A time for change

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Churchill Controls has manufactured its flagship DataLink 2000 radio telemetry range for over 10 years during which time the core hardware platforms of NanoLink and MicroLink have remained unchanged while functionality has increased by software development. It has been extensively used for monitoring distributed instrumentation and is widely used by water utilities for monitoring treatment works, pumping stations, reservoirs and sewage works.
However, as the hardware platforms have reached the limit of their functionality Churchill has developed a successor, MegaLink. It builds on the architecture of its predecessors but offers functional improvements, the most obvious of which is the addition of a colour display and joystick, allowing the user to monitor the system performance and implement various test modes.
MegaLink can be configured in a PowerSave mode to optimise it for operation from alkaline batteries or solar power supplies. “Current consumption is so low that it will operate for several years from four alkaline D cells,” says the company.
Churchill reports an interesting application in the water industry, monitoring rotating sewage filter beds. EU legislation dictates that these should raise an alarm if they stop rotating, but they don’t have any electrical power supply. A battery-powered MegaLink can be fitted with an electronic compass in place of one of its COM ports then simply attached to the arm.
The multiple port architecture allows the system to be configured in a variety of modes. For example, a simple system uses a single communication media to configure a network comprising a base-station and up to 250 outstations.
Dual communications can be used to boost a simple system by providing redundancy. A failure of either path will be reported, but the system will continue working.
Expanded systems can be built, where a unit can be configured to function as an outstation to a remote base-station while simultaneously functioning as a base-station to poll more local outstations. This can make more efficient use of the communications media.

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