Nordic-powered Bluetooth low energy sensors provide wireless solution for detecting water leaks and monitoring changes in temperature and humidity

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ConnectSense sensors provide accurate and immediate reporting of changes in environmental variables employing Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to provide wireless connectivity

Oslo, Norway  
2017/01/18

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Naperville, IL-based home automation manufacturer, Grid Connect Inc, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® low energy System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘ConnectSense’ Wireless Temperature and Humidity and Water Sensor solutions.

The ConnectSense Bluetooth low energy Temperature and Humidity Sensor provides accurate and reliable monitoring of temperature sensitive areas of the home or office, for example wine cellars, IT server rooms, and greenhouses. The ConnectSense Bluetooth low energy Water Sensor provides water leak detection anywhere where plumbing needs to be monitored, for example laundry rooms or basements. Both the Temperature and Humidity Sensor and the Water Sensor are Apple HomeKit-compatible.

Sensor parameters and alerts are set using “if/then” rules from the ConnectSense app. The sensor data is automatically synched to iOS Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets via the Bluetooth low energy wireless link provided by the nRF52832 SoC, notifying the user in the event a water leak is detected, or of changes to the room’s temperature or humidity outside of the set parameters.

Both sensors employ two AAA batteries, providing between eight and 12 months of standard operation between replacement, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic nRF52832 SoC.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (fully compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions. 

“Although our previous generation sensors supported Wi-Fi, we decided to switch to Bluetooth low energy for our new sensors to gain even better power efficiency,” says Adam Justice, Vice President, ConnectSense. “Specifically we selected Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC for its power efficiency and robust SDK [Software Development Kit], which included support for Apple HomeKit’s latest specifications. This is our first experience working with Nordic and we have found the support to be excellent and the engineers to be very responsive. Overall it’s been a great experience.”

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ConnectSense to Showcase HomeKit Sensors, Bluetooth Extender and Smart Outlet at CES 2017

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — (December 20, 2016) — ConnectSense, a leading manufacturer of home automation products, will showcase a new Bluetooth Extender in addition to the ConnectSense Smart Outlet and the company’s line of Bluetooth wireless sensors at CES 2017 Tech West at the Sands Expo Convention Center, Booth 40357, as part of the Smart Home Marketplace.

The new ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender enables users to access Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors and devices from outside the home. Without the Extender, a wireless phone or other device is needed to connect to the Internet.

The Bluetooth Extender can be configured to work with Apple HomeKit or the ConnectSense Cloud. Utilizing HomeKit, users can securely control all their HomeKit accessories from an iOS device and the new Home app from Apple. Using the Bluetooth Extender as a hub, users can control smart devices from just about anywhere. By connecting to the ConnectSense Cloud, sensor data is saved to the Cloud and notifications are relayed to a smart phone or email.

The ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender can be used with the new ConnectSense BLE enabled sensors for temperature/humidity and water detection. The ConnectSense Bluetooth Temperature & Humidity Sensor provides accurate and reliable data for sensitive areas of the home, including wine cellars, collection rooms, greenhouses and more. It works in harmony with HomeKit-enabled thermostats to regulate temperature in areas where a thermostat isn’t present. The ConnectSense Bluetooth Water Sensor detects the presence of water before it causes costly damage. It is perfect for detecting leaks in basements and laundry rooms, as well as monitoring plumbing and refrigeration lines.

Both sensors operate using Bluetooth Low Energy and require only two AAA batteries for long periods of operation. In addition, all ConnectSense products integrate with the new Home app included in iOS 10, which makes it easy to set up and control all smart devices in one app. Apple HomeKit allows users to monitor these devices easily and securely using Siri on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or Apple Watch. By integrating with the HomeKit ecosystem, users can easily create integrated scenes and rules to automate devices, regardless of manufacturer, with just a few simple steps. For example, users can set rules to automatically turn on lights or other devices when water is found, and users can ask Siri to gather information about the sensors, such as asking about the temperature.

ConnectSense also will display its Smart Outlet ($59.95), which enable users to easily control and monitor their everyday plug-in devices, such as lights, fans and televisions. The intuitive design of the Smart Outlet fits over any existing standard North American electrical outlet and features Apple HomeKit technology. After installing the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, users can configure it using the ConnectSense app available in the App Store and easily create integrated scenes and rules for all HomeKit devices.

With detailed power monitoring in the app, users have insight into the power consumption of devices plugged into the Smart Outlet, as well as how long devices have been turned on. Unique to the ConnectSense app is the ability to create rules based on power usage. For example, a homeowner can set a rule that says if the television has been on for three hours, turn it off. For safety, rules can be set to turn off hot or potentially dangerous devices, such as flat irons, if they have been left on for an extended period of time.

ConnectSense products are available at connectsense.com and on amazon.com.

About ConnectSense
ConnectSense develops and manufactures home automation products, including the ConnectSense Smart Outlet and a line of wireless sensors that monitor changes in your environment then notifies you by email or text when something goes awry. ConnectSense can be found at www.connectsense.com and on Twitter at @ConnectSense.

