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MISSION COMMUNICATIONS -- Newsletter
Header2
News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 2, Spring 2011
CONTENTS
Mission Webinar Update
 
Livingston Co., Michigan
 
Alarms and Alerts
 
Solar Panel Sizing
 
New Pump Data Download
 

 

New Product 
Loop Isolator

Passive Loop Isolator

Part #476

 

Used to isolate a 4-20mA signal from a monitored device and the 4-20mA inputs on your Mission RTU. This item is a low cost alternative designed to keep hazardous voltages, transient signals, and fluctuating ground potentials from damaging your equipment. Contact Mission tech support to learn more.

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Alarm Phone Calls 

Last 30 Days:

61,546

 

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Spring Cleaning

Your Mission SCADA system will report the information received from the sensors and inputs that you configure, even if those sensors are not reading correctly. Reports can't help you do your job if they are sent to an old email address. To avoid problems due to bad inputs or incorrect destinations, Mission recommends that you periodically test the inputs, review call-out lists, and take care of other housekeeping matters. For your convenience we publish a Spring Cleaning document that details a systematic approach to these tasks.
  
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Trade Shows

tradeshow 

See us at

  

Nevada Rural Water Association

 Training Conference 

 March 7 - 19

Reno, NV

South Carolina Environmental
Conference 
March 12 - 15
Myrtle Beach, SC

Alabama Rural Water
Association
Annual Conference 
March 13 - 16
Montgomery, AL

WaterCon 2011 
March 21 - 24
Springfield, IL

Missouri AWWA / WEA Joint
Conference 
March 27 - 29
Osage Beach, MO

Mississippi Rural Water Association Annual Conference 
March 28 - 31
Jackson, MS

Virginia Rural Water Association
Annual Conference 
April 4 - 6
Roanoke, VA

Texas Water 2011 
April 5 - 8
Fort Worth, TX

ACE11 
June 11 - 12
Washington, DC

WEFTEC 2011 
October 17 - 19
Los Angeles, CA

   


Scheduled Webinars

 

March 2

Survey of Features

 

March 9

Hardware, Instrumentation, and Troubleshooting

 

March 16

Web Portal I - Notification Options, Unit Setup Options

 

March 23

Web Portal II - Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow, and Other Advanced Options

 

March 30

Digital Intertie, Tank and Well

 

April 6

Survey of Features

 

April 13 

Hardware, Instrumentation, and Troubleshooting

 

April 27

Web Portal I - Notification Options, Unit Setup Options

 






 

  











































































































































 

 

 

 

  

  

cell tower  

Thank You for Making the Webinar a Success

 

Although we knew that our customers were asking for a solution that would help them learn to better utilize equipment and service from Mission, we weren't sure that busy professionals from our industry would be able to find time to attend or participate in our webinars. The webinar series, launched in January, is designed to be:

  • An open forum for learning and questions
  • Interactive
  • An opportunity to share information with other users
  • An informal atmosphere for prospective customers to learn about Mission

Both customers and distributors have provided very positive comments, and we are planing for increased attendance throughout the coming year. The planned subjects are listed below.

Schedule 

Sessions are scheduled for most Wednesdays at 2 PM Eastern time and will last an hour. Our format is open and interactive, with that in mind, if

Scott Vandiver
Scott Vandiver

you have a subject you want to learn more about, please login to the session and ask questions. We do our best to answer during the presentation and if time will not allow it, we will continue the conversation off-line.

 

For a full calendar of scheduled topics please check our website (www.123mc.com). If you still have questions contact Scott Vandiver (ScottV@123mc.com), who is managing and coordinating the webinar. We hope you will find the time to join us for a session. We will do our best to make it worth your effort.



Michigan County Monitors Critical Watersheds

 

Livingston County lies about half-way between the Michigan state capital of Lansing and the well-known city of Detroit. The county is bisected by Interstate 96, US-23, and numerous lakes, rivers, and streams. It is the Livingston County Drain Commission's job to make sure that all dams and reservoirs under their jurisdiction are performing as designed.

Livingston Map

Courtesy Livingston County Drain Commission

Two years ago Rod Soos, the Dam Operator for the Livingston County Drain Commission, was searching for a remedy to a monitoring unit that had not been performing up to their expectations on a new dam. The sanitary sewer branch of the county was already using Mission equipment to monitor some of their collection systems and reported good results. Rod decided to let Mission's distributor, Kennedy Industries, provide a unit for a trial run. The Drain Commissioner's office was impressed with both the cost and performance of the Mission system, and after a successful trial period the old monitoring unit was permanently decommissioned.

 

Last year, the drain commission installed an additional M-110 on Woodburn Lake. This lake lies at the upper end of a 20 mile chain of streams which drains over 77 square miles of the county. The area has experienced frequent flooding and this new unit will help them better monitor lake elevations in this extremely large watershed.

 

According to Soos, "Monitoring the upper end of the chain gives time to react by adjusting the dam at the lower end of the chain of lakes. We still make the adjustments by hand, but the improved information has really cut down on the number of 40 mile round trips we take to the upper end of the chain where the Mission unit is installed. If we get a 6" rise at the upper end of the chain we know we need to adjust the gates on the dam. We've had Mission for almost 2 years on the dam and we haven't had any problems. For about the same price as we were paying for our old autodialer, the difference is really night and day. We look forward to the same performance from the unit at Woodburn Lake as well."

