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Falcon - FAQ

How many temperature (or other) probes can I connect to the Falcon?
The Falcon has an I2C interface, which is used to interface to sensors. The I2C interface is a 'shared bus' protocol. So you can hook up many sensors at once. However the way we can read from multiple sensors is that each has a unique address. Addresses are in the range 0-127 (0x00 - 0x7F) Then when taking 2 measurements, the Falcon knows - read from Sensor 0x40 and then 0x30 for example. 

Generally, if we purchase 2 identical sensors, they will have identical addresses, so we can only use 1 of these at a time. Some models might require reprogramming the module to change the address, which isn't practical. But other sensors sometimes offer simple ways to set the address. 

For example, from Supported Sensors and Inputs, a few temp sensors that are integrated are:

Equally we could use all of these together, i.e. 2 x Temp Probes + 1 x Temp/Hum Sensor + 4 x TMP117. Given all 7 have unique I2C addresses. 

Other Limitations

While we can theoretically be connecting up to 128 sensors to a Falcon, we run into some other limitations that mean in practice we wouldn't really do this. 

  • I2C stands for Inter-Integrated Circuit - it was designed for low speed communication between components on a circuit board. So it does not work well for long cable runs over a few metres
  • Simply attaching lots of sensors is going to become impractical
  • There are only 14 available analogue data fields currently on the device to store any sensor readings. So 14 is our upper limit. However if we are approaching this we should consider BLE sensor options.
How do I configure a sensor reading?
By default, the Falcon has default settings similar to the Oyster2. To configure a sensor reading, we need to Configure a Task Schedule, to tell the Falcon to read the sensor every X minutes, and upload the readings every Y min. We may need to also apply the right parameters for specific sensors but most simply need to be selected as a task 'Item' from the dropdown. 
Where is the sensor reading reported in the payload?
Sensor readings are stored in the Analogue fields (6 and 7). Most sensor types are defaulted to a certain analogue (it doesn't need to be specifically set). If we are unsure or want to find out, we can search for and add the relevant parameter tab for the sensor. What first appears is what is defaulted. We can remap the value if desired.
How do I configure an analogue input reading (measure voltage)?
Hardwiring the Falcon. When on external power, can back-up batteries be recharged?
No. The hardware does not support this. 

When both external power and batteries are installed, the device will use whatever is supplying the higher voltage. 

This will prevent set such as installing 3 x LTC batteries (giving ~11.5V) in conjunction with a 5V external supply. The batteries will always be used in this configuration

When external and battery supplies are used, if there is a power cut, we swap over to batteries, and some capacity is used until external power is restored.

How do I set up an external power removed alert?
How do I set up Wi-Fi sniffing for location, and how do I tell if a fix was GPS or Wi-Fi?
I get extra "Heartbeat" logs when a task is uploaded - can these be disabled?
The Falcon is an extremely feature packed, configurable device. And this has implications in firmware. As a result, whenever the Falcon needs to upload readings from a task - it will generate a log and perform a 'heartbeat' upload. This will generate an extra (redundant) log - but it cannot be disabled, and will not increase data usage in any meaningful way. 
How long will the batteries last?
What types of sensors can be connected?

For a list of currently integrated sensors, see Supported Sensors and Inputs. If you require another sensor, or wish to use your own, the Falcon has an I2C input and 2 x Analogue 0-30V inputs for sensors.

Analogue Sensors

Analogue sensors simply work by outputting a voltage based on the sensor value. For example it might output between 2-10V. For a temp sensor 2V might represent 10°C and 10V = 150°C. So then we can work out the scaling and know what voltage corresponds to what temperate. The Falcon simply reads the voltage, and we do the conversion on the server easily. So any analogue sensor will work with the Falcon, without any integration. We generally only need to consider how we will power the sensor. If we are running off battery power alone, we can only power the sensor by connecting it to the 3V3 output on the Falcon - which will be turned on to power the sensor when we need to take a reading. If your sensor requires a higher voltage it will need to be powered externally - or consider using the Eagle. 

I2C Sensors

I2C is simply a low level communication interface. Each new sensor generally needs to be integrated in FW. Sensors should be able to be powered by 3.3V ideally - so that it can be connected directly to the Falcon for power rather than externally powered. Speak to us about integration into device FW - fees may apply. 

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