A G120 Based Sensor Gateway/Hub Powerhouse

My first hardware project based on the great G120 module. I am new to hardware, experienced in software, and this board would not be possible without the great community and the support from GHI team, thank you all!

The project started with a need for hardware product to take input from a sensor or two, and some communication support but quickly grew in scope, kind of what happens to lots of projects. After experimenting with various options, I decided to go with the G120 which met the core requirements, of having .NETMF as development platform, provide In Field Update, have enough GPIOs and have a great support.

The product target was the Oil field, specifically Wellsite automation and remote telemetry. It was created out of the need to have an All-In-One package that will allow data collection, some action to turn on a pump or an “enable” on an equipment or a light, while providing connectivity to the cloud and the ERP systems of our customers. Not all of the features are used in all deployments, but the list of current features allows us a flexible use in many scenarios.

After many revisions, this is the latest and I think may be the last on this product. Somewhere along the product evolution, I decided to pick an off the shelf case, so that we can use it, as in some situations our product goes into a panel with lots of wires and connections, and we needed a somewhat enclosed gadget, and now I also have case where needed.

Current list of features:

4-20mA, RS485, CANBus, TTL
RF OnBoard (ISM Band)
Relay, Pulse/Flow meter
LCD 16x2
POE Sensor RJ45
8MB Flash OnBoard
SD Card, and SIM Card
USB, Keypad,PIR Motion
Expansion slot (Cellular, Satellite)

Expansion slot has few GPIOs, UART, I2C support, and partly XBEE support. We created custom expansion modules for Satellite and SIM5320, and use some OTC products (see pics).

POE Sensor RJ45 slot was added to allow for easy connection of sensors to the board. It supports UART, or 4 GPIOs to be used and provides 3.3/5.0V standard with the POE scheme. We find it useful when a simple device needs some power, and either a I/O of sort or UART to mainly collect data.

RF on board provides a node to node communication at present with a range of 400-500 meters, omnidirectional.The goals of it was to have units communicating with no wires, and be able to collect data from several points (like a star network), and have a single gateway for the network/cell/satellite communication. At present the RF provides that function and the communication from the board is via UART. Work is underway now, to provide a more robust network, something like a mesh or a self organizing ad hoc network.

I can’t believe the list of features we were able to do with the G120 module. There was a time when I thought about the G400, but adding a single multiplexer solved that case, and we are very happy with the G120.

I have manufactured plenty of these units for our needs, but if there is an interest in the community I have some extras and can make more for anyone interested.


Nice board…

What POE Sensor RJ45?

Whoa! Insane board man.

@ anthonys - thanks it has been almost a year in the making.

The POE RJ 45 is basically a direct link to 4 GPIOs on the G120, namely to the UART/TTL, and 2 extra pins an analog and a GPIO, so there are only 4 of the 8 CAT 5 wires used for that, the other 4 are standard POE layout, where there are 2 GND and 2 VCC, providing 3.3V and 5.0 V.

The goal of it is for example if you need to add a simple sensor that needs 3.3 or 5V, and maybe a pin or two, or TTL serial, you can just take a standard CAT 5 cable, and wire it to your sensor, and then just plug it in the board. Basically a simple extensible way.

One example I used, is the MaxBotix Ultra sonic sensors. They come with various outputs, including TTL serial, So to wire one of those, you need 3.3 V, GND, and the RX only for the sensor to give you measurement in serial…

So that was the goal, to just have basically have one more generic way to attach a lot more sensors, like many Arduino sensors for example to this with ease.

@ stotech - thanks. I have too many boards and modules, and wanted to have something that just has it all on it, for ease of use.

I revised the device to give it some flexibility with the expansion port. Cost is always an issue, so I tried to find something that I hope will work.