Alarms are a useful feature available for many MadgeTech loggers. Alarms can be used to notify users when user defined conditions are met, such as a reading being outside of a specified threshold.
There are three main alarm types that can be used with MadgeTech loggers, the MadgeTech 4 software, and/or the MadgeTech Cloud Service: device (hardware) alarms, software alarms, and cloud alarms. Not all alarm types will be supported by all MadgeTech systems. The types of alarms that are supported will depend on factors such as the model of logger being used; the mode the logger is started in; and whether the logger is controlled using the MadgeTech 4 software or connected to the MadgeTech Cloud Service via an RFC1000 Cloud Relay.
For logging applications that require alarms, it is important to select equipment that is compatible with the desired alarm types.
Below are descriptions of each of the three main alarm types, including typical usage scenarios, examples of compatible loggers, and other software and hardware requirements.
Device alarms (also referred to as hardware alarms) will cause the logger itself to alert when an alarm is triggered. All logger models with device alarm capabilities will flash an LED light on the logger when an alarm is triggered, and the RF2000A series can also emit an audible alert.
Models of loggers that contain the device alarm feature include the RF2000A series, and 101A series (excluding pulse, state, and event models); as well as MicroTemp, CryoTemp, LyoTemp, and TransiTemp loggers.
Devices alarms allow for high and/or low thresholds to be configured on the logger. When a logger reading falls outside of the specified threshold, an LED light will flash on the device. The RF2000A series will also emit an audible alert by default, but either the LED light or the audible alert can be disabled, if desired.
Device alarms are suitable for applications in which the user is able to physically view (and/or, for the RF2000A series, hear) the logger. For instance, loggers that will be mounted on walls in heavily trafficked areas where users would easily notice a flashing light, or loggers installed with other equipment that is continuously monitored, would be suitable situations for device alarms. Device alarms are also useful in scenarios in which the user wishes to immediately verify whether an alarm has been triggered, but easy access to MadgeTech 4 (or an internet connection) may not be possible. For example, if a logger with a device alarm is used in the field, a quick visual inspection will alert the user if a reading has fallen outside of the specified alarm threshold, indicating that the logger may need to be retrieved so that the data can be further analyzed in MadgeTech 4.
Device alarms are applied to the logger using the MadgeTech 4 software and, once enabled, will remain active whenever the device is logging.
Additional information on configuring and enabling device alarms can be found in this article: Configuring Device Alarms | MadgeTech
Software alarms (also referred to as Real Time Alarm Rules) are configured in the MadgeTech 4 software. These alarms will generate an alert notification in the MadgeTech 4 software when an alarm is triggered, and can also be configured to send email and/or SMS text message alerts to specified contacts.
Software alarm rules monitor and trigger on incoming real time data. Since the logger must be started in real time, software alarms are best suited for wireless loggers, including the RF2000A series and RFOTs. In some cases, it may be possible to use software alarms with standalone loggers, but due to limitations on standalone loggers being used in real time mode it is recommended to contact MadgeTech to verify whether a particular standalone logger model will be suitable for use with software alarms.
If email or SMS text message alerts are desired, software alarms will also require that the PC running the MadgeTech 4 software have an active internet connection, with an outgoing email address configured in the software’s Options menu. The MadgeTech 4 software will also need to be running for the alarms to function. If it is required that the alarms remain active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is typically recommended to use a dedicated PC for the MadgeTech 4 software, that is always powered on with MadgeTech 4 running. MadgeTech 4 cannot send SMS text messages directly and therefore SMS contacts must be configured as an email address using the SMS gateway specific to a user’s cell phone provider. A list of SMS gateways for US customers is available here: SMS gateway – Wikipedia.
As with device alarms, software alarms can be configured to detect when a logger reading falls outside of a specified threshold. Threshold alarms are only functional when the software is communicating with and receiving real time readings from a device. Alarm rules with the “No Readings” condition generate alerts when the software does not receive a reading from a logger within a specified time frame, indicating that a logger has lost power, or is failing to communicate with the software due to wireless or other issues. “No readings” alarms typically indicate that the logger, MadgeTech 4, and/or the PC should be inspected to determine the cause of the communication loss.
Software alarms are most commonly used for receiving alerts remotely. For example, employees can use software alarms to receive alerts as emails or text messages when they are away from the workplace. This makes software alarms particularly useful for monitoring critical systems when continuous, direct observation of those systems is not practical or possible.
Cloud alarms are only compatible with loggers that are connected to the MadgeTech Cloud Service. Loggers must be running in real time mode to communicate with the Cloud Service, so as with software alarms, cloud alarms are best suited for wireless loggers, such as the RF2000A series and RFOTs.
Cloud alarms will work with loggers that are connected to the MadgeTech Cloud via the MadgeTech 4 software, or with an RFC1000 Cloud Relay. A MadgeTech Cloud account is required, as well as an active internet connection for either the PC running MadgeTech 4, or the RFC1000 Cloud Relay, depending on which is being used.
Specified contacts can receive alerts from cloud alarms via email or SMS text message using the appropriate SMS gateway. Alert notifications will also be generated on the “Summary” page of the MadgeTech Cloud web interface when an alarm is triggered.
The types of alarms available in the MadgeTech Cloud service include threshold alarms, “no readings” alarms, and battery level alarms (which alert when a logger battery level falls below a specified percentage). Like software alarms, cloud alarms require that the PC running MadgeTech 4 is powered on with the software running, or the Cloud Relay is powered on (the Cloud Relay is “always on” as long as it is receiving AC power) for alarms to work correctly, with one exception. Because Cloud alarms are generated by the MadgeTech Cloud server, “no readings” alarms will be sent if a reading is not received from a logger within the specified time period for any reason, including the MadgeTech 4 software being closed; the PC running MadgeTech 4 being shut down; the PC or the RFC1000 Cloud Relay losing power or internet connection; or a logger losing communication with the PC or Cloud Relay. Battery and threshold alarms are only functional when the Cloud service is communicating with and receiving real time readings from a device.
Cloud alarms are configured in the web interface of the MadgeTech Cloud service. Additional information can be found in the following support article: Configuring Cloud Alarms | MadgeTech
For additional details about compatible loggers, configuring alarms or email and SMS gateway information, please contact MadgeTech Technical support at [email protected].
Instructions for configuring a Gmail account in MadgeTech 4 can be found in this article, although typical use will be to use a company’s own email server for the outbound email address.