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Note to media: Additional information, photos and links to videos about ConnectSense products are available at https://gridconnect.box.com/v/CES2017

3 Fun Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July with ConnectSense

Ice, Ice Baby!

With the warm temperatures this 4th of July, the ice in your cooler is sure to melt. Be notified the second it's time to run out for a second bag of ice with the ConnectSense Water Sensor.

 

Avoid Dehydration!

Worried about the heat and dehydration this 4th of July? Monitor your environment with the ConnectSense Temperature and Humidity Sensor! When temperatures are too hot to handle, the Temperature and Humidity Sensor will remind you that it's time for water (or a beer).

 

Fireworks in Your Living Room!

Recreate the magical lights and sounds of a fireworks show in your own home! With the ConnectSense Siren/Strobe, your notifications will trigger lights and sounds that can only be upstaged by a real fireworks display.

 

 

Need Another Sensor? Not seeing the sensor or output you need? Visit ConnectSense.com or Amazon.com for more information on all of our home automation and business monitoring products.

Disclaimer: For more realistic applications of ConnectSense sensors and outputs, please visit ConnectSense.com or call the ConnectSense office at (630) 245-1445.

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes this Winter

frozen pipes

When the temperature drops and pipes freeze, the result can be disastrous.  A 1/8th inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day! Leaks like this can result in flooding, major structural damage to your home and leave you at a huge risk for mold.  According to State Farm, the average cost of a claim for broken pipes due to freezing is $15,000.  Pipes that burst when no one is home are much more devastating. When the basement and other areas of the home unknowingly flood, costs in damage can rise to as much as $70,000.

Traditionally, people try and prevent pipes from freezing by leaving cabinets open and letting the water run from their faucets at a slow trickle.  Neither of these methods are foolproof or ideal.  

Leaving the cabinets open in some homes is fine, but for parents of small children (like myself), it poses a huge risk.  There are cleaners and other toxic substances inside of my kitchen cabinets that I would not want my kids to gain possession of out of concern for their health.

He may be cute... but he gets into everything!

He may be cute... but he gets into everything!

Leaving the water running does not always prevent frozen pipes and can be a costly decision. A quick check of the USGS Water calculator shows that 2 faucets left running at a trickle will waste 22 gallons of water or more per day.  After a few weeks of cold weather, the cost to your water bill is sure to add up.

temperature sensor

The ConnectSense wireless Temperature Sensor is a better solution for preventing frozen pipes in your home. This sensor can monitor the temperature of your pipes and alert you only when the temperature gets low enough and you should take action. This eliminates the need to waste water or leave cabinets open unnecessarily.

I set up my own wireless Temperature Sensor in my home last year as the temperature started to drop into the teens on a regular basis.  I am always particularly concerned about the sink in my kitchen since it is right on an outside wall.  If underneath your sink is anything like mine, there are no open power sockets to plug into, so ConnectSense's long-lasting battery power works perfectly for this application.  I set my sensor to record at every hour, as I felt that would be satisfactory for catching any drops in temperature.  If you are concerned about rapidly dropping temperatures, you can set the sensor to record the temperature even more regularly, but note that it will drain the batteries in the unit faster.

I then set up my rules in the ConnectSense cloud application for my wireless temperature sensor.

ConnectSense rules

First I created a rule to send a text message to both my wife and me if the temperature drops below 40°.  Should it get that low, we would take some of the traditional precautions of running the water, wrapping the pipes, or opening the cabinets.  The nice part about having this alert is that none of those methods are necessary until the temperature actually gets to that point.  This allows us to save money by not running the water and not have the hassle of having the cabinets open.

The second rule I created for the more urgent scenario is a rule that would result in a phone call to my wife and me should the temperature below the sink drop below 35°.  This would be close to freezing temperatures, and immediate action would be needed.  Having the phone call option for notification is also particularly important because a text message would likely not wake either of us while sleeping, while a phone call would.

water sensor

For added protection, I also installed a ConnectSense Water Sensor under my sink.  In the event of a leak or flood from a burt pipe, I will receive a phone call so I can deal with the water before it becomes a huge problem.  

After a few days of having the wireless Temperature Sensor installed under my sink, I can attest that it definitely gave me the peace of mind to not worry about having my pipes burst while I am at work or away from the house.  Checking the data, I saw that even when it was around 0° outside, I could easily monitor the temperature under our sink and make sure our our pipes—and our home—were not in danger.

How to Create a Completely Smart Home with Internet of Things Devices All from Chicago

With the Data Portal3D-printed street sensors, the WindyGrid,  and a commitment to democratizing open city data, Chicago is distinguishing itself as a leader in 'Smart Cities.' (This reputation was solidified when the city was chosen as the host for the 'Internet of Things World Forum,' a global gathering of industry thought-leaders, this summer).

On a more micro-level, Chicago is also a leader in the 'Smart Home,' with several startups and companies developing connected devices for individual environments. In fact, a consumer can monitor, control, and secure their entire home - from heat to lighting to energy to alarms - with Internet of Things products built in Chicago. Here's how...

Read more at ChicagoInno or download the PDF now.