Today, September 9th, Wellntel has released Sensor firmware (V1.08) with a number of key improvements:
Saves calibration and interval settings even when a Sensor is de-powered.
Lower energy consumption in default modes.
Improves compatibility with the Pump Performance Kit.
We strongly recommend upgrading your Wellntel Sensor to this new software version as soon as possible, and offer three possible ways to go about it.
1.) DIY Local Upgrade: We will supply customers with the programs and step-by-step instructions required to do the update. It takes a first time user about an hour to complete the process and a PC with Windows 7, 8 or 10.
2.) Factory Upgrade: We can complete the upgrade at the factory, the sensor will need to be returned to the factory for a day or so. Customers will lose some readings in the process.
3.) A local representative is available in some regions to assist with this upgrade. Contact Wellntel to learn if this option is available to you.
Email email@example.com or call 844-935-5426 between the hours of 8-5pm Central Time, Monday through Friday. If you reach us after hours, we will promptly respond the next weekday morning.
Yes, you can, but be confident in your networking understanding and skills before you try.
First, why would I need to do this?
Network settings are configurable on the Wellntel Gateway, for networks where a fixed IP address, or other fixed settings, are required. A PC, with the correct drivers installed and a USB Virtual COM console is used for this purpose. The interface is a simple text-based interface using a serial terminal application, such as Hyperterminal, RealTerm, or TeraTerm.
If I know I need to do this, how do I go about it?
To use the USB Virtual COM interface, you will first need to install device drivers (download them here) taking care to select the drivers (there are more than one in the library) that are compatible with your PC. (Mac drivers are, sadly, not available.)
Connect to the Gateway using the supplied USB/MiniUSB cable from the PC’s USB port to the Gateway’s power Mini USB
Open a terminal program like TeraTerm. The device should appear as a Serial Comm.
Follow the menu map shown here to set and save Primary IP, Subnet, etc. (Click to open in larger window.)
When you have successfully saved the values and fields you need to change (this all depends on your local network), close your Virtual COM, remove USB from your computer and repower the Gateway on your network.
Click and drag to zoom in anywhere on your groundwater chart to zoom in. It works both in the horizontal and vertical scales, and you can study weeks, days, or individual pumping events (if you have installed the Pump Performance Kit.) Zoom out by clicking on the Reset Zoom button. Here’s how:
*Note: if you’re using an iPad, you can accomplish the same trick with the pinch technique.
SensorBuddy is a free PC application intended for use with Wellntel Sensors to enable remote start-up, collection of readings, subsequent upload of collected readings to the Wellntel Cloud, and eventually, Sensor software updates.
SensorBuddy is useful as an alternative to a Wellntel Gateway, when Internet connectivity is not available but a Wellntel Sensor is being used to gather Groundwater level information from a well or a test well. In this application, a customer can install a sensor in a remote location, take a few test readings, leave it, return on a schedule to gather data, and upload the data for reporting, archiving and analysis to the Wellntel Cloud. The data will present as if they had been sent via radio telemetry, correctly time stamped, calibrated (after initial calibration period) and affirmed. However, they will only appear online as often as the data are retrieved and uploaded.
A PC (Personal Computer) running Windows 7 or Windows 8 with a USB 2.0 port. You will not require an internet connection while download readings from the sensor, but you will require one to upload to Wellntel.
New in V1.07: Added count-up function to “Readings on Disk” to show successful download.
New in V1.0.6: Added progress bar, stability improvements.
New in V1.0.5: Enables the programming of custom parameters for your well based on special needs and considerations. Working with a Wellntel Technician, Wellntel will provide you with a settings file that you will apply in the field using SensorBuddy.
It won’t happen often*, but if readings stop flowing from your Wellntel Sensor to the cloud, the best way to restart transmission is to re-power your Gateway and Sensor.
Start at the Gateway. Unplug it from the wall outlet and leave it unplugged for 10 seconds. Then plug it back in and confirm that the green LED above the Ethernet jack lights and stays lit. (See the Wellntel Technical Overview and Manual for more details about Gateway status.)
Re-power the Sensor. Go out to the well with a small screwdriver and your lock combination in hand. Unlock the lock and remove the Sensor cover. Remove the red wire from the first terminal by unscrewing the terminal screw (counterclockwise), holding the wire for 10 seconds not touching the terminal, and then reseat the wire and tighten the terminal screw (clockwise), taking care not to strip the screw or damage the insulation. It is also important that bare wire between the red and black battery leads not touch during the process.
Hold an ear close to the Sensor, and hold down the + button for 2 seconds and then let go. Do the same thing a second time, listening for a tiny “thump.” This indicates that telemetry is successfully restarted. You can reinstall the cap and lock the system. If you don’t hear anything, try a few more times, and if you still don’t hear anything, consider calling or emailing Wellntel Tech Support (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* Conditions that might interrupt communications include: strong wind or lightning storms, intermittent Internet connectivity, increased humidity or rain, or new obstructions between your Sensor and Gateway.
The 916Mz radios built into Wellntel Sensors and the Wellntel Gateway are designed to deliver reliable communications in most common rural residential yards and small farms and ranches. Both lab and field testing confirm an transmission range of about 2250 feet, through two common obstructions, like the building that houses the Gateway, uneven terrain, or a few trees between the well and home.
However, radio range is location and weather dependent.
Factors that will permanently affect performance include: severe obstructions, harsh terrain, stucco or metal-clad buildings, thick vegetation, or other factors. In these cases, permanent adaptations or alterations may be necessary.
Intermittent radio performance can be expected in times of high humidity, rain, snow or high vegetation. In these times, a Sensor will continue to collect and store readings for transmission when connectivity is available. Wellntel technicians can recommend a sensor-settings plan to account for these possible interruptions. After a period of blocked transmission, it may take some time to un-queue the stored messages on the Sensor.
Adaptations to improve telemetry may include:
Alternative (closer or higher) placement of the Gateway to the Sensor.
Alternative placement of the Sensor (separate the lower and upper units to move the upper unit up.)
Use of a Wellntel-specified antenna extension kit to mount and lift antenna (optional).
In places where Internet is not available, the Wellntel System can be configured differently.
Other methods of communication include:
A computer or tablet with a USB connector and loaded with Wellntel’s SensorBuddy software to collect and store data from the Sensor and pass it on to the Cloud via uploaded messages. A person with a computer and the software would need to be dispatched to the well on a schedule accounting for frequency of interval and pumping rates.
Cellular Internet using an option cellular modem (additional equipment and telephone service charges required.)
As soon as a reading is taken by the Wellntel Sensor, it sends a message to a listening Wellntel Gateway and the Gateway delivers it to the Wellntel Cloud, usually writing to your dashboard in seconds. But there are exceptions:
Cloud algorithms are applied to affirm plausible readings or tag readings lacking sufficient data to be deemed plausible. So there may be a reading here or there that is never promoted to your dashboard.
Long distance radio telemetry or interruptions to internet connectivity will cause the sensor to hold undelivered messages until they can be sent at a later time, causing latency in message posts to the dashboard until telemetry or connectivity returns (plus the normal time between readings.)
Systems with more than one Wellntel Sensor on a Gateway are setup for one sensor to transmit at a time, so a dashboard will appear to be racing: with messages arriving from one sensor, then another, and then the next. Within about a half-an-hour, assuming decent radio telemetry, all sensor readings should appear on your dashboard.