Selecting Devices for Refrigerated Transport Monitoring
Proper cold chain monitoring is vital in ensuring the safe shipment of medical and perishable goods. But temperature control is one of the most challenging areas of supply logistics. Several of our devices combine temperature monitoring and GPS tracking to ensure your assets are always accounted for and kept at safe temperatures during refrigerated transport.
The falcon was designed specifically to support refrigerated transport logistics:
Multiple Power Options – 3 x AA LiFeSO2/LTC or 4-16V External Power
The Falcon can be connected to a constant power source (4-16V), and additionally fitted with 3 x AA batteries. The device is smart enough to fail-over to use the 3 x AA battery supply if there is an external power cut, providing the flexibility to install the device if a power source is present, or simply use it as a portable unit if unavailable. Two different battery types are supported – LiFeSO2 batteries, like Energizer Ultimate Lithium, or Lithium Thionyl Chloride Batteries (LTC). LTCs have a typical operating temperature range of -40 to +80 deg C, perfect for refrigerated transport, as the cold temps may result in sub-optimal performance from other battery types.
GPS + Wi-Fi Tracking
The Falcon has both a GPS and Wi-Fi module on board to provide location updates. If a GPS fix cannot be acquired, for example when indoors, the device will scan for nearby Wi-Fi networks. Services such as Google’s Geolocation API can then use this information to determine a position. This is implemented in our tracking software Telematics Guru and allows the Falcon to provide tracking where a traditional GPS device won’t.
Multiple Inputs and Outputs – I2C Sensor Interface
The I2C sensor interface allows the connection of a temperature probe that can be buried into the cargo. The I2C interface is commonly used by a wide variety of sensors. Contact us for information on support for other sensors.
2 x Digital Inputs
The Falcon has 2 x Digital inputs, which could be used to monitor a refrigerator door being open or closed. In addition, a 0-30V analog input is available for sensors that output an analog value (4-20mA), and a switched ground output (to control a relay, etc.).
Flexible Logging Parameters
The Falcon’s clever firmware enables some smart logging options:
Tracking Modes – Turn by turn, periodic or movement-based tracking modes can be configured. High-accuracy tracking is available for users interested in how temperature changes according to different movement patterns. Temperature Samples can be set to occur on GPS fixes to tie temperature readings to trip start/end locations.
Temperature Sampling – Temperature sampling can be configured to maximize battery life and user needs. Some of these options include:
- Different temperature sampling and update rates when in transit versus stationary.
- Adjust the sampling rate based on an input change (e.g. after the door is opened or closed).
- The device can “Sleep” while within an acceptable range and then increase the sampling rate and send an alert when the temperate falls outside of this range.
G120 + SensorNode Bluetooth®
The G120 is a feature-rich vehicle tracking device.
The device can be installed in a vehicle and has a Bluetooth module on board. The G120 offers a complete vehicle tracking solution, including features like:
- RFID Driver ID option for driver management and behavior monitoring.
- ODO/Run hour monitoring.
- Over-speed alerts, harsh accident and rollover detection and alerting.
- Multiple inputs to monitor seatbelt usage, 4WD engaged, etc,.
- Outputs to wire in buzzers for driver feedback, or to be used to immobilize the vehicle.
Bluetooth connectivity means that it can wirelessly connect to multiple SensorNode Bluetooth® devices. These can be placed in the refrigerated cargo hold of a truck and send temperature readings wirelessly to the G120.
The SensorNode Bluetooth® can be powered by 3 x AA LiFeSO2 or Alkaline batteries and last up to 4 years on a single set!
As per the Falcon, the SensorNode Bluetooth® also has the following inputs – 2 x Digital Inputs, I2C sensor input, 1 x Analogue Input. It samples all inputs every 30 seconds and sends a Bluetooth beacon signal containing the readings every 2 seconds. The G120 will detect this and upload the readings as part of its data.
Which Device is Right for my Refrigerated Transport Needs?
- The Falcon is a stand-alone tracking unit, and has GPS/Wi-Fi for tracking, along with a cellular modem to transmit its data.
- The SensorNode Bluetooth® has no onboard location capability and can only communicate via Bluetooth (i.e. to the G120 and not directly to the server). It must be within range of a G120 or other Bluetooth device for the server to be able to receive the data.
If the refrigeration vehicle must be tracked and reported on, and G120 can be hard-wired into the vehicle, the G120 + SensorNode Bluetooth® option is the ideal solution. If a battery-powered or zero-install solution is required, the Falcon is the preferred option.