The global energy shortage is now a global crisis. And actions such as energy substitution are being taken to avoid the serious social and economic implications such crisis could potentially bring. Governments around the world have been tackling the energy shortage by implementing technologies to tap into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. However, such technologies, when compared to the more conventional power generation solutions, are far from cost-effective. Therefore more emphasis is now being placed on energy conservation and how it can be achieved. In order to conserve energy in an immediate and large-scale manner, most governments have drawn and put into effect energy and power related regulations to not only encourage effective energy usage with incentives but also to discourage wasteful energy consumption with penalties.
In order to implement the aforementioned power conservation regulations, one must first find out where and how the energy is being consumed, and by whom. While seeking a solution for the energy shortage problem, the city government in one of the largest Chinese cities set out to enforce the local power regulations by monitoring the city’s office buildings and residential complexes, both are commonly believed to be responsible for the most excessive electricity usage in the said city.
To effectively collect electricity usage metrics from thousands of electricity meters in these buildings, the city administrators needed an intelligent electricity monitoring system for not only collecting and storing data from various terminal devices but also for uploading data collected back to a datacenter. The hardware for this intelligent system therefore must meet the following requirements:
- Multiple Serial/LAN Ports Support: This intelligent system was to be connected to numerous electricity meters made by different vendors; the hardware therefore must support multiple serial COM ports for multiple connections. And for sending real-time data back to the datacenter without any delay, the hardware must be equipped with multiple GbE LAN ports for redundant data transmission.
- ESD/Surge Protection on I/O Ports: ESD protection on serial ports and magnetic isolation on LAN ports ensure reliability, availability and safety when high voltage devices are connected.
- DIN Rail with Front Access Ports: Given the limited space in which this monitoring system and other devices were to be deployed, hardware’s DIN rail form factor and front access ports would simplify installation and maintenance.
Designed as a robust platform for power communication applications, the LEC-3012-A6 was eventually selected for setting up this energy monitoring system. This particular fanless industrial computer features 2 LAN ports with magnetic isolation and up to 6 serial ports with ESD/surge protections, offering great compatibility for 3rd party device integration and high reliability when operating in high voltage environments. The compact, DIN rail form factor, front facing I/O ports and the Intel Atom CPU N455 together make the LEC-3012 an energy and space-efficient appliance, one that outperforms its counterparts.
Products from the LEC-3012-Ax Series are positioned as highly reliable power communication platforms for large-scale data transmission. In addition to the aforementioned use case, discussion is currently under way for the viability of employing the LEC-3012 and the LEC-3012A for applications such as lighting system, water /gas meters and air-conditioning/heating systems so that power consumption can be monitored, excessive usage can be curtailed and greater energy efficiency can be achieved.