Powercast Exceeds 25-Year Battery Life in Wireless Sensors for Building Monitoring and Control

January 11, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Powercast Corporation, a provider of low-power wireless technologies and systems, has expanded the capabilities of its Lifetime Power® Wireless Sensor System with two ultra-long-life, battery-powered sensors. The system provides remote sensing for building automation, HVAC and lighting control, energy management, industrial monitoring, and medical compliance.

The first of the new battery-powered devices, the WSN-1101 wireless sensor, measures temperature, humidity, light, and external temperature probes. Featuring a pre-installed, long-life non-replaceable battery, the WSN-1101 can transmit data once per minute for more than 25 years without maintenance. It comes in a small, wall-mount enclosure measuring only 4"x2"x1". The WSN-1101 can alternatively be configured with replaceable lithium batteries, available in retail stores, to provide 15 years of battery life. Both options provide battery life performance that is unmatched in the building-controls industry, and deliver a highly competitive alternative to traditional hardwired systems with high installation labor costs.

The second of Powercast’s new battery-powered devices, the WSN-1102 wireless CO2 sensor, can operate on batteries for three to 15 years depending on user-selected data transmission intervals from one to five minutes. The WSN-1102 is self-calibrating with a measurement range of 0-5,000ppm, making it suitable to monitor the environment for occupant comfort as well as safety. Also offering the longest battery-life in the industry, the WSN-1102 makes a compelling case to wirelessly monitor CO2 in both new and existing buildings.

Similar to Powercast’s existing WSN-1001/1002 battery-less, RF-powered sensors, the new battery-powered WSN-1101 and WSN-1102 communicate to Powercast’s WSG-101 wireless gateway. The WSG-101 gateway supports up to 100 sensor nodes and 800 sensor points, and interfaces to wired Building Automation System (BAS) networks via industry-standard protocols, including BACnet, Modbus, Metasys N2, LonWorks, XML, and SNMP. Wireless repeaters with real-time performance ensure that the system can extend to unlimited distances. The WSG-101 also supports redundant configurations for mission-critical applications.

"Powercast’s newest battery-powered sensors provide the deployment flexibility and installation convenience of wireless technology, with the predictability and operating longevity of wired systems," said Harry Ostaffe, vice president of marketing and sales at Powercast. "There are no other solutions on the market that match this level of performance."

The WSN-1101 wireless sensor was designed for very low power consumption, which results in its ultra-long battery life. Powercast ran a simulated, worst-case, accelerated battery life test over a 22-day period which confirmed operation for >25 years.

The list price of the WSN-1101 wireless sensor is around $200 per device, depending on the configuration, and the list price of the WSN-1102 wireless CO2 sensor is $550. The Lifetime Power Wireless Sensor System is also available for private labeling by OEMs, resellers, and systems integrators.

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.