Agricultural Water Tank Monitoring

Application Background    

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Remote water tanks have, for hundreds of years, been checked by staff riding to or driving to the tank location to check if there is water available for livestock to drink.

With an automated tank monitoring system, the need to visit each tank to check the water level is no longer necessary. When the automated system indicates a fault, staff can visit the specific locations to rectify the problem rather than visiting all of the tank locations.

Application Details

Water is usually pumped from groundwater bores by either a diesel engine or a windmill and is then stored in a large on site tank. The water is usually gravity fed into concrete stock drinking troughs. The drinking troughs usually have float operated cistern like water input systems, where the lowering float operates a valve to allow more water to enter the troughs.

float limit switches
simple float

Simple float switches can also be installed with a switch which operates if the trough has a more than a determined level. Perhaps three float switches can be installed to indicate different levels within the trough, a high level, a medium level and a low level for example. Readings from the trough limit switches will allow the staff to know how much water is in the trough.

pumped from groundwater bores by either a diesel engine or a windmill

Likewise float limit switches can be installed inside the main water storage tank, which will indicate the reserve of water remaining in the tank.

If there is a windmill on site, a small proximity switch can be mounted on the windmill rotating shaft and the rotations can be measured to indicate the speed of the windmill at each hour of the day. The number of pulses per hour indicates the speed of the windmill and the pumping capacity of the windmill per hour / per day / per week.
Each float switch is wired back to the Neon Metering Module which is set up to detect when there is a switch closure. The Neon Metering Module alarm can be activated based on the low level switches and the alarm condition can be sent to the Neon server via cellphone, satellite networks or local WI FI networks. The Neon Server processes the alarm and sends emails and / or text messages to alert operators of that out of limit and potential overflow condition.

application note agricultural water tank monitoring 5

The Neon Metering Module would also record locally all the changes to the switches continuously, including the switch changes based on the proximity switch on the windmill mechanism, storing this data locally every 5 minutes. This routine data would then be sent off to the neon Server every few hours / ever day to provide the detailed status of the tank and troughs and the speed of the windmill, or status of a local diesel pump

Consideration should also be given to adding a low resolution camera to the system, pointed towards the tank and troughs and setting up the camera to take a low resolution photo perhaps three times a day to observe stock movement around the troughs.

application note agricultural water tank monitoring 6

A power budget should be performed by Unidata engineers to decide the best power method, usually a small solar panel and sealed lead acid battery.

application note agricultural water tank monitoring 7

When considering the best telemetry method, it is expected that cell phone technology will be used wherever as this is the most economical method. For very remote locations satellite technology will be needed, and a very low bandwidth system, such as the Inmarsat Regional beam system will most likely be sufficient for this very low bandwidth application

WATER TANK MONITORING

While other water level sensor types could be used, for example a hydrostatic depth gauge inside or attached to the outlet pipe of the water storage tank, the application is so simple that it is more economical to use simple float operates switches which can be purchased for just a few dollars.

application note agricultural water tank monitoring 9

When this system is set up, staff can view the water levels using a web browser on a computer connected to the internet. The system can be set up with a schematic Node on Neon which displays a mimic diagram the actual levels in the tank and the speed of the windmill.

WATER TANK

The low resolution regular photos can also be displayed using the web browser on the Neon Server interface.

Typical Configuration

  • Mechanical Limit Switches, Custom Part  – Many Industrial switch companies
  • Neon Low Resolution Camera, 2502A-00    Neon Camera Module
Options for Neon Telemetry - NRT / RTU / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Cellular RTU 3G2013F-AB03Neon Metering Module 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G2013F-AB04Neon Metering Module 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 3G - Industrial2016F-AB03Neon Remote Terminal 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G - Industrial2016F-AB04Neon Remote Terminal 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Low Earth Orbit Satellite Globalstar2015E-AB0Neon Remote Terminal - Satellite Globalstar Modem with Antenna and three Li Batteries
Ethernet2017E-0B0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
Equatorial Orbit Satellite - Inmarsat2018E-AB0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
LCD Display2500ENRT LCD Display
NRT Field Termination Strip2103F2015E,2016F,2017E, and 2018E NRT FTS
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M8M Extended Memory Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M-CAM8M Extended Memory & Serial Camera Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-CAMSerial Camera Option
Options for Neon Application Software - Customer ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2302ANeon Server Software Licence Incl 5 NAL
Neon Application Software2302A-10Additional 10 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-20Additional 20 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-50Additional 50 NRT Access Licences
Options for Neon Application Software - Unidata ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2301ANeon Data Initial Subscription Setup Fee
Neon Hosting Service2301A-01Neon Data Service Fee for 1-50 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-02Neon Data Service Fee for 51-100 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-10Neon Data Service Fee Metering
Options for Conventional Dataloggers / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Standards Starlogger6004D-11Red Logger 512K with Alkaline Battery
Display Starlogger6004D-21Blue Logger 512K with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Prologger7001D-11Green Logger 1M with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Micrologger8010C-EURMicrologger 512K
Starlogger Field Termination Strip6103E6004D FTS
Prologger Field Termination Strip7100E7001D FTS
Starlog V4 Management Software6308A-AUEStarlog V4 Full Licence Key