Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We've got answers.

How many amps can a HotDrop measure?

Our standard HotDrop can measure up to 300 amps. We have additional offerings with our HotDropXL which can measure up to 5000 amps in various window sizes.

What is LoRaWAN?

The LoRaWAN® specification is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localization services.

What data does the HotDrop measure?

The HotDrop captures three sine wave cycles of AC electricity each second (or measurement interval) –both 50 Hz and 60 Hz—sampling the waveform at a rate of 3.3 kHz. It then performs a root mean square (RMS) calculation to determine the magnitude of the current.

How close do the HotDrops need to be from the gateway?

While LoRaWAN can transmit exceptionally far and penetrate through multiple layers of building materials LoRaWAN does have its limits. We have put together a table below showing different building materials and the db (link budget) or amount of energy it takes to penetrate through a typical building material. A typical LoRaWAN radio has a budget of about 150 db. For example, it takes about 2.8 db to penetrate through 3 inches of wood or about 27 db (~10x more energy) to penetrate through 3.5 inches of reinforced concrete. Radio signals have the most difficulty penetrating through metal. One of the items that impact the range HotDrop is the metal gauge of the service panel. The thicker the metal the smaller the HotDrop’s transmission range.

Because every installation is different the type of building material between the HotDrop varies we try to be conservative in our range estimates. We typical see ranges of 1,000 ft feet in box retail store settings between the HotDrop and gateway. In a seismically reinforced hospital in California, we see a range of about 4 floors between the HotDrops and the gateway when the HotDrop is located 4 floors directly above the gateway. Also a rule of thumb, we recommend a gateway per building because building facades of often contain metal mesh or metal that limit radio transmissions.

LoRaWANTransmissionDistance

Does it matter which direction I install the HotDrop?

No, it doesn’t matter what direction you install the HotDrop. The HotDrop is self-polarizing. As long as you can close the latch on the HotDrop or the HotDropXL, you’re good to go.

Can I use Vutility sensors with 3rd party LoRaWAN Network Providers?

Yes, Vutility devices are compliant with LoRaWAN 1.0.2.

When using a 3rd Party LoraWAN the Vutility device like other devices will need to be added to the LoRaWAN provider’s platform with the DEV EUI, APP EUI, and APP KEY. One of the things that make Vutility Devices unique our high level of security with dual cypher device-level encryption in addition to the standard AES encryption.

This additional security means device data can not be decrypted at LoRaWAN server but has to point to Vutility’s database to be decrypted. To point the data at Vutility’s database is straight forward. In the LoRaWAN network interface create an output profile (via webhook or Https) to point the data to Vutiliti’s database. (https://api-lora.vutiliti.io/api/v1/machineq/hotdrops/uplink) and ask Vutility for an authorization token. Once the data is pointed at Vutility’s database the data is then available via Vutiliti’s APIs. (https://api-public.vutiliti.io/webapi/index.html)

Full 3rd Party LoRaWAN Network Integration

  • MachineQ (US915)
  • Spark (AS923 – New Zealand)
  • NNNco (AS923 – Australia)

LoRaWAN Network Integration in Process

  • Mydevices (US915)
  • Senet (US915)
  • Helium (US915)

What certification does the HotDrop maintain?

  • FCC Class B Part 15 compliance: FCC ID: 2APCG-VUHDC1
  • UL Certified (US & Canada): 508, 94, 746
  • IEC – International Electrotechnical Commission
  • IEC 60695-11-10, -20 – Flammability Rating of enclosure plastics
  • NEC – United States National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-2017)
  • NEC 450.3B Compliant – Primary Side Protection
  • Canadian Electric Code: Part 1 Compliant
  • CE – Conformité Européenne: Declaration of Conformity
  • CE RED – Radio Equipment Directive
  • RoHS – Restriction of Hazardous Substances: Compliant – RoHS 2, verifying RoHS
  • WEEE – Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equip: Compliant – Category 9 Product

What are the dimensions of the HotDrop?

Are the HotDrop readings cumulative?

