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SmartDiagnostics® Feature Highlight: Configuring, Updating, and Calibrating Vibration Sensor Nodes (VSNs)

The VMS Configurator Sensor View screen.
The Sensor View panel is where you inspect and configure the operation of your sensor nodes.  To see see the Sensor View, click on the Sensor View tab in the top left portion or the VMS Configurator screen.  The Sensor View will display the list of sensors that are configured on your system in the left pane of the window and will display current configuration and real-time data being received and allow you to configure operating parameters for the currently selected sensor node in the right pane.  To select the sensor node for which to display the details, click on that sensor in the left pane of the window.

Sensors that are reliably functioning and transmitting data will show multiple green bars.  When you initially configure a sensor node, it will take a few seconds for the data to be transmitted to the Primary Receiver Node (PRN).

After a few seconds--once communication between the sensor and the PRN begins--the screen will show a single green bar.  As the PRN to which the sensor node is assigned receives more heartbeat pings, the number of green bars shown for that sensor will increase to indicate that the system is receiving a robust signal.

The VSNs will work well as configured straight from the factory, but you can further tune their operation to make them work better in your environment.

There are many different settings that you can adjust for each individual Sensor Node. The instructions that follow examine the different configurations and commands that you can specify for a particular Sensor Node. The view in Figure 11 shows the information for Sensor Node 1047710, as indicated in the left pane and in the "Node Serial #" under "New Sensor" in the right pane. If there is more than one Sensor Node configured, as in most systems, each will be listed in the left pane. Listed below are the configurations and commands available that you can review and often adjust for each of your individual Sensor Nodes.
  • Serial Number - The unique serial number that is factory-assigned to the Sensor Node. This number is also printed on the label. 
  • Address - The three-part wireless network address that is commissioned on the Sensor Node.
  • Last Ping - The time stamp of the last ping that the PRN received from this Sensor Node.
  • Up Time - The elapsed time since the last reset or battery removal of this Sensor Node. 
  • Filmware - The version of the firmware that is running on this Sensor Node. You will need this number if you have to report any problems with a Sensor Node to customer support. 
  • Battery Voltage - Get real-time battery life by clicking on the Update button. If the battery voltage has dropped below 3.3 volts, the battery should be replaced. This will also update the current temperature, displayed in the line below the Battery Voltage. 
  • Temperature - The current temperature of the Sensor Node in Fahrenheit. 
  • Data Ack - Indicates whether the PRN should send a positive acknowledgement to the VSN for every packet of data it receives. You should only change this value from the factory default in consultation with a KCF representative. 
  • FIFO Retransmit Delay - This is the time that the VSN will wait to retransmit a FIFO (First In, First Out) buffer of sensor data if it has not received a positive acknowledgement from the PRN. You should only change this value from the factory default in consultation with a KCF representative. 
  • FIFO Retransmits - This is the number of times that the VSN will attempt to retransmit a FIFO buffer of sensor data when it does not receive a positive acknowledgement from the PRN before giving up on transmitting the collected vibration data burst. You should only change this value from factory default in consultation with a KCF representative. 
  • Burst Retransmits - Sometimes data are not transferred from the sensor to the receiver completely in one burst. With this option, you can decide how many times the system will continue to try transferring the data if it does not get through on the first attempt. You should only change this value from the factory default in consultation with a KCF representative. 
  • RF Power - This is the RF power level setting. You should only change this value from the factory default in consultation with a KCF representative. 
  • Frequency - The radio frequency channel and GHz at which the Sensor Node is configured to communicate.
  • Accel Rate - The rate, in hertz, that the accelerometer is collecting vibration spectrum. The VSN can be set to collect at a rate of 3200 (default), 1600, 800, 400, or 200 hertz. The maximum frequency in the spectrum that the Sensor Node can report is approximately the Accel Rate divided by 2. The VSN provides 944 lines of spectral resolution regardless of Accel Rate selected. Therefore, if you need more fine detail in your spectrum and higher frequencies are not important to you, you should set the Accel Rate to a lower level.
  • Accel Range - The maximum number of Gs of acceleration that the VSN will report.
  • Accel Axis - The axis that the accelerometer in the VSN will sample when it collects vibration data.  The VSN supports collection in the X-, Y- (default), or Z-axes, where the Y-axis runs parallel with the long side of the sensor.
  • Collect Now - To have a sensor node transfer data instantaneously, click the "Send Command" button in the column on the right in the display.  This feature is helpful if information is needed more quickly than the configured Accelerometer Collection Interval.
  • Brown Out Node - A quick way to restart a sensor node if it stops reporting correctly.
  • Turn On LED - This command will visibly show that there is communication between the PRN and VSN. The LED will stay lit for the duration of the configured Ping Interval.
  • Ping Interval - This feature allows you to adjust how often the a VSN and PRN talk to one another. The interval can be lengthened to save battery life or shortened if constant data transfer is preferred.
  • Accelerometer Collection Interval - The accelerometer measures the data that the VSN transfers to the PRN.  The interval should be set based on how often you would like to view data from a particular piece of machinery on which a VSN is installed.
  • Number of Averages - This is the number of vibration samples to be averaged together to create a single observation.  The default setting is one, which means no averaging.  Averaging is useful because it tends to smooth out or eliminate outlier data in individual samples to show a truer picture of the machine's vibration spectrum.
  • Accelerometer Calibration - Each VSN comes calibrated by the manufacturer.  You can simply input the standard accelerometer values that are included with each sensor node if that calibration is ever lost.
  • Temperature Correction - Each VSN has the option to correct the temperature based on the current ambient temperature.  Each time you take a reading later on, you get vibration and temperature data.  While the temperature is calibrated at the factory, you may find it necessary to add an additional temperature correction factor.
  • Waiting Commands - When expanded, this list box shows all the commands that are currently queued in the PRN to be sent to the sensor node.  As the commands are sent, they drop out of the list.
  • Diagnostic Messages - When expanded, as it is by default, this box shows the diagnostics messages that are generated in the system as a result of the communication between the PRN and VSN.
You can learn more about KCF Technologies' SmartDiagnostics® technology here.

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