In this article I will not talk about the many applications for cold chain monitoring, nor will I mention the money wasted because refrigerators break down without notice. This article will show you how you can create an IoT application for professional cold chain monitoring that you can set up at your customers in half a day and for less than $110.
The Things you will need
- A LoRaWAN Gateway
- Temperature and humidity sensor device
- Monitoring application
All right, lets now go through the respective points in order. I will find the perfectly suitable device or software for the individual steps.
The TTIG LoRaWAN Gateway
One of the coolest and cheapest LoRaWAN gateways you can get is the TTIG - TheThings Indoor Gateway. It is available at various distributors - starting at about 80€.
You can connect it to the Internet and TheThingsNetwork via local WiFi. It can be powered either by a separate USB-C charger or you can plug the Gateway directly into a wall socket.
What about the gateways coverage?
Even if the price doesn't suggest it, the TTIG can cover an area of several hundred meters within closed buildings.
It is therefore perfectly suited for monitoring in supermarkets, large refrigerated warehouses or other locations where several sensors need to be distributed over a relatively large area.
External Antenna on the TTIG
You can find instructions on the Internet that show you how to add an external antenna to the TTIG. For most applications this is not necessary, but you can reach ranges of several kilometers. This clearly emphasizes the performance of the TTIG.
Cellular LoRaWAN Connectivity
If you do not have local Internet infrastructure such as WiFi or Ethernet available, you can also choose one of the many available Cellular LoRaWAN Gateways.
Large Scale LoRaWAN Networks
Are you looking to deploy multiple cold chain applications over a large area? You should go for an outdoor LoRaWAN gateway and place it in a higher position to achieve a range of miles instead of hundreds of meters.
Dragino LHT-65 Temperature and Humidity Sensor
Now let us come to the actually important element: the measuring sensor. In this case we use a product manufactured by Dragino. The LHT65 is a battery operated temperature and humidity sensor for LoRaWAN networks.
Runs on TTN
The sensor comes with predefined keys that can be used for TTN networks. If you have successfully installed your TTN-enabled Gateway (like the TTIG from above), only a few steps are necessary to bring this device online.
External temperature probe
In addition to the internal temperature sensor an external probe can be installed.
This is suitable, for example, for measuring extremely low temperatures in freezers but also for monitoring liquids, as the sensor of the probe is sealed against moisture.
High accuracy (Because of LoRaWAN)
Now to a detail that is mainly due to the use of LoRaWAN as communication technology. The sensor transmits at intervals of 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Between these transmission periods, the device performs a deep sleep in which no power is consumed.
This means that the device does not produce any heat. And since these transmission phases are extremely short (only a few seconds), the device does not heat up during these phases.
All this means that the device does not emit any heat, which could affect the measurement. This leads to a very high accuracy and low tolerance of:
Build-in Temperature Sensor
- Resolution: 0.01 °C
- Accuracy Tolerance : Typ 0,3°C +/-
- Long Term Drift: < 0.02 °C/yr
- Operating Range: -40 ~ 125 °C
Built-in Humidity Sensor
- Resolution: 0.04 %RH
- Accuracy Tolerance : Typ +/- 3%RH
- Long Term Drift: < 0.02 %RH/yr
- Operating Range: 0 ~ 100 %RH
Where to Get and Prices
The Dragino LHT65 is availabe for about 30€-35€ (incl. VAT) from various sources.
The monitoring application
The final element in our set-up is the implementation of a monitoring application that turns the measurements of your LHT65 sensors into a useful application for you and for other persons.
- Create live dashboards
- Data logging and long-term storage of values
- Inviting people to collaborate
- Set up alerts and messages via SMS or push notifications
- Smartphone application
The Datacake IoT Monitoring Solution
There are many different platforms for monitoring, but we will choose the Datacake Low-Code IoT platform as our cold chain monitoring solution because it offers many advantages over all other platforms:
- No programming required
- Native TTN integration
- Rule engine
- Out of the Box notifications for SMS, email and push
- Create live dashboards
- Upload your own logos
- Inviting people to cooperate
- A free native smartphone app
Datacake also features a native Smartphone App that you can download for free on the iOS App Store (Android will follow soon). This allows you to bring your TTN devices and Cold Chain Monitoring Apps to your Smartphone (or to the Smartphones of your customers).
You can try the Datacake Platform for free today as your first five devices are always free and fully featured. Simply register and create your first device here:
Native TTN Integration
The Datacake Platform allows you to hook up your TTN Devices by setting up an Integration. You simply have to enter the Device-ID of your TTN Hardware and set up a webhook on your TTN Console.
LoRaWAN makes cold chain monitoring very easy. The above solution is implemented in less than a day and adds value from the first day. The cost for this implementation will be less than 110 €. There is no easier and better way to get started with LoRaWAN Cold-Chain Monitoring.