(formerly RF Signal Enhancer)

By Team GTLE Members:

Bart Voegeli
Eric Nyaga
Guner Yilmaz
Shaun Golden

Overview and Process

There are occasion where it becomes cost effective to come up with an automated way to accomplish and objective. One such event comes about when a system is not easily accessible, and diagnosing the particular part of the system responsible for the failure becomes more time consuming than just replacing the whole unit and troubleshooting the defective product at a later time. This of course can lead to increased financial, time and labor costs.

As such, our team has come up with an automated way to resolve one such area where this problem seems to prevail. In most commercial lighting systems such as those seen in warehouses or street lights, this is part of the trade due to lack of ease in accessing the lighting components. Our solution, to this problem, centers about creating a current sensing light fixture diagnostic system to determine the source of the defect. The diagnostic system has to be easy to use, non invasive so that it can be easily retrofitted into existing fixtures without the need to overhaul the entire fixture, compact enough to fit into the current lighting enclosure, and also be cost effective in accomplishing the task at hand.

The Light Fixture Diagnostic Current Sensing System will allow a user to non-invasively measure different current readings for a standard light fixture with a ballast. The design currently in place works with a 120V AC system. A non-invasive current sensor takes the reading from the input power line into the ballast, and with this, we are able to get three different outputs translated by a micro-controller that will allow us to tell remotely whether the light is operational or if the ballast or the light bulb is malfunctioning. The transmission is accomplish using Xbee wireless transceiver chips to send the RF signal to a central location in this case a laptop, allowing maintenance crews in various commercial and industrial facilities to monitor light fixtures from a single location. This improves efficiency from having to check each individual light by allowing the user to directly tell which component of the light is not working and its location hence simplifying the maintenance process.