HotDrops transmit the accumulated amp-hour (amps over time) data via LoRaWAN. Every data transmission has an amp-hour value and a timestamp (UTC) from the gateway.

Accumulated Amp-hours are like a car odometer that rolls forward with every passing mile.

Cumulative amps are calculated by taking the amp-hour reading at time Y minus the previous amp-hour reading at time X and multiplying by the difference in time. The HotDrop stores its cumulative amp value so it is not lost during a network outage.

Power consumption kWh can be calculated by multiplying the measured RMS (root mean square) current value (amps) with an RMS voltage and power factor. Voltage and power factors are static values taken at installation and are entered in by the user

Can I use my LoRaWAN gateway with Vutility sensors?

The short answer is Yes; you can provide your own LoRaWAN gateway. However, gateways are only one part of the LoRaWAN solution and data flow.  Gateways point data to a LoRaWAN server. The LoRaWAN Server manages the LoRaWAN network by managing the following:

  • Gateway connections and configurations
  • Implementing the LoRaWAN protocol
  • Decrypting LoRAWAN encryption
  • Stores device root keys and generates session keys
  • Registering users, applications, devices and gateways

If you decided to use your gateway you need to point the gateway to Vutility’s LoRaWAN server (ChirpStack). Vutility encrypts data at the device level and it can only be decrypted by Vutility’s server. There is no way to access Vutilty’s sensor data directly from the gateway. Data can be accessed via our APIs or dashboard website.

If you are using a gateway not provided by Vutility, Vutility is not responsible for the following:

  • Integrating the gateway with Vutility’s LoRaWAN server
  • Vutility will provide documentation about how to integrate, but is it up to the gateway purchaser and the gateway manufacturer to complete the integration between the gateway and the Vutility’s LoRaWAN Server
  • Troubleshooting any network issues with the gateway network, cellular, or WiFi
  • Managing of the gateway or its settings

The LoRaWAN Server provides the following functionality:

  • The Gateway Server manages secure gateway connections and configurations. It enables remote updates and configuration of the gateway
  • The Network Server implements the LoRaWAN protocol, validates the authenticity and integrity of devices, deduplicates uplinks, selects the gateways used for downlinks and sends ADR commands to optimize the data rate of devices
  • The Application Server is responsible for decrypting the data received from the sensors and encrypting the data sent to the end devices. The data can be integrated into existing data management systems or IoT platforms
  • The Join Server stores device root keys and generates session keys to enable secure transmission of LoRaWAN messages
  • The Identity Server registers users, applications, devices and gateways. This allows for running a scalable, multi-tenant network, distributed over multiple regions around the world

What is CloudVU?

CloudVu is the Vutility computing environment. We deliver IoT application support -- including partitioned data, storage, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. This allows for faster innovation, flexible resources, and economics of scale. Our customers require this flexibility and scalability to administer their IoT.

How do I get access to CloudVU?

Our APIs are publicly available. If you'd like to check them out, please visit the link https://api-public.vutility.io/apidoc/

What is included in the CloudVU suite?

Our CloudVU site consists of our data visualization platforms ReVU and InVU. ReVU is our web-based administrator portal, used for admins to set up their organizations, build out their heirarchy, assign drives, create new users, and much more. InVU is the installer mobile application, used for the installation process. In InVU, installers can onboard devices based on pre-assigned locations. Installers have access to every device to be sure they're powered up and transmitting data. To learn more about ReVU and InVU, please visit the CloudVU site page.

Is my data secure?

Yes, CloudVU uses a dual-cypher encryption to protect your data. Vutility's Cloud platform is continuously monitored to protect your data and keep it available. In the event of a disruption, platform services can be automatically and instantly shifted to provide continuity of service that is secure and scalable to your business SLAs. CloudVU has ISO and ISAE certifications for security management, cloud security, cloud privacy, and overall privacy. To read more about certifications and the cloud, visit the CloudVU site page.

More questions? Give us a call

Our customer support team is available to help you with any questions you may have. Give us a call or e-mail support@vutility.com.