Finally we saw our new Mini Intercom enter production. It uses a new and novel manufacturing technique which required several iterations to get right. The end result is a solid, strong lump of fiber glass with a pretty black and gold finish – and yes that’s real gold! At just 4mm thick this intercom has the appearance of a flush mounted unit but is in fact surface mounted; a common trait for all our Gold intercoms.
The intercom is fully waterproof. We use the gold finish as it is non-corrosive. The three parts of the intercom are brazed together forming a water tight seal around the unit rather like a copper pipe is soldered to form a seal.
Solder seal x-ray
After the soldering process we inspect the intercom using an x-ray to ensure the seal has been formed around the entire perimeter of the unit.
Our software allows you to change your dialler and intercom settings, numbers and messages remotely using the internet. It requires a small amount of data allowance to be available on your SIM. A session will use a couple of kB.
v1.07 will work with any firmware release from 5.10 onwards. We can remotely update your dialler and intercom with the latest firmware if required (you must have at least v5.10 to start with).
The software is available from our Downloads page:
Please note currently we do not require installation of the software which is available as a raw EXE file. If you download this from our website you can trust it. You may need to click ‘run anyway’ on the Windows security message box. We will release an installation version over the next few weeks.
D4 Analogue Voltage Measurement and 6 input PCB 0:36s [D4 Webpage]
D4 PCB also PCB tested in software 3:20s [D4 Webpage]
G2 GSM Intercom 0:55s [GSM Intercoms]
New A4 PCB 1:55s [2-Input GSM Dialler]
PC Control Software 4:40s [PC Software Download]
In the video we mainly demonstrate the PC software. This connects via the internet to your PCB and allows you to view settings and numbers as well as monitor the system live. The PC software in on the whole done we’re waiting for our server software to be complete.
We have a new PCB which will form the basis of all of our dialers and gate/shutter openers going forward. It features an ultra-low power mode, more inputs and outputs, space for a voice unit and Bluetooth. The chip on the PCB has a larger program memory (like the hard drive of a PCB) giving us space to add more features. The power supply design is more rugged too allowing for higher voltages and better surge protection.
GSM Roller Shutter Controller
We’ve finally given up on the Circuit Switched Data (CSD) system we used for remotely connecting to devices in the field and have revised the software to use the GPRS packet data system. We chose CSD as it meant your SIM did not require data and there was no need to tell the GSM unit your network’s APN (Access Point Name) e.g. giffgaff.com… The problem is CSD does not really work at all never mind reliably. Quectel have dropped support on the new modems we are using so it was time to switch to GPRS.
We’ll be using GPRS to dial in in future
There are huge benefits though. The newer PCBs including our Gold G2 Intercom can have a full firmware update over the internet using GPRS. We have also added the ability for the dialers and gate openers to send emails whenever activity is detected. Eventually we will either offer our software to the end user or create a web interface for setup to be done online.
Advent Controls Web Interface Software
New features – feedback definitely welcome!!
Dial, SMS and email
Low power modes
PC interface software
Ability to email list of settings and stored numbers
January has proven to be a busy month with many trade and online orders for our ever popular GSM Auto Dialer system (GSM Dialer). We’ve also taken on a new member of staff, Kelly, to handle orders for this product. Hopefully for her sake the next couple of weeks will be a little quieter! It would also allow further progress on our new Gold series of intercoms.
We have been installing the first of our Gold Series GSM Door Phone Intercoms which is the Gold G2 Model. However they are still in short supply and we’re still working on the firmware.
The early versions have been using the Capacitive Sensing Module on-board the PIC microcontroller. This has proven highly reliable and accurate in the field however in theory this module is susceptible to electrical interference.
CSM Pad Trace
The CSM module generates a frequency dependent on the capacitance applied to the pin of the chip. However it is possible for the touch pad to pick up high strength electrical noise and start oscillating at the frequency of the noise. This would be seen as a press even though nobody touched it. In practice we have not seen this but we also developed an alternative software based decoder which measures the voltage on the touch pad after it has been discharge and charged by the Analogue to Digital Convertor (ADC) sampling capacitor.
CVD Touch Pad Trace
This technique of measuring the pad charge and then discharge into the same capacitor is known as a Capacitive Voltage Divider (CVD). This method is very resilient to noise and electrical interference but does require more CPU processing time. It is likely to be implemented across all of our Gold GSM Intercoms and will soon be behind the touch pads of our G2 unit. When we have a full keypad version of the intercom available it will be important to use this technique hence it is being developed now.