microcontroller detects the USB


Datakey pull-up, it boots the computer module and relinquishes control of the USB D+ line to the computer module (which does have the full USB stack). Once booted, the computer module then enumerates the USB Datakey, just like a


PC recognising a new device being inserted into a port. If the device is valid – i.e. the expected vendor and product IDs are present - the computer module will then automatically transfer data. Wilson went on to explain that configuration


files can also be transferred automatically as part of the wake-up. “This gives us a relatively straight-forward method of reconfiguring a Datahub in the field without any additional equipment. Configuration data might include an alarm limit on a channel, or you may wish an action to be taken. For example, DataHubs can be used in greenhouses. If it gets too hot, signals can be provided to drive electronics for opening windows.” At the end of the transfer the computer


module signals the microcontroller, and the DataHub sounds its internal sounder to inform the user that the token can be removed. The system then drops back into its low power data logging mode.


On the left, the UFX RUGGEDrive token recommended to GB Electronics and, on the right, the IP67-rated UR4410IM


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DEPLOYED AROUND THE WORLD The first vanwaltDataHub unit with the ability to transfer data to and from a RUGGEDrive token was supplied to Van Walt in 2017. Since then many more have followed and, at the time of writing, several hundred are deployed for environmental monitoring applications around the world. GBE’s engineers created a rugged, reliable and


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versatile platform when they designed the new DataHub, and the addition of new features (implemented largely through software upgrades) is always possible. Such revisions might include the setting of alarms and/or taking actions based on the live data on multiple channels; individually or collectively. Bullen said: “Nexus provided more than just


the physical hardware on this project. They have lots of experience with the USB protocol, helped us get up to speed with host-to-drive communications and added real value to the entire project, which is important to us because it’s how we like to be seen by Van Walt.” Most recently, GBE and Van Walt have


co-operated to produce the Van Walt USB Data Compiler. This is bespoke software that makes sense of the downloaded data from the token and concatenation of the strings so that the data presentation becomes more fluid and more easily readable for customers. “The support from Nexus has been


exemplary throughout the entire process and we see them as more of a partner than a supplier,” Bullen concluded.


Van Walt www.vanwalt.com GB Electronics www.gbelectronics.uk Nexus Industrial Memory www.nexusindustrialmemory.com


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DESIGN SOLUTIONS | NOVEMBER 2020


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