Take Manual Control of Reactor
At any time, a computer may monitor the Reactor, trigger events, activate relays, or change configuration settings. This wireless version will allow easy access to the board even if it's installed in an out of the way location. A computer can take over a Reactor or a Reactor can operate autonomously (without a computer). The Reactor Configuration Utility (part of Base Station) provides over 100 pre-set configurations that will help you understand the capabilities of the Reactor and provide you a starting point for your own application.
About 802.15.4 Wireless
802.15.4 is not one of the most widely known wireless technologies but it is easy to setup and use, and vey reliable. You will need a 802.15.4 modem that plugs into your USB port of your computer to talk any number of 802.15.4 relays with a standard range of 300' and up to 1 mile. You can choose the distance of the module installed at checkout.!
802.15.4 Wireless Modules
This board is equipped with a 802.15.4 Module. The 802.15.4 communications module adds wireless communications to the board. The 802.15.4 module is powered from the board. The board itself will require 12 volts of power and can be hard wired or you can purchase a "wall wart" type Power Supply at checkout. Click the following link for a spec sheet on the XBeeŽ Multipoint RF Modules.
As with any wireless technologies, for optimal performance it needs to be line-of-sight. In other words the antennas of the board and modem must "see" each other to get the optimal range or even be able to communicate at all. Select the External Antenna option to provide better range especially when controller will be mounted in an enclosure or behind a wall or obstruction.
External Antenna Option
The External Antenna option is available with the 300' and 1-mile range modules and has a short pig tail that connects to a button on the 802.15.4 external module. Please note that the internal antenna modules (shown above) have antennas that are about an inch long and integrated into the module. The external antenna cannot be used on an internal antenna module or added after purchase. Prices shown are with the 300' internal antenna option. 802.15.4 Modules
802.15.4 Wireless Modem
Plug the XBP24-AUI-EXT_ZIGMO modem into the USB Port of your computer. The modem will mount as a COM port on your PC. Open the COM port and start sending data to the modem. The modem will forward your data to all Wireless 802.15.4 compliant devices within range (it is also possible to speak to a specific device when other controllers are in range). Mounting slots on the modem make it easy to attach to a wall to allow for line-of-site operation. The modem is also available at checkout. 802.15.4 Modem
Once a Reactor is configured, the Reactor monitors inputs. When inputs reach user-defined limits, relays can turn on or off. Reactors allow much more than simple relay control. Reactor inputs can trigger timers and rotations. A timer allows a relay to activate over a duration of time. A rotation is a simple counter, in which relays can be assigned to each "count". This allows powerful functions such as relay activation sequencing, flashing, and stepping. Event Piping allows timers and rotations to trigger other timers and rotations. This is very powerful for setting up complex relay activation sequences.
8 Inputs Available
Reactor Inputs play a vital role in the use of a Reactor controller. Analog inputs are simply inputs that are sensitive to voltages. Analog Inputs are capable of reading switches and sensors operating in the 0 to 5VDC range. Once configured, the Reactor CPU is constantly monitoring external sensors using 8 analog inputs that can read switches, resistance changes, or voltages from 0 to 5VDC. Inputs can be configured to trigger relays, relay timers and relay activation sequences.
Input Voltage Changes
Analog Inputs are very special in that they are sensitive to voltage changes. In the case of a Reactor controller, analog inputs have an 8-bit resolution, meaning the voltage input (from 0 to 5VDC) is interpreted as a value from 0 to 255.
- A voltage input of 0 Volts is interpreted as a value of 0
- A voltage input of 2.5 Volts is interpreted as a value of 128
- A voltage input of 5 Volts is interpreted as a value of 255
So if you divide 5 Volts by 256 possible steps (0-255 for 8-Bit resolution), the Reactor controller is sensitive to voltage changes as small as 0.0195 Volts. A Reactor controller has 8 inputs. Each input is capable of reading a separate voltage from 0 to 5 VDC, provided all voltages can share a common ground.
Who's Qualified to Use the Reactor Series?
Some computer skills required. The Reactor Relays do not require programming, simply configure the device with the included Base Station Software. While programming is not required and simple functions can be done rather easily with basic computer skills, complex events can be configured which will require some understanding and patience.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of relay control is proper handling of inductive loads. Inductive loads can best be defined as anything with a magnetic coil, such as a motor, solenoid, or a transformer. Controlling a inductive load using this relay controller requires the use of induction suppression capacitors. The purpose of this capacitor is to absorb the high voltages generated by inductive loads, blocking them from the contacts of the relay. Without this capacitor, the lifespan of the relay will be greatly reduced. Induction can be so severe that it electrically interferes with the microprocessor logic of our controllers, causing relay banks to shut themselves down unexpectedly. In the case of USB devices, customers may experience loss of communications until the device is reconnected to the USB port. Capacitors that we offer are available at checkout, for more information view our Induction Suppression Video.