At ESD, the mantra of the Automation Team is “We Live Controls”. Our backgrounds and hobbies come from so many facets of the automation industry: installation, contracting, design, consulting, PLC, SCADA, BAS, Intelligent Buildings, industrial, residential, robotics and more. We tend to take the processes of automating building systems home with us. Some call us controls nerds. We prefer focused specialists.
Our team members use their creative minds at home to make their personal lives more automated. We have created automatic watering systems for home planters, used WiFi thermostats to schedule and trend data, applied custom controls to home HVAC systems, tweaked smart lighting controls to control other appliances and have automated our homes in countless other ways.
I am using my knowledge of BAS to automate my smoker. In fact, I spent the weekend smoking a turkey. When you get down to it, a smoker is like an air handling unit. It has a fresh air intake damper, an exhaust damper and a heating source. I even use resistant element temperature probes to monitor the cooking temperature and the temperature of the meat. You can almost picture the applied controls to this description.
I manually control the dampers based on my understanding of the reaction of modulating each of them. Can you start to visualize the sequence of operation for this process? The outputs will be based on the variables of the temperature probe device. I know to allow more air flow to increase temperature. The temperature is monitored through a device that utilizes Bluetooth to communicate to a phone. While cost efficient, it has a few drawbacks.
My phone acts as the controller monitoring the input points and trending the data. Once I lose connection, the data is lost along with the alarming capabilities. The application alarms on a high and low limit setpoint. I set these alarms for out-of-range setpoint of the cooking temperature and a high-limit alarm for temperature of the turkey. A walk to the front yard, interrupts all that data and monitoring.
Did your mind immediately go to an Edge controller? The WiFi-connected device can store the trending data and monitor the points. It also can modulate the dampers based on temperature of the heating chamber. I could even send alarms via email or text messages while the chef runs to get more applewood chips.
I guess some people just live controls. We think through the inputs, outputs and desired outcomes to make equipment work in our careers so well that we apply it to our home lives as well. If you live controls, you could be a great fit for the Automation Team at ESD.
Send us your resume or apply to the link ESD Automation Engineer.
Questions? Reach out to Jasen at firstname.lastname@example.org.