Intelligent Well Monitoring at the Network Edge

The Challenge

A U.S. tank farm provides water for rural homes far outside the city limits. Increasing demand, aging components and extreme temperatures were putting a strain on the pump motors. This blew fuses, tripped circuit breakers and interrupted service. The problem forced maintenance staff to return to the tank farm again and again.

The system includes a 15,000 gallon holding tank, a 1,000 gallon pressure tank, a well pump, and a pressure pump. A control panel mounted on the holding tank distributes power to the pumps, and controls turn the pumps on and off as needed. The large holding tank provides reserve capacity, but that can mask problems. It can take as long as two days for the tank to drain and for the water to stop flowing. This called for remote monitoring and control.

We wanted to monitor all of the important pieces and control the system remotely. This included water level in the holding tank, AC current drawn from the well and pressure pumps, and the pressure in the pressure tank. Getting this information would require a system that could network the remote sensors at the well site and get the data back to the main computer. One option would have been to hard wire everything, put some cable up on poles, and carry the data over roads.

The Solution

A much cheaper, easier alternative was available. We went wireless. We connected sensors to Zlinx Xtreme ZZ9D-NA-LR I/O modules, which are outdoor rated RF-enabled data acquisition devices and I/O radios. The Zlinx wireless I/O system is modular, allowing you to simply snap on additional I/O to add more analog and digital inputs and outputs any time you wish to increase monitoring capabilities. The system provides connectivity to almost any type of sensor, and even supports Modbus. The I/O radios transmit their data to the Zlinx™ Xtreme ZP9D-115RMLR wireless modem, which is connected to the heart of the system, a B+B SmartWorx cellular router.

The cellular router connects to the Zlinx™ Xtreme radio modem, as well as a security camera.