  
 

Alarms and Alerts

 

A big part of the value of your Mission SCADA system is its built-in ability to make notifications whenever a pre-determined condition has been met. A good example might be an operator who has purchased a Mission M-110 to monitor a wet-well in a pump station. Typically,the operator will have equipment already installed in that pump station that is designed to monitor and control fluid levels in the wet-well. We would normally find that a float or transducer is set to trigger a pump switch when the well is at a high level and to turn the pump off when the well has reached a low level. If the wet-well continues to rise past the point that the pump should engage the rising wet-well will trip an independent float that tells the Mission system to begin the alarm notification process. Most operators want to know about potential problems immediately so that they can dispatch a team to correct it before the problem becomes more serious.

 

Over the years, Mission customers have learned to monitor more and more inputs and Mission has learned that there are things our customers want to know about right away and things that can wait till morning. For that reason, Mission has developed different types of notifications for different categories of applications. All notifications are tracked and can easily be viewed from your Mission website.

Alarms Log
Alarm log: green indicates the alarm was acknowledged, red indicates the alarm has not been acknowledged

 An alarm is the highest priority notification. Our clients are able to receive immediate notifications of alarms by land-line phone, mobile phone, text, pager, email, even by fax if that is their preference. Additionally, the Mission software gives you the ability to schedule alarm notifications in a variety of ways so you will be contacted as few, or as many, times as you want to as many different destinations as you choose. Notifications progress through your call-out list until an event is acknowledged by an alarm recipient. The number of notification attempts, the personnel that we contact, even the time between call attempts, can be easily customized or modified using the schedule feature. The Mission system makes in easy to set up or change call-out schedules yourself, but if you prefer, contact Mission tech support and they will assist you.

Alerts log
Alert notification log

An alert is a notification that is not urgent, but still important and may help to identify problems that can negatively impact your system. Alert notifications are sent once daily to a fax or email for each event and there is no acknowledge procedure required by the alert recipient (like there is for alarm notifications). An example of an alert condition commonly monitored with Mission SCADA is "pump starts." Mission understands that excessive pump starts can seriously affect the life of expensive and difficult to replace pumps. Our system automatically monitors pump starts and we have made it simple to set both alert and alarm levels for those starts on an hourly basis. If the number of hourly starts exceeds your pre-determined level, the Mission notification system issues an alert. If the pump starts continue, the Mission system is smart enough to escalate the alert to an alarm when the number of starts reached the level the user has designated. For example, if a pump starts 10 times in an hour (and the manufacturer recommends nine or less), then the pump needs to be checked, but not at 2 AM in the morning. If that pump starts 45 times in an hour, that is something most operators would like to know about right away. 


 

 

How Big of a Solar Panel Do I Need? 

  

Although most Mission RTUs are installed in pump stations or other locations that have easy access to electric power, our customers often contact us to ask if we have a power solution for a Mission unit that is to be located in an area that doesn't have access to electricity. Several Mission customers are using solar power to successfully monitor remote water tanks, rain gauges, and lake or river levels. Mission offers several choices when it comes to solar power. Selecting the correct solar panel option is an important key to building your remote SCADA system to meet the needs of your specific application./span>

SolarPanel1
Hours of available sunlight is an important consideration.

 

When analyzing the solar option, think of energy like money, where watt-hours are the currency. Solar panels earn (generate) money. Electronic components spend it. Batteries are kind of like a bank account with a maximum amount they can hold.

 

For example, suppose you have a 20 watt panel, but it only gets direct sunlight for (approximately) 4 hours per day. That's kind of like earning $20 an hour, for four hours, which means each day $80, or 80 watt-hours, goes into the bank. For a standard installation of an M-800, about 75% of that stored energy is consumed by the RTU daily ($60 or 60 watt-hours) during its normal operation. Let's call that $60 rent. It is the price that we have to pay just to keep everything functioning and keep the landlord happy. That leaves just a 25% ($20) buffer for cloudy days, poor solar panel installation angles, battery capacity degradation, etc... Sizing a solar panel can be tricky, if you are not sure of your needs please contact Mission technical support. We will be happy to walk you through the process.

SolarPanel2

Solar powered rain gauge

 

Batteries are a critical back-up to any correctly engineered solar powered system. Batteries are generally rated in amp-hours, which is awkward because what the end user really needs to know about is watt-hours. Fortunately all the user has to do is multiply the amp-hour rating times the battery voltage to get the watt-hours. Continuing the example from the previous paragraph, suppose we anticipate five cloudy days in a row (days where we don't earn any money at all). How much money would we need to have saved to keep the field system running (if we still needed to spend $200 per day)? We should have $1000 (1000 watt-hours) in the bank or we risk depleting our reserves (and then nothing works!). There are a variety of easily obtainable batteries that provide ample margin for back-up to most solar powered systems.

 

Mission's tech service department is ready to assist you in setting your units to "solar mode", helping you to choose the best panel or battery, or to assist you in a variety of potentially energy saving tips.


 
     

Redesigned Pump Data Download Feature

 

The web designers at Mission have, once again, listened to our customers and modified one of our website software features to make it more convenient and easier to use. With the recently redesigned data download feature it is more convenient than ever to retrieve the data that you require for reports, maintenance, and routine record keeping from the field. 

Pump Data Download Interface
Pump data is easier than ever to access using the redesigned download feature

Shown here is the new pump data download interface. As you can see from the download window, the data is available in spreadsheet or comma separated value formats (or CSV, which is often used to directly import data into other programs and reports). Mission customers are able to download a variety of information directly to their computers for use in analysis or direct input to reports, including: flow meter data, rainfall data, pump runtimes, analog readings, and more. Our engineers are always interested in understanding how to make our system more useful to our clients.

 

If your system requires a report or the ability to download information that you are not currently able to access through your Mission web-based software please let us know. You may have an idea that leads to the next new Mission feature or report.

 

Water is the driving force of all nature.  ~Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